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Blizzard girls hockey puts pressure on in state quarterfinal win over Dickinson

GRAND FORKS—Bismarck didn't have to worry much about defense in the North Dakota girls hockey state quarterfinals. The Blizzard dominated the offensive zone and controlled the puck for so long they weren't even in their defensive zone for long anyway.

The No. 2-seeded Blizzard controlled the puck and allowed just one shot on goal as they shut out No. 7-seeded Dickinson 3-0 on Thursday, Feb. 22, at Olympic Arena.

"That was crazy," all-West Region defenseman Taylor Lenertz said. "We worked well down low and played as a team."

Bismarck (20-4) had beaten Dickinson (8-12-1) twice previously without allowing a goal. Between this game, a 4-0 win at Dickinson on Jan. 2 and a 7-0 win over Dickinson at home, the Blizzard allowed just 15 shots on goal.

Despite Bismarck winning time of possession, Dickinson's Baylee Kram, who ended the game with 34 saves, kept Bismarck's lead minimal.

"If we could've kept it close going into the third period, they would've been clenching their sticks pretty tight," Takle said. "They're able to keep the puck in the offensive zone and just keep going at you and pounding you down until you get tired and they score."

Britta Curl, a Wisconsin commit who missed part of the high school season as she led the IIHF World Under-18 tournament in Russia in goals for USA Hockey, was the first to score. She gave Bismarck a 1-0 advantage on an unassisted goal with less than five minutes left in the first period.

Riley Ball, who was fourth in the state in points going into the game, said the Blizzard never settled, even with a one-goal lead.

"We just overall possesed the puck really well," Ball said. "I don't think you ever settle down. You never know when the puck can just be turned over and they get a lucky one on us. We're never settled until the end of the game."

Ball scored her 27th goal of the season on a power play about eight minutes into the second period. Then just 23 seconds later, Kenley Anderson scored again for the Blizzard to give Bismarck the three-goal lead.

"I think that helped to boost us up a little bit to make sure that we have a little bit of a lead," Ball said. "We just work our hardest from here on out."

FIRST PERIOD: 1, B, Curl, 12:40.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, B, Ball (Curl, Lenertz), 8:59, pp. 3, B, Anderson (Howe, Blair), 9:22.

THIRD PERIOD: No scoring.

SAVES: D, Kram 9-14-11--34; B, Watkins 0-1-0--1.

Colton Pool

Pool is a reporter for The West Fargo Pioneer covering city sports and community news. He was the sports editor for The Dickinson Press covering Dickinson State athletics, high school athletics and Southwest Speedway. He graduated from North Dakota State with a degree in journalism and a minor in English. You can reach him by phone at 701-451-5715 or tweet him @CPoolReporter. 

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