Red River cruises past Warroad
Grand Forks Red River doesn't typically play a non-conference opponent like Warroad this late in the boys hockey regular season.
But Roughriders' coach Bill Chase likes the challenge.
"I'd take it every year," Chase said. "I like it, especially with a tough team like that. You know they're going to come hard and physical and be well-coached."
The Roughriders passed their final non-conference test with flying colors Monday night in a 5-1 win over the Warriors at Purpur Arena.
Red River improved to 16-2-2, while Warroad dropped to 12-10-1.
The Warriors of Minnesota Section 8A came into the week red hot at 12-3-1 in their last 16 games. Warroad had won four of its last five and scored at least seven goals in three of its last four games.
But the Riders cooled the Warriors early, claiming a 3-0 lead a little more than 12 minutes into the first period.
At 3:07 of the first, Mason Salquist scored his team-leading 19th goal of the season when he slipped behind the Warroad defense and went to his backhand on the breakaway to juke goalie Joseph Jacques, who finished with 18 saves.
Red River extended the lead to 2-0 when Landon Hagen jumped on a rebound after Mason Thingvold was initially stopped by Jacques after a 1-on-1 with a Warroad defender on a rush.
Red River's Ethan Scheffer gave Red River a 3-0 lead with a short-handed goal at 12:04 of the first.
"Our first period was very poor," Warroad coach Jay Hardwick said. "We weren't ready to go. Give Red River credit. We stood around, watched them and they made us pay."
After getting outshot 11-5 in the first period, Warroad turned the tables in the second and outshot the Riders 11-6.
The Warriors only received one goal to show for the better period, though, cutting the lead to 3-1 at 10:54 of the second when Kip Knutson scored after extended pressure in the Red River zone.
Only a couple of minutes later, Red River goalie Nate Bradbury made his biggest save. He stuffed Warroad's Cade Wallace on a golden 2-on-1 opportunity, a scoring chance that could have made it a one-goal game late in the second period.
Instead, Red River tacked on two third-period goals in a penalty-filled final frame.
Freshman Jackson Kunz made it 4-1 and Landon Haagenson scored on a 5-on-3 power play for the final margin.
"We brought our all today and played well," Salquist said. "We've been coming into practice and working harder lately."