Posted 3/10/15 (Tue)
By Neal A. Shipman
Watford City’s Junior Gold hockey team’s season came to an end this past weekend with a second place finish at the North Dakota State Junior Gold Hockey Tournament in Mayville.
The Oilers, who went into the tournament at the No. 2 seed, fell to the Crosby Comets, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, 6-2, in the championship game.
The Oilers opened their tournament action defeating the Richland Rangers, 5-3.
The Oilers trailed after the first period, 1-0, and had numerous scoring chances only to be denied by strong goaltending.
At 3:26 in the second period, Ted Ramage was hauled down from behind on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. Ramage skated in, faked to his forehand, pulled it to the backhand and slid it through the legs of the Ranger netminder to even the score at 1-1. Ramage would strike again just 2:02 later taking a feed from Cody Johnson and Tyler Uhlich. Ramage used his speed to get around the Rangers defense scoring on a backhand shot.
The Oilers would stretch the lead to 3-1 when Ramage completed his natural hat trick (three goals in the same period) at 13:52, connecting on a beautiful feed from Dalton Wright and Derrike Hayden.
The Rangers responded less than a minute later to close the gap, 3-2, before Wright would give the Oilers a two-goal cushion with 56 seconds remaining in the period, as he hammered home a rebound off the stick of Hayden.
Jon Dunn gave the Oilers a three-goal lead 1:55 into the third period, with Ramage and Eric Leiseth adding assists on the play.
The Rangers closed out the scoring at 6:49 on a shorthanded effort.
Quayde Shores kicked aside 27 Ranger shots, while the Oilers threw 41 pucks at the Ranger net.
In the semifinals, the Oilers matched up against the Fargo Freeze in what was a highly-contested game.
Fargo opened the scoring just 1:21 into the game on a power play, beating Shores on a rebound. Dunn would answer back for the Oilers at 5:49 on a power play goal. Ramage set Dunn up and he ripped a shot on the ice beating the Freeze goalie through the 5-hole.
In the second period, Fargo beat Shores twice before the Oilers would answer back.
With a faceoff deep in Fargo territory, Ramage pulled the draw back and Dunn blistered a snapshot over the shoulder of the Freeze goalie to close the gap, 3-2. Ramage scored his first of three goals to tie the game, converting a Hayden feed.
And then just 2:23 into the third period, Ramage picked up a loose puck and went in all alone beating the Freeze goalie on his patented move for an unassisted goal.
Dunn would give the Oilers a little breathing room as he scored his hat trick, unassisted goal, to put the Oilers up 5-3 just 4:18 into the final period.
Fargo would cut the lead to one goal when a shot from the point beat Shores midway through the period.
Ramage scored his hat trick goal at 12:22 of the third period as he converted a feed from Beau Heiser to put the Oilers up by two goals with seven minutes remaining.
Dunn closed out the scoring at the 17:25 mark whipping a shot over the glove of the Freeze goalie with Derrike Hayden adding the assist.
Quayde Shores was spectacular in goal, kicking aside 38 Fargo shots.
In the championship game, the Oilers fell to the Crosby Comets, 6-2.
Crosby would score first at the 7:39 mark, knocking the puck past Shores. The Oilers would answer at the 14:30 mark of the first period as Ramage flipped the puck past the Comet goalie with Dunn and Eric Leiseth adding assists on the Oiler goal.
In a fast-paced second period, both teams had scoring chances, but were denied by the All-State goalies.
The Oilers would score the period’s only goal at 18:55, with Ramage knocking in a rebound off a Dunn scoring attempt to take a 2-1 lead into the final period.
The third period started off with good scoring chances for both teams, before Crosby would knot the score at 2-2 at the 7:43 mark, beating Shores from a shot just inside the blue line.
Crosby scored the eventual game-winner at 9:52 on a power play goal. The flood gates then opened as Crosby would score three more times before the final buzzer.
Shores turned aside 49 Crosby shots.
The Oilers closed out the season with a 22-4-1 record.
The annual State Tournament Hockey Banquet was held Friday evening after the last semifinal game. During the banquet, the league’s All-State Team was announced along with the Coach of the Year. These are all chosen by the coaches in the league. The Oilers had seven players named to the All-State Team. Players named to the All-State Second Team were Daniel Marmon and Dalton Wright, forwards; Derrike Hayden, defense and Quayde Shores, goalie. Named to the All-State First Team was Ted Ramage and Jon Dunn, forwards and Beau Heiser, defense.
Coach Dave Hansen was awarded the Coach of the Year.
The players named to the All-State Team are eligible to travel to Pittsburgh, Pa., in April for the America’s Showcase, as will Hansen as the assistant coach. Last year’s Coach of the Year, Jason Schmierer from Sidney, will be the head coach.