Moorhead's Bryant Christian (11) and Terry Leabo (6) hold off the attacking Prowlers' forwards during the Spuds' 7-0 victory Tuesday night (Photos by Tim Kolehmainen).
Junior Nicholas Uglem (17) and his twin brother Tony lead Moorhead in scoring so far this season.
Talk about your two-for-ones.
Three times Tuesday night Moorhead fans were on their feet celebrating a Spuds’ goal – when the home team cut short the first party by netting another goal.
Thirteen seconds apart. Thirty-three seconds. Twenty seconds.
The trio of two-goal volleys came less than a minute apart each time and helped No. 7AA Moorhead blow past No. 6A Thief River Falls, 7-0. It was enough to leave many fans asking, “What happened?”
“If I knew (the reason), I wouldn’t be standing here, I’d be selling it to NHL teams,” laughed Spuds’ coach Dave Morinville, who attributed some of the scoring outbursts to a deep lineup.
Or perhaps scoring in pairs is fitting for the Spuds (9-1-0).
Two of Moorhead top snipers came into this world as a pair -- junior twins Tony and Nick Uglem. And each of them was directly involved in the scoring outbursts.
Tony gave Moorhead a 2-0 lead early in the first, scoring just 13 seconds after Aaron Herdt’s opening goal. He tipped in a Simon Selberg shot from the point, showing his good hands in traffic. Nick started the second flurry, scoring 33 seconds before a Cody Rahman goal made it 4-0 Moorhead.
The Uglem boys combined for the fifth goal, a play only “mind-reading” twins would seem to be capable of pulling off. Nick scooted across the blue line well ahead of his linemates but rather than dumping the puck, he ragged it away from the Prowlers’ defenseman for a few seconds. Out of options, Nick threw a blind pass to the slot, where Tony suddenly appeared. He turned and fired in his second goal of the game.
“I was trying to hold up and wait for everyone, but I got to the point where I was kind of worried they were going to take it away,” said Nick, who smiled and added that a few lucky bounces never hurt the legend either.
Twenty seconds later, Jesse Doschadis scored to make it 6-0 Moorhead. Game over.
Nick described his twin brother as a big-hitter with a hard shot, saying “When I pass it to him, he always scores.” That fits into Tony’s scouting report on his brother, who has “great vision and a great shot.”
Morinville gave his own scouting report on both. He joked that the twins look a little gangly on the ice. Even Tuesday they sometimes lurched around more than a pair of teenage giraffes. But the numbers – and the eyes – also show them to be plenty productive.
“I think it’s just taken them a little bit to get the hands and feet together,” chuckled Morinville. “They don’t look like the prettiest hockey players, but they get a lot of things done. When the game is on and it’s a tight game, they’re gamers.
The twins are both good around the net and have terrific hands. With football as their other sport of choice, they’re also plenty willing to take the body. Both played varsity hockey as sophomores, but weren’t counted on to provide the offense they are giving this winter. So far they’ve stepped up, as they’re 1-2 in scoring (Tony has 12 goals, 4 assists and Nick has 8 goals, 6 assists).
“It’s just getting more comfortable out there,” admitted Tony. “Last year we were just running around, trying to get the puck low and grind it away. Now we’re figuring it out.”
As tough as it gets
It would be difficult to argue that there is a tougher two-night stretch to the season than what Moorhead faces in its next two games. The Spuds kick off their mini-marathon by hosting No. 3AA Minnetonka Friday night at the Moorhead Sports Center, then traveling 240 miles across the state to play No. 1AA Duluth East Saturday night in Duluth.
“Talk to me on Monday and ask me how crazy I am,” said Moorhead coach Dave Morinville about his schedule, which he feels is a great primer for running a potential state tournament gauntlet.
Morinville noted several scheduling notables, such as the Spuds’ third-place finish at the Sports Authority Holiday Hockey Classic in St. Louis Park and this weekend’s games. Moorhead also plays at Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Centennial back-to-back on Jan. 27-28.
With 4 minutes, 42 seconds to go in the second period at Moorhead Tuesday night, the jury came down hard on Thief River Falls’ Austin Odberg.
As Spuds’ sophomore Aaron Herdt streaked on a partial shorthanded breakaway, Odberg held up Herdt, then gave him a shove in the back as they passed the face off dot. The blow knocked down both players, causing Herdt to crash what appeared to be head first into the end boards while Odberg was on top of him.
Herdt stayed down as the referees whistled Odberg for a 5-minute major and game disqualification.
“Right away, you’re thinking ‘Oh, no.’ It’s a hollow feeling in the pit (of your stomach) when you see that,” said Moorhead coach Dave Morinville.
Herdt began moving his arms and legs right away, which allowed Morinville a sigh of relief. The sophomore forward eventually skated to the bench, complaining more about a battered knee than any head or neck injury. He played a regular shift in the third period.
Yet the steep punishment still held for Odberg – even though the penalized play began 10 feet from the boards -- much to the dismay of Prowlers’ coach Tim Bergland. It’s likely the first obvious call of a concerted effort to stiffen the rules on checks from behind.
“I think you’re going to see more of a conscientious effort on the part of the referees to call it,” said Morinville.
Moorhead's Cody Rahman (19) follows through on a check of Thief River Falls' Chris Forney (8).
On three separate goal-scoring binges, Moorhead recorded goals less than a minute apart to defeat visiting Thief River Falls, 7-0 at the Moorhead Sports Center Tuesday, Jan. 3. Tony Uglem led the way with a pair of goals while Jesse Doschadis had a goal and two assists for the seventh-ranked Spuds (9-1-0).
Moorhead sophomore Aaron Herdt kicked off the first outburst with a goal at 4 minutes, 16 seconds of the first. Tony Uglem followed just 13 seconds later with his first tally of the game. In the final minute of the first period, Nicholas Uglem and Cody Rahman scored just 33 seconds apart for the second such flurry of the night.
Midway through the second period, the Spuds' Tony Uglem and Doschadis scored just 20 seconds apart to push the lead to 6-0. Logan Ness capped the scoring with a power play goal with just 14 seconds left in the second period.
Nicholas Uglem, Rahman and Ness all had a goal and an assist, while Michael Bitzer earned the shutout with 15 saves. Bitzer also got in on the scoring action, as his long breakout passes led to assists on the Spuds' final two goals.
Tanner Holmes started in goal for the No. 6A Prowlers (8-3-1), but was pulled after allowing two goals on the first three shots he faced. Holmes later reentered the game in the second period and finished with nine saves on 12 shots. Jon Narverud made 17 saves on 21 shots in relief.
1. Tony Uglem and Nicholas Uglem, Moorhead
The Uglem twins just can't be separated this winter. Playing on a line together with Thomas Carey, the junior twins shone all game long, combining for three goals and two assists. Their chemistry on the ice was no more evident than on Tony's second goal of the game midway through the second period. Nick crossed the blue line on a 1-on-3 rush and paused to wait for his linemates to catch up. While the Prowlers' defenseman harrassed him, Nick ragged the puck and then threw a blind pass to Tony crusing through the slot, who turned and hammered it home.
2. Michael Bitzer, Moorhead
Bitzer was his usual solid self in goal and although he faced a limited number of shots, there were moments when he was tested. He finished with a shutout by stopping all 15 shots and even got in on the scoring action. His two long breakout passes led directly to the final two Moorhead goals, earning the senior goaltender a pair of assists.
3. Jesse Doschadis, Moorhead
Doschadis got in on the scoring act for the Spuds, setting up teammates Nicholas Uglem and Cody Rahman for goals in the final minute of the first period that put Moorhead up 4-0. For good measure he later scored a goal of his own.