Majettes hold off Braves for fifth place

GRAND FORKS – A little bad food couldn’t stop senior forward Makaila Anderson from playing in her final high school hockey game Saturday.

Anderson missed a scoreless first period before jump-starting the Minot High girls hockey team by scoring the first goal of the game en route to the Majettes’ 4-2 victory against Mandan in the fifth-place contest at the state tournament at Olympic Arena.

Feeling ill, the team captain watched from the stands as the Majettes and Braves were locked in a scoreless battle. Anderson decided to lace up the skates and put on the Minot sweater one last time and made an immediate impact. She beat Mandan goaltender Chelsey Norton with a backhand with 8:36 left in the second to give the Majettes a 1-0 lead.

“It’s my senior year for one,” Anderson said. “I couldn’t let my team down. I’ve been leading them all season and they’re my girls. I couldn’t let them down. I did everything I possibly could to get myself to be able to play.”

The eighth-seeded Braves didn’t go away quietly, netting the equalizer with less than a minute to play in the middle stanza. Minot was unable to clear the puck out of the zone, allowing Mariah Marsh to score on a backhanded shot from the slot with 42 seconds left in the second period.

The Majettes took control of the game in the third period, scoring three goals. Freshman forward Mackinzy MacIver netted the first at 2:29 with a blast from the right faceoff circle over Norton’s stick-side shoulder.

The Braves wouldn’t get closer than a goal from there as Minot stretched its lead to 3-1 with a power-play goal by sophomore forward Kinsey Hanson at 5:57 of the third period.

“The clock kept down winding down and so did our season,” Minot coach Weylin Wahlstrom said. “Everybody’s tired. It’s the last day, but I think everybody realized that time was dwindling and this was it. It seemed like we picked it up a gear and started putting the puck in the net like we had been doing all year.”

Mandan countered with a power-play goal of its own as Maiah McCowan knocked home a rebound to the right of Minot senior goaltender Sydney Swanson with 6:40 left.

Alaynee Thompson sealed Minot’s second straight victory at the state tournament as the senior forward one-timed a shot by Norton with 2:57 to play. Thompson’s goal was set up by a cross-ice pass from junior forward Taryn Love at the right faceoff circle.

Swanson and the Minot penalty kill fended off a 5-on-3 Mandan power play with 2:02 remaining. The Braves pulled Norton for an extra skater, but still couldn’t get the puck by Swanson, who finished with 21 saves.

“We as coaches have been happy with the team all year,” Wahlstrom said. “We’ve played some really good hockey this year. We ended 20-6 and that’s an impressive season. Our goal coming into the tournament as coaches was to win the last game of the season. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the championship game, but at least we finished hard.”

Mike Kraft covers high school athletics and hockey. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.