Reule gets 20 saves, Carter Schwab and Johnson two goals apiece lead Devils Lake boys hockey to the shutout win over Bottineau.

Devils Lake Firebirds head boys hockey coach Jens Stokke admittedly said Tuesday night that the Western Dakota Association’s hockey programs aren’t as strong as the ones his squad will face in the Eastern Dakota Conference. And his Firebirds demonstrated the point.

The Firebirds got two goals apiece from Carter Schwab and Aaron Johnson and used a three-goal second period to put away Bottineau 5-0 in the season opener for both teams from Burdick Arena.

“We were just the faster team, played more of a physical game than they did,” Stokke said. “We were definitely the better team tonight and it showed on the scoreboard there at the end.”

The stats were also proof enough. The Firebirds outshot the Braves 47-20, 15-5 in the second period when Devils Lake scored three goals on seven shots. Schwab, a sophomore, scored a little over a minute and a half into the second off an assist from both eighth grader Zach Boren and senior Hunter Swanson. Three minutes, 12 seconds later, junior Aaron Johnson scored and then 30 seconds later, Schwab scored his second goal of the game that put the Firebirds up 4-0.

“The second period we came out and we wasn’t really happy with the play, it was really sloppy but we got her done on the scoreboard so that was one of the main things there,” said Stokke. It definitely help get that gap away from them in that second period so that was nice to see but we could’ve definitely been a lot cleaner with the puck.”

The Braves had opportunities to score, especially in the third period when both Boren (slashing) and sophomore Jeremiah Hill (interference) were sent to the penalty box leaving Devils Lake in a 3-on-5 situation but the Braves failed to capitalize, thanks to Firebirds’ senior goalie Reegan Reule who stopped two shots during that stretch. Reule saved all 20 shots on goal.

“We got that 3-on-5 killed off and that was always a bonus. … They had a couple of good chances but he (Reule) closed them out. 

“It’s nice to see the goalie step up big like that and get the shutout. It’s huge for him for the first game,” Stokke said.

Martinson finished with a goal and two assists and Swanson also had two assists for the Firebirds.

The Firebirds got their first goal of the game in the first period when senior Blair Martinson took an assist from freshman Camden Schwab and found the net past Bottineau’s junior goalie Adam Lorenz.

Lorenz and backup Tyler Olson combined for 42 saves for the Braves.

Chris Harris can be reached at charris@devilslakejournal.com and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