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Published January 31, 2011, 10:39 PM

Rivalry On The Rink: Central-Red River Prepare for Matchup

When it comes to high school hockey rivalries in the state of North Dakota, it doesn't get much better than the Grand Forks schools Central and Red River. On Tuesday night, the two schools meet for the final time in the regular season, and the stakes couldn't be higher.

When it comes to high school hockey rivalries in the state of North Dakota, it doesn't get much better than the Grand Forks schools Central and Red River. Together they've combined for 39 state titles including the last two state crowns.

On Tuesday night, the two schools meet for the final time in the regular season, and the stakes couldn't be higher.

"There's a little hop in their feet, they know it's coming. They get nervous and excited," says Red River head coach Bill Chase.

Grand Forks Central senior defenseman Jeremy O'keefe agrees, "I noticed today in school a lot of guys are ready for practice and they were ready to go today. It's always a big one to play against Red River."

As usual it's hard to pick a favorite. Central is the defending state champion and beat the Riders 8-2 back in early January, sending Red River into a 3-game losing streak.

But the Riders have saved their season. They've won five straight, a run that has them on top of the east region standings.

Red River junior forward Casey Fugleberg explains, "We've been on a roll lately and we need to prove that we can beat a really good team like Central. I think this is a chance for us to do that." His teammate Alan Zahui says, "It's a rivalry so we want to win it, but it's definitely up there in top priority. We have three big games left to win so we can seal the number on seed."

A victory tomorrow may be even more important for the Knights, who enter tomorrow's game four points back of the first-place Roughriders.

"This game could really change our season for the best or not. It's definitely in our hands and I think we're a good team. It's just what we need to do with it," says O'Keefe. Central head coach Tony Bina says it will be a challenge, "they're playing very well and we have to go out there and win some battles. If we don't do that we're going to get walked off the ice. So, we have to be ready to go."

Tuesday night's game is a 7:30 p.m. puck drop from Purpur Arena.

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