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Mustangs beat Packers in first rivalry matchup for first win of season

West Fargo Sheyenne goalie Cole Nissen makes a save on West Fargo's Alex Sauter at the West Fargo Sports Center on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. David Samson / The Forum1 / 5
West Fargo Sheyenne's Sterling Morin beats West Fargo Packers goalie Gabe Pederson on the glove side for to give the Mustangs a 6-4 lead and a two-goal cushion in the third period at the West Fargo Sports Center on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. David Samson / The Forum2 / 5
West Fargo's Brayden Jacobson celebrates his first period goal as he skates past the West Fargo Sheyenne bench at the West Fargo Sports Center on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. David Samson / The Forum3 / 5
West Fargo Sheyenne's Blaze Ackerland (33) leaps into the arms of teammate Nicholas Kirchoffner after scoring the game-tying goal against the Packers in the second period at the West Fargo Sports Center on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. David Samson / The Forum4 / 5
West Fargo Sheyenne's Josh Jaskowski (8) and West Fargo's Carson Harrington battle for the puck at the West Fargo Sports Center on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. David Samson / The Forum5 / 5

WEST FARGO—The first West Fargo and West Fargo Sheyenne boys hockey matchup came with such anticipation, the West Fargo School District sold tickets ready for over-packed stands.

The first rivalry game proved to be a show. Goals were exchanged in the first five minutes and scored frequently, the Packers and Mustangs put on some jarring hits, and fans witnessed the birth of a rivalry.

After falling behind by two goals, Sheyenne displayed offensive firepower and scored five goals in the third period to take an 8-5 win over the Packers on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at the new West Fargo Sports Arena. The Mustangs (1-6, 1-5 East Region) took their first win of the season against their new in-city rivals.

"I wasn't expecting eight goals," Sheyenne head coach Dave Benson said. "They rose to the occasion. It was fun to see, and with West Fargo, we just kept fighting."

For the first time in his career, Sterling Morin scored four goals for his second hat trick and added two assists. After the game, Morin had 11 goals and 16 points for the season.

"Everything seemed like it was going in," Morin said. "The thing with Sheyenne is we never give up. We're going to play until that last buzzer every single time."

Benson said he saw some hits he doesn't like to see in high school hockey, but he expected a physical contest. Sheyenne put a hit on Brayden Jacobson on a breakaway that sent his glove, stick and other gear scattered across the ice. But Jacobson came back and scored a goal shorthanded only a few minutes later for the Packers (1-6, 1-4).

"It's fun playing against them," Jacobson said. "They get ready to play the same way we do."

West Fargo's Jackson Prochnow, who ended the game with two goals and an assist, said people at school were asking him for tickets for the past week so he knew plenty of people would turnout. Prochnow expected a physical game. He said he finished with a few bruises and his foot was bothering him but said he would heal up in time.

"Every rivalry game is going to be a chippy one," Prochnow said. "It's going to be fun."

In the third period, both teams scored a combined seven goals, five of those going to Sheyenne. Morin had a hat trick in that period alone with three goals, two of which were while the Mustangs were shorthanded.

Morin said he had respect for the Packers coaches and knew a few of the players. He said he wanted to bring his best against his old team.

"I had a good feeling we were going to win this game with all the energy we came in with," Morin said. "We've got supporters, and having supporters, there's nothing better especially when we're having a tough season in the beginning."

Midway through the game, the song "Why Can't We Be Friends" played on the arena sound system. Most of the players from both teams were friends on the same team just a season ago. But whenever they take the ice together, Benson said the Mustangs and Packers will be rivals for years to come.

"Some of these guys have been playing against each other for a long time," Benson said. "They're just heated battles. They played hard and went back and forth. That's what you expect in a great rivalry game."

FIRST PERIOD: 1, WFS, Morin (Kramer), 2:01. 2, WF, Sauter (Jacobson, Tangen), 4:11. 3, WF, Jacobson (Prochnow), 16:07, sh.

SECOND PERIOD: 4, WF, Prochnow (Bossert, Forthun), 6:31, pp. 5, WFS, Braun (Morin, Kramer), 8:56. 6, WFS, Ackerland, 9:05.

THIRD PERIOD: 7, WFS, Morin (Braun, Jaskowski), 3:33. 8, WFS, Thompson, 4:22. 9, WF, Welk, 4:52. 10, WFS, Morin, 6:59, sh. 11, WFS, Kramer (Morin, Beatty), 7:24, sh. 12, WF, Prochnow, 9:36. 13, WFS, Morin, 12:44, sh.

SAVES: WF, Pederson 8-11-13--32; WFS, Nissen 6-6-3--15.

Colton Pool

Pool is a reporter for The West Fargo Pioneer covering city sports and community news. He was the sports editor for The Dickinson Press covering Dickinson State athletics, high school athletics and Southwest Speedway. He graduated from North Dakota State with a degree in journalism and a minor in English. You can reach him by phone at 701-451-5715 or tweet him @CPoolReporter. 

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