Isak Bergland and Tanner Nessen scored first-period goals to give No. 5-ranked Thief River Falls an early lead, then the Prowlers held off a late Duluth Marshall charge to upset the Hilltoppers 4-2 on Saturday, Jan. 28, at Mars Lakeview Arena in Duluth.
Both teams played Friday night, with Thief River skating to a 1-1 draw against Duluth Denfeld and the Toppers rolling past Warroad 5-2.
The Prowlers roared out of the gate, pressuring Duluth Marshall early in the opening frame. After a handful of shots, Thief River Falls was finally able to break through.
After Ian Lund scooted around a Toppers defender, he curled around the net and tried to sneak a wraparound through Marshall goalie Caden Flaherty. The puck slipped through the wickets and sat in the crease before Bergland was able to knock it in for the early lead.
Then, with just under a minute to play in the first, Nessen sniped on the power play to open a 2-0 lead after the first 17 minutes.
Cameron McClure scored in the first minute of the second period to get Duluth Marshall back within a goal, and that’s how the game stayed until late in the third.
Chris Forney’s blast from the point put the Prowlers back up by two with just six minutes to play, and it held up to be the game-winner.
Riley Soderstrom added an empty netter after the Toppers’ Kris McKinzie made it a 3-2 game with 5 minutes, 11 seconds to go.
Thief River Falls (14-3-2) got multi-point games from Soderstrom (goal and two assists), and Austin Odberg (three assists).
Goaltender Jon Naverud turned away 29 of the 31 shots he faced en route to the win.
Jake Bushey was the only Duluth Marshall player to record more than one point with two assists. Ryan Gotelaere and Judd Peterson each had single assists for the Toppers, while Flaherty stopped 26 shots.
The Prowlers are back at home to play Lake of the Woods on Tuesday night.
Duluth Marshall (15-6-0) will square off with rival Duluth Denfeld on Thursday at the Heritage Sports Center in Duluth.
1. Riley Soderstrom, Thief River Falls
The senior forward showed why he’s the most dangerous weapon on the Prowlers’ roster with a complete effort in all three zones on Saturday against Duluth Marshall. His offensive touch was the different, though, and he contributed three points – an empty net goal and a pair of helpers – while using his speed to pressure the Toppers’ defenders.
2. Jon Narverud, Thief River Falls
The calm net minder came up huge time after time between the pipes for Thief River Falls, making a handful of big saves on several key Duluth Marshall power plays. His best saves came on backdoor plays, including a wicked quick glove save on St. Cloud State recruit Judd Peterson midway through the final period.
3. Jake Bushey, Duluth Marshall
The big, strong blue-liner had a hand in both Toppers’ goals, a just reward for the way he played on Saturday. Bushey used his hands, vision and wheels to get the puck up ice throughout the contest, and it was often because of his 200-foot rushes that Duluth Marshall was able to set-up in the Thief River Falls end and work a forecheck.