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Boys hockey: Redemption

West Fargo's Braden Schmid scores a second-period goal despite getting knocked to the ice by Fargo South's Alex Olson on Tuesday night in West Fargo.

By Tyler Shoberg

When lowly Fargo South/Shanley skated away with a lopsided win earlier this season, it was a wakeup call for the West Fargo boys hockey team.

As the two teams faced each other once again last Tuesday, it was clear the Packers weren't going to allow history to repeat itself.

West Fargo (6-3-1 EDC, 9-3-2 overall) scored early and often en route to its 7-5 win over the Bruins. It was just the jolt needed to return some confidence to the Packers bench, and keep them even-keeled as the season moved forward.

But then on Saturday, any hopes for a winning streak were quickly thwarted by Grafton-Park River, which lived up to its Spoiler moniker by pulling out a last-ditch 7-6 win.

The unpredictability of North Dakota boys hockey continues.

The Packers struck first blood Tuesday when Braden Schmid scored slightly more than five minutes into the first period. But South/Shanley (2-5-1, 4-7-1) took control with back-to-back goals less than a minute apart to end the period.

But Schmid didn't like seeing his lead gone so fast, so nearly five minutes into the second period he scored again, this one from an assist by freshman Tyler Berginski.

Less than two minutes later, however, Sam Harvey put the Bruins ahead once more.

It was the last lead Fargo South/Shanley would have.

The Packers scored five times during the remainder of the game, including a hat trick from points leader Conor Jonasson. The junior currently is ranked second in the state with 35 points, just one off leader Logan Millican of Bottineau.

Though the Bruins scored twice more, as well, it wasn't enough to come back from the deficit.

Sage Raghib and Austin Dillard also scored for West Fargo. It was Dillard's first goal of the season and Raghib's seventh.

In net, Cameron Holland made 38 saves for West Fargo, while the Bruins' Daniel Naylor stopped 41.

Against Grafton-Park River (4-3-1, 7-7-1), the Packers also had to dig out from an early hole. The Spoilers scored two quick goals less than a minute apart at the six-minute mark of the first period.

But West Fargo answered with its only flurry of goals, scoring three times before the period was out. Nick Larson chalked the Packers' first goal, and Charlie Torrance and Jonasson followed suit.

Johnson found the back of the net just 28 seconds into the next period to give West Fargo a 4-2 lead. But Grafton-Park River had an answer for everything the Packers threw at them. By period's end, the score was dangerously close as West Fargo had the edge 6-5.

That's when things took a turn for the worse. The Spoilers had ended the second period with the last laugh, and took that momentum into the final minutes. They finished with three unanswered goals and skated away with the win.

Grafton-Park River's Zach Suda made 31 saves on the night, and West Fargo's Holland stifled 28. The senior has a 6-3-2 record, with a 2.86 goals against average and a 90.8 saves percentage.

West Fargo had some time to refresh and reflect with more than a week off between games. They play again this Saturday at 3:30 p.m., when they host Devils Lake (4-2-2, 9-2-2). The last time these two teams faced each other was Jan. 8, resulting in a 1-1 tie at Devils Lake.