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West Fargo edges Midgets in season opener

Through one period Friday night at West River Ice Center, the shot discrepancy favored visiting West Fargo fairly drastically. The United had 16 compared to just four for Dickinson.

Dickinson goalie Baylee Kram attempts a save Friday night against West Fargo at the West River Community Ice Center. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson goalie Baylee Kram attempts a save Friday night against West Fargo at the West River Ice Center. (Samuel Evers / The Dickinson Press)

Through one period Friday night at West River Ice Center, the shot discrepancy favored visiting West Fargo fairly drastically. The United had 16 compared to just four for Dickinson.

The one shot for either team that found the net, though, was Midgets' Paige Schweitzer's long slap shot 4:26 into the game, and behind great goalie play, plus a few lucky bounces, Dickinson entered the break up 1-0.

But when play resumed, the breaks more or less evened out.

West Fargo kept its attack up, and broke through by sneaking three past Dickinson goalie Baylee Kram in the second period, then another two in the third, and ended up coasting to a 5-1 victory in the first contest of the year for the Midgets (0-1).

"Their goalie took some of those chances away early, but at the same time we had some very quality chances and we just didn't put them away," West Fargo head coach Pat Johnson said.

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"We knew we had the ability to do that. We just had to make sure we were there for the rebounds to start converting on some of those opportunities that we did have."

When the puck dropped to begin the second period, West Fargo right away picked up where it left off in terms of creating scoring chances. The United finally broke through less than a minute in on their 17th shot of the game - a goal from close range by Mattyson Barta assisted by Maleah Stromme.

Kram thwarted the United attack for another 10 or so minutes, until West Fargo took the lead 9:54 into the second period on a goal by Kaycee Herring. Then, despite a roughing penalty that left the team short-handed, West Fargo's Mady Davies scored just :39 seconds later to take a commanding 3-1 lead.

The Midgets struggled for the final two periods to create or cash in on any odd man rushes. For the solid majority of the final 34 minutes, the puck was in Dickinson's defensive zone.

"I think that West Fargo just came at us a little bit harder than they did in the first. We did our best to keep up with them," Kram said. "But we maybe slowed down a little bit. We were in pretty good shape for some of it but it was hard to keep up."

With only 10 skaters compared to a roster of 17 for the United, Dickinson head coach Al Takle agreed that his players began to tire. But as the season goes on, he noted, that will be something his Midgets' will have to learn to cope with.

"We were really skating with them, but as the game went on we got pretty sloppy in our defensive zone. That's when they started to get some really good shots on net," Takle said. "The numbers were an issue, but that's what it is. We've got to learn to play with those numbers. Our first-year players, this is all new to them. Everything was going a million miles to start and they just ran out of gas. We've got to learn, but West Fargo's the second-ranked team in the state, and we played right with them for a period and a half. I was happy with that."

 

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West Fargo 5, Dickinson 1

WF 0 3 2 - 5

DHS 1 0 0 - 1

FIRST PERIOD: 1, Paige Schweitzer, 4:26.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, Mattyson Barta (Maleah Stromme), :47. 2, Kaycee Herring (Madison Schoenberg), 9:54. 3, Mady Davies (Halle Speidel), 9:53.

THIRD PERIOD: 1, Courtney Walsh (Barta), 3:35. 2, Walsh, 4:28.

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