Magi’s scoring slump continues in shutout loss to Demons
Undefeated when lighting the lamp first, netting the first goal between rivals Minot High and Bismarck High was critical.
The seizing momentum early scoring trend held up once again Thursday evening at Maysa Arena.
In their third meeting of the season, Bismarck High struck first and captured a 6-0 victory over an offensively deficient Minot High squad.
The Demons (11-3-0, 6-1-0 WDA) are 11-0 this season when scoring first, while the Magicians (6-9-1, 5-4-0 WDA) dropped to 0-9-1 when giving up the first goal.
“They put one in the back of the net and we don’t on any of our chances,” MHS co-head coach John Grubb said. “Sometimes it comes down to just pride and finding a way to play through periods.”
The opening goal came five minutes into the game when Bismarck junior Chase Fuhrman skated up the middle of the ice, entered the Magi’s defensive zone uncontested and corked a wrist shot to beat MHS junior goaltender Odin Nelson low and to his right.
Later, the first penalty of the game with 4:34 left in the opening period opened the door for the Demons to double up.
Some fancy stick handling by junior Dain Sardelli helped him keep possession of the puck and he shot from nearly the same spot on the ice where Fuhrman scored. But, instead of going low, Sardelli snapped a shot over Nelson’s blocker.
To compound things for the Magi going into the locker room for the first intermission, Bismarck sophomore defenseman Dayton Deics whacked in a rebound goal off a shot he initially took to make it 3-0 with 19.6 seconds left in the period.
“They have to understand that this is their team and that they have to step up and compete each night,” Grubb said. “There is not enough of that right now.”
It didn’t get much better for Minot out of the break. Forty seconds into the second period, Sardelli picked up his second goal by beating Nelson over the blocker again.
That spelled the end of Nelson’s night and he was replaced by sophomore Jordan Love.
“We just tried to get a spark for our team,” Grubb said. “Give another guy a chance.”
Two minutes later, Lenertz added to his two earlier assists by slipping a puck under Love, 5-0.
Minot’s scoring woes were highlighted by sophomore Peyton Philion ringing the post with a backhanded shot to give the Magi their best scoring chance.
Minot has scored only two goals in their last three games.
“There is only one way to fix it, and it’s working,” Grubb said. “Working hard the whole game. You might not score in the first period, but you have to keep that level of play up. Eventually, once you get one, they seem to come quickly.”
Shots after the second period were even at 20-20, despite the Demons leading 5-0. A sign that Minot hadn’t just thrown in the towel.
“They come in and we tell them, ‘You played an excellent second period,'” Grubb said. “The score is what it is, but there were times when we carried the play for a couple of shifts. Then, we come back for the third, and we weren’t good.”
Bismarck got the running clock going with nine minutes remaining on a rebound goal by Braxton Neas.
The Demons only outshot the Magi 27-23, but they did have a 12-3 advantage in quality scoring chances.
Bismarck goaltender Quinn Ackerman picked up his fourth shutout of the season by making 23 saves.
Having now wrapped up a four-game homestand, the Magi hit the road for three straight away contests. Minot heads over to Bottineau first on Monday for 7:30 p.m. evening game against the Braves.
Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.