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Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson sophomore center Kira Zastoupil, right, skates past a Richland (Sidney, Mont.) defender during a game on Thursday at the Dickinson Recreation Center.

Dickinson girls win season opener

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The last time the Dickinson High girls hockey team won its season opener Kira Zastoupil was a fifth-grader.

On the Tuesday, the sophomore center had a hand as the Midgets won their opening game for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

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“It was awesome,” Zastoupil said. “It just really put a smile on all of our faces.”

Zastoupil finished with a pair of goals as Dickinson defeated Richland (Sidney, Mont.) 4-3 on Thursday at the Dickinson Recreation Center.

“After scoring the opening goal, I just thought thank goodness we got one on the board,” Zastoupil said with a smile. “I couldn’t have done it without the rest of my line.”

Though equaling its win total from last season, Dickinson first-year head coach Al Takle said team started showing signs of fatigue in the middle of the second period.

“Our effort was certainly there,” he said. “They came and they fought hard, but you could tell that we got tired and started watching the game in the half of the second and most of the third.”

Zastoupil’s entire line is made up sophomores, which includes Kennadee Fritz — who supplied an assist on Zastoupil’s second goal — and Kesley Calhoun. The sophomore center scored the team’s first two goals and was on the ice for the team’s other two scores. Hallie Hoffer posted the team’s third goal, while Paige Schweitzer, a freshmen defenseman, tallied the fourth goal.

“It makes me really happy that I can be out there when my team is doing their best and scoring goals,” Zastoupil said.

The Midgets jumped out to a 2-0 lead after Zastoupil scored her two goals in the first 18 minutes of the game. After being down 2-0, Richland responded with a goal at the 12:05 mark of the second period.

Jordan Tyler scored the Raiders first goal to cut the Midgets’ lead to 2-1. Once the Hoffer scored her goal, Richland’s Erin Harris scored a shorthanded goal.

“Special teams just like in football or anything are huge,” Richland head coach Damon McLaughlin said. “We put people out there that know what they are doing and get the puck to the net. The shorthanded ones are always bonuses. To get a shortie really boosts the girls confidence and everyone wants to get going after that.”

One area the Midgets excelled at all game was killing penalties. Dickinson killed its first six penalties, but Richland continued applying pressure as Aubrey Kessel scored the team’s third and final goal.

Though the Midgets let one power-play goal sneak by Takle said he was proud with the way the girls killed penalties.

“Considering that we haven’t really worked on it too much, the girls did it because they hustled,” he said. “They weren’t always in the right place, but they worked really hard to make it happen.”

Dickinson were led by a pair of goalies junior Kesley Gillen and senior Paige Fahlstrom. The two goalies combined for the 31 saves as Gillen had 17 and Fahlstrom with 14.

Richland’s goalie Ally McLaughlin had 19 saves.

The Midgets look to take their added confidence into their next game hosting Williston at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“It is huge,” Takle said. “It’s fun being the locker room with smiles on their faces. We got to take care of our (defensive)-zone and defensive transitions. We watch the other team skate the puck down and get breakaways on us.”

Zastoupil added: “We played pretty well against this team, but I think we can do better. Next game, we are going to have to definitely put forward more effort.”

Sidney 0 1 2 – 3

Dickinson 1 2 1 – 4

FIRST PERIOD: 1, D, Kira Zastoupil (unassisted), 6:05.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, D, Kira Zastoupil (Kennadee Fritz), 16:02. 3, R, Jordan Tyler (unassisted), 12:05. 4, D, Hallie Hoffer (unassisted), 1:58.

THIRD PERIOD: 5, D, Paige Schweitzer (unassisted), 15:16. 6, R, Erin Harris (Bryana Christensen), 12:01. 7, R, Aubrey Kessel (Danielle Steinley), 4:50.

SAVES: R, Ally McLaughlin 6-7-6–19. D, Kelsey Gillen 10-7-x–17; Paige Fahlstrom x-6-8–14.

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