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Mandan's dynamic duo of Kautzman and Zittleman too much for Midgets

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson High sophomore Andrew Heckaman, right, and senior Brendin Steiner, right, skate after a lose puck against Mandan Tre Kautzman on Thursday night during a West Region boys hockey game at the Dickinson Recreation Center.

Mandan's Brady Zittleman and Tre Kautzman haunt every team.

Not just Dickinson.

The duo scored four of the team's five goals and seven totals points en route to a 5-3 West Region win over the Midgets on Thursday at the Dickinson Recreation Center.

"They haunt every team," Dickinson head coach Tom Folske said with a smile. "They don't just haunt me. Every coach in the West gets haunted by those two."

Zittleman and Kautzman connected for the team's first goal in the second period at 11 minutes, 22 seconds, but made a strong statement in the third with three goals and two assists. The only other player on the score sheet for Mandan was Grant Aasand, who had the team's second goal on an assist from Kautzman.

"They (Zittleman and Kautzman) are our go-to guys," Mandan head coach Dennis Budeau said. "The whole team looks up to these guys, and if they are giving their all it reflects all the way down the bench. We do rely on those guys to put pucks in the net when they have the opportunity."

After the Braves (6-7, 5-4 West) took a 3-1 lead midway through the third period, the Midgets got a spark from Mickey Folske. The sophomore forward scored a shorthanded goal on an assist from Matt Pavek that swung the momentum in Dickinson's favor.

"We played a solid game all the way around," Tom Folske said. "I'm very happy. We came out ready to play and the boys came out flying right out of the gate."

Dickinson senior forward Jayden Mink tied it 3-3 on a 2-on-1 breakaway, flipping up a wrist shot on a pass from senior captain Brendin Steiner. Mink laid out for the play, but he said it was all Steiner.

"I couldn't have done it without Brendin," Mink said. "His pass was perfect. It was right where it needed to be."

After a scoreless first period, the Midgets (5-7, 3-6 West) got on the board at 12:18 on a Pavek goal. Kass Dvorak and Mickey Folske came on for the assist.

The Pavek line, also known as "Sweet Corn" because of the yellow jersey the players wear during practice, helped score two of team's three goals.

Tom Folske started with the Pavek line, changing up the order from the first 11 games of the season when the Midgets started Steiner, Mink, freshman Mike Chesney -- who is out with a broken left arm he suffered against Bismarck High on Dec. 18 -- and junior Alex Turcotte.

"We were just changing it up," Tom Folske said. "Whoever starts the game is just a tiny point on that line of 51 minutes. It was just something to start with that speed against their speed."

Jamison Gray, the Midgets' senior goalie and alternate captain, made 26 saves in the game. Logan McDowall, his Mandan counterpart, stopped 25 shots.

"Jamison gave us a chance to win a hockey game and that's all you can ask of a goaltender," Tom Folske said.

The Midgets continue their West Region season by traveling to Minot at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

"We're going to have to look forward to Minot and forget about this one, but remember all the good things we did," Mink said. "We still have to move on."

Mandan 0 1 4 - 5

Dickinson 0 1 2 - 3

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, D, Matt Pavek (Kass Dvorak, Mickey Folske) 12:18. 2, M, Brady Zittleman (Tre Kautzman) 11:22.

THIRD PERIOD: 3, M, Grant Aasand (Kautzman) 14:26. 4, M, Kautzman (unassisted) 13:11. 5, D, Folske (Pavek) 10:54. 6, D, Jayden Mink (Brendin Steiner) 9:54. 7, M, Zittleman (Kautzman) 8:34. 8, M, Kautzman (unassisted) :18.

SAVES: M, Logan McDowall 8-9-8-25. D, Jamison Gray 8-8-10-26.