OT at the Burdick

by J. Reed Anderson, DLJ GM
Firebird goalie Reegan Reule makes another save against a torrent of Roughrider shots.

The Grand Forks Red River Roughriders brought experience and size to the ice at the Burdick Arena in Devils Lake.Tuesday night, Jan. 2, was the first home game of the new year.The Roughriders had nine seniors and eight juniors, and nine players six-one and taller, with seniors Coby Tweten and Benjaman Christian at six-seven 250 and six-three 285 respectively.

The Firebirds didn’t care.

The Roughriders went on the board first at the twelve minute mark.A second chance shot slipped by Firebird Reegan Reule.A minute and a half later Nolan Bushee answered when he intercepted a pass and beat Roughrider goalie Nathaniel Bradbury who came out of the crease to challenge him.

The Roughriders had a big opportunity with a little more than two minutes left in the first with a pair of power plays.Jeremiah Hill got two minutes, and then thirty seconds later Craig Peterson was called for checking from behind and misconduct while trying to dig the puck out from the boards.His was fifteen minutes.The Firebirds held the Roughriders, and even into the first couple of minutes of the second period when Peterson’s penalties were up.

The Firebirds played much more aggressively in the second and third periods, with a wild, wide open game and lots of banging of the boards in the second.They managed to spend more time in the Roughrider zone in the second, and gave Bradbury a workout.

The Firebirds had a power play opportunity in the third, but the Roughriders toughened, and the Firebirds couldn’t get the puck over the second blue line.Firebird Austin Devier managed to get past the Roughrider defenders during the third and got a couple of shots.Finally, with just over three minutes left in the third, Riley Roed got a dump pass at the top from Tommy Reslock and put the puck over the right shoulder of Bradbury making it a 2-1 Firebird game.The Firebirds got two more good looks when Bushee bounced a shot off the post and Devier slapped the rebound into a diving Bradbury’s chest.

The Roughriders called time with fifty-eight seconds left and then pulled Bradbury.The Firebirds tried to clear the puck, tried to get any shot on the empty goal.The Roughriders tied the game with twenty-three seconds left and we had overtime.

The Firebirds couldn’t stop Roughrider Mason Thingvold and he got the winning goal past a sprawling Ruele.

The Roughriders won 3-2.

Bradbury had twenty-one saves on the night, and Ruele had 43.Ruele did his job so well again tonight it’s a shock when a shot beats him.He is a vacuum cleaner in the crease.