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Pink-powered Majettes hockey survives wild first period, upends Knightriders in a shootout

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot High senior forward Brenna Abrahamson slips away for a breakaway Friday evening against the Grand Forks Knightriders at Maysa Arena.

With emotions running high, the goals came fast and furious in the first period between the Minot High School girls hockey team and the Grand Forks Knightriders.

Both teams scored three times before the goals just stopped.

The pinked out Majettes (7-4-2, 5-4-2 N.D. League) leapfrogged the Knightriders (7-7-1, 5-5-1 N.D. League) in the state standings with a 4-3 shootout win Friday evening at Maysa Arena.

All proceeds from the Face Off Against Breast Cancer game went to Kelly Larson, who is currently undergoing treatment.

“With the hype of the event, I think both teams came out flying,” MHS co-head coach Chris Stokke said. “We got off our game a little bit, but we settled down. Played much more controlled and played better hockey.”

The pursuit of a fourth straight shutout performance for MHS junior goaltender Amber Borkhuis didn’t last long.

An early power play allowed Knightriders junior Morgan Stenseth to score 1:09 into the contest. Stenseth guided the puck in off the post for her team-leading 12th goal of the season.

The Majettes trailed for a little over three and a half minutes before senior forward Brenna Abrahamson cleaned up a rebound in front off a shot taken by Kaya Shaw.

“It was crazy,” Abrahamson said. “We thought we had them, they would score, and then we would tie it back up. I’m proud of all of us because we pushed through it and got the win.”

The last five minutes of the opening period featured four goals. The Majettes and Knightriders traded blows back and forth. Trips in-and-out of the penalty box were frequent.

Swapping power-play goals were Grand Fork’s Kylie Autrey and Minot’s Taylyn Cope, who redirected a rocket of a shot from the blue line by Paige Ackerman.

“It was kind of a mess, to be honest,” Ackerman said about the first period. “Our emotions were a little too high, and we were all over the place because of the pre-game cancer stuff. We needed to get our heads leveled and focus on playing defense first, then putting the puck in the net.”

Then, the first two goal scorers of the game — Stenseth and Abrahamson — each found the back of the net again.

Both relied heavily on traffic in the crease. Abrahamson’s second tally was clutch, coming with 1.7 seconds left on the clock.

A hectic and entertaining first period ended in a 3-3 deadlock.

“We had to move our feet and get back to the basics,” MHS co-head coach MaKayla Sandvold said. “Then, we were fine.”

After a monsoon of goals in the first 17 minutes, a scoreless drought engulfed the rest of the game.

The Knightriders made matters hard on themselves when Autrey received a five-minute major penalty for checking from behind.

Minot started the third period with a 5-on-4 advantage for 4:26. But, it didn’t amount to anything. The Knightriders held their ground.

The Majettes peppered Grand Forks goaltender Kaylee Baker with 12 shots in the third period.

“There were so many chances,” Ackerman said. “Rebounds were there; we just couldn’t get there.”

Overtime was the same story: no goals. A shootout ensued.

After a pair of saves in the first round, Ackerman skated in from the right-side boards and deked her way to the only goal of the skills competition.

“On the bench, (assistant) coach Taryn (Love) told me to get the goalie to move,” Ackerman said. “I did what I always do in practice. We practice shootouts. I did what I did and put it right over her pad… I always do a big loop, take a fake shot and go to my backhand.”

Minot outshot Grand Forks 48-15.

“We had a lot of chances, but their goalie was playing hot,” Sandvold said. “But, our girls never stopped working.”

The Majettes cap a five-game homestand this afternoon with a 2 p.m. tilt against Devils Lake 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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