Midgets allow five goals in subpar third period performance
In a game that was much closer than what the final score would suggest, the Dickinson High boys hockey team allowed five goals in the final 17 minutes, falling in their season home finale to Minot 10-3 on Saturday, Feb. 3 from the West River Ice Center.
Minot outshot Dickinson 15-5 in the third frame after each team had 20 shots on goals through two periods.
"We got casual and kind of took things for granted. It started in our own end," Dickinson head coach Dallas Kuntz said. "Details. I thought we forgot what we did at peewees and at bantams: Defenseman puck watching in front of the net, wingers not helping out on the wall, centerman not helping out down low, we got casual. We got satisfied with where we were at. It's very disappointing. I think out of their ten goals, I believe we made Minot earn two of them and the other eight of them were mental mistakes on our part."
Just a little over two minutes after the puck dropped, Minot senior defender Chayse Haberman found junior forward Hunter Cope open in front, finishing with a backhand shot that got by Midgets junior goaltender Riley Wittenberg.
Moments later, following a Dickinson mishandle in the defensive zone, Minot junior forward Kyler Stenberg recovered the loose puck and fired a shot into the back of the net.
The Magicians padded their lead on a shot through traffic from senior forward Jake Viall, ending Wittenberg's night as he was replaced with junior netminder Jarin Naab.
"I thought we played pretty well in the first period," Minot co-head coach Jason Bennett said. "It was opportunist scoring. We didn't have a ton of shots, but it was 3-0."
Despite being down on the scoreboard, Dickinson had plenty of chances in the first period.
Following a face off in the offensive zone, senior forward Peter Pavek missed a chance to get the Midgets on the board after his wrist shot from in front deflected into the netting, ricocheting off of the stick junior goaltender Odin Nelson.
Next time down the ice, sophomore forward Joseph Pavek had his wrist shot from the slot gloved by Nelson. Before the end of the period, Peter Pavek rebounded a Joseph Pavek wrister from the right circle, but the senior's shot flew just wide.
Dickinson finally capitalized on their scoring chances 18 seconds into the second period when senior defender Chris Zubke laced a wrister near the blue line past Nelson.
The Magicians got that score back following a shorthanded goal from senior forward Brock Bergrude, but senior defenders Pat Heide and Sam Opozda were whistled midway through period for hooking and unsportsmanlike penalties, respectively.
Rewarded with a 5-on-3 power-play, Dickinson closed its deficit to one with goals from junior forward Ryan Bren and sophomore defender Austin Raatz.
"We came out and we wanted it in the second period," Kuntz said. "We gave up three very soft goals in the beginning of the game. Those are pucks that we needed to stop and they know that. If we are going to be successful, we can't be letting in little dribblers through our legs. ... But we came out, got a jump and I thought we played a great second period, showed that we belonged with them."
Minot finished the game with six unanswered goals. Cope gave the Magicians some breathing room with a goal toward the end of the second period and added two more scores in the third.
Appearing lackadaisical at times, the Midgets were steamrolled and despite their effort in the first two periods, Kuntz believes their lack of exertion in the final frame was the result of poor practices leading up to the game.
"I believe games are won and lost with your preparation; I'll be honest as a coach, we didn't have good preparation this week," Kuntz said. "We had guys not going to workouts in the morning and guys that are coming into practice thinking that it's a Sunday skate. It's not going to be good enough moving forward. We have tournaments starting in two weeks. Gut check, soul search or whatever you want to call it, we have to get better in all areas."
Dickinson will travel to Jamestown next week for its final regular season contest before the regional tournament.
Despite his disappointment in his players, Kuntz took a moment to reflect on his five seniors, Zubke along with forwards Logan Karsky, Dylan Pokorny, Drew Halsey, Peter Pavek, who played their final home game that evening.
"I'm really proud of them," Kuntz said. "They've put in tons, tons of work over the years. A lot them started at four, five years old. For them to play thirteen, fourteen years of hockey in the Dickinson hockey club, I'm so proud of them. Our seniors went out there and worked hard tonight, I'm just sad that we couldn't win a game for them."
Zubke, the lone defender in the senior class, began his hockey journey while in the first grade. A varsity player for the last three years, he's happy playing amongst a group that share a strong passion for the sport.
"Hockey is probably one of the hardest sports you can play," Zubke said. "I guess it gets to the point where you find the love for it and it takes you away. We all really care about the game."
Minot High 10, Dickinson High 3
M 3 2 5 — 10
D 0 3 0 — 3
FIRST PERIOD: 1, M, Hunter Cope (Chayse Haberman, Jack Plemel), 2:05. 2, M, Kyler Stenberg, 5:43. 3, M, Jake Viall (Sam Opozda), 12:55.
SECOND PERIOD: 1, D, Chris Zubke (Ryan Bren), :18. 2, M, Mason Dieh (Nick Murphy), 5:56. 3, D, Bren (Zubke), 10:25. 4, D, Austin Raatz (Joseph Pavek, Morgan Wardner), 11:42. 5, M, Hunter Cope (Haberman, Plemel), 14:26.
THIRD PERIOD: 1, M, Cope, 5:51. 2, M, Brock Bergrude (Logan Braaten, Payton Philion), 11:17. 3, M, Cope (Chayse Haberman), 13:24. 4, M, Brice Borkhuis (Opozda, Rylan Neiszner), 14:41. 5, M, Plemel, 16:35.
SAVES: M, Odin Nelson 7-10-5 — 22. D, Riley Wittenberg 5-x-x — 5, Jarin Naab 4-6-10 — 20.