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Defending Champs Fall in Double OT Heartbreaker
Fargo -- In a roller coaster of a season for the defending NCAA hockey champions, the ride came to screeching halt for the University of North Dakota Friday afternoon at Scheels Arena. Boston University sophomore defenseman Charlie McAvoy took a backdoor pass from BU's leading scorer, freshman Clayton Keller, to score the winner in a 4-3 double overtime victory for the Terriers in the semifinals of the NCAA West Regional. The defeat was heartbreaking for the Fighting Hawks in many regards. They had an apparent winning goal by freshman Dixon Bowen disallowed at 3:48 of the first OT. And they won't advance to the Frozen Four with a chance to defend their title. After a lengthy review, offcials ruled that UND frosh forward Ludvig Hoff was "in the offensive zone prior to the puck crossing the blue line,'' according to the statement from an NCAA official. In addition, UND outshot BU 59-29, won the faceoff battle 62-42, attempted 143 shots to 67 for the Terriers and hit two goal posts. BU blocked an amazing 51 UND shots, including 17 by defenseman Brandon Hickey. The 59 shots is 13 more than UND has had in any game this season.  FULL STORY

RedHawks Re-Sign Almarante, Carter, & Solomon

Fargo -- The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks have re-signed a trio of players from the 2016 team to contracts for the upcoming season: RHP Jose Almarante, CF Kes Carter and LHP Will Solomon. The RedHawks now have 14 players under contract for the 2017 season. Almarante, 28, was 4-2 with a 2.74 ERA and one save for the RedHawks in 2016. He appeared in 25 games (15 starts) and allowed 45 runs (35 earned) on 99 hits. Almarante struck out 86 batters and walked 36. He finished third in the American Association in ERA. Almarante pitched this winter with the Toros de Sincelejo of the Colombian Winter League, where he was 2-4 with a 3.30 ERA in 62.2 innings pitched. He began his professional career in 2008 after signing out of the Dominican Republic with the St. Louis Cardinals, and reached the Triple-A level in 2013 and 2014. Carter, 26, batted .280 with 23 doubles, three triple, 16 home runs, 57 RBIs and 50 runs scored for the RedHawks in 2016, his first year with the club. Carter finished fifth in the American Association in extra-base hits, while his 247 putouts and 255 total chances ranked second among all league outfielders. Carter was selected in the first round (56th overall) of the 2011 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. He spent five seasons in the Rays organization, and advanced to the Double-A level in the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Carter played college baseball at Western Kentucky University.  FULL STORY

Second-Period Burst
Lifts Bobcats Over Wilderness

Bismarck -- In major need of points in the standings in the final five games of the 2016-17 regular season, the Bismarck Bobcats rode a three-goal rush in the second period to a 4-1 victory Saturday over the Minnesota Wilderness at Northwoods Credit Union Arena to close ground in the tightening Central Division playoff chase. Though the Bobcats had a handful of good opportunities to get on the board in the first, neither team was able to break the scoreless deadlock in the opening 20 minutes. Moments after an unsuccessful power play expired, the Bobcats tallied the game’s opening goal 2:28 into the second in transition when former Wilderness forward Mitch Walinski sped into the right-wing circle and ripped a sharp-angle wrister over the glove of Minnesota netminder Trevor Micucci for a 1-0 score. Tristan Ashbrook extended the Cats’ lead to 2-0 with 10:51 on the clock in the same period, pouncing on a Zach Kennedy rebound for his 12th goal of the season. Minnesota attempted to start a rally in the second, but were rebuked at every turn by the glove of Bobcat goalie Severi Isokangas. Before the frame could end, Ashbrook buried another Kennedy rebound at the 1:23 mark to stretch the Cats’ advantage to 3-0 heading into the second intermission.  FULL STORY

Strong Starts by Johnson, Saad Not Enough as Mavericks Sweep Marauders
Bismarck - Despite a pair of strong starting efforts by junior righthanded pitchers Jake Johnson and Isaac Saad, the University of Mary baseball team was swept by Minnesota State University. The preseason Northern Sun favorite, the Mavericks swept the Marauders 4-3 and 6-3 to claim all four games in the conference opening series for both teams. The opener proved to be the most heartbreaking loss. After rallying to tie the game in their last at bat, the Marauders saw the game slip away when an error brought home the game-ending run in a 4-3 win for the Mavericks. In a series moved to Minnetonka, MN, due to the field conditions at the Minnesota State field, the Mavericks opened the scoring with a 2-out  3-run home run in the third inning by Dylan Dresel. In an inning extended by error, all three runs were unearned. The Marauders began to rally with a pair of runs in the sixth inning. A two-out double by Drew Feuerbach scored Connor Doll with the first run. Feuerbach scored next on a Mavericks fielding error. Needing one more run to continue the game, freshman Jaxon Ford led off the seventh inning with a walk. Sacrificed to second, Ford managed third on the throw. A base hit to left by Seth Meide scored Ford to knot the game 3-3. FULL STORY

