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Davies surges for 6 goals in rout of Grand Forks to open North Dakota state girls hockey tourney

The Eagles' state title defense got off to a strong start in the quarterfinals, thanks in part to two-point nights from four players

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Fargo Davies players celebrate Morgan Sauvageau's first period goal against Grand Forks during the North Dakota state girls high school hockey tournament at the Farmers Union Center at Scheels Arena on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum

FARGO — The Fargo Davies girls hockey team set sail on its journey to a state title defense Thursday morning, and the maiden voyage showed calm waters ahead for the Eagles in the quarterfinals.

A first-period goal from Eagles senior forward Morgan Sauvageau, North Dakota's second-leading scorer, set the tone for No. 1 seed Davies, which cruised to a 6-1 victory over No. 8 seed Grand Forks in the opening round of the North Dakota state girls high school hockey tournament at Farmers Union Insurance Center inside Scheels Arena.

With the win, Davies improved to 23-1 and advances to a Friday semifinal contest with the winner of No. 5 seed Mandan versus No. 4 seed West Fargo United. The KnightRiders end their season at 9-15.

Four Eagles recorded two points apiece in the contest, beginning with Sauvageau, who later added an assist. Senior forward Olivia Opheim added two goals, while junior forwards Taylor Severson and Sandra Sampson each added a goal and an assist.

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Grand Forks' Quinn Fournier and Fargo Davies' Morgan Sauvageau battle for the puck during the North Dakota state girls high school hockey tournament at the Farmers Union Center at Scheels Arena on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum

"I thought our attitude and effort was there all day," said Davies head coach Josh Issertell. "The kids worked extremely hard against a gritty and hard-working opponent, and we found a way to get it done."

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Sauvageau scored at 11 minutes, 29 seconds of the first period, busting up the wing and slipping the puck by Grand Forks junior goaltender Kaylee Baker for an unassisted tally.

Shots were 19-5 in favor of the Eagles after one period. The Knight Riders had one power play opportunity in the frame, but came up empty.

Issertell was pleased with the way his team came out of the gates.

"I liked our first period," he said. "I thought we were here, we were on our game and we were getting chances. Baker is a heck of a goaltender. Their goaltender was making saves, but we just stuck with it and eventually we felt like it would come."

Opheim found the back of the net just under five minutes into the second period, making a beautiful move past a KnightRiders defender before beating Baker backhand to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead. Senior defenseman Kaylie Zimmerman assisted on the tally.

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Fargo Davies' Olivia Opheim celebrates her second-period goal against Grand Forks during the North Dakota state girls high school hockey tournament at the Farmers Union Center at Scheels Arena on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum

Opheim then made it 3-0 at 11:57 on the power play, with the assist coming from Sauvageau.

The Eagles held a 42-8 shots advantage after two periods.

Severson put the stranglehold on Grand Forks just 47 seconds into the final frame, scoring on a 2-on-1 opportunity. It was Sampson who fed Severson on the odd-man rush, with junior defenseman Sage Kracke adding an assist.

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The Knight Riders got that one back just moments later, however, with junior defenseman Lauren Robinson putting the KnightRiders on the board with an unassisted goal at 1:36.

Sampson and junior defenseman Mathilde Vetter added the final two goals for Davies. It was Severson assisting on the Sampson goal, while senior forwards Kylie Autrey and Taylor Klassen added the apples on Vetter's strike.

Davies finished the game outshooting Grand Forks 56-11. Eagles junior goaltender Noelle Lewis set aside 10 KnightRiders shots, while Baker stopped 50 shots in the losing effort.

The Eagles went 1 for 2 on the power play while Grand Forks was 0 for 3.

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Fargo Davies' Mathilde Vetter rifles a shot on goal against Grand Forks during the North Dakota state girls high school hockey tournament at the Farmers Union Center at Scheels Arena on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
David Samson/The Forum

Issertell said they'll take what they learned from the quarterfinal matchup and use it to prepare for Friday's opponent.

"We'll learn and go from the things we can take away from our game, and then we'll try to apply everything that we developed and built over the course of the season," he said. "Then we'll come out firing and play our game tomorrow."

Friday's semifinal is slated for noon at Scheels Arena.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, FD, Sauvageau (unassisted), 11:29.

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SECOND PERIOD: 2, FD, Opheim (Zimmerman), 4:45. 3, FD, Opheim (Sauvageau), 11:57.

THIRD PERIOD: 4, FD, Severson (Sampson, Kracke), 0:47. 5, GF, Robinson (unassisted), 1:36. 6, FD, Sampson (Severson), 12:22. 7, FD, Vetter (Autrey, Klassen), 13:44.

SAVES: GF, Baker 18-21-11—50. FD, Lewis 5-3-2—10.

2022 North Dakota High School Girls State Hockey Bracket

Ryan Spitza joined The Forum in December 2021 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Marquette, Mich., a city of 20,000 on the southern shore of Lake Superior. He majored in multimedia journalism and minored in public relations at Northern Michigan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in May 2019. While attending college, Spitza gained real-world experience covering high school and college athletics for both The Mining Journal and The North Wind.

Spitza can be reached at 701-451-5613 or rspitza@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryspitza.
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