Red River builds early lead, rolls to state quarterfinal win over Bismarck Legacy
The Riders will now face Fargo South/Shanley in the state semifinals late Friday night.
FARGO — After a double-overtime nail-biter just to reach the North Dakota state boys hockey tournament, Grand Forks Red River opened the event Thursday night by taking it easy on the emotions of its supporters.
Red River outshot Bismarck Legacy 17-1 in the first period, defenseman Wyatt LeDuc scored twice and the Roughriders didn't allow a shot on net in the third period with a 6-0 win over the Sabers in a state quarterfinal at Scheels Arena.
"Guys were ready to finish the job, and I was real happy with the third period," Red River coach Tim Skarperud said. "It goes to show what the mindset is ... they're not just satisfied to get the win. It's building toward something and obviously we know tomorrow night it's going to be a great test, so hopefully we can bottle that up and start from the drop of the puck tomorrow night."
Red River advances to Friday night's late semifinal against Fargo South/Shanley. The game begins 30 minutes after the 5:30 p.m. semifinal between Fargo Davies and West Fargo Sheyenne.
The Riders (19-5-0) only managed a single goal in the first period, despite the massive gap in shots on goal.
In fact, Red River's goal came at the bitter end of an otherwise poor five-minute major power play.
But the Riders claimed a 1-0 lead in the final 30 seconds of the major thanks to LeDuc, who threw a loose puck from the back wall out in front at a sliding Legacy goalie Tyler Miller, whose skate kicked in the LeDuc bank shot.
"I do a little of that in practice from behind the goal, trying to bank stuff off the goalie," LeDuc said. "It was just a quick-thinking moment, trying to catch the goalie not really ready for it."
In the second, Red River built separation with goals from sophomores Mason Ray and Luc Bydal.
Jake Grandstrand, Michael Coleman and LeDuc scored third-period goals as the Riders outshot Legacy 22-0 and Miller finished with 50 saves.
Red River goalie Noah Burger stopped six shots, with five of those coming in the second period.
It was the Legacy program's first trip to the state tournament.
"Hands down, they were the better hockey team by quite a bit," said Legacy coach Mario Lamoureux, a former Grand Forks Central and UND player. "What I was disappointed with was we played timid. We played scared. Obviously, a lot of respect for (Red River) and their team, but you have to go out and play the game. We played too timid and scared to compete with a team like that."
Red River has lost twice, each time by one goal, to Fargo South/Shanley this month.
"We need to get on our game a little earlier," LeDuc said. "When we play with our pace, not many teams can handle us, so we just have to get to our game in the first period and try get that first goal."
GF Red River 6,
Bismarck Legacy 0
First period -- 1. RR, Wyatt LeDuc (Mason Ray) 9:49
Second period -- 2. RR, Mason Ray (Jake Grandstrand) 1:18; 3. RR, Luc Bydal (Grant Gardner, Skyler Syverson) 5:59
Third period -- 4. RR, Jake Grandstrand (Ethan Dockter) 5:54; 5. RR, Michael Coleman (Grandstrand) 11:54; 6. RR, LeDuc (Dillon Jackson, Dockter) 14:26
Goalie saves -- BL: Tyler Miller 16-12-22 -- 50; RR: Noah Burger 1-5-0 -- 6