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Ty's Take: Boys hockey qualifies for state tourney

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It may not have been the picture-perfect weekend for the Packers boys hockey team, but there still was a silver lining.

The good news is West Fargo (17-5-2) qualified for this week's state tournament in Grand Forks by going 2-for-3 at last week's East Region Tournament in Grand Forks.

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The bad news is they will be without one of their top players during the opening round of state tournament play Thursday against Minot (16-7-1), which begins at approximately 8 p.m. at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

During their loser-out game against Devils Lake - of which West Fargo won 6-1 - a scrum broke out that sent a slew of players to the penalty box, and doled out game disqualifications to the Firebirds' Austin Janzen and the Packers' Brandon Tendeland.

"The whole situation is too bad," West Fargo co-coach Tim Capouch said. "I don't fault any of my players for what they did. They were just defending themselves."

According to Grand Forks Herald reporter Tom Miller, the fight began around the 6-minute mark in the third period when Janzen chased down Tendeland and tackled him from behind. The resulting brawl sent four Devils Lake players and three West Fargo players to the sin bin.

But worst of all for the Packers, the game disqualification for Tendeland means the team will be without their top defenseman for Thursday's quarterfinals.

"It's going to hurt not having him," Capouch said. Tendeland had assists on three goals during the weekend, and has amassed 34 points on the season.

But the worst thing about the fight is that it overshadows the fact West Fargo once again will be gunning for a state title.

"People tend to forget about that," Capouch said.

Fight aside, West Fargo played one of its strongest games against Devils Lake. They capitalized on four power plays, an effort Capouch said they team practiced in the week prior.

The Packers also had a standout performance in their opening round game, in which they defeated Fargo South/Shanley 6-3. The big slipup came Friday facing Grafton/Park River, when the Spoilers blanked West Fargo 4-0.

"Grafton came out very strong. They took us off guard," Capouch said. "It's hard to come back from a start like that."

Now, West Fargo has a chance to erase any bad memories and come out strong themselves against the Magicians. The Packers will get a week to practice, during which Capouch said his team will be working to tighten up and prepare for the big culmination of as season.

"It's like any tournament; you have to show up and play," Capouch said.

Holland hits 1,000

The West Fargo girls basketball team's top player eclipsed a milestone last week by breaking 1,000 career points.

Katelyn Holland hit and surpassed the mark during the Packers' 72-64 victory over Fargo North last Thursday. Holland amassed a game-high 24 points on the night, to bring her total to 1,017.

She tacked on a few more points to that total after Saturday's 66-31 win over Wahpeton. The senior led her team with 16 points, which brings her career total to 1,033.

Holland and the rest of her teammates now prepare for one final regular-season game before the East Region Tournament kicks off March 3 in Fargo. The Packers (12-6) travel to Fargo South (12-6), at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The teams only met once before during the year - resulting in a 71-64 Fargo South victory on Jan. 15 - and currently are tied for fourth in the EDC standings.

Quick hits

• Boys basketball: The Packers (12-6) split last week, falling 54-44 to Fargo North (14-5) on Tuesday before winning 58-51 against Wahpeton (7-10) on Saturday. West Fargo has only on regular-season game left before the postseason. They head to Fargo South (11-7) on Thursday for a 7:45 p.m. start.

• Girls hockey: Like their boys team counterparts, the Packers girls hockey team also heads to the state tournament this weekend. West Fargo (20-3-0) faces Williston (8-13-1) at 11 a.m. Thursday at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks.

• Boys swimming: After winning their final dual Friday 113-73 over Jamestown, the Packers should be ready for Saturday's East Region meet at Fargo North. They are hoping to successfully defend their conference crown for the fourth straight year.

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