Short-handed Firebirds gutted by Fargo Davies in 11-0 defeat

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – A Friday evening game at Burdick Arena was more than just an escape from the snow flurries piling up outside the building.

It was also a test of depth and determination.

Such was the situation for the Devils Lake Firebirds Boys Hockey team on Dec. 17. Five scratches from the forward position and one scratch from the goaltending side of the net did not succinctly tell the entire story, either. After all, their top point producer heading into the contest in Camden Schwab (5 G, 3 A) turned out to be one of those scratches. And just to rub salt into the wound, Zach White - the Firebirds’ primary goaltender - was also out for the count.

Going up against the premier power in the Fargo Davies Eagles (7-0) was a challenge in and of itself. However, it became a trickier situation once you added injuries and an early-season skid into the equation (the Firebirds were 1-4 dating back to Nov. 30 heading into the game).

The Devils Lake Firebirds meet in their own zone at the game's conclusion.

Although the Firebirds showed grit and depth from the bench, the Eagles inevitably overwhelmed the former, 11-0, on Dec. 17.

With the win, the Eagles are now a spotless 8-0 on the season and have averaged 5.4 goals per game during the stretch. The Firebirds, meanwhile, drop to 0-5 in East Region play and have been blanked in each of their last two matchups (Devils Lake lost, 4-0, to Grand Forks Central on Dec. 14). 

Devils Lake head coach Tate Aronson kept the message simple: keep your head up. Although the Eagles scored their first four goals in less than four minutes, the Firebirds continued to mix and match to the best of their ability as the first period rolled into the second and third. 

“Prior to the game, I made it clear that we were going to need guys to step into those roles and take on a ‘next man up’ mentality if we wanted to be successful tonight,” Devils Lake head coach Tate Aronson said after the game. “We knew that even if we were fully healthy, [Fargo] Davies was going to be a real challenge, and they proved that tonight. During a game like that, we still tried to address the things that needed fixing and do our best to keep motivated and stay disciplined…that message continues after the game, and we have to take what we can from this one move forward to the next test. There is a lot of season left, and we have goals in front of us to achieve.” 

Seven different Eagles scored at least one goal during the game. During the game, the Eagles outshot the Firebirds, 59-7. Five goals during the second period, followed by a deuce in the third, only reiterated the obvious. 

Devils Lake goaltender Brody Forsberg guards the net during the third period against Fargo Davies on Dec. 17.

Although senior goaltender Jacob Shomento was given the go-to behind the net during the evening, Aronson found an opening to provide ninth-grader Brody Forsberg ice time. Forsberg started the entire third period and went 14-16 in save opportunities (two goals allowed). 

Whether it be the goaltending, defending or scoring side of the ice, the Firebirds learned what worked and what didn’t during the game. While the box score might suggest otherwise, the team will take these intangible factors to heart through the remainder of the season. 

“As much as you miss the guys that are out, it does give some opportunity for other players to step up,” Aronson said. “I think we learned a lot, and as much as the scoreboard didn’t show it, we did see some positive steps in the right direction.”