Prior to the start of Tuesday’s East Region hockey tournament’s opener on Tuesday, Devils Like High School senior Damond Brokke said he thought his team could play with No. 1 seed Fargo Davies.
Brokke and the Firebirds more than proved that statement in the early going of the quarterfinal showdown. The No. 8 seed held its own throughout the first period, matching the high-scoring Eagles goal-for-goal.
Unfortunately for the Firebirds, Fargo Davies’ offensive push never hit a lull. The Eagles rifled off three goals in both the second and third periods and skated their way to a stunning 6-2 victory in front of a small crowd at the Purpur Arena in Grand Forks.
With the loss, Devils Lake slipped into the consolation side of the bracket. The Firebirds will face off with fifth-seeded Fargo South/Shanley on Friday beginning at noon.
Devils Lake, now 6-16 for the season, opened the East Region tournament with a strong showing. The Firebirds muscled a pair of goals into the Davies net in the first period and forced a 2-2 deadlock.
DLHS forward Jordan Swanson actually gave the Firebirds an early lead in the matchup. Backed by plays from Cole Thompson and Chris Dahlen, the sophomore punched a goal into the Davies net just 21 seconds into the first quarter.
The Eagles rallied back later in the frame. Fargo Davies managed to slip a pair of shots past Firebirds’ goalie Holden Kurtz midway through the first period and took a slim 2-1 advantage.
Kurtz turned in a solid effort in the opening frane, turning back 11 of the Eagles’ 13 shots on goal.
The Firebirds didn’t flinch a bit. Devils Lake skated its way back late in the frame when Swanson pushed a shot into the net. Swanson’s second goal of the contest – and his eighth of the year - came at the 14:26 mark of the period and second the game into the second stanza in a 202 tie.
Davies managed to crank up its offense from there. The Eagles blew the game open in the second by using a hard-nosed attack that yielded 27 shots on goal, including three that found the back of the net.
The Eagles, who managed to get off 47 shots on the DL net in the contest, added three more goals in the final frame to close out the contest.
Coach Zimmerman said, “We played well in the first period as it was 2, 2 after 1, then we lost the focus of the game and we didn’t step up when we needed the plays.”
Fargo Davies 8, Devils Lake 2
First period — 1, DL, Swanson (Thompson, Dahlen) :21. 2, FD, Bischof (Mogck, A. Hartness) 6:16 (pp). 3, FD, Bischof (Pallen) 12:49. 4, DL, Swanson 14:03.
Page 2 of 2 - Second period — 5, FD, Swangler (Groth) 5:29 (pp). 6, FD, Mogck (A. Hartness, T. Hartness) 11:54. 7, FD, Bischof (Stalpes) 12:12.
Third period — 8, FD, Mogck (A. Hartness, Pallen) 1:35 (pp). 9, FD, Pallen (A. Hartness) 8:00. 10, FD, Groth 10:57 (sh).
Goalie saves — FD, Windels 11-3-9 — 23. DL, Kurtz 13-27-7 — 47