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Packers take fourth in boys state hockey tourney

Packer forward Kody Coles goes down while making contact with Bismarck’s Jaxon Ford during the state semifinal game on Friday in Grand Forks. Darren Gibbins

The Packer boys hockey team’s Cinderella postseason run came to an end earlier than fans hoped for.

Despite a 3-11 regular season region record and entering the East Region tournament as the No. 7 seed, the Packers managed to finish fourth in the state tournament.

The team started the tournament with an 3-2 overtime victory over Bismarck Century on Thursday.

In that game, senior forward had both regulation goals for West Fargo -- one in the second period and one in the third.

After a scoreless overtime period, sophomore forward Ben Dirks scored an unassisted goal 2 minutes, 42 seconds into the second overtime to push the Packers into the semifinals.

The team went on to face top-seeded Bismarck on Friday, but was overwhlemed in a 7-1 loss.

Junior Riley Vareberg scored the team’s only goal on the power play in the third period.

The Packers faced Minot in the third-place game on Saturday, but fell to the Magicians 4-2.

The teams were tied 2-2 after the second period, thanks to Packer goals from Austen Larson and Jake Wasem, but Minot scored two in the third to finish third in the tournament.

Junior defenseman Jake Hoy, who had three assists in the tournament, was named to the all-tournament team.