Hard to beat a three-goal first period, right East Grand Forks coach Tyler Palmiscno?
“Four would have better,” Palmiscno deadpanned.
The No. 1 seed Green Wave was all business from the opening faceoff, throwing its weight around and scoring the first three goals en route to a 5-1 victory over Orono on Wednesday night at Xcel Energy Center.
A goal from Reed Corbid and two more from Tanner Tweden built a 3-0 East Grand Forks lead after one period. Corbid whipped a rebound home just 2 minutes, 18 seconds into the game.
“That was a ‘Welcome to the state tournament’ for this group,” said Orono coach Kasey Yoder said. The Spartans (19-9-1) last reached the state tournament in 2007. “They outmuscled us and won every battle. That was their hockey game.”
Nevertheless, Palmiscno expected the Spartans to fight back in the second period. And they did, cutting the East Grand Forks lead to 3-1 in the second period when David McCuskey converted on a turnover deep in the East Grand Forks zone.
“It was good to see us make a game out of it,” Yoder said.
But it was game over when Nick Ranten built a 4-1 Green Wave advantage on a heads-up third period play. He intercepted a pass in Orono’s zone and buried the puck in the net moments later for his fifth goal of the season.
The victory advanced East Grand Forks (26-2-1) to Friday’s semifinals and kept the Green Wave undefeated in 2014.
DAVID LA VAQUE