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Firebirds beat Braves 7-3

By Staff | Nov 22, 2013

Bottineau-Rugby senior forward Nigel Hageness battles with Devils Lake freshman Ryyan Reule on Tuesday at Bottineau Community Arena.

The Bottineau-Rugby hockey team scored three second-period goals in Tuesday’s season opener, but struggled in special teams and fell 7-3 to visiting Devils Lake.

The Firebirds jumped on top with two first period goals before the Braves answered with senior Harrison Aide’s goal 17 seconds into the second period. Aide assisted on the next two goals from linemates Luke Amsbaugh and Cody Bedlion.

Bottineau-Rugby coach David Hoff was pleased with the way his team responded at times, but was disappointed to see Devils Lake score three shorthanded goals.

“We coughed a couple of pucks up,” Hoff said. “It’s kind of a 1-3-1 (formation), is what we call it where we only have one guy high, and you’re gonna get hung up with some odd-number situations if you cough the puck up in the offensive zone.”

The Braves briefly had a 3-3 tie before Cole Thompson of Devils Lake scored the go-ahead goal with 6 minutes, 13 seconds remaining in the second period. It was Thompson’s second consecutive goal and tied him for a match high with teammate Matthew Boren, who scored the only two goals of the third period.

Bottineau-Rugby junior Noah Grant and senior Nigel Hageness (17) bear down on Devils Lake junior Landen Hall in front of Braves goaltender Riley Monson on Tuesday at Bottineau Community Arena. The Firebirds won the season opener 7-3.

“We’ve got to defend harder and that takes time, but if we can do a better job there I think we can score some goals,” Hoff said. “We just gotta work on better defense.”

Aide, the state’s reigning points leader, scored his first goal of the season on a nifty fake and wrap-around-the-net move. The senior followed the goal with an assist to Amsbaugh on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Aide was tripped, but managed to make the pass while falling. Amsbaugh faked a shot before flipping the puck past goaltender Wyatt Ness.

“We transitioned fast into offense from the turnovers, then we went straight up ice to the offensive side,” Aide said. “I thought we were pretty explosive sometimes and then we disappeared. I thought we had many chances, but they have a good goalie and he stood in there pretty good.”

Ness finished with 27 saves and Rugby-Bottineau junior Riley Monson made 30 stops.

The Braves host Dickinson on Nov. 30 at 3 p.m. in a West Region opener.

“I think that’s good to have a week and a half to maybe fix some things that weren’t quite so good here the first outing,” Hoff said, “and then we get to test it against a team that’s maybe a top-four team in the West Region.”

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