Magi hockey avoids WDA first-round upset from Bottineau/ Rugby

BISMARCK — After nearly 42 minutes of scoreless action, the No. 1-seeded Minot High School boys hockey team finally broke the deadlock. Junior forward Aiden Morelli came to the Magicians rescue and forcefully opened the floodgates.

Minot High (17-5-0) advanced to the West Region Tournament semifinals Thursday afternoon with a 4-0 win over No. 8 Bottineau/Rugby (10-13-0) at the VFW Sports Center in Bismarck.

All four goals came in the third period.

Morelli netted the first two with 7:51 and 13:26 elapsed in the final frame. Jack Plemel and Nicholas Murphy provided assisted on the second tally.

In the final minute, Murphy added an empty-net goal and Isaiah Thongphet scored again with Bottineau goaltender Tyler Olson back in his net.

Minot outshot the Braves 33-20, including a 10-shot advantage after the first period, 14-4. The Magi just couldn’t find that opening goal.

Olson made 30 saves, while MHS junior goaltender Tre Sortland needed 20 saves for his fourth personal shutout of the season — sixth in total when counting split appearances in net with backup Noah Conklin.

Minot enters the West Region semifinals having won six straight and nine out of its last 10 games.

The Magi will face Bismarck High (8-13-0) in the semifinals at 5 p.m. this evening. Minot won both games against Bismarck this season (2-1 at home on Dec. 17 and then 4-1 on the road on Jan. 23).

The winner clinches its spot at the state tournament.

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