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Dickinson High Midgets boys hockey can’t hold lead in loss to Minot

For the first 32 minutes of their game Saturday, goalkeeper Greg Haataja and the Dickinson High boys hockey team had neutralized the West Region's top team, Minot.

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Dickinson High junior goaltender Greg Haataja deflects the puck with his leg pad away from the net against Minot on Saturday at the West River Ice Center. ( Press Photo by Parker Cotton)
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For the first 32 minutes of their game Saturday, goalkeeper Greg Haataja and the Dickinson High boys hockey team had neutralized the West Region’s top team, Minot.

Then the Magicians put on a dazzling display, scoring four goals in the final 4 minutes, 17 seconds of the second period, taking a 4-2 lead en route to a 6-2 victory at the West River Ice Center.

“Minot just kept working hard, and we just ran out of gas,” Dickinson head coach Dallas Kuntz said. “It’s no secret we’re not a deep team. Minot’s deep, and they’re just going to keep rolling. They smelled blood, and they went for it.”

After a scoreless first period, the Midgets built a 2-0 lead behind second-period goals from juniors Josh Stengel and Matthew Tessier and stingy netminding from Haataja.

Dickinson (4-7. 2-7 West Region) killed two penalties in the first period and another two in the second, preventing Minot from using its advantage.

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“Last time we played them, we got beat maybe four times on their power play,” Haataja said. “We shut them down on that tonight, and that was a turning point early.”

The Magicians (11-3, 8-1) broke through, though, with a goal from senior Cole Nelson with 4:17 to play in the second period. Senior Ethan Czaplewski scored the equalizer just 40 seconds later. Two minutes passed before sophomore Colby Enns’ shot deflected off the right corner of the crossbar and found the back of the net, and Czaplewski made it 4-2 with another score 18 seconds after that.

Czaplewski also had Minot’s two goals in the third period to complete the scoring.

“They were moving their legs, and we got caught flat-footed for a while,” Haataja said. “I could have had a couple of those, but just those bounces didn’t go our way tonight.”

Magicians head coach Jason Bennett said his team has struggled for energy in its past few games, but it once it got on the board, he saw a little more life.

“We changed some lines up when we got down 2-0, and the guys started going harder after that,” he said. “Guys started forechecking harder. I don’t know if it was the line changes or almost being embarrassed that motivated kids, but whatever it was, it worked, I guess.”

Each team had its chances to score early on. Dickinson senior Michael McChesney had two shots deflect off the crossbar in the first period, and the Magicians had several shots on goal during their power plays.

“Dickinson did a good job of blocking shots and getting in lanes,” Bennett said. “Their goalie played really well on the kill, and that has to be your best killer. We had some quality chances and just couldn’t bury them.”

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Stengel’s goal opened the scoring, and he said given how the game was up until that point - with nearly 5 minutes gone in the second period - the goal was a motivating factor.

“It really jump-started the team,” he said. “It showed we could score on the goalie, so we needed to get more.”

Dickinson junior Dawson Kram assisted on both goals, and freshman Ryan Bren also helped with Tessier’s score. Haataja finished with 38 saves.

Minot junior Easton Bennett and senior Logan Bischof each had two assists. Magicians senior goalie Kross Braaten stopped 18 shots in the win.

M042–6

D020–2

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, DHS, Josh Stengel (Dawson Kram), 4:25. 2, DHS, Matthew Tessier (Ryan Bren, Kram), 7:05. 3, M, Cole Nelson (Mason Hoffer, Connor Schuster), 13:43. 4, M, Ethan Czaplewski (Easton Bennett, Sage Bessette), 14:23. 5, M, Colby Enns (Czaplewski, Bennett), 16:21. 6, M, Czaplewski (Logan Bischof, Bennett), 16:39.

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THIRD PERIOD: 1, M, Czaplewski (Bischof), 5:05. 2, Czaplewski (Dalton Shipley), 12:44.

SAVES: M, Kross Braaten 8-2-8-18. DHS, Greg Haataja 11-15-12-38.

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