The Fergus Falls Bantam A, sponsored by the VFW, beat the odds and traveled to the regional tournament. After beating the odds and steamrolling over the district tournament the Otters were excited to show the top teams in the region that they deserved to be there.
The team faced Eveleth-Gilbert (EG) on Friday afternoon. Early in the game EG showed they were not going to go down without a fight. They were able to slide one past the Otter goalie to be the first one on the board. The Otters continued to fight with Brayden Nelson finding the back of the net with an assist from Shane Zierden. EG came right back to keep their one-goal lead. Again Nelson and Zierden teamed up to keep the Otters in the game. At the end of the first period the score was 2-2. Seconds into the second period EG was able to again take the lead. The Otters reminded EG that they were a force that should not be taken lightly. Dakota Komestakes scored a power-play goal with the assist from Griffin Babolian. The Otter defense was able to keep EG at three for the remainder of the game. The Otters continued the energy and were able to secure the win with three more goals. The goals were scored by Jack Welde — unassisted, Nelson to secure the hat trick assisted by Gavin Goepferd, and Leighton Buckmeier assisted by Nelson. Knowing they needed to be on their A game the next day, after the game the Otters took some time to bond as a team and enjoy the nice weather. Timothy Nanson proved to be a brick wall with 24 saves.
The Otters came back ready to fight their way to state. Unfortunately, they were up to face one of the top teams in the state, East Grand Forks (EGF). EGF did not disappoint, they gave the Otters a tough fight. At the end of the first period the Otters were down 1-0. The Otter defense was on their game and able to keep EGF to only one more goal in the second period. At the end of the second period the Otters were down 2-0. Continuing their fight, the Otters were able to secure a goal in the third. Scored by Babolian, assisted by Komestakes. The Otters pulled their goalie in hopes to secure the tie and send the game to overtime. Unfortunately, the Otters ran out of time and the game ended with a score of 2-1. Goaltender Nanson had 41 saves.
The Otters were set to face their all-time district rival the Alexandria Cardinals later in the evening. The Otters knew this was going to be a tough game. After defeating the seeded No. 1 team in the district tournament, the Otters knew this was going to be a tough game. In the first five minutes, Welde was able to score a power-play goal to end the period in the Otters’ favor 1-0. Coming back in the second period the Cardinals quickly tied the game. The cardinals continued to beat on the Otters and at the end of the second period the Otters were down 4-1. Coming back in the third, the Cardinals secured two more goals to the Otters’ one goal which was again scored by Welde on the power play. The game ended with the Otters defeated 6-2. Otter goalie Nanson had 36 saves in the game.
The Otters completed their season at the regional tournament. The team would like to thank the VFW for their sponsorship and continued support along with coaches, Jerid Adamson and Aaron Goepferd. The Otter team consists of Davis Shol, Brayden Nelson, Riley McGovern, Shane Zierden, Leighton Buckmeier, Michael Schmidt, Adam Kennedy, Gavin Goepferd, Luke Norgard, Griffin Babolian, Jack Welde, Dakota Komestakes, Sam Dirkman and goalie Timothy Nanson.