Blue Hawks Drop Double Header to Eagles
Dickinson -- The Dickinson State University Baseball team dropped a double-header against NCAA D2 University of Minnesota- Crookston on Saturday in U.S. Bank Stadium. The Blue Hawks scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a two run lead in the game but the Eagles answered with one run in the fifth, four runs in the sixth and two runs in the seventh to win 7-2. Ryan Absher took the loss in relief allowing four runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 1 inning. Sean Getchell started the game allowing one run on seven hits with four walks and six strikeouts in 5 innings. Karson Hanosky tossed the seventh inning allowing two runs on one hit with two walks and a strikeout. Trevor Oldham led the Blue Hawks with two hits and two RBI's while Dylan Skabo also added two hits. Sagan Osborne and Jacob Cuch each recorded a hit in the loss.  FULL STORY

By Jeff Baranick
Beulah -- As we near the end of March, we can now close the book on the North Dakota prep winter sports season with the announcement of the All-State squads for Classes A & B boys' & girls' hoops. Beginning with the Class A boys, the athletes accorded 1st-team recogition were all seniors and Mr. Basketball finalists for North Dakota: Aanen Moody of Dickinson; KyJuan Johnson of state-champion Minot; Siman Sem from Fargo North; Jake Paper from Fargo Davies; and Devils Lake's Jacob Mertens. Among the 2nd-team choices were Justin Engg of Minot; Jordan Meidinger of Dickinson; Mandan's Trae Steckler; West Fargo's Joe Pistorius; and Matt Veit from Fargo Davies. It should be noted that Moody--UND-bound for men's basketball next year and named last weekend as North Dakota's Mr. Basketball--was also bestowed the distinction of North Dakota's Gatorade Player of the Year for 2016-17. In the Class A girls' division, Tylee Irwin of Wahpeton was a repeat selection for the All-State 1st team; and similarly to Moody, was named both ND's Miss Basketball and the state's Gatorade Player of the Year. Irwin has signed on to play college basketball next year at South Dakota State University. Joining Irwin for All-State 1st-team membership were West Fargo's Akealy Moton; Century's Regan Dennis; Lexi Robson of Grand Forks Red River; and Megan Zander from Mandan. Among the five-person 2nd-team were  Mercedes Baumgartner of state-champion Legacy, Century's Lauren Ware, and Bismarck's Coral Gillette. Turning to the Class B honor teams, the boys' 1st-squad members included Tronis McKay from Four Winds-Minnewauken; Logan Nelson from Northern Cass; Ethan Brown of Finley-Sharon-Hope-Page; Parshall's Deyondre Simpson; and Dickinson Trinity's Shawn Stoltz. Among the 10 athletes comprising the boys' 2nd team were Kyle Henningshard of state-champion Hillsboro-Central Valley; Steve Redfox from Four Winds-Minnewauken; Stanley's Wyatt Hanson; and Isiah Kludt from Hettinger-Scranton. On the spring track-&-field front, on the eve of outdoor competition commencing, North Dakota's State Indoor Meets for Class A & Class B athletes were hosted this past weekend in Fargo. In the A division for boys, Bismarck Century claimed the team title with 99 points. Rounding out the top-five squads in the team standings were Bismarck Legacy, Bismarck, Minot, and Grand Forks Red River. Among the individual standouts were Brandon Lewis and Beau Brannan of Legacy, Hunter Lucas of Fargo Davies, Mike Herauf of Dickinson, and Lucas Mayer from Century. Lewis won both the 60-meter dash (7.05) and long jump (22'3") and nabbed a 2nd-place finish in the triple jump (44'9.75"). Brannan outpaced all competitors in the 800, clocking 1:59.64. Meanwhile, Lucas was also a double-winner, sweeping the mile and 2-mile runs in respective times of 4:29.92 and 9:45.78. Herauf soared 15' even to capture the pole vault and Mayer cleared 6'4" to win the high jump. On the girls' side of the ledger, Fargo Davies crushed the field to win the team title with 144 points. Garnering places 2-4 were Grand Forks Red River, Bismarck, and Century, with Minot, Legacy, and West Fargo tied for 5th place. In terms of individual performances, Fargo Davies' sprinter Rose Gaye was outstanding in winning both the 60- & 200-meter dashes in spectacular early-season times of 7.86 & 25.91 seconds, respectively. Two other double-winners were Grand Forks Central's Karly Ackley in the mile and 2-mile and Bismarck's Blythe Ehrmantraut in the high jump and long jump. Ackley's clockings were 5:03.15 and 10:56.40, respectively, while Ehrmantraut cleared 5'3" in high jump and leaped 17'5.25" in the long jump. Additionally, Akealy Moton of West Fargo dominated the competition in the shotput, heaving the sphere 50'3' to defeat her closest competitor by more than 11 feet. Switching now to the Class B State Indoor Meet that occurred on Saturday, there were no team results reported, but there were numerous individual performances documented. In the boys' competition, Mark Medalen of Des Lacs-Burlington won the 200 & 400 dashes in impressive times of 23.52 & 51.97 seconds, respectively. Similarly, New Town's Ryan Wheeling was a dual winner, but in the distance races. Wheeling registered superb times in the 1-mile & 2-mile runs--respectively, 4:22.69 & 9:42.44. On the girls' side of the ledger, Peyton Frolek of Wyndmere won two events. She beat all rivals in the 400, clocking 1:02.21, and also outpaced the field in the mile, recording a time of 5:17.25.

Filed by Veteran KDKT Sportscaster Jeff Baranick

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