The scoring touch

It took a major miscue from the opposition for the Minot High boys soccer team to find its scoring touch Tuesday, but there was no stopping it once it got going.

Junior midfielder Matt Oswalt converted a penalty kick and freshmen midfielders Nate Weaver and JJ Johannsen each scored twice as the Magicians recorded their first West Region victory with an 8-0 win over Mandan at the Optimist Sports Complex.

After being shut out by Fargo South and Century in consecutive matches, the Magicians (2-2 overall, 1-1 West Region) responded with a season-high offensive output against the Braves (1-3, 1-2). Minot recorded 12 shots on goal and had another 13 miss the net.

The Magicians had a number of scoring opportunities in the early going, but shots either went just high, just wide or were blocked in front by Mandan defenders. They caught a break in the 29th minute when Mandan’s Aric Riopelle was whistled for a blatant handball in the box, prompting a penalty kick. Oswalt took the penalty kick and buried it into the top right corner of the goal to give the Magicians a 1-0 lead and some momentum.

“We had so many chances going forward prior to that and all of the sudden we finally get one and everybody’s a little more relaxed, able to play that Magicians soccer,” Minot coach Creighton Bachmeier said. “It was huge to get that in that moment and start to open the floodgates.”

Minot came right back with two quick goals by Weaver to give the Magicians a three-goal lead at halftime. Both goals came off through balls from Oswalt, allowing Weaver ample room to run in space and beat Mandan goalkeeper DeAndre McCree. Weaver just missed a hat trick, hitting the post in the 45th minute.

“We just moved the ball around well and worked it around the field and played as a team,” Weaver said.

Minot’s scoring touch didn’t fade in the second half as Johannsen scored twice in a five-minute span to stake the Magicians to a 5-0 lead. Both of Johannsen’s goals came from inside the box, the first deflecting off McCree, the second untouched into the net.

“It was good for the team to build up some confidence after losing to Century,” Johannsen said. “It’s good for the young guys – me and Nate – to prove something to the older guys, show that we can do something if they pass the ball to us.”

Weaver and Johannsen are the only two freshmen on the roster, yet they accounted for half the team’s goals against the Braves.

“It’s important for those young guys to develop and do certain things and it starts with that leadership group with those seniors, those juniors that have been around the program that can show these guys what it’s going to take if we’re going to make a run at the state tournament,” Bachmeier said. “I was proud of everybody. We got lots of guys playing time and it was a nice step in the right direction.

Juniors Noah Melby and Miguel Manriquez and senior K.J. Wright also got in on the scoring.

Junior goalkeeper Jesse Roberts made three saves to record his second shutout of the season.

The Magicians travel to St. Mary’s on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Mike Kraft covers Minot High athletics and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.