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Balogh hat trick, Ivanco shutout lifts No. 3 MSU women’s hockey over No. 7 Minnesota

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot State forward Mackenzie Balogh crashes the net before her second goal Saturday evening against Minnesota in an ACHA Division I women's hockey game played at Maysa Arena. Balogh netted a hat trick.

Staying composed in one-on-one situations, Minot State forward Mackenzie Balogh had her way Saturday evening with three goals in a 4-0 victory over No. 7-ranked Minnesota at Maysa Arena.

MSU freshman goaltender Jordan Ivanco made 24 saves to aid the No. 3-ranked Beavers (13-4-1) in shutting out the Gophers (9-4-0).

Minot State increased its winning streak to 12 games. The Beavers are also 7-0 at home this season.

“We definitely had a lot of chances, so we have to give a lot of credit to their goalie (Alex Morris),” Balogh said. “She saved a lot of shots, but tomorrow I think we just have to bear down on the rebounds. We were kind of just shooting them right at her.”

MSU peppered Minnesota with a 56-24 shots on goal advantage in the contest.

The only goal in the opening period was set up by MSU forward Megan Ferg. With all eyes on Ferg as she approached the net, Jensen Smigelsky dropped her defender and found herself all alone in front of the goal.

The Beavers were on the board first after simple pass over from Berg to Smigelsky.

Smigelsky, a defender converted into a forward, joined MSU at the start of the winter semester. The former University of Regina transfer now has two goals in four games for the Beavers.

“(Smigelsky) is going to be a huge part of this coming down the stretch — not taking anything away from the other girls on the roster and what they have done up to this point,” MSU assistant coach Anthony Swearingen said. “Adding a talent like Jensen, who is not only a forward but also an experienced defenseman, is huge for our roster.”

MSU started strong in the second period with a breakaway by Sami Jo Henry, which was saved, before Balogh broke through for the Beavers’ second goal.

A solid post snipe and an early whistle with the puck sitting in the crease prevented MSU from increasing its 2-0 lead before going to the third period.

The Beavers outshot the Gophers 28-5 in the middle frame.

“We can’t take anybody lightly,” Balogh said. “We know we are a team that everybody wants to beat. Everyone is coming in and giving us their best game. We have to go and give our best game every game too.”

Balogh completed her natural hat trick with a short-handed breakaway. She intercepted the puck at center ice, skated in and sent a rocket past the shoulder of Minnesota goaltender Alex Morris.

“They gave me a lot of room to shoot,” Balogh said. “I didn’t think I had that much time, but I looked up and did have that much time. Took the shot and it went in.”

At the other end of the rink, Ivanco cleaned up everything for her third shutout of the season — second shutout in back-to-back games.

“It’s not just me performing my best,” Ivanco said. “My teammates, the ones in front of me, are helping me out. When I let out a bad rebound, they always have my back and are supporting me by getting the puck out of the zone.”

Swearingen added: “If (Ivanco) hasn’t already established herself as the best goaltender in the ACHA, she is right in the conversation.”

The two teams face off again at 1 p.m. this afternoon at Maysa Arena.

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

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