Bismarck Demons hockey defense wins championships

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Mike Peluso was an offensive minded hockey player. It served him well as he made it all of the way to the National Hockey League. That’s not the way Mike coaches the game.

His Bismarck Demons added the West Region title to their regular season championship, but with a “treasure trove” of X’s and O’s available to him, Peluso says defense first, is always the way to go.

“It's just the way you have to play the game anymore. I think back when I was playing our best defense was our offense and unfortunately we lost the state title game 8-7 and maybe if we would have played more "D" we might have won that game but I just think from all the past experience I've had, the teams that are successful and I've been a part of a lot of championship bunches through my playing career and coaching career, it's defense first and it seems like if you get guys to buy into that and work extremely hard and work in your own end you'll have success."

The Demons will not change that approach when the state tournament begins on Thursday in Fargo.

Bismarck will lead off the second session at Scheels arena as it’s a 6:00 CT start against Devils Lake. Century is the no. 3 seed from the WDA and the Patriots play Red River Thursday night. Dickinson opens the event against the heavy favorite, Grand Forks Central at 12:00 CT.

The girls state tournament is seeded based on regular season record. The Blizzard are no. 1 and they open against Williston. Mandan takes on Fargo North-South in the third game of the opening round.