Entering its home opener with an undefeated mark, the Dickinson High boys hockey team was grounded by an unwavering attack from a WDA foe.
Bismarck Century had a 15-5 shots-on-goal advantage and 2-0 lead on the scoreboard after the first period before unleashing six goals in the second. With a running clock beginning in the third period, the Patriots eventually handed the Midgets their first loss of the season, cruising to a 10-0 victory on Friday, Dec. 7, from the West River Ice Center.
"I thought Century wanted more. From the opening face off, you could tell that they came to play a hockey game," Dickinson head coach Dallas Kuntz said. "They're a good-skilled team, but I think it just proves we need to work, especially when we let one up. You give up that first goal and you got to go back to work, I don't think we did that very well tonight."
Early in the first period, Patriots junior forward Austin Wald fired a shot toward Dickinson senior goaltender Riley Wittenberg. The goaltender made the save as the puck dangled on the goal line before being knocked away by a Midgets defender.
However, moments later, Wittenberg was less fortunate.
Wald punched in the Patriots' first score on a rebound in front following a right-center wrist shot from sophomore defender Cullen Curl.
With less than five minutes remaining in the period, senior defender Paydin Slette doubled the Patriots advantage after receiving a pass that traveled across the net from sophomore forward Cru Walker.
Dickinson had its best flurry at the second of the second period. Picking up the puck in the neutral zone, junior forward Joey Pavek maneuvered his way by a Bismarck Century defender, setting up a matchup with senior goaltender Matthew Schmidt. Pavek fired a wrister glove side, but Schmidt won the battle, as he deflected the puck toward the boards.
In the Midgets' next rush up the ice, Dickinson had a 3-on-1 opportunity broken up on a sliding block from Slette. The puck remained in the zone, found junior defender Austin Raatz wide open at the point, but his shot was gloved by Schmidt, who saved 16 shots for the shutout.
Many of the Midgets scoring chances came from the line of Pavek, freshman forward Evan Groll and senior forward Brayden Groll.
"They had chances," Kuntz said. "I think honestly they need to work better in the defensive zone, more communication. They are all skilled players. I want to see them perform under pressure like that, attack a little harder. They played hard tonight, but I know they have more in them."
After the first 90 seconds of strong Midget play the second, it was all Century after that. With 13:46 left in the frame, Alex Samardzic pushed the margin to 3-0 off a rebound in front. The Patriots expanded their lead to four when a blast from senior defender Carter Bailey was deflected in by senior forward Brandon Schaffer.
When Brown lit the lamp on a power play less than two minutes later, Wittenberg's night was done, finishing with 15 saves. His replacement, senior Jarin Naab didn't fare much better, as he allowed three goals before the second intermission and two more in the third.
"First, we came out pretty well. We had some good looks," Patriots head coach Troy Olson said. "In the second, we kind of played the same way we did in the first, we just got a little lucky and had a bounce here or there. Sometimes, when you get one or two, then a couple will keep coming. We started OK, but really picked it up in the second and got a few more pucks bounce the right way for us."
Dickinson will not have too much time to sulk in defeat, as the Midgets will hit the road to battle another WDA opponent in Minot on Saturday.
"A lot of chasing around, a lot of figure skating circles on there tonight. Lucky for us, we get on a bus tomorrow to go to Minot, so we can move on from this," Kuntz said.
Bismarck Century 10, Dickinson High 0
BC 2 6 2 - 10
D 0 0 0 - 0
FIRST PERIOD: 1, BC, Austin Wald (Cullen Curl, Nicholas Brown), 5:05. 2, BC, Paydin Slette (Cru Walker), 12:16.
SECOND PERIOD: 3, BC, Alex Samardzic (Brown), 3:14. 4, BC, Brandon Schaffer (Carter Bailey), 4:00. 5, BC, Brown (Schaffer, Bailey), 5:42. 6, BC, Colton Schulte (Connor Hanson), 12:39. 7, BC, Jadon Reimer (Dawson Shirley), 8, BC, Slette (Eli Reimer), 14:48.
THIRD PERIOD: 9, BC, Slette (Wald, Curl), 1:15. 10, BC J. Reimer, 8:45.
SAVES: BC, Matthew Schmidt 5-6-5-16. D, Riley Wittenberg 13-2-x-15; D, Jarin Naab x-6-8-14