Waiting was the theme of the day for the Minot High School boys hockey team, and it began prior to the start of the Magicians' game against Bismarck High.
The Magicians had to wait an extra 20 minutes before the opening faceoff after Bismarck Century needed double-overtime to get past Jamestown.
It was worth the wait as Minot defeated the Demons 4-1 on Friday in the West Region tournament semifinals at All Seasons Arena. The win assures the Magicians their third consecutive - and region-record 30th - state tournament appearance.
MHS sophomore forward Carter Bechtold fights off a check from Bismarck’s Ryan Gustafson during a West Region tournament game on Friday at All Seasons Arena.
"We'd have waited until midnight to play this game," MHS coach Chad Burckhard said. "It didn't matter. These are the games that when your playing career's over, they're the games you remember and cherish for the rest of your life. Anytime you play Bismarck High it's a fun atmosphere."
Minot sophomore goaltender Breydan Effertz shattered the previous tournament record for most shutout minutes with 99. The old record - held by former Bismarck goaltender Layne Sedevie - was 76 in 1999.
"We played a heck of a game," Effertz said. "We put three great periods together."
Effertz finished with 14 saves.
It took more than 20 minutes for the Magicians to record the first tally of the contest, with their 14th shot on goal breaking the scoreless tie at three minutes, eight seconds of the second period. Minot sophomore forward Carter Bechtold beat Bismarck goaltender Brett Malkmus short side with a wrist shot that deflected off the inside of the near goal post. Bechtold held onto the puck until he found an angle to squeeze the puck by Malkmus.
"I saw a little slot to fit the puck in," Bechtold said. "It got our motivation up. We started moving a lot better."
Junior forward Jersey Kelly provided an insurance goal at 5:54 of the third period to give the Magicians a 2-0 lead. Kelly lifted a wrist shot from the slot that had the makings of a routine save for Malkmus. But the puck deflected off the goaltender's glove and into the net.
"We keep the game simple," Burckhard said. "We don't do anything pretty. We're not a puck-possession team. We just play it off the glass and get it to the neutral zone and play it zone by zone. I think tonight our guys bought into that game plan."
Neither team lit the lamp in the opening period, but that wasn't for a lack of quality scoring opportunities. The Magicians challenged Malkmus with eight shots in the first frame, making the senior work for his saves. One shot ricocheted off the knob of his goaltender stick and back toward the end boards.
Effertz had to make just one save in the first period, but it was anything from routine. The Minot goaltender moved from left to right to make a kick save with the right pad.
The Magicians play Bismarck Century today at 4 p.m. for the region championship. Century won the region title in 2011, while Minot has not win it since 2006. Bismarck High plays Bottineau-Rugby at 1:30 p.m. in a state qualifier.
Bottineau-Rugby stays alive with win over Hazen-Beulah
Tied at three with less than seven minutes to play in the third period, the Bottineau-Rugby boys hockey team received goals from Braden Pewe and Harrison Aide less than a minute apart as the Braves posted a 5-3 victory over Hazen-Beulah on Friday at All Seasons Arena.
B-R's victory keeps its hopes of reaching the state tournament alive and ends H-B's season. The Northstars seemed poised to pull the upset after Braden Dschaak scored two minutes, 11 seconds into the first period.
But the Braves responded with three unanswered goals before H-B tallied the second period's final two goals to tie the score heading into the third period.
Northstars goaltender Colin Johnson kept his team in it, finishing with 52 saves. The Braves outshot H-B 57-19, including a 20-5 advantage in the second period.
B-R plays Bismarck High today at 1:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to state.