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Beavers top Jacks 4-2

Trio of second-period goals lead MSU to tenth straight win

Ryan Ladika/MDN Minot State University’s Landyn Cochrane (28) fights off Dale Kjorstad for possession of the puck during the first period.

Riding the high of their two-game sweep of the rival Jamestown Jimmies last weekend, the Minot State Beavers took the ice for a rare Wednesday evening tilt looking to collect their tenth consecutive victory.

First-year sensation Carter Barley has been the catalyst for Minot State’s success to this point, as the 6’2″ forward led the first-place Beavers in total scoring entering the game with 11 goals and 14 assists. He had found the point sheet in three of his last five games, including a hat trick and an assist for four total points Feb. 6 against Midland.

Their opponent for the night was the 11-win Dakota College at Bottineau Jacks, who were looking to reverse their fortunes as of late, having lost two in a row entering Wednesday’s contest. The Jacks’ Zane Macdonald had matched Barley’s 25 points through his 19 games this year, scoring 13 goals and adding 12 assists.

The Jacks caught the Beavers by a bit of surprise once the puck dropped at Maysa Arena. They drew out lengthy possessions in the offensive zone, and Dylan Cassie committed an early tripping penalty just under three minutes in, but Minot State was successful on the kill. When the whistle sounded for a timeout with 14 minutes and three seconds left, Bottineau held a 7-4 advantage in the shot column.

The Jacks’ offensive pressure paid off around the seven-minute mark of the first frame. Brayden Pawluk received the puck just inside the blue line of the Beavers’ offensive zone, but Dale Kjorstad picked his pocket with a quick poke-check and turned on the jets on a breakaway.

His wrist shot found the back of Minot State’s net with 13 minutes and 33 seconds on the clock, and Bottineau had an early 1-0 advantage.

The Beavers were provided a 5-on-3 power play chance later in the period when Jack Dunnell and Tyson Pringle each committed an infraction, and peppered Matt Trulsen with shots. They could not solve the Jacks netminder, though, and entered the first intermission trailing 1-0 despite holding an 16-9 lead in shots.

Minot State exhibited impressive tenacity in the middle frame, and finally saw its labor bear fruit with a tick under 13 and a half minutes to play. Davis Sheldon snagged the puck near center ice and took the offensive zone with purpose, skating right through two Jacks defenders and wristing the puck past Trulsen to tie the game on Minot State’s twenty-fifth shot of the contest. Adam Wowryk provided his ninth assist of the season on Sheldon’s ninth score.

A pair of penalties by both teams led to a 4-on-4 tally scored by Landyn Cochrane with just over four and a half minutes to play, aided by Nicholas Doyle’s twelfth helper of the campaign.

The Beavers added a third when their captain, Blake Fournier, caught the Jacks’ power play unit napping. Fournier was able sneak ahead of all five Bottineau skaters to grab a clearing attempt near center ice, and converted the easy breakaway for a short-handed goal and his fifth score of the season. Drew Carter recorded his tenth assist of the year on the play as well.

When the buzzer sounded at the end of 40 minutes, Minot State held its 3-1 lead and had outshot Bottineau 29-14.

Both squads had issues staying out of the penalty box in the third period, and Bottineau converted its second power play chance into its second goal with 13 minutes and 52 seconds to play.

The Beavers held Bottineau off the scoreboard for the remainder of the contest, and Wowryk scored an empty net goal with 73 seconds left, assisted by Carter. With the win, Minot State clinched its tenth win in a row and nineteenth overall. The Beavers will now prepare to take on the Williston State Tetons Feb. 26. Puck drop is slated for 8 p.m at Maysa Arena.

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