Thief River Falls defenseman Chris Forney (8) and Warroad forward Quincy George competed for the puck along the boards during the first period of Tuesday’s boys high school hockey game at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Forty-one minutes and 44 shots failed to produce a winner in regulation time. However, it was a different story when keen Section 8A rivals Warroad and Thief River Falls came back on the Ralph Engelstad Arena ice for overtime.
First shot of the extra session came 76 seconds into the eight-minute sudden-death skate and sent Warroad back north with a 2-1 Tuesday boys high school hockey win.
With multiple players competing for the puck in the corner to the left of Thief River Falls goalie Tanner Holmes, Warroad’s Ben Smieja managed to find enough space to slip a pass to teammate Jared Bethune in front of the net. He quickly converted.
“Not the outcome we were looking for,” acknowledged Thief River Falls coach Tim Bergland. “But that’s hockey. Once you get into overtime, it’s often just the bounce of the puck that decides things. I don’t think it was a matter of us having a breakdown or making a mistake. Their kid just slipped in behind us and got the shot off. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.”
There simply wasn’t a whole lot of difference between the two teams who have combined to win the last ten Section 8A titles.
“We’re two pretty evenly-matched teams,” confirmed Bergland. “We went at it pretty good.”
It was the first section test of the year for Prowlers, who fell to 2-5 overall. The two-time defending Section 8A champions have been held to a single goal in four of those losses.
“We’ve got to find a way to put the puck in the net, that’s for sure,” offered Bergland.
Warroad shattered a scoreless tie at 12:57 of the second period by catching Thief River Falls in an odd-man rush that resulted in a goal by Bethune.
The Prowlers answered quickly. With his back to the net, and a defenseman between him and Warroad goalie Justin King, forward Logan Ose managed to catch a pass, spin and shoot in one swift motion to tie it with 32 seconds left in the second period.
That was it for scoring until overtime.
Holmes finished with 19 saves. King stopped 23 shots.
First period – no scoring.
Second period – Warroad, Jared Bethune (Quincy George), 12:57; TRF, Logan Ose (Ian Lund, Kael Fontaine), 16:28.
Third period – no scoring.
Overtime – Warroad, Bethune (Ben Smieja) 1:16.
Goalie saves – TRF, Tanner Holmes 9-4-6-0–19; Warroad, Justin King 6-11-6-0-23.