Senior Day scare
Majettes hockey rallies to beat Dickinson in OT
From Lindsey Larson shedding a few tears before the game to Dessa Flom saving the day, the Minot High School girls hockey team rode a roller coaster of emotions Saturday afternoon at Maysa Arena.
Senior Day showcased memorable moments, forgettable blunders and a happy ending, as the Majettes (12-8-0, 12-5-0 N.D. League) salvaged a 5-4 overtime victory over Dickinson (6-10-1, 4-9-1 N.D. League).
An eventful game to fit the occasion, as the Majettes honored their seniors Larson and Maggie Sem.
“It was really emotional,” Larson said. “I was crying and I usually don’t cry before games. I think we were a little out of it and thinking about that. Thinking about my last games. I feel really old right now.”
The Majettes went down 1-0 a minute and 47 seconds into the first period. A defensive zone turnover turned into an unassisted goal for Dickinson sophomore defender Taia Klaman. Her team-leading 12th goal of the season bounced off MHS freshman goaltender Amber Borkhuis and crept in.
Larson briefly tied the score at 1-1 off a juicy rebound.
“It makes me feel like I’m a leader,” Larson said about getting the first Minot goal. “It gets the team going, especially since we were down right away. We needed something to boost us up.”
The 1-1 standoff only lasted 18 seconds before Dickinson junior Kennedy Kuntz rushed down to the other end of the ice for her fifth goal of the season.
To compound things even further in the first period, the Majettes gave up a power play goal to Grace Kraiter from a tight angle. Kraiter’s first goal of the season forced MHS coach Weylin Wahlstrom into calling an early timeout.
“We always come out slow and struggle on Senior Day, so I told them now is the time to start thinking about the game,” Wahlstrom said. “I think we stepped it up a little bit after that, but really stepped it up in the second period.”
Flom had two chances to get Minot back within a goal going into the first intermission. The sophomore was first slashed on a breakaway attempt with under 10 seconds left. That was pushed aside, but did warrant a penalty shot. Her forehand-to-backhand shootout deke, however, didn’t fool Midgets goaltender Baylee Kram either.
Flom got what she was looking for 5:30 into the second period. A pass out of the defensive zone by junior defender Breanna Svangstu sprung a 3-on-2 Majettes’ rush. Flom, with passing options on both sides of her, skated in close and corked a wrist off the crossbar and in.
“It was an emotional start and we just weren’t ready,” Flom said. “We came in thinking that we were going to win. We had that mentality and they came ready to play.”
Minot junior Olivia Weisberg, after serving a 10-minute major penalty, got some redemption by tying the score at 3-3. The puck somehow managed to cross the goal line with a pile of players in front of the net.
Under 10 minutes to play in the third period, Weisberg also gave Minot its first lead of the game. She stole the puck, cut inside after skating up the board and snapped a puck clean past Kram’s glove.
Weisberg’s second goal of the game and 13th of the season looked like it was going to be the game-winner after Minot powered through a 4-on-3 penalty kill.
Disaster struck instead.
MHS freshman goaltender Madison Knudson, who replaced Borkhuis after Dickinson’s third goal in the first period, paddled the puck into her own net on a dump in by Kylee Zastoupil.
“Maddy (Knudson) came in and played a great game,” Wahlstrom said. “She came in and did exactly what we asked out of her. It’s heart-wrenching to see a goal go in from the other side of the ice. I don’t know if it took a bad bounce or she just misplayed it. But, anytime you see that, your heart goes out to the goalie. But, she shrugged it off.”
The cruel miscue sent the game into overtime tied at 4-4.
“It’s not her fault,” Larson said. “I went to her – because you can’t let it get to her head because we still have a game left to play – to just keep her (spirits) up and the whole team. Know that we can score again.”
And they did. In the extra sudden death period, the Majettes picked up Knudson and capped Senior Day in style. Flom, unassisted and directly off a faceoff, scored her team-leading 26th goal of the season 41 seconds into overtime.
“I just tapped it through and took a shot,” Flom said. “We had the momentum throughout the third period and that goal meant a lot.”
Minot outshot Dickinson, 55-20. Knudson made 15 saves in relief, while Kram stopped 50 shots in defeat.
The Majettes close out the regular season with three more home games at Maysa Arena. They get a Fargo doubleheader next week with Fargo North on Friday and West Fargo on Saturday. Both teams are ahead of them in the state standings. Minot’s last home game is against Mandan on Feb. 13.
Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.