WEST FARGO — Fargo Davies has placed an emphasis on being a third-period team this season. That was apparent Friday night in the girls hockey matchup against West Fargo United.
Intensity wasn’t an issue for the Eagles in the last 17 minutes at West Fargo Sports Arena. Davies held a narrow one-goal lead heading into the final frame, and netted a trio of goals to blank West Fargo 4-0.
“I think we had good looks in all three periods, it was just a matter of we finally got one to drop by a hot goalie,” said Davies head coach Josh Issertell. “She was stellar the game before. She was stellar tonight. The kids in front of her made it tough. I think in the third the difference was one when we got a primo look, we buried.”
United goalie Madelyn Buchert had a 40-save game in the opener against Fargo North-South. She followed it up with another solid performance, registering 41 saves Friday. Davies goalie Kennedy Cook had 12 saves en route to the shutout.
“This one feels good. It’s really a rivalry when we come to play these girls, and this one felt really good,” said junior forward Olivia Opheim. “Especially because last season in the first game of state, it was a close game. So we really wanted to come out in this first game of the season against them and get a win.”
With the win, Davies improved to 2-0. West Fargo moved to 1-1 overall.
The Eagles jumped on the board first. Mathilde Vetter scored three minutes into the game from the point on a cross-ice pass from Emme Schmidt. The teams played a back-and-forth rest of the 13 minutes to close out the first period.
West Fargo has just six upperclassmen on its roster, but didn’t let the youth show. The teams traded possession of the puck throughout the game.
“They’re very aggressive. We needed to focus on staying just as aggressive as they were, and also working on what we were doing in practice — getting good passes on and getting shots on the net,” Opheim said. “She’s a good goalie, so we wanted to really get some good shots on net.”
The Eagles set the tone for the second period with an odd-man rush right off the faceoff. Buchert had back-to-back stops in the first minute to start the second frame.
“You’re gonna have to be tough in front of both nets,” Issertell said on keys to Friday’s win. “They lean on you, they make it tough. They’re hard on sticks. They have a great goaltender. They play as a team in all three zones. They make you earn it. We prioritize our effort and our intensity, and I think our kids delivered.”
The Eagles swarmed West Fargo on the power play two minutes in, but the strong forecheck was met by Buchert’s solid goaltending.
Davies had success on both sides of the puck, with West Fargo not getting its first shot on net of the second period until 10 minutes in. The Eagles successfully killed its second penalty of the game in the last four minutes of the frame.
Davies outshot West Fargo 28-10 in the first two periods.
From the drop of the puck, the third period was all Davies. The Eagles controlled the puck to generate three goals.
Senior forward Josie Froslie started the onslaught seven minutes in after she broke away at center ice and shifted the puck from the forehand to her backhand to get the puck past Buchert.
Opheim followed with a wraparound goal less than two minutes later.
“I saw the front of the net was really congested and I didn’t really have a shot or anyone to pass to, and I thought the best shot I had was to wrap around and tuck it in the net,” she said.
Kylie Autrey capped the third-period onslaught 40 seconds later. The puck trickled into Buchert’s five-hole, where it hit her skate and went directly into the net.
FIRST PERIOD: 1, FD, Vetter (Schmidt, Severson), 3:28.
THIRD PERIOD: 2, FD, Froslie (Zimmerman, Sauvageau), 7:22. 3, FD, Opheim (Klassen, Johnson), 8:54. 4, FD, Autrey (Froslie, Sauvageau), 9:37.
SAVES: WF, Buchert 18-9-14—41. FD, Cook, 6-4-2—12.