Majettes blank Knightriders 2-0 in low-scoring affair
Minot High School girls hockey coach Weylin Wahlstrom would have liked to have seen his Majettes (11-3-0, 9-3-0 N.D. League) finish more of their chances Saturday afternoon against the Grand Forks Knightriders (5-10-1, 4-8-0 N.D. League).
But a 2-0 victory is still a win nonetheless.
“I wanted to win, so mission accomplished,” Wahlstrom said. “But, with that said, we had some opportunities. Especially in the first period when we had 22 shots to bury some of those rebounds, which we weren’t doing. I think we could have been a little bit better in front of their net in the first period.
“I’m not disappointed by any means, but as a coach you got to constantly find things – even in a win – that you need to work on.”
After a scoreless first period in which Minot outshot Grand Forks 22-7, it was senior MacKinzy MacIver’s persistent halfway through the second period that gave the Majettes a 1-0 lead. Senior Bryanna Bergeron picked up the assist on MacIver’s eighth goal of the season.
“We just won the faceoff, Parker (Larson) won it back to Bryanna (Bergeron) and just stepped down into the slot for the rebound and it bounced right out to me,” MacIver said. “A goal is a goal, but there are more important times when we need it. So (my goal) was a good start for us.”
Minot carried the slim one-goal lead into the third period.
“Our defense did a wonderful job tonight of keeping all their shots to the outside for the most part and keeping them out of the high scoring areas,” Wahlstrom said. “Even though there wasn’t a lot of scoring, as a coach you look at all the other things besides scoring and overall everybody contributed.”
The Majettes finally got their much needed insurance goal with 10:21 left in regulation. Freshman Kaya Shaw picked up a backdoor rebound goal after Grand Forks goaltender Quinn Kuntz made a pair of quick succession saves. Junior Maggie Sem and sophomore Madie Olson picked up the assists.
A tripping penalty followed by a high sticking penalty moments later, both against Minot, caused a “nerve wracking” last couple of minutes. But the Majettes killed off the 5-on-3 advantage thanks to a couple of saves from junior goaltender Alex Nelson with heavy traffic in front and a diving clearance from MacIver.
“I’d rather have that happen now and work on it during the season than it happening at the state tournament when you have only practiced it and haven’t really done it in a game,” Wahlstrom said. “Not that I want my girls to go out there and get two penalties like that, but… they weren’t undisciplined penalties. It was just two girls and both of them were scrapping for the puck and we just happened to come out on the bad side of it.”
Nelson fended off 27 shots to earn her first shutout of the season.
“You’re all nervous and you’re shaky, but you just got to push through it,” Nelson said about the difficulty of getting a shutout in a close game. “It felt good. The shutout was difficult because of all the shots that were (taken). Some almost went in, but (I) easily stopped them.”
The Majettes next game is on the road against Jamestown on Friday.
Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.