North wins title on double OT goalGRAND FORKS — Zach Kraft’s homecoming has brought home a state championship trophy to the Fargo North boys hockey team for the first time in 26 years.
By: Tom Miller, The Dickinson Press
GRAND FORKS — Zach Kraft’s homecoming has brought home a state championship trophy to the Fargo North boys hockey team for the first time in 26 years.
Kraft, who grew up in Grand Forks, scored the game-winning goal in double overtime to lift the Spartans to a 3-2 win over Grafton-Park River on Saturday night in the North Dakota state championship game at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The Spartans won their fourth state title, but the program’s first since 1986.
“Every year I came to the tournament dreaming that it would be me out there scoring the game-winning goal,” said Kraft, who moved to Fargo his sophomore year of high school. “You know what? It came true.”
The last time the Spartans played in the state championship game North lost in five overtimes to Grand Forks Red River in 2001.
Kraft was there.
“I thought about that before coming out for the last period,” said Kraft, a senior center. “In 2001, they had a chance to finish and didn’t. I thought … we have to come out this period and finish.”
Kraft finished by digging a puck out from the corner, turning and firing a shallow-angle shot at Spoilers goalie Zach Suda. The shot ricocheted off Suda and into the net at 6:13 of the second overtime.
“I saw the ref point and the boys going crazy,” said North coach Rob Aasand, a Grafton native. “I’m so proud of (Kraft). To fulfill a goal and dream of his and get the game winner is magical. It’s poetic justice.”
The Spartans came into the tournament as underdogs after losing 7-1 to then-undefeated Grand Forks Red River in the East Region title game. North also had lost to the Spoilers twice during the regular season.
“I never stopped believing in these kids, and they never stopped believing in themselves,” Aasand said. “We knew we could reach the top. They had a drive: to put North on a higher pedestal in Fargo.”