Minot explodes in third, tops Bottineau 8-3
Making their way to the Maysa on Tuesday night was the Bottineau/Rugby Braves boys’ hockey team (3-15-0 overall) and the Minot High Magicians (11-6-0 overall) as the pair got ready to clash for the 99th installment of their storied high school hockey rivalry.
Adding another layer of excitement to the matchup, it was senior night and the eight members of Minot’s senior class, as well as the cheerleaders and managers, were honored before the game. In a game that is circled and starred on everyone’s calendar, the seniors got to celebrate their accomplishments before celebrating a big win.
Getting the crowd fired up for the big game, the Minot High band made their way to the Maysa, creating an electric atmosphere in a packed arena, as fans were ready to witness another chapter of the Bottineau/Rugby and Minot hockey storybook.
After starting off strong and gaining a comfortable lead, the Magi would save their best for last and explode for four goals in the third period. The late lift would guide the Magi to an 8-3 win over the Braves.
There was penalties and goals aplenty in the opening period, with the Magi having to go on the penalty kill 31 seconds into the game and foreshadowing what was to come for both teams through the remainder of the contest. Minot would kill off the penalty, then proceed to strike first on a goal by Teegan Strand (assists to Haeven Freeman, Brock Jones) to make it a 1-0 game with 13:57 remaining in period one.
Mackley Morelli would extend the Magi lead, making it a 2-0 game on a power-play goal (assists to Jaxon Bradley, Caelton Eslinger) with 9:20 left in the opening period. The goal came after the Braves took a penalty for a big hit, and Morelli answered with a hit on the scoreboard.
The Braves would counter with a power-play goal shortly after, coming off the stick of Brody Nordmark to make it a one-goal game at 2-1 in favor of Minot. Morelli would add another goal in the period, scoring his second of the night and bringing the game to its 3-1 tally heading into intermission.
Minot goaltender Toby Strand stopped nine shots in the first period, which included slamming the door shut on a breakaway by Gabe Glasner. Jaxson Radke was a big help to his goaltender, making a key block to help Minot maintain their two-goal lead.
Mirroring a similar storyline in period two, the power-play goals continued to come in bunches. After Minot had dual penalties, the Braves made it a 3-2 game on a power-play goal by Tukker Fedje with 12:00 left in the second frame.
Once again, the Magi would answer by lighting the lamp on another power-play goal, with this one coming from Easton Panasuk (assists to Radke, Jersey Abrahamson) to bring Minot’s lead back to two goals at 4-2. They would take that lead into the second intermission but would save their best for the final period.
Ripping off three consecutive goals to begin the third period, the Magi would take a commanding 7-2 lead on a goal by Strand (assist to Finlee Bentz), and two goals by Abrahamson (assists to Panasuk, Aidan Diehl) as they quickly put the game out of reach.
Both teams would trade goals the rest of the way, with Minot’s final blow coming from Eslinger (assist to Morelli) to bring the game to its final of 8-3. Play got heated down the stretch, which is to be expected in a rivalry, but it was Minot that got the last laugh on Tuesday night.
Up next, Minot will head to Dickinson on Saturday, for a 5 p.m. matchup with Dickinson High at the Dickinson Rec Center. The Braves will head home to face Mandan at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the Bottineau Community Arena.