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Blue Ox 2023: Championship Sunday

By YHH Staff, 11/12/23, 1:15PM CST


Champions crowned in Moorhead as the Battle for the Blue Ox comes to a close.

Bantam AA Championship

Moorhead, 2023 Battle for the Blue Ox Bantam AA champions.

It was over. 

And then it wasn’t. 

And then it was. 

And then all was perfect in Moorhead. 

The Spuds held a 4-1 lead over Stillwater after two periods of Sunday’s Battle for the Blue Ox Bantam AA championship game, in total control and seemingly headed for an easy win over the fast but snakebitten Ponies. Goals from Drew Kortan, Wyatt Cullen, and Max Cullen spotted the Spuds their lead, with the lone Stillwater goal scored by Lane Powers.

However, with 1:13 to play in regulation, the Ponies found their legs, getting goals from Jonah Johnston, Luca Jarvis, and Lane Powers to force a miraculous overtime session. With nothing decided in the first overtime, the game headed to a fifth period, where Pascha Goryachev blasted a shot past Stillwater’s Leyton Rinehart for the game-winner. 

The win is Moorhead’s third consecutive Blue Ox championship trophy, made all the more impressive by the fact that several high contributors from last year’s team have departed for the high school ranks. 

The Bushy Rink at the Cullen Hockey Center explodes as Moorhead's Pascha Goryachev's (8) shot in double-overtime hits the net to give the Spuds their third consecutive Blue Ox title.

2023 Battle for the Blue Ox Bantam AA All-Tournament Team

Player Team Position
Hudson Ferrie Moorhead Goaltender
Tate Batchelor Stillwater Defense
Finn Paulsen Moorhead Defense
Wyatt Cullen (MVP) Moorhead Forward
Pascha Goryachev Moorhead Forward
Lane Powers Stillwater Forward

Blue Bracket Championship

Fargo - 2023 Blue Bracket Champions

Alex Gold had a goal and an assist in Fargo's Blue Bracket championship win Sunday

White Bracket Championship

Sartell - 2023 White Bracket Champions

Lane Larson had three goals and an assist for Sartell in their White Bracket championship win over Andover

Bantam AA Sunday Scores

Bantam AA Final Scoring Leaders

Bantam A Championship

Osseo-Maple Grove, 2023 Battle for the Blue Ox Bantam A champions.

Moorhead's perceived home-ice advantage was mitigated by the machine-like efficiency of Osseo-Maple Grove on Sunday afternoon, as the Leafbirds scored once in the first period and three more times in the third for a 4-1 victory in the Battle of the Blue Ox's Bantam A championship. 

Finn Starkey scored the first of his two goals in the opening period, giving OMG a 1-0 advantage that carried over into the third frame after a scoreless second. Most Valuable Player pick Sam Jacobson extended the Leafbird to 2-0 with 7:59 to play, and Jacobson's goal was followed by scores from Kaden Farner and Starkey's second tally. 

Moorhead's Connor Halsa scored with 34 seconds remaining to spoil an otherwise impressive goaltending performance by OMG's Mark Stienessen.

Osseo-Maple Grove's Sam Jacobson (middle) was named Most Valuable Player after Sunday's championship game.

2023 Battle for the Blue Ox Bantam A All-Tournament Team

Player Team Position
Mark Stienessen Osseo-Maple Grove Goaltender
Jacob Hamel Osseo-Maple Grove Defense
Grady Huotari Moorhead Defense
Conner Copeland Moorhead Forward
Sam Jacobson (MVP) Osseo-Maple Grove Forward
Finn Starkey Osseo-Maple Grove Forward

Bantam A Sunday Scores

Bantam A Final Standings

Bantam A Final Scoring Leaders

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