While pretty much all of Packer-dom is enjoying a strong winter athletic season, a few specific sports hit bumps last week.
And while coaches, players and fans may have hard feelings about a loss, the most important thing to remember is that what happens after a loss matters more than the loss itself. Will they bury the game and brush it off as an anomaly, or will they confront it in an attempt to learn and grow?
Those teams that can walk away from a less than desirable game and use the experience to better themselves down the road, will be the ones to go the distance later in the season and into the postseason.
It's something to ponder as we dive into last week's West Fargo sports scene.
Girls hockey still strong
One particularly bright spot in West Fargo's athletic scene continues to be its girls hockey team.
The Packers kept on with their winning ways last week, dropping Jamestown 2-0 on Tuesday, and Devils Lake 9-0 on Friday.
To put it bluntly, West Fargo (10-1-0, 11-1-0) is on a roll. Since losing 3-1 at Bismarck in early December, the Packers have won eight straight games. In that time, they've racked up 42 goals, while allowing just three against.
Talk about lopsided.
On the road against the Bluejays (4-5-0, 4-6-1), it was Kacie Johnson who led the charge. The West Fargo senior struck early in the first period with an unassisted goal at the three-minute mark. She than put the game away seven minutes later off assists from Kaylee Lothspeich and Katlyn Springer.
Packers goalie Andrea Klug had 11 saves on the night, and Jamestown's Miranda Smith stopped 35.
While the Packers showed off their top scorer against the Bluejays, it was a much different scenario against Devils Lake (2-9-0, 2-9-2). Instead of one West Fargo skater stealing the show, 14 of them came away with points in the lopsided win.
Junior Courtney Ellenson picked up her second and third goals of the season, including the only score West Fargo needed slightly less than five minutes into the first period. The other seven goals came from Johnson, Lothspeich, Springer, Briana Keller, Cassie Sorlien, Kelly Krahn and Britney Yliniemi.
Firebirds goalie Mariah LaMotte had 44 saves, and West Fargo netminders Klug and KerrieAnne Bruce had three saves apiece. As it stands, Klug sits with a .76 goals against average, and a 95.5 saves percentage. Bruce has yet to be scored on this season in 1.5 games played.
The Packers were going to attempt an extension of their winning streak on Tuesday when they hosted No. 2 Fargo North (7-2-0, 9-3-0). West Fargo then heads west this weekend to face Mandan at 7 p.m. Friday, and Dickinson at 4:15 p.m. (Mountain Time) Saturday.
Boys basketball suffers setback from losses
The West Fargo boys basketball team had been riding a wave of momentum since the start of the season with just one loss in its initial six games.
But that all changed Jan. 8, when it picked up its first loss of 2011, a 59-45 doozy to EDC rival Fargo North (4-2 EDC, 5-3).
Last week, the snowball grew as the Packers fell 60-56 in double overtime to Valley City on Tuesday, and 70-57 to Fargo South on Saturday.
The Valley City (3-3, 5-4) results stung, not only because it was a loss against a winnable team, but because the game was a two-pointer that dropped West Fargo down a couple pegs in the EDC standings. Compiled by the loss to the Bruins (7-1, 6-3), the Packers now sit fifth in the standings with a 4-4 conference record (5-4 overall).
In both of last week's games, the Packers led at halftime only to pilfer away the lead in the second half.
Against Valley City, it was hard-charging Trent Egan that West Fargo couldn't control. The 6-foot senior racked up a game-high 26 points, which included a pair of 3-pointers.
Team points leader Chase Farkas once again led his Packers. The senior guard put up 12 points including a tre, but was just 4-for-13 from the field. Grant Ringdahl was one back with 11 points, and Brady Schwartz had 10. Justin Schock contributed 11 rebounds and two steals.
As for the Fargo South game, it was another tale of two halves. The Packers were up by three points by the first buzzer, only to see that wither when the Bruins scored 45 second-half points.
South's Taylor Parker and Gabriel Deng were unmatched, scoring 26 and 22 points, respectively.
Meanwhile, Schwartz led West Fargo with 15 points that included three 3-pointers, and Farkas was a close second with 14 points.
The Packers got a chance Tuesday to right the ship when they traveled to face Wahpeton, however results from the game were unavailable when this edition of the Pioneer went to press. West Fargo is off until next Tuesday, when it hosts Fargo Shanley (5-2, 6-2) at 7:45 p.m.
Wrestling: The Packers (3-1, 9-5) lost their first conference dual of the season last Thursday at Fargo South. The Bruins (4-0, 6-0) edged West Fargo 31-30 thanks to a heavyweight pin by Josh Schlicht. The junior got the edge over Labinot Lika in 58 seconds. The Packers received wins from Jordan Shearer at 103 pounds, Trevor Kringlie at 112, Tom Kuehn at 135, Zach Neer at 152, Miles Scholl at 160, Preston Lehmann at 171, and Zach T. Vetter at 189. West Fargo was set to host Moorhead on Tuesday in its first home dual since Dec. 7, but results were not in by press time. The Packers will be going to Grand Forks on Friday for the two-day multiple dual tourney at Red River High School. They are set to face Williston and Mandan on Friday, and Minot, Bismarck and TMCHS (Belcourt) on Saturday.
Boys swimming: West Fargo continued its excellent season with a 119-67 dual win over Mandan on Friday, followed by a first-place, 428-point finish at the University of North Dakota Invitational on Saturday. Against the Braves, West Fargo took first in every event except for diving, the 200 freestyle relay and the 100 breaststroke. At UND, the Packers took home four championships, including the 200 free by Daniel Hulbert, the 500 free by Ethan Doll, the 100 backstroke by Adam Smestad, and the 400 free relay by Doll, Cole Holoein, Smestad, and Hulbert. West Fargo was slated to face Moorhead in a dual Tuesday, but results were unavailable by press time. They swim again at 11 a.m. Dec. 29, at Jamestown.