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Bismarck Century will play in ND boys state title game for first time

Bismarck Century goalie Cooper Leininger keeps his eye on the puck against Fargo Davies in Friday's semifinal game of the ND High School Hockey tournament at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 5
Fargo Davies' goalie Jared Winter looks back as Bismarck Century's Isaiah Thomas, Nicholas Brown and Kirklan Irey celebrate a goal in Friday's semifinal game of the ND High School Hockey tournament at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 5
Bismarck Century goalie Cooper Leininger kicks out a save in Friday's semifinal game of the ND High School Hockey tournament at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald3 / 5
Fargo Davies' Austin Schmidt reaches for a loose puck Bismarck Century's Drew Stoddart defends in Friday's semifinal game of the ND High School Hockey tournament at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Davies' Tristan Dauner and Century's Gavyn Sailer look on. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald4 / 5
Bismarck Century's Isaiah Thomas scores a short-handed goal in the second period against Fargo Davies' goalie Jared Winter in Friday's semifinal game of the ND High School Hockey tournament at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald5 / 5

GRAND FORKS—Bismarck Century boys hockey coach Troy Olson has been an assistant or head coach of the Patriots since 1994.

He's taken Century to the North Dakota state tournament 20 times.

This time, he's finally reached the main event.

The Patriots will play in the state championship for the first time in school history thanks to a 6-2 win over Fargo Davies on Friday night, Feb. 23, in the semifinals at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

"It's an unreal feeling," Century forward Isaiah Thomas said. "We knew we've had a chance to do something special from the start of the year. That's driving us to play our best hockey. Fortunately for us, we're playing some of our best hockey right now."

Century will play the winner of Grand Forks Red River and Grand Forks Central in the title game at approximately 7:15 p.m.

"It's good for the boys and hopefully we can get after it again tomorrow," Olson said.

The Patriots (22-4-0) only had nine shots on goal through two periods, but Century made the most of its chances. Century had five goals on those nine shots.

Five different Patriot skaters scored. Thomas was the only one to score twice, capped by an empty-net goal on a penalty kill, which made it 6-2 with 4:34 remaining.

Nicholas Brown, Colton Schulte, Kirklan Irey and Paydin Slette also scored for the Patriots, who had to play without top defender Carter Bailey, who was injured in the quarterfinals.

Davies (20-4-2) was led by two goals from sophomore Cade Stibbe.

"Century came out on fire, so hats off to them," Davies coach Scott Petersen said. "We struggled and Century did a great job challenging us and capitalizing on mistakes. That's what tournament hockey is all about."

Davies outshot Century 29-22. Eagles goalie Jared Winter finished with 16 saves, including 10 in the third period. Century's Cooper Leininger made 27 saves.

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department since 2004. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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