The Fergus Falls Bantam A hockey team, sponsored by VFW Post 612 and coached by Devin Johnson and Cole Heifort, completed the regular season portion of their schedule with three tough losses this past weekend. The losses pushed their losing streak to six games as the young Otters prepare for the District 15 tournament in Little Falls this coming weekend.
This past Friday, Post 612 played West Fargo Bantam A Black at West Fargo’s Veterans Arena.
The game was close, but West Fargo managed an empty net goal late in the third period to earn the 4-2 win. Joseph Vaughn scored in the second period to give Post 612 a 1-0 lead. Isaac Young and Michael DeBrito assisted on the goal. West Fargo scored a couple goals to take a 2-1 lead which they held until the 11:06 mark of the third. It was then that Andrew Johnson scored to tie the game with an assist to Carter Thielke. Max Shemon finished with 22 saves in goal for the Otters, who had tied West Fargo Black earlier in the season, 4-4.
Post 612 hosted the VFW Bantam A team from Warroad at our North Arena on Saturday evening. Warroad limited scoring chances for the future Otters and handed the home team a 4-1 loss. Matthew Niblock scored the only goal for Fergus Falls. Landon Thacker put a slapshot on goal and Niblock was ready in front of the net to snap the rebound under the goalie’s blocker-side leg pad. Max Shemon was in goal for Fergus Falls and finished with about 30 saves.
Post 612 played at Little Falls on Sunday. Despite an 8-1 loss, the boys should be able to build on some positive things from the game. Colton Partain started the play that scored the lone Otter goal when he block a shot toward the Fergus goal. Partain took the deflection from near the hash marks of the faceoff circle and skated toward the Little Falls zone. Partain found Isaac Young as they entered the Flyer zone and Young used a little misdirection to beat Little Falls’ goalie. Michael DeBrito had a stellar defensive play on a penalty kill when he went stride for stride with a Flyer player that was streaking toward the Otter goal. As the opposing player was receiving the puck, DeBrito put a hit on the Flyer that separated him from the puck prevented a breakaway scoring chance. Ian Stumbo was back in goal after missing a few days due to illness. Stumbo finished with about 25 saves. Overall, it was a very physical game that had a foreboding pall in the air at times. There were plenty of penalties (including a player ejection for the home team) and body shots of retribution for both sides. I wouldn’t expect the referees to stop the game to lead Kumbaya by any means, but I’ll just say it wasn’t one of the best game I’ve ever watched.
The District 15 Bantam A tournament begins with a 6pm game this Friday against Detroit Lakes. Post 612 split the season series with each team winning on home ice. Detroit Lakes is seeded 4 and Fergus Falls is seeded 5. The winner will play Little Falls at 9am Saturday while the loser will play a loser-out game against either Wadena or Alexandria at 1pm on Saturday. First and third place games will be on Sunday. The top three teams from this weekend’s play will qualify for the regional tournament to be held in Detroit Lakes in two weeks.