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Ty's Take: A season down, one game to go

Dexter Guidinger of West Fargo takes control of the puck after Nick Monson of Bottineau-Rugby slips during their game Saturday in West Fargo. Dave Wallis / Forum Communications Co.1 / 2
Bottineau-Rugby goalie Cody Brooks stops the puck short of a goal as West Fargo's Tyler Berginski crashes the net during the first period Saturday in West Fargo. Dave Wallis / Forum Communications Co.2 / 2

With only one game left before the East Region tournament, the West Fargo boys hockey team does not have much hope to turn their ship around from a comparatively disappointing season.

Of course, anything can happen in the postseason.

The Packers dropped two straight games last week to slip to 8-12 overall and 4-9 against Eastern Dakota Conference opponents. They now are seventh in the standings, ahead of only Devils Lake, which is winless in the EDC.

Last year at this time, West Fargo was preparing to enter the postseason as the No. 2 team from the East Region. They would go on to finish third at the state tournament; a Packer best.

But the difference between last year and this year comes down more to experience than anything else. West Fargo never fully recovered from the loss of last year's veteran players.

Still, even if this year goes down as a growing season, there is hope for the future. That hope lies on the shoulder of some rather young players who have stepped up in big ways.

Tyler Berginski currently leads West Fargo in points with 19. The sophomore has a team-high 11 goals, and racked up his eighth assist of the year in West Fargo's first goal of the game by Wyatt Fretheim during Saturday's 3-2 loss to Bottineau Rugby.

Coincidentally, it was defenseman Fretheim's first goal of the season.

Of the Packers' top 10 points producers, only two, Sage Raghib and Charlie Torrance, will not be returning because of graduation.

It's something to look forward to for next year, anyway.

But that's getting a little ahead of things. First, West Fargo has to finish out its regular season by hosting undefeated and top-ranked Grand Forks Red River at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The last time these two teams met Dec. 10, the Roughriders skated away with a 6-0 victory.

So an upset by the Packers may be a tall order, but certainly couldn't come at a better time.

After that, the East Region tournament kicks of Feb. 16 in Grand Forks. In all likelihood, No. 7 West Fargo will be squaring off against No. 2 Grafton-Park River in the opening round.

Quick hits

Girls hockey: The Packers dropped two games last week, first falling 2-1 to Fargo South on Thursday before a 5-2 loss to Warroad on Friday. West Fargo (10-5-0, 12-6-0) will host Williston (6-12-0, 9-12-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, then hosts Minot (14-4-0, 14-5-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Boys basketball: West Fargo (9-5, 9-5) swept last week, defeating Grand Forks Central 56-52 on Tuesday, before besting Devils Lake 57-52 on Saturday. The Packers have two games this week. The first comes at 7:30 p.m. Thursday when they visit Moorhead. The on Saturday, they travel north to Grand Forks to face No. 1 Red River (12-0, 14-0) at 4:15 p.m.

Girls basketball: With two more wins, the Packers (13-1, 13-1) look like a shoe-in for the EDC regular-season crown. But their biggest test may come Saturday, when they square off against No. 2 Red River (11-1, 11-2) on the Riders' home court. West Fargo's only loss of the season came to Red River - a 20-point difference - on Jan. 5. The Packers also visit Moorhead on Thursday for a 5:45 p.m. tipoff.