Majettes hockey suffers close loss to Dickinson, 2-1
Although the puck hardly ventured to Minot’s side of the ice, Dickinson made it count when it did.
The Majettes (8-11-0, 6-11-0 N.D. League) were plagued by missed opportunities and fell to the Midgets (9-8-0, 7-6-0 N.D. League), 2-1, despite leading the shots on goal, 32-14, Saturday at Maysa Arena.
“I feel like we need to check the net and make sure there’s not an invisible force field behind it,” MHS head coach Weylin Wahlstrom jokingly said after the game. “I’ve never seen so many pucks so close to scoring that didn’t go. For some reason, we have a difficult time scoring on Dickinson and we have all year.”
In the two teams’ last meetup, the Midgets defeated the Majettes, 4-0, on Jan. 12 in Dickinson. Looking for redemption Saturday, the Majettes put up the shots and did everything but score.
Not even two minutes into play, the Majettes were at the net and ready to make something happen. Even with a crowd in front of the net, Dickinson managed to clear the puck.
The Midgets scored what they thought would be the first goal of the game shortly after, but the goal was taken away.
Looking to cash in on this opportunity, the Majettes raced down the ice. But even a couple shots on goal and Dickinson senior Grace Kraiter losing her stick didn’t turn into a score for the Majettes.
As if its luck couldn’t get any worse, Minot’s Averi Bradley was sent to the penalty box at 7:32 for too many players on the ice, giving Dickinson a power play.
Dickinson didn’t squander this opportunity, crowding Amber Borkhuis in the net and allowing Ali Lafond to sneak it in the blind spots of Borkuis’ vision. Lafond was assisted by Dickinson’s Kennedy Kuntz and Kamryn Kuntz.
Minot had the upper hand when Dickinson’s Jenna Moormann was sent to the box for too many players on the ice. Junior O’Malley Eslinger had multiple shots at the net but couldn’t get passed Dickinson goaltender Baylee Kram.
At the end of the first period, Dickinson led with one goal while the Majettes led in shots on goal, 9-3.
The second period produced much of the same, as the Majettes dominated shots on goal while Dickinson was able to put the puck to the net. This time, the goal was from Taia Klaman and assisted by Emma Meduna at 8:55 in the second period.
“I thought Taia had a wonderful game, she always does and of course when you play against Dickinson, she’s in the discussion every pregame by every team,” Wahlstrom said. “She’s a defenseman with an offensive mind so we definitely had to hone in on her.”
Despite the Majettes putting their best foot forward in limiting Klaman’s opporunities, she still broke through and scored.
Minot had a powerplay opportunity at 11:17 into the second period with shots from Paige Ackerman, Brenna Abrahamson and Alyssa Augierre. But the puck wasn’t cooperating.
As the shots on goal grew higher and higher with no goals in sight, the Majettes had to keep their frustrations in check and attack the goal with a clean slate every single time.
“As an athlete you kind of have to have a short memory,” Wahlstrom said. “But the bottom line is, you’re getting yourself into those positions because you’re doing something right.”
Into the third period, not much in the game was changing and Minot missed another power play opportunity. With four minutes remaining, something had to change and time was running out. Walhstrom threw up his hands for a timeout.
“We just talked about having a sense of urgency, the coaches talked about that in the second and third,” Wahlstrom said. “I think the sense of urgency was there but at that point it was kind of like do or die.”
Just a minute later, Walhstrom and assistant coaches MaKayla Sandvold and Taryn Love were waving at Borkhuis to get off the ice, adding a sixth skater to score and leaving the net unattended.
As if to justify pulling Borkhuis, Dickinson’s Kennedy Kuntz was sent to the box for interference, leaving the game six-on-four with two and a half minutes remaining.
A few shot attempts later, Brenna Abrahamson was able to sneak the puck in, breaking through the invisible force field that had held the Majettes back the entire game, and scored Minot’s first and only goal with 35 seconds remaining in the game.
“I pulled the goalie a little earlier than I usually do but we were down two goals and this game right here was one of those must-wins for us for a state run,” Wahlstrom said. “We’re running out of games and that’s what it all comes down to.”
Even though it was a tough loss, Wahlstrom won’t let the girls hang their heads. It’s important that the team continue fighting to the very last game.
“It’s not like this team to just give up so I know they’re going to be resilient, they’re going to bounce back,” Wahlstrom said. “We have some opportunities to get into state, we just have to fight for it and maybe a little luck on the other side and some games will go our way, but we can’t control that so we have to focus on what we can control.”
Looking forward, the Majettes will face Jamestown Friday, Feb. 8, at 5:45 p.m. at Maysa Arena.