Balogh, Beavers beatdown Midland Warriors

Alex Eisen/MDN MSU's Sami Jo Henry (left) scores the Beavers third goal against Midland in a women's college hockey game Friday evening at Maysa Arena.

The winter semester home debut for the Minot State University women’s hockey team couldn’t have been scripted any better. Headlined by a MacKenzie Balogh hat trick, the Beavers (16-3-0) pounded ACHA Division I No. 12-ranked Midland University (Neb.) 7-0 Friday evening at Maysa Arena.

A statement shutout victory for MSU, being in the lower-tier ACHA Division II.

“It imposes a challenge for us and I think tonight we really stepped up and showed we can play at that caliber,” MSU coach Ryan Miner said. “We played great systematically, the effort was there and we just wanted to be here today. It’s nice to see when the team puts in 100 percent the whole game.”

Balogh got things started 8:14 into the game by netted her team-leading 25th goal in just 19 games. She glided past her defender near the boards, skated in close and snuck the puck in at the near post.

“I got to give a lot of credit to my teammates,” said a modest Balogh, who collected five points in the contest (three goals and two assists). “They do a lot of the hard work. I’m just kind of in the right spot at the right time. They give nice passes, work hard down low and I kind of get the lucky bounces.”

The Beavers took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission after Balogh got the puck into Lauren Michayluk, who was being surrounded in the middle ice. Vanessa Grimstad quickly came to her rescue, gathered the puck with her back to the goal and spun around for a stylish backhand finish.

It was Grimstad’s 16th goal of the season and gave Balogh her 40th point.

A five-goal second period allowed MSU to pull away and never look back.

“By simply dominating, playing the systems, playing smarter hockey than them and getting shots to the net,” Grimstad said was the key to the Beavers’ offensive success.

Sami Jo Henry knocked in a rebound for MSU’s third goal, assisted by Balogh and Minot native Bryanna Bergeron. Then, thirty seconds later, Bergeron assisted on Balogh’s second goal of the game.

That same combination produced Balogh’s hat trick goal on the power play a few minutes later, as she flipped the puck up and over the goaltender. Bergeron dished out three assists in the game for her first points of the season since joining the team at the start of the winter semester.

The second period scoring onslaught concluded with two short-handed tallies. Grimstad scored her second goal of the game with a pinpoint snipe and Beth Ann Goudy was gifted a goal when an off-target back pass by a Midland defender struck the post of their own net and ventured to Goudy right in front of the goal.

“It’s nice to dominate a Div. I team,” Grimstad said. “We just want to prove to everyone that we are a Division I caliber hockey team. That’s where we want to be.”

MSU bunkered down in a competitive, scoreless third period to get goaltender Shelby Tornato her fifth shutout of the season. The Beavers outshot the Warriors 31-23.

“Shelby (Tornato) played great,” Miner said. “We can constantly rely on her and she is always ready to go, no matter the situation.”

The Beavers have a rematch with Midland (14-9-1) at 4:30 p.m. today at Maysa Arena with the MSU men’s hockey game to follow.

Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.