Flashback of Northstars 1st trip to state
By Jarann Johnson
The Northstars hockey program is always fighting an uphill battle at the start of every season. The Northstars play hockey against all of the large Class A schools like Bismarck, Century, and Minot.
Every now and then the Northstars beat the odds and make it to the state tournament. Here is the story of how the Northstars made it to their first state hockey tournament in 2001.
The Northstars advanced to the West Region tournament with a very strong seed. Unlike recent years where the Northstars crept into the West Region tournament by winning a play-in game, these Northstars made it with the No. 3 seed.
The only problem for the Northstars was their first-round opponent. The Northstars first opponent at the region tournament was the Williston Coyotes, a team the Northstars had split with during the regular season.
The rivalry with the Williston Coyotes goes back much further than the recent battles the two teams have had in the play-in and West Region regular season games. The postseason rivalry game went back and forth like most Williston-Northstars battles.
Williston scored first on Northstars’ sophomore keeper Nate Speidel. Speidel and the Northstars quickly answered back, real quick in fact.
The Northstars’ goal tied the game 60 seconds later 1-1. The goal was scored by Mark Tupa and Ryan Wolf was credited with an assist.
After one period the game was tied 1-1. Williston scored first in the second to take a 2-1 lead but they didn’t have an answer to slow down the Tupa-Wolf connection.
Tupa scored two more goals to record a hat trick in the game. Tupa’s first goal of the second period tied the game 2-2, and his second goal of the period gave the Northstars a 4-2 lead.