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Dickinson High boys hockey falls shy of consolation comeback against Minot

GRAND FORKS -- The Dickinson boys hockey team's first trip to the North Dakota state tournament in 16 years ended Friday afternoon with a one-goal loss in the consolation semifinals.

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Minot High goaltender Kross Braaten, left, stretches for a loose puck after a shot from Dickinson senior forward Mike McChesney during the second period of a consolation game at the state boys hockey tournament Friday at Purpur Arena in Grand Forks. (Submitted Photo by Colin Thompson)

GRAND FORKS - The Dickinson boys hockey team’s first trip to the North Dakota state tournament in 16 years ended Friday afternoon with a one-goal loss in the consolation semifinals.

Junior defender Kaymen Kitchen scored two second-period goals in 9 seconds to rally the Midgets from a three-goal deficit, but Minot junior forward Easton Bennett fired back late in the third period to help the Magicians hold on for a 5-4 victory at Purpur Arena.

“We didn’t have any excuses because Minot ended up playing after we did (Thursday) night,” Dickinson head coach Dallas Kuntz said. “They only had about a 10-, 11-hour turnaround from when they played where we had a few extra hours to rest up.”

The Magicians (20-6) battle East Region No. 4-seeded Fargo Davies for fifth place at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The start and finish of Friday’s consolation clash were shaky for the Magicians, but a three-goal second period preserved their season for at least another 54 minutes.

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Amid their sluggish start, the Magi jumped ahead 1-0 with their first shot of the game. Sophomore defenseman Alec Braaten netted his fourth of the year with a wrister from the far circle which took a piece of Dickinson (10-14) junior goaltender Greg Haataja before trickling in at 3:16.

“It’s do or die at this point,” Kuntz said. “You just let the boys know: Either we play three periods of hockey and the season’s over or play three periods hard and maybe get to play three more.”

Goals from Minot senior Logan Bischof and Schuster made it 3-0 by the 5:07 mark of the second period.

Just over three minutes later, senior defenseman Tate Martel opened the scoring for Dickinson at 8:21 with his fourth goal of the year, but Schuster’s second of the game - assisted by classmate Noah Melby - made it 4-1 soon after.

At that point, the Midgets had a decision to make.

“It could have gone either way,” Kuntz said. “When you get down three goals in the second period like that, it’s pretty easy to pack it in and just go through the motions.

“But not this group.”

Kitchen brought Dickinson back within two goals of a tie, scoring a power-play goal at 14:32 that was assisted by classmate Dawson Kram and senior Jerzy Martin.

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Then, just 9 seconds later, Kitchen delivered another to make it a one-goal game.

“They’ve been battling hard all year, gone through a lot of peaks and valleys, and they kept the ship steady and gave themselves an opportunity at the end to maybe send the game to overtime,” Kuntz said. “I’m just proud of them for the way that they worked.”

Minot survived Dickinson’s sudden flurry with its lead still intact after two periods.

But the Midgets’ late-game chances continued into the third. A Michael McChesney breakaway at 11:38 was the best of those opportunities, but Minot goaltender Kross Braaten came up with big pad save to preserve the Magicians’ 4-3 lead.

Braaten turned back 26 shots on goal for Minot while Haataja had 25 saves for Dickinson.

Less than 30 seconds later, though, Minot’s lead was doubled.

With assists from sophomores Patrick Heide and Jake Viall, Bennett buried a hard wrist shot from the near point to make it 5-3.

“That was a big goal,” Minot co-head coach Jason Bennett said. “It gave us the cushion we needed - gave us some breathing room - because Dickinson was coming pretty hard at 4-3. We were just happy to get out of that, and getting that extra one helped.”

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Kram added the Midgets’ fourth goal with an extra attacker at 16:27, but Dickinson eventually fell short of a fifth.

“The boys knew what it was all about. They came here to compete, and we wanted another shot at Minot,” Kuntz said. “We knew we could compete with them, and I think we went out and proved that.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, M, Alec Braaten (Dalton Shipley), 3:16.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, M, Logan Bischof (Mason Hoffer, Ethan Czaplewski), 1:41. 3, M, Connor Schuster (Noah Melby), 5:07, power play. 4, D, Tate Martel (Mike McChesney), 8:21, power play. 5, M, Schuster (Melby, Easton Bennett), 9:52. 6, D, Kaymen Kitchen (Dawsom Kram, Jerzy Martin), 14:32, power play. 7, D, Kitchen (McChesney, Michael Herauf), 14:41.

THIRD PERIOD: 8, M, Bennett (Patrick Heide, Jake Viall), 12:05. 9, D, Dawson Kram (McChesney), 16:67, extra attacker.

SHOTS: M, 5-13-8-30. D, 9-13-12-30.

GOALTENDER SAVES: M, Kross Braaten 26. D, Greg Haataja 25.

PENALTIES: M, 3 minors. D, 5 minors.

Related Topics: PREP SPORTS
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