Thief River Falls players and fans joyfully celebrated the team's Section 8A championship -- and return to the state tournament (Photo by Tim Kolehmainen).
If there hadn’t been school the next morning, the celebration might have gone on all night.
After breaking a decade-long submission hold by Warroad in the Section 8A final Thursday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena, Thief River Falls was in a mood to party.
Riley Soderstrom celebrates his goal 47 seconds into the first period (Photo by Tim Kolehmainen).
Thief River Falls' Matt Audette (3) got a penalty for head contact for this shot to Warroad's David Nelson (Photo by Tim Kolehmainen).
Wearing the road blacks on its own home rink, second-seeded Thief River Falls never trailed in beating top-seeded Warroad, 4-1, in the Section 8A final at Ralph Engelstad Arena Thursday night. Riley Soderstrom scored 47 seconds into the game on a rebound and the Prowlers (19-8-1) led the whole way.
David Nelson scored early in the third period to cut the Prowlers' lead to 2-1 and the Warriors (19-9-0) put on plenty of pressure in the ensuing minutes, but Jon Narverud held them at bay. The Thief River Falls junior goaltender made 18 saves on 19 shots.
Micah Rarnum netted the game-winner three minutes into the second period, a goal that gave the the Prowlers a 2-0 lead. Connor Doherty and Brady Meunier also scored for Thief River Falls.
Andy Foster made 20 saves on 23 shots for the Warriors.
1. Riley Soderstrom, Thief River Falls
Soderstrom treated the full house, pro-Prowlers' crowd to a goal just 47 seconds into the game. The junior forward corraled a rebound and fired it into the Warroad net to give Thief River Falls an early lead they did not relinquish.
2. Ryan Crosson, Thief River Falls
The senior was a playmaker all over the ice, setting up numerous scoring chances with his pinpoint passing and toughness along the boards. He netted just one assist, but could have had many more. His physical play also countered Warroad's hard-hitting.
3. Connor Doherty, Thief River Falls
Doherty was the right player in the right place at the right time. With Warroad cutting the Prowlers' lead to 2-1 and buzzing for more, Doherty found a loose puck on his stick and fired it home to regain a two-goal lead in the third. Warroad's moment was stopped and the Prowlers weren't again threatened.