Taylyn Cope's late-game hat trick sends Minot past West Fargo United and into girls hockey semifinals
Down two goals with 6:42 remaining, it took Cope just 1 minute and 37 seconds to net three goals, recording the natural hat trick in Thursday's quarterfinals.
MINOT — All Taylyn Cope needed was 1 minute and 37 seconds to send her team into the state semifinals.
Down 3-1 with 6:42 remaining in the game, the Minot senior put the team on her back, recording a natural hat trick in just over 90 seconds that gave the Majettes a 4-3 win over West Fargo United on Thursday in the girls hockey state tournament quarterfinals at Maysa Arena.
Minot called timeout to regroup after United made it a two-goal game with 7:29 remaining on Zoey Gervais' second of the contest.
Regroup, indeed. Cope started the rally by beating United goaltender Maggie Seeley on a cross-crease pass from teammate Payton Lang.
Just 1:11 later, Cope tied it at 3-3 on a scramble in front of the United net. Twenty-six seconds after, she threw a shot on net from distance that was initially saved by Seeley but trickled in.
Just like that, the hosts were on top and the home crowd was elated.
"It was 3-1, we called timeout and coach said, 'Never too high, never too low,' " Cope said. "I really looked into that and just said, 'We've got to stay even and we've got to keep it going no matter what the score is.'
"I got the first one and I was like, 'We're not stopping.' Got the second one and I was like, 'We're not stopping.' Got the third one and it was, 'Oh my gosh, let's go.' "
The trio of goals were Cope's team-leading 15th, 16th and 17th tallies of the season.
"I couldn't have done it without the team and how they had their confidence in me," Cope said. "It was definitely just a team effort there."
With the win, No. 5 seed Minot (13-8-3) will face top-seeded Fargo Davies (21-3-0) in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
No. 4 seed United (13-10-1) will square off with No. 8 Bismarck Century (8-12-4) in the consolation semifinals at noon.
"We had the game and then we decided to not completely shut down," United head coach Pat Johnson said. "But we shut down a little bit, gave (Minot) opportunities and they took advantage of them."
Johnson added that the winning mentality won't go away as his team enters the consolation bracket.
"You've got to come in and you've got to play the game," Johnson said. "If you're not going to play the game, then why are we here? We didn't win the championship, but we can still go 2-1 which is pretty good. It's been a tough state all year long, and you always want to go out winning."
Gervais opened the scoring at 5:03 of the first period, finding net on the power play to give United a 1-0 lead that stood as the score after 17 minutes.
Minot's Payton Lang tied the game at 13:36 of the second period to make it a 1-1 deadlock heading to the third.
It was United's Erin Nowacki scoring just 37 seconds into the final period to put her team back on top before Gervais netted her second of the night at 9:31 to make it a 3-1 lead.
After that, it was all Cope.
"We kind of talked about big players having big games and big opportunities," Minot co-head coach MaKayla Neuhalfen said. "At 3-1 with seven minutes left, our spirits were kind of low.
"But we knew with a team like West Fargo, they have a short bench so we knew it was going to come to the very end. We just had to keep grinding and our opportunities were going to come."
Final shots were 26-16 Minot. Minot goaltender Jillian Ackerman stopped 13 shots in the victory while Seeley finished with 22 saves for United.
Nowacki and Mia Gervais added assists for United. Brynn Hanson tallied two assists for Minot while Lang added another.
United went 1-for-2 on the power play while Minot was 0-of-4.
FIRST PERIOD: 1, WFU, Z. Gervais (M. Gervais), 5:03.
SECOND PERIOD: 2, MIN, Lang (Hanson), 13:36.
THIRD PERIOD: 3, WFU, Nowacki (unassisted), 0:37. 4, WFU, Z. Gervais (Nowacki), 9:31. 5, MIN, Cope (Lang), 10:18. 6, MIN, Cope (unassisted), 11:29. 7, MIN, Cope (Hanson), 11:55.
SAVES: MIN, Ackerman 4-3-6—13. WFU, Seeley 11-6-5—22.