The old sports saying states that it's tough to beat a team three times in one season.
But that's exactly what the Minot High School boys hockey team did Thursday at All Seasons Arena, defeating Dickinson 4-0 in the first round of the West Region tournament for the Magicians' third win against the Midgets in as many tries this season.
Had it not been for a valiant effort by Dickinson goaltender Jamison Gray, the Magicians could have made it a much more lopsided victory. Gray finished with 41 saves as the Midgets were outshot 45-9.
"We just didn't finish," MHS coach Chad Burckhard said. "We hit somes posts. I thought we worked extremely hard. It's hard to complain when you outshoot a team 45-9. Obviously we did some things right, but going forward in the tournament we have to find some ways to put the puck in the back of the net."
Minot sophomore forward Matt Flom opened the scoring at two minutes, 31 seconds of the first period, beating Gray with a wrist shot from the slot. Junior defenseman Hayden Schwarz was credited with the assist.
"We had three goals going into the game," Flom said. "Three or less penalties, 45 shots and less than 15 for them and we accomplished all three. So overall it was good."
Junior forward Quinn Fuchs extended the Magicians' lead late in the first period by deflecting junior defenseman Trevor Werchau's shot from the blue line. Fuchs positioned himself in front of Gray and got his stick on the puck on its way toward the net.
The Magicians two goals in the opening frame matched Dickinson's shots on goal total during the same stretch.
"We out-played them, we just had some trouble burying the puck," Fuchs said. "In the third period it got better. We need to be better tomorrow."
Stymied for more than 30 minutes, the Magicians were finally able to push across a pair of insurance goals late in the third period. Senior
forward Tyler Kast scored on a rebound attempt after senior forward Jake Smith's shot rang off the crossbar. Junior forward Carter Bechtold scored 39 seconds later with a wrist shot that deflected off the inside of the crossbar on Gray's glove side.
Despite Dickinson's anemic shots-on-goal statistic, the Midgets had a few quality scoring opportunities. But shots either went wide of Minot sophomore goaltender Breydan Effertz or were knocked down in front of the net by a Magicians skater. A couple shots on net were the result of clears from the opposite end of the ice while on the penalty kill.
"In the offensive zone, we worked extremely hard and wore (Dickinson) down," Burckhard said. "They didn't have much gas going into the neutral zone. I think they lost their legs and when you don't have your legs it's hard to generate offense."
Minot plays defending tournament champion Bismarck High today at 7:30 p.m. A win against the Demons would assure the Magicians their third consecutive state appearance and 30th overall. Dickinson plays Mandan today at 1:30 p.m.