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Boys hockey qualifies for state tournament

West Fargo's Stone Sandoval, left, and Ben Dirks, center, celebrate C.J. Lenzmeier's, right, goal Tuesday at Scheels Arena. Darren Gibbins

The West Fargo boys hockey team entered the East Region tournament with a 7-14 overall record and the No. 7 seed out of eight.

They left that tournament with an East Region runners-up trophy and a berth into the State Tournament.

“We played two really good games,” co-head coach Tim Capouch said. “All of our seniors played great for us. We got up and played really well defensively. The whole coaching staff was very pleased with the work ethic.”

The team started the week with a 3-1 upset victory over Fargo Davies on Tuesday. The win came just days after a 5-4 loss to the Eagles.

“It was nice to have played them so recently, because we picked up a few tendencies,” Capouch said. “We outshot them both times this year, and we knew if we got a two-goal lead, there was no way they would come back.”

They followed that victory up with another big upset, this time against No. 3 Grafton- Park River by a score of 2-1.

The Pack was in a 1-0 hole at the end of the first period, but the team defense -- especially goalie Bailey Vareberg, who ended the game with 20 saves -- held firm the rest of the way. Forward Tyler Berginski scored a goal in the middle of the second period (with an assist from Jake Wasem) and forward C.J. Lenzmeier scored one early in the second (assist from Stone Sandoval) to seal a state tournament berth.

Saturday’s East Region championship game saw the Pack face off against the top-ranked Grand Forks Central Knights, who overwhelmed West Fargo 8-2.

The Packers play their first state game tomorrow against Bismarck Century. The puck drops 30 minutes after the noon game between Fargo South/Shanley and Bismarck High. Century beat the Packers 4-2 in the second game of the season.