Boys Hockey: Fergus Falls gets back at Warriors

Brainerd hosts Fergus Falls Jan. 27

Hockey player hits the puck.
Brainerd's Wyatt Glas hits the puck against Fergus Falls on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, at Essentia Health Sports Center in Brainerd.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — For the second night in a row, the Brainerd Warriors and Fergus Falls Otters faced off against each other Friday, Jan. 27.

The Warriors won Thursday night 5-2 in Fergus Falls. Friday night however, the Otters got their revenge at the Essentia Health Sports Center with a 3-2 win.

“Every game you are supposed to treat like business,” Warriors head coach Howie Borden said. “It doesn’t matter who you are playing or when you are playing them. We told our guys last night to have a short memory. Enjoy the victory and get in the mindset for tonight.”

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All the goals scored by Fergus Falls came in the first six minutes of the second period.

The Warriors made it 3-2 with 6:05 left on a goal by Ryan Kennedy. However, Fergus Falls goalie Ben Swanson stopped 41 shots including many with the extra attacker to seal the victory for the Otters.


“We ran into a hot goalie tonight,” Borden said.

After a scoreless first period, the Otters scored twice in the first minute of the second period.

Brayden Nelson scored 35 seconds into the second period on an assist from Shane Zierden. The goal happened due to a turnover by the Warriors.

A Brainerd player skates away with the puck. Other players in the background in front of the net.
Brainerd's Ryan Kennedy skates away with the puck against Fergus Falls on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, at Essentia Health Sports Center in Brainerd.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Twenty-five seconds later, Jack Welde scored and Brainerd found itself down 2-0 a minute into the second period.

When the Warriors committed the first penalty of the game, Fergus Falls took advantage to make it 3-0 on a power-play goal by Leighton Buckmeier at the 6:05 mark of the second.

“It came back to our Achilles’ heel right now and that’s the second period,” Borden said. “We came out very flat in that second period and it cost us the game tonight.”

The Warriors took a little momentum into the second intermission when John Finnegan put away a breakaway goal with 1:23 left. The goal was assisted by Brady Johnson and Chad King.

“The whole second period I didn’t think we played great at all,” Borden said. “It’s not just one person. It was nice to pump one in with a couple of minutes left to shift the momentum back.”


The Warriors fall to 6-10-2 and 3-4 in the conference. The Warriors host Sartell Tuesday, Jan. 31.

“Down the stretch, we have some big section games left like Sartell and Bemidji,” Borden said. “Those are two must-wins for us and that is going to dictate where we end up in the section seedings come playoffs.”

Fergus Falls 0 3 0 — 3

Brainerd 0 1 1 — 2

Second period: FF-Brayden Nelson (Shane Zierden) 0:35, FF-Jack Welde 1:00, FF-Leighton Buckmeier (Colin Becker, Kellen Stenstrom) PPG 6:05, Brd-John Finnegan (Brady Johnson, Chad King) 15:37

Third period: Brd-Ryan Kennedy (Finnegan, Johnson) 10:55

Shots on goal: Brd 13-13-17 43, FF 5-12-7 24

Goalies: Brd-Ryan Gerlich (21 saves); FF-Ben Swanson (41 saves)

Fergus Falls 3, Warriors 2

Key: Otters score three goals in the first six minutes of the second period to take a commanding 3-0 lead.

Conference: Brd 3-4, FF 3-5.

Overall: Brd 6-10-2, FF 9-7-1.

Next: Brainerd hosts Sartell 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31.

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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