EISEN: Home opener will challenge the resolve of the Majettes hockey team
Three games into the girls high school hockey season and the Minot High School Majettes are one of three teams left in the state that are unbeaten.
With road wins over Mandan (6-3), Devils Lake (4-0) and Grand Forks (8-2), the Majettes’ biggest test is now standing directly in front of them.
The Bismarck Blizzard, three-time defending state champions, invade Maysa Arena at 7 p.m. tonight in the Majettes’ home opener.
Ready or not, Minot High is going to find out where they stack up against the best. It’s time to figure out what these Majettes are capable of, and a competitive performance — not even a win — would prove a lot.
Minot High has lost 11 straight games against Bismarck since they last beat them on Feb. 4, 2012. MHS has been outscored 61-13 in those losses with 10 of the defeats being by three goals or more.
Sugarcoating the facts is trivial. It hasn’t been pretty.
But, looking for any silver lining, Bismarck has been skating circles around basically everybody over the last four years.
The Blizzard have claimed four consecutive regular season titles with a staggering 91-10-1 overall record. Even tougher to fathom, only two of those losses have come against North Dakota teams — the 2014 state championship loss to West Fargo and on Jan. 28 this year against Fargo North/South.
Dominating success like that stems from taking full advantage of the resources around them.
“It’s difficult to compete time and time again with teams like Grand Forks with multiple schools playing on one team, or Bismarck of course,” MHS girls hockey coach Weylin Wahlstrom said. “They have so many girls, such a deep program with a limited opportunity for girls at the high school level. It makes me sick to my stomach.”
However, the ongoing debate as to whether Bismarck should have more than one girls hockey program isn’t going to solve how Minot High is going to compete against the Blizzard tonight.
“I think if they created more opportunities for girls, it’s not like Bismarck would be bad. They would have two really good teams,” Weylin said. “It might make it more difficult for us to make it to state. But, you try to compete against programs like that and you just hope to continue to grow. You can’t worry about the other team — who they are or how many schools they have in their program. We just have to worry about Minot High School and worry about what makes us good.”
Firepower at the top with sophomore Dessa Flom and a diverse group of point getters behind her has been the Majettes’ key to success so far this season.
Flom has scored eight goals in three games with four goals coming in the 8-2 win over Grand Forks.
Sophomore Kaya Shaw has eight points with three goals and five assists. Senior Maggie Sem has added three goals and three assists.
Seven different Majettes have scored this season with eight different skaters picking up assists.
Freshman goaltender Amber Borkhuis has held her own, making 44 saves for an 89.8 save percentage and a 1.76 goals against average.
Minot got off to a fast start last season as well, winning its first five games, before running into Bismarck’s buzzsaw.
The Blizzard (1-0) opened their season Saturday with a rather modest 3-0 win at Fargo Davies. Senior forward Britta Curl, a four-time All-State forward, scored twice.
So, the bar has been set. Asking the Majettes to clear it would be rather harsh, but just wishing the girls can keep the game close doesn’t quite feel right either. It’s a precarious situation.
Whether it’s a blowout, a miracle on ice or something in between, the character and willpower of the Majettes will be tested tonight. And, isn’t that what high school sports are supposed to be about?
This is the opinion of Alex Eisen. He covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.