The Firebirds got a big win last Friday night, Jan. 11, against the Bismarck Demons, the top team in the west. The Demons came to Devils Lake undefeated, sporting a 9-0 record. The Firebirds came into Friday’s game with a 4-6 record and with chips on their shoulders from a three-game losing streak, including a 12-3 loss to Fargo Davies. I haven’t seen the Firebirds skate a better game all season.
The Firebirds came out hard from the drop of the puck. They didn’t wait for someone else to take the puck, as so often was the case offensively, but shot down the ice turning every possession into a breakaway. And except for a few minutes in the third period no one ever held the puck and waited: They shot. They went on the board first, 1-0, at the 11:38 mark on the clock.
The Demons tied it at four and a half minutes in the first on a powerplay with a shot from in front of the net that slid just past Reegan Reule’s outstretched foot.
The Firebirds defense pretty much shut down any offensive opportunities the Demons wanted in the second period. They only put five shots on goal in the period, to the Firebirds 13. The Firebirds got their second goal from Braden Abrahamson. He went one-on-one with a defender, took him past the front of the crease then backhanded the puck past Demons’ goalie Quinn Ackerman. They got goal number three at the 8:18 mark when Abrahamson and John Rutten squeezed loose the puck from a scrum in front of the goal and got it to Blair Martinson.
The Firebirds did slow down a little in third period and the Demons got way too many chances taking 25 shots at Reule, more than they had in the first two periods combined. But the Firebirds held on and won a big upset 3-1.
Reule made 45 save on the night, and Ackerman 30. The Firebirds had 12 minutes in penalties, and the Demons 14.