Grand Forks Red River wins state hockey title with 4-2 win over Fargo Davies
The Roughriders win program's 19th state title and second in the last three years.
FARGO — Grand Forks Red River coach Tim Skarperud said his team's best three games of the season came this weekend.
"That was the best nine periods for all 20 guys all season," Skarperud said.
Red River scored two third-period goals to beat Fargo Davies 4-2 on Saturday night in the championship game of the North Dakota state tournament at Scheels Arena.
"Every time this team had its back against the wall, they performed," Skarperud said. "That's a credit to their character."
The Roughriders won the program's 19th state title and second in the last three years. It was the seventh-straight season a team from Grand Forks won the state title.
Wyatt Leduc, a senior captain, was named Tournament MVP after netting the game-winning goal — his fourth of the tournament — at 1 minute, 46 seconds of the third period.
Sophomore Luc Bydal added an insurance goal at 6:11 of the third.
"You work so hard for this all year long and it finally comes to fruition ... it's one of the happiest moments," LeDuc said.
Red River finishes the season 21-5-0, while Davies ends the year 23-4-0.
After a scoreless first period, the second period was action-packed as the teams combined for four goals in eight minutes.
Luke Lorenz started the scoring for the Eagles at 3:24 of the third. Red River's Dillon Jackson responded with a goal 21 seconds later.
Red River took its first lead of the game 23 seconds after that when Carter Sproule finished off a play at the net-front.
Davies, however, tied the score 2-2 at 7:39 of the second on a Garrett Winjum goal from Barron Stibbe.
The final period was filled with penalties.
The Riders took nine minutes of penalties in the game's final 10 minutes and needed a gritty defensive effort to seal the victory, including 1:54 of 5-on-3 play with about six minutes remaining.
"Willing to sacrifice my body for the team," said Red River's RyLee Vetsch, who laid out to block a number of shots late in third period.
Red River was a bad bounce away from not making the state tournament. The Riders needed double overtime in the East Region state qualifier to beat Fargo North.
"I think it started Monday against North, just making the simple plays and playing the game the right way," Vetsch said. "I think that carried over to the state tournament."
GF Red River 4,
Fargo Davies 2
Second period -- 1. FD, Luke Lorenz (Ashton Yaeger) 3:24; 2. RR, Dillon Jackson (RyLee Vetsch) 3:45; 3. RR, Carter Sproule (Mason Ray) 4:08; 4. FD, Garrett Winjum (Barron Stibbe) 7:39
Third period -- 5. RR, Wyatt LeDuc (Sproule) 1:46; 6. RR, Luc Bydal 6:11
Goalie saves -- RR: Noah Burger 8-9-8 -- 25; FD: Trent Wiemken 13-15-7 -- 35