DICKINSON, N.D. — For the second consecutive season, the Dickinson High girls hockey team punched its ticket to NDHSAA state tournament following a 3-0 victory at Jamestown on Friday, Feb. 8.
Less than 24 hours later, the Midgets did battle with a team they may very well see in Fargo during the tournament quarterfinals.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first period against Fargo Davies, Dickinson clawed its way backwith a score in the second frame and an equalizer in the third. However, the Eagles lit the lamp three more times within a two-minute span, snapping the home team’s six-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory on Saturday, Feb. 9, from the West River Ice Center.
Entering the contest, Dickinson was the No. 6 seed, while Fargo Davies was slotted in as the No. 3 seed. After their win which earned them six points in the standings, the Eagles are tied with Bismarck for the No. 2 seed.
“Our message before the game was for us to send a message because we know we are probably going to get them again; make sure they know we’re a real team and we’re going to come for them,” Dickinson head coach Al Takle said. “We took advantage of a couple of opportunities. … Yesterday, we had a lot of penalties and our top line played a lot and we asked them to play a lot today. You can tell they were tired, but we got to regroup and go again on Tuesday.”
Down by a pair of goals, Dickinson’s comeback charge was led by defender Taia Klaman early in the second period. Picking up the puck in the neutral zone, Klaman, the state’s leading goal scorer, raced up the boards before closing in on Fargo Davies sophomore netminder Kennedy Cook. The junior’s stick was lifted by an Eagles defender prior to releasing the shot, but senior forward Kamryn Kuntz was in the perfect spot at the right time, jamming in the home team’s first tally.
Klaman again found herself with the biscuit near center ice in the third, weaving by two defenders before bouncing to her left near the boards. Shielding off another defender, Klaman wheeled behind the net before dropping off a pass to freshman forward Taylor Reap, who put home the equalizer six minutes and 20 seconds into the frame.
“They’re very aggressive with their defense, they pinch hard and we were able to get by them,” Takle said. “Our speed matches their speed, so if we can get a step on them, we’re able to take the puck down and control it.”
Dickinson had its best chance to take the lead midway through the period when a body-checking penalty on sophomore forward Josie Froslie and a tripping penalty on senior defender Sasha Durand gave the home team a 5-on-3 advantage for a minute and 15 seconds, but the Midgets failed to generate a shot. Shortly after, the Eagles made them pay.
After a rush and shot from sophomore defender Maddy Green, freshman forward Olivia Opheim hammered in the rebound and go-ahead goal with 6:20 remaining.
More than a minute later, Dickinson sophomore forward Madison McChesney was sent to the box for tripping. During the power play, Durand sent a rocket through heavy traffic, and while Kram was able to make the initial save, Froslie cleaned up the rebound, giving the visitors a 4-2 cushion with 4:26 left. The sophomore wasn’t done, as she added another score 18 seconds later.
“We were lacking a little bit of energy and we got some from our penalty kill. The 5-on-3 kill was huge,” Fargo Davies head coach Josh Issertell said. “The next shift, we got a little bit of mojo and we finally had some girls go hard to the net.”
The Eagles had a similar surge late in the first period. Coming away with the puck after a battle on the boards, Alexis Sampson skated in front of the net and lifted a wrister for the game’s opening score with 47.9 seconds before intermission. Winning the ensuing faceoff, Fargo Davies doubled its lead seven seconds later when Sampson tapped in an Opheim centering pass.
With the exception of those two Eagle blitzes, Kram was terrific in net, collecting 38 saves overall, 17 coming in the second period to keep the Midgets in it.
“You just always want to take the game one shot at a time,” Kram said. “If you think too much of how everything is as a whole, with all the shots and goals, you end up overthinking and getting yourself out of it. … Whether you are losing by 10 and winning by five, you want to play every shot like it’s 0-0.”
Dickinson’s five seniors were recognized prior to the game as Kram, Kamryn Kuntz, defender/forward Kennedy Kuntz, forwards Grace Kraiter and Alex Anderson each took center stage with loved ones by their side. Kram is the longest-tenured Midget, beginning her time with the program as an eighth-grader. Following multiple knee surgeries early in her career, she has developed into one of the best netminders the state has to offer.
“It’s a little overwhelming to think that’s the last time I’ll play an actual game on this ice,” Kram said. “I’ve been skating on this ice since I was three (years old), playing games here for about 13 years now. It’s kind of hard to think that’s over with, but we want to give it all that we have, all the way through.”
Fargo Davies 5, Dickinson 2
FD 2 0 3 — 5
D 0 1 1 — 2
FIRST PERIOD: 1, FD, Alexis Sampson, 16:13. 2, FD, Sampson (Olivia Opheim), 16:20.
SECOND PERIOD: 1, D, Kamryn Kuntz (Taia Klaman), 3:28.
THIRD PERIOD: 2, D, Taylor Reap (Klaman), 6:20. 3, FD, Opheim (Maddy Green), 10:40. 4, FD, Josie Froslie (Sasha Durand), 12:34 PP. 5, FD, Froslie (Green), 12:52.
SAVES: FD, Kennedy Cook 4-4-10—18. D, Baylee Kram 12-17-9—38.