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Grand Forks Red River boys hockey basks in perfection with 27-0 record to win state title

GRAND FORKS -- Grand Forks Red River capped the first perfect season in North Dakota high school boys hockey in almost 50 years on Saturday night.The Roughriders (27-0-0) became the first team since Grand Forks Central in 1966-67 to finish the ye...

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Max Miller, left, of Grand Forks Red River sends a shot past Bismarck High's Drew Lenertz in the first period of Saturday's 2016 NDHSAA Boys' Ice Hockey State Championship game at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks. (FNS Photo by Jesse Trelstad)

GRAND FORKS - Grand Forks Red River capped the first perfect season in North Dakota high school boys hockey in almost 50 years on Saturday night.
The Roughriders (27-0-0) became the first team since Grand Forks Central in 1966-67 to finish the year undefeated after its 4-3 win over Bismarck High in the state title game at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Red River senior defenseman Brock Montgomery said. “It’s hard to put into words right now. It’s pretty special.”
Red River, which beat Dickinson High in the state quarterfinals, won its 17th state title in program history and the first since 2013.
“It was fun,” Red River coach Bill Chase said. “I don’t think they felt the pressure. I didn’t hear them say a word about (the undefeated season). They just wanted to win.”
In a season of many dominant performances, though, Red River had to battle the Demons to the end in the title game. Red River faced a season-high in shots (25) from the Demons.
Bismarck High junior forward Eric Pladsen recorded a hat trick at 2 minutes, 25 seconds of the third period to pull the Demons within a goal.
The Demons pulled their goalie with 50 seconds left. With 8 seconds to go, Red River sophomore Mason Salquist, who was named the tournament MVP, laid in front of a shot from the point and blocked the puck out of the zone. From there, the Demons didn’t have a chance to regroup and get another shot off.

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Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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