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Red River shakes slow start to down West Fargo in East Region quarterfinals

Four different Roughriders scored to lift Red River over the Packers

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Red River's Justin Wasvick looks for a rebound as West Fargo goalie Brayden Johnson deflects his shot Tuesday at Purpur Arena. West Fargo's James Mullen (3) and Caleb Roehrich (12) look on. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks Red River started the boys hockey postseason off on the wrong foot.

The No. 2 Roughriders not only were scoreless through the opening 17 minutes with No. 7 West Fargo, but the Packers had doubled Red River in shots on goal.

"We just had to talk about how we had to get our feet moving and how we weren't playing our best hockey at the time," Red River senior forward Zach Hinschberger said of the conversations at the first intermission. "We were pretty embarrassed with our performance in the first period, so we thought in the second period, we need to come out and work a little harder."

In the first eight minutes of the second period, the Riders righted the ship.

Landon Langenstein, Mikey Coleman and Mason Reynolds scored in the first 7:04 of the second period as the Riders beat the Packers 4-1 in the East Region quarterfinals Tuesday night at Purpur Arena.

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"Basically, we just needed to get more shots on net and create more chances," Red River senior defender Matt Scribner said. "After that, all the goals came once we started to get pucks on net."

Red River, which beat West Fargo 5-1 and 2-0 during the regular season, improved to 16-4-0 overall and won for the seventh-straight game.

After getting outshot 8-4 in the first period, Red River outshot West Fargo 18-3 in the second period.

Langenstein scored in front when he tipped a Jake Grandstrand shot from the blue line to make it 1-0 at 1:51 of the first.

Coleman made it 2-0 at 2:38, while Reynolds finished a centering feed from Carter Sproule at 7:04.

Red River senior forward Drew Melland pushed the lead to 4-0 with a goal at 8:20 of the third. Melland found a loose puck near the faceoff circle and had enough time and space to fully wind up and slap the puck past West Fargo goalie Brayden Johnson, who ended with 35 saves.

Red River goalie Andrew Peterson made 17 saves. The Riders have now given up just two goals in the last six games.

West Fargo's Blake Hansen became the first to score on Red River in that stretch at even strength. The senior forward made it 4-1 at 9:53 of the third for the final goal.

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Red River now plays No. 3 Fargo South/Shanley in Thursday's semifinals at Purpur Arena. The Bruins advanced thanks to a forfeit from Fargo North, which has been dealing with coronavirus issues.

"In the first, we didn't have a lot of energy and were turning the puck over," Red River coach Tim Skarperud said. "We talked in the locker room about what makes us successful, and you know the guys had a six- or seven-minute stretch there where they had some good things going in the second. It's about limiting turnovers, playing with energy, playing with speed, getting pucks low and grinding them out."

GF Red River 4,

West Fargo 1

Second period — 1. RR, Landon Langenstein (Jake Grandstrand, Justin Wasvick) 1:51; 2. RR, Mikey Coleman (Mason Reynolds) 2:38; 3. RR, Mason Reynolds (Carter Sproule, Coleman) 7:04

Third period — 4. RR, Drew Melland (Morgan Hoefs) 8:20; 5. WF, Blake Hansen 9:53

Goalie saves — RR: Andrew Peterson 8-3-6 — 17; WF: Brayden Johnson 4-15-16 — 35

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