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South-Shanley picks up shutout win over Century in East-West showdown

Sunday, February 9, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Administration
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Fargo South-Shanley's Hunter Hannesson slips a shot between the legs of Bismarck Century goalie Wyatt Stevahn that goes wide on Saturday, Feb. 8, in the Farmers Union Center at Scheels Arena. David Samson / The Forum

 

FARGO — It was a back-and-forth battle in Saturday’s East-West boys hockey showdown between Fargo South-Shanley and Bismarck Century, the No. 2 teams from each region.

Since snapping powerhouse Grand Forks Central’s 81-game unbeaten streak against North Dakota opponents earlier this season, South-Shanley has played with heightened expectations. The Bruins didn’t fall short of those, as they cruised to a 3-0 shutout win over Century at Farmers Union Insurance Center at Scheels Arena.

South Shanley rose to 15-4-1 overall and hold an 11-3-1 record in the East Region. Century dropped to 12-7 overall and is 10-2 in the West.

Both perched near the top of their respective region standings, the Bruins and Patriots each had something to lose, but that didn’t exactly show, Bruins head coach Dean French said.

“I don’t think either team had a ton of emotion, and as a result it seemed like a Saturday afternoon game and not a playoff or state tournament-type game,” French said. “It seemed to me like both teams were trying to gut it out and get through it.”

Fargo South-Shanley's Grant Gores (8) celebrates his first period goal against Bismarck Century on Saturday, Feb. 8, in the Farmers Union Center at Scheels Arena. David Samson/The Forum

 

South-Shanley didn’t score on some of its better chances, French said, but a couple found their way in.

“I think that made a big difference. Sometimes you just have to get bounces, and I think today we got a couple bounces,” French said. “Then Zach (Sandy) made some nice saves.”

Bruins senior forward Drew Sandy, the second-leading scorer in the state, racked up an assist, as did his linemate, Alex Senf, the state’s third top-scorer. Typically the team’s offensive weapons, the duo was fighting it a bit Saturday, French said.

“A couple guys stepped up. Our top players weren’t playing as well as we thought they would, but other guys stepped up for us which was huge," Drew said.

 

Fargo South-Shanley's Tanner Kirkeby pressures Bismarck Century goalie Wyatt Stevahn on Saturday, Feb. 8, in the Farmers Union Center at Scheels Arena. David Samson / The Forum

 

A lot of Saturday’s game was played in the neutral zone. Both squads ran a 1-2-2 forecheck, a defensive style, waiting for the other team to drive the puck up the ice and turn it over. The Bruins saw Century play Fargo Davies the night before, when the Eagles snapped Century's seven-game winning streak, and were prepared for that style of play.

“We thought at some point when we had the lead they might go out of that, and that might open it up to a little bit more rushes and odd-man situations,” French said. “That didn’t quite happen the way we thought."

Each team jumped on the other as soon as the puck dropped, making it a transition-heavy first period, but the Bruins quickly grabbed the upper hand.

A save by Century goalie Wyatt Stevahn on a Grant Gores shot attempt set up the Bruins' first goal. Tanner Kirkeby crashed the net for the rebound, picked up the puck and passed it back to Gores, who found the back of the net.

 

Fargo South-Shanley's Alex Senf collides with Bismarck Century's Austin Wald on Saturday, Feb. 8, in the Farmers Union Center at Scheels Arena. David Samson / The Forum

 

South-Shanley held the blue line strong, not giving the Patriots many chances. Century wasn't giving up easily though, launching an aggressive offensive spurt in the final minute of the period. That momentum didn't immediately carry into the second, with the Patriots struggling to break the puck out early on.

A Jake Bryant shot from the hash sailed under Stevahn's blocker and the Bruins would nab a 2-0 lead with 5 minutes, 43 seconds to play, which would stick heading into the final frame.

The Patriots nearly doubled their shots from the first period, but none could get past South-Shanley junior goalie Zach Sandy.

The Bruins capitalized on one of three power plays 2:27 into the third period, thanks to Seb Zasada who found the back of the net on a wrist shot between the hash marks from a Sandy and Senf pass.

Stevahn avoided a third-period onslaught minutes later, scooping up a rebound and stopping three tricky shots in a row.

Century created several scoring chances in the final frame, but Sandy carried out a brick-wall performance with a 21-save shutout.

Drew Sandy said the success his team has had this year has started with the goaltending.

“He’s been big for us all year," Drew said. “We talk about, ‘Play as a team and we’ll have a chance to win every game.’ We did that here today.”

The Bruins next host Fargo North (9-9-2, 6-7-2 ER) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, at Farmers Union Insurance Center.

FIRST PERIOD: 1, FS-S, Gores (Kirkeby), 2:41.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, FS-S, Bryant, 11:47.

THIRD PERIOD: 3, FS-S, Zasada (Sandy, Senf), 3:38.

SAVES: BC, Stevahn 8-8-10—26. FS-S, Sandy 5-9-7—21.


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