Firebirds, Packers skate to 1-1 tie in key EDC?clash

Ray Maloney, Sports

Devils Lake enterered Saturday’s game against league-leading West Fargo with plenty on the line and plenty to prove.

The Firebirds passed the test and set the tone for what could be an interesting second half of the high school hockey season.

Devils Lake got a goal from Beau Eriksson on the first shift of the game and managed to contain the Packers for much of the game.

But in the end West Fargo got the equalizer and the two squads settled for a 1-1 tie on Saturday at Burdick Arena.

“The guys played really hard and we knew West Fargo would be a good skating team,” said Devils Lake coach David Zimmerman, whose team moved to 4-2-1 in the Eastern Dakota Conference and 9-2-1 on the year with the stalemate.

Eriksson was able to get a stick on a puck during a scrum in front of the West Fargo net in the first minute of the game and push the puck past West Fargo goaltender Cameron Holland for the lone Devils Lake goal.

Jimmy Goulding, who was injured in Thursday’s loss to Grafton-Park River, got credit for the assist, along with Tanner Hoffmeyer.

Devils Lake netminder Sawyer Diseth continued his brilliant play on the season and thwarted the Packers eight times in the first period as the Firebirds took their narrow 1-0 advantage into the first intermission.

Diseth added five more saves in the second period as West Fargo was unable to crack the scoreboard.

The Packers finally were able to solve Devils Lake and Diseth when Sage Raghib scored midway through the final period of play. Jeremy Johnson got the assist for West Fargo.

“It was a fun game to watch,” Zimmerman said. “But, anytime you have a 5-on-3 scoring opportunity we must be able to seize the opportunity and not to score didn’t help us ... that will be something for us to work on for the rest of the season.”

Zimmerman also expected Saturday’s game to be a physical contest. He was not disappointed.

The Firebirds and Packers combined for 19 penalties in the game with Devils Lake getting whistled for 10 minors and the Packers earning nine.

“We have to somehow find a way to reduce the number of penalties,” Zimmerman added.

The tie moved the Firebirds into fourth place in the EDC standings with nine points. West Fargo (5-2-1) continues to set the pace with 15 points, while Grand Forks Central and Grand Forks Red River stand just ahead of Devils Lake with 10 points each.

Devils Lake returns to action on Saturday when the Firebirds entertain Fargo South-Shanley in another key game for Devils Lake. The game is slated to get under way at 3 p.m. at Burdick Arena.

West Fargo     0     0     1     0   —   1

Devils Lake    1     0     0     0   —   0

First Period

1. Devils Lake, Beau Eriksson (Jimmy Goulding, Tanner Hoffmeyer), 16:35.

Second Period

No scoring

Third Period

2. West Fargo, Sage Raghib (Jeremy Johnson), 7:56.

Overtime

No scoring

Goaltender saves: West Fargo – Cameron Holland 17-15-10-3—45, Devils Lake – Sawyer Diseth 8-5-7-4—24. Penalties: West Fargo 9 minors, Devils Lake 10 minors.

Records: West Fargo 5-2-1 EDC, 8-2-0 overall; Devils Lake 4-2-1 EDC, 9-2-1 overall.