FARGO — If Thursday’s state quarterfinal girls hockey game between Devils Lake and Grand Forks went on much longer, they were going to have to finish it on Friday.
But Haylee Carlson made sure it didn’t come to that, as she netted the game-winner in the fourth overtime to seal a 2-1 Firebirds win on the first day of the North Dakota girls state hockey tournament at Farmers Union Insurance Center.
“I knew I had a lot of confidence in the shot, so I just gave it a chance and it just went in,” Carlson said. “It feels really good knowing that we came in last year fighting hard and we came in this year and came out on top.”
At the 5 minutes, 48 seconds mark in the fourth overtime, Carlson got a pass at the high slot and buried a slap shot in the top shelf with the help of a screen.
“We have two lines so the girls were getting tired,” Devils Lake coach Rob McIvor said. “I kept telling them keep going, keep going, it’s coming, it’s coming. Haylee got the puck in the slot with one person screening and that’s all it took.”
The Firebirds and KnightRiders had to run a marathon to reach the end of the game, and both were wearing down by the end with neither team able to create much offense.
“I’m not going to lie, the first line was really tired and the second line was getting tired,” McIvor said. “The defense was really tired. Molly seemed to be okay, which I was alright with. There was some discussion that if it went to six overtimes, we would have to play it tomorrow morning. I’m glad that didn’t come to fruition.”
After a scoreless first period, Grand Forks broke through with a goal by Kylie Autrey at the 13:08 mark in the second. But Devils Lake had the answer early in the third.
Ashlyn Abrahamson tied it up with a goal on a two-man advantage 11:06 to go in the third period. She got a pass from Kaylie Klemetsrud and fired from the back of the right circle, sneaking it by the goalie at the far post.
Devils Lake junior goalie Molly Black saved 49 shots and kept her team in the game. The Knight Riders had a number of quality shots, but the net minder kept on stopping them.
“That’s been Molly the whole year — and just about every year I’ve had her,” McIvor said. "Eighth grade, she was an eighth-grade goalie. But every year after that she has continually gotten better. Everything she’s done has been to improve at the goaltending position and it showed today.”
The Firebirds have to regroup and recover quickly to move on to face undefeated Fargo Davies in the semifinals on Friday.
“We’re going to have to eat, we’re going to have to get some rest, and rehydrate,” McIvor said. “We’ve got Davies next and we went to a shootout the last time we played them. That’s a good hockey team. We’re happy now, but we’re going to have to refocus.”
FIRST: No scoring.
SECOND: 1, GF, Richards (Autrey, Robinson) 13:08.
THIRD: 1, DL, Abrahamson (Klemetsrud) 5:54 pp.
1OT: No scoring
2OT: No scoring.
3OT: No scoring.
4OT: 2, DL, Carlson (Reule) 5:48.
SAVES: DL, Black 8-6-10-25—49; GF Baker 3-11-7-18—39