Zach Moser breaks scoreless tie with 21.6 seconds left as West Fargo Sheyenne advances at state hockey
Moser scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season.
GRAND FORKS — Zach Moser is the West Fargo Sheyenne leading scorer, who was an all-EDC defenseman last season but has played both forward and defense this season.
As a Mustangs player who plays everywhere, of course he was the right player in the right place Thursday in the North Dakota state boys hockey tournament quarterfinals.
Moser scored a rebound goal with 21.6 seconds left in regulation to break a scoreless tie and lead the Mustangs to a 2-0 win over Minot at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
"Puck went on net, came off net and all of the sudden, guy in the right spot at the right time and it's back of the net," Sheyenne coach David Benson said. "That's what you want. That line missed a wide open net the shift before and were frustrated but kudos to them they hit the reset button and got the job done."
Sheyenne, in the state semifinals for the second year in a row, plays Grand Forks Red River in Friday's state semifinals at 5:30 p.m.
"We've been working the last few weeks moving it high, getting it on net and getting to the dirty areas and getting some rebounds," said Moser, who was assisted by Jayden Rogen and Hudson Routh on the game-winning goal. "I was in the right spot at the right time. It was awesome. We worked really hard to get here and to be able to continue our story feels really good."
After taking the 1-0 lead, Moser then set up Routh for an empty-net goal to ice it.
"(Moser) is a competitor," Benson said. "He's never a guy you ask for effort. He's the most competitive player I've probably coached in my life. It was just a matter of time. He had some chances early on, but they just didn't sink."
Sheyenne goalie Riley Swanson finished with a 23-save shutout, while Minot goalie Blays Ostrom stopped 29 of 30 shots.
"Minot's a very well-coached team," Benson said. "They're a very smart team. They know where to go and what they're doing. They play smart, systematic hockey."
Sheyenne will now play Red River with a chance to advance to the program's first state championship appearance. The Mustangs lost 5-3 and 7-0 to Red River during the regular season.
"It's going to be exciting," Moser said. "It's going to take a lot against a good team like Red River, with how skilled their guys are, but we have the work ethic to put them away. We have to come in ready to work tomorrow."
Against Minot, the Mustangs started the game with Moser back on defense before moving him up front after a few minutes.
After Moser scored the game-winning goal, Moser went back to defense for the final moments.
"He can play anywhere," Benson said. "This year, he's learned to play a different position, and I think he's become a better, smarter hockey player because of it. Those last 21 seconds, we threw him back on defense to just keep things in front."