MINOT HIGH STATE HOCKEY TOURNAMENT PREVIEW: Short-term memory: Magicians put region tournament in past, focus on state

Minot High School boys hockey coach Chad Burckhard urged his team to forget about the West Region tournament championship loss to Bismarck Century as quickly as possible.

The Magicians have done just that and have their sights set on the state tournament and their first-round matchup against Fargo Davies today at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks.

“We’ve already moved on,” Burckhard said. “We started working on Davies with our film right away on Sunday. What’s done is done. All we can control is the future.”

Minot lost at Davies – the East Region’s No. 3 seed – in the season opener for both teams. Davies’ Trevor Swangler broke open a 2-2 game with two third-period goals in two minutes, 31 seconds to give the Eagles the win. But that seems like ages ago to the Magicians.

“A lot has changed for us and I’m sure a lot has changed for them as well,” Burckhard said. “There’s not going to be a lot of secrets about each other. We played against them three seasons in a row during the regular season. It’s really going to come down to execution on Thursday.”

Davies finished atop the region standings at the end of the regular season, posting a 12-2 record. Yet the Eagles lost to Grafton-Park River – who they swept in the regular season – in the semifinals to fall to No. 3.

“There’s not a whole lot you really know about each other anymore since it was at the beginning of the year,” junior forward Quinn Fuchs said. “It’ll be a good grind.”

Minot went just 1-3 this season against East Region teams, including a 9-1 loss at home to Grand Forks Red River earlier this month.

Goals may be hard to come by as both teams have all-region goaltenders between the pipes. Minot sophomore Breydan Effertz has started all but one game this season, allowing 2.38 goals per game while stopping roughly 91 percent of shots faced.

In the opposite net is Davies senior Tucker Windels, who has started the last five games after splitting time with Nick Kazmierczak. Windels didn’t play in Davies’ matchup with the Magicians during the regular season, but has the highest save percentage in the state (.939) and is fourth in goals against average (1.89).

“We definitely have to get traffic in front of the net,” Fuchs said. “He’s a very strong and athletic goaltender and it’s going to be hard to beat him on the initial shot. We have to get in front of him and make sure he can’t see any of the pucks.”

Fuchs leads the Magicians in scoring with 43 points, including 36 assists – the third-highest total in the state.