Slow start cripples Majettes in loss to Bismarck

GRAND FORKS – It certainly wasn’t the start the Minot High School girls hockey team envisioned during its first-round game Thursday at the state tournament.

In eight minutes, 55 seconds, the Majettes allowed three goals and saw their hopes of reaching the semifinals dashed in a 3-0 loss to Bismarck on Thursday at Olympic Arena.

The Majettes drop into a loser-out game with Fargo North, with the contest scheduled to begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. tonight at Olympic Arena.

The Blizzard took control of Thursday’s game from the opening faceoff, winning seemingly every faceoff and spending the majority of the contest in the Majettes’ defensive zone. Bismarck had three quality goal-scoring opportunities in the first period and capitalized on all of them. Abby Beehler started the scoring at 6:31, firing a shot through heavy traffic in front of the net that got past Minot senior goaltender Karlee Galvin. Galvin made the initial save on Bailey Wike before being screened on Beehler’s shot.

Bismarck’s second goal of the period was reminiscent of the first. The Blizzard again got heavy traffic in front of Galvin and this time it was Lauren Bischof that lit the lamp for Bismarck. Bischof’s goal came 1:17 after Beehler’s tally.

“We definitely didn’t come into the game like we thought we were going to,” Minot’s Angie Lothspeich said. “We just weren’t ready, we weren’t moving our feet. We couldn’t keep them out of our zone and keep the puck out of the net.”

A turnover by the Majettes in their own defensive zone led to Bismarck’s third goal of the opening frame. Haleigh Springan stole the puck from a Minot defender in front of Galvin, who didn’t have enough time to react, and gave the Blizzard the three-goal advantage heading into the first intermission.

Galvin finished with 15 saves, shutting out the Blizzard over the final two periods.

“It had to do a little with nerves,” MHS coach Weylin Wahlstrom said. “We have a young team. For a lot of the girls, it’s their first time at state. It had to do with nerves and also I don’t think they were prepared mentally for what the state tournament is. We took a couple shifts off in a row and they capitalized.”

The slow start prompted Wahlstrom to use his timeout in hopes of calming his team down. The Majettes finished with fewer shots on goal in the first period than the Blizzard had goals during the same timeframe.

“I just said, ‘You have to settle down,’ ” Wahlstrom said. ” ‘This is the state tournament. You just have to go hard. Stop worrying about winning and losing and start worrying about playing hard.’ “

Minot fared better in the second period, recording 11 shots on goal, but couldn’t solve Bismarck goaltender Kennedy Blair. The Majettes had quality scoring chances on their two power plays, but Blair came up with several saves to keep Minot off the scoreboard. Blair recorded 18 saves.

“We got our composure back and then we started playing like a team,” Lothspeich said. “We definitely learned from this game. We have to go into our next game with our feet moving if we want to play another game on Saturday.”

Williston shut out by top-seed West Fargo

The Williston High School girls hockey team held its own against top-seeded West Fargo, dropping a 4-0 decision Thursday in the first round of the state tournament at Olympic Arena.

The Coyotes limited West Fargo to one goal in the first two periods before yielding three in the third. Hayley Walsh scored both of West Fargo’s power-play goals and Kelly Krahn and Maddy Nelson scored at even strength.

Maddy McLees finished with 26 saves for Williston.

The Coyotes play Fargo South-Davies today at 5:30 p.m. at Olympic Arena.