Williston ends spell against Minot

In a stark contrast from Williston and Minot’s first meeting, the Coyotes found the net and limited the Majettes’ opportunities on Thursday night at Maysa Arena.

Behind the brazen effort, Williston – a club that was handled 4-1 when these two teams met in December – clipped Minot 2-1, ending five years of futility against its West Region rival.

Kayla Buck scored on a power-play goal and dished out an assist in a key second period to spearhead the Coyotes (6-8 overall, 3-8 West Region), who weren’t shy of elation when the final horn sounded.

“We just came in and knew we’d try to keep it simple,” said Williston coach Mat Ekblad, whose team hadn’t beaten Minot since 2007. “We just wanted to run our forecheck and tried not to do too much with the puck.”

Minot was limited to just 19 shots on the night, but both teams struggled mightily at the game’s onset.

Neither team could establish much of a rhythm in a scoreless first period, and half of the second period was the same until Williston’s Amanda Nelson gave the Coyotes a 1-0 edge.

Four minutes later, Buck, who found Nelson open in the crease, shot a laser past Minot goalie Sydney Swanson to make it a 2-0 advantage.

“Our major problem has been our consistency,” Buck said. “In the first period, we were very inconsistent. After that we picked it up with our passing and getting to the net.”

If anything was consistent throughout the game, though, it was the chippiness. Both teams were especially physical, prompting a grip of penalties that saw fans on both sides get in a short-lived verbal skirmish.

“That’s expected,” Minot assistant coach Levi Bjertness said of the uber rough play. “It’s Minot-Williston, so that kind of stuff is going to happen.”

The Majettes made a late push in the third period when Sydney Boyce took the puck a good portion of the ice before sneaking it past Williston goalie Maddy McLees. Minot had a chance to tie with 13 seconds left in regulation, but Taylor Hooker’s attempt from 20 feet was denied by McLees.

“You have to want to win, Bjertness said. “We’re lacking the will to battle right now and don’t want to get dirty.”

Swanson had 34 saves for Minot (6-7, 5-6), which plays host to Dickinson on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.