An unfamiliar look accompanied the familiar offensive prowess of the Bottineau-Rugby boys hockey team on Senior Night at Al Wentz Arena in Rugby on Jan. 31.
The Braves donned the black and orange of RHS for the first time as the co-op program will wear the new uniforms at all future home games played in Rugby.
Any jersey would have looked good on the Braves as they beat Mandan for the second time in a week. Senior forward Harrison Aide had four goals and three assists as B-R blasted Mandan 9-2.
Rugby High School senior Nigel Hageness proudly wore the Panthers’ orange and black for the first time on the ice. Bottineau-Rugby debuted the home jerseys for games in Rugby on Senior Night on Jan. 31.
"We were fortunate to get behind their 'D' a few times there and we made 'em pay for it," B-R coach David Hoff said.
The new jerseys were imminent as Rugby's involvement with the program continued to grow.
"In my mind, it was something that kind of evolved," Hoff said. "As much as the co-op has come together we still are two high schools and there should be a little bit of pride. Rugby High School has gotten more and more involved, they pay some of the costs. We get a nice crowd here and I just thought it was something we needed to do and I give the credit to Sandy Hageness, (Mike) McNeff and (Scott) Grochow. They stepped up and said that's something we can do here."
The jerseys served as a fitting final piece of gratitude to the three Rugby seniors on the team: Nigel Hageness, Nick Schaan and Levi Pfeifer.
"It was pretty nice because we've been wearing purple ever since we started in '08 and it's kind of a nice new legacy," Nigel Hageness said. "Honestly, it's unreal because I've never once heard anybody complain about being on each other's team. We're a family and I think the Bottineau kids are just as excited, if not more, to have the jerseys than we were."
Hageness had an assist on the fourth goal of the game.
"Nigel Hageness has put on our jersey for a lot of years and never complained," Hoff said. "It's time to go the other way now."
Said Schaan: We all were pretty in awe. (The jerseys) are pretty sweet. We thought they were awesome, so it was pretty cool."
BR freshman Casey Tooke scored the game's first goal on assists from senior Cody Bedlion and sophomore Austyn Lorenz six minutes in.
Junior Noah Grant patiently trailed the speedy Harrison Aide, who blew by the Mandan defense to set up the Braves' second goal. Mandan freshman goalie Sawyer Schmidt was unable to hold onto Aide's attempt and Grant buried the rebound eight minutes in.
B-R junior Luke Amsbaugh scored twice and led the team with five assists.
The Braves (12-5-1 overall, 9-3-1 West Region) are in fourth place in the region and played second-place Minot on Thursday and third-place Century on Friday. The regular season ends today for B-R at Jamestown.
Aide is running away with the state scoring title for the second straight season. He has 79 points (45 g, 34 a) and Amsbaugh is second with 71 (40 g, 31 a). Minot's Quinn Fuchs has 56 (20 g, 36 a).