With its 11 players constituting just two lines, the Minot High girls hockey team knows it must garner early leads before fatigue sets in. The Majettes learned that lesson back on Nov. 23 in their second game of the year, a down-to-the-wire loss at Grand Forks.
This weekend, Minot ran its opponents ragged and racked up 30 goals - yep, not a typo, 30 goals - wearing out the scorekeeper, as well.
The Majettes posted their final quartet of lamp-lighters Saturday at Maysa Arena during a 4-1 win with a vengeance over Grand Forks, which extended their win streak to six games.
Minot High freshman forward Bryanna Bergeron fends off heavy pressure by Grand Forks defender Gabbie Nuelle, right, and Myrand Podell on Saturday at Maysa Arena.
Minot senior forward Makaila Anderson bagged her third straight hat trick and classmate Sydney Swanson turned away 31 shots, while allowing a goal for the first time in three contests.
Following a 26-0 dismantling of Devils Lake on Friday night, Minot (11-2 overall, 9-2 state) faced a trap game 17 hours later against third-place Grand Forks.
"I don't think we've ever scored 30 goals in a weekend," Minot coach Weylin Wahlstrom said, laughing. "It was tough coming off of last night's game, too. ... It's tough to come into a game like this today. I think the girls had confidence. They're putting the puck in the net."
In the teams' first matchup, the Knightriders (7-6, 7-4) poured in three goals in the final 2:25 to score a 4-1 victory.
Minot opened the scoring with three second-period goals, hoping a quick start would help avoid another nail-biting finish with Grand Forks.
Anderson, the state's leading scorer, notched the first two markers to stake the Majettes 1-0 and 2-1 leads. Her first goal, which came 42 seconds after the first intermission, resulted from a five-on-three advantage. The Majettes committed one infraction in the first two periods to Grand Forks' five. Minot hangs its hat on playing aggressively without sacrificing penalty minutes - something high endurance allows for.
"We know every team's going to try to tire us out, so we try to do the opposite and try to tire them out," Anderson said. "... The short bodies, it doesn't matter. We just have to try to keep up."
Anderson put away her second goal by taking a pass from sophomore Sydney Boyce and deking around Knightriders goalie Jerrica Rosendahl right to left to finish stick side.
"Big players are gonna play big in big games," Wahlstrom said. "We expect our leaders to step up in big games and do some things, and they have been."
The Majettes' second and third goals came at even strength. Swanson's hot streak between the pipes has allowed Minot to take extra risks and "create odd-man rushes," Wahlstrom said. Taryn Love's wrister glove side at 10:59 - off of her own steal - was the result of that.
"I knew the pass was going to be up the boards," Love said. "I read it, I picked it, came around the corner and the goalie was down. Picked a corner and shot it."
Swanson made 15 saves in the third period and Anderson added an empty-net with 27 seconds remaining to ice the win, leapfrogging Minot past Fargo North and Grand Forks into third place in the state standings.
"This win feels a lot more deserved than last night," Love said. "... It felt good to win last night, but the win against an East team - a higher slotted team - it felt much better than to win by 26 goals."
Ryan Holmgren covers Minot High athletics and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.