There is a price to pay when not playing on even terms with an opponent.
Devils Lake learned that lesson in a big way on Tuesday as Bottineau scored three power play goals, including two in the final period, to get past the Firebirds 4-1 in high school boys hockey action at Burdick Arena.
It was the season opener for both teams.
“Our inexperienced showed,” Devils Lake coach David Zimmerman said. “We have a lot of work to do in all three zones ... and we need to work on our communication on the ice.”
Things started out well enough for Devils Lake as the Firebirds, who logged just a 3-20-0 record last season and have high expectations to surpass that record this season.
Lukas LaMotte found himself in front of the Bottineau net with no defenders in the vicinity. He corralled a pass from Riley Thomas and blasted a shot past Bottineau netminder Riley Monson to give Devils Lake a 1-0 advantage at 11:45 of the opening period. Jordan Swanson was also credited with an assist on the play.
The lead, something Devils Lake did not enjoy much of last season, held up for just over three minutes before the visiting Braves were able to tie the game.
Bottineau, which applied plenty of pressure to the Devils Lake defense throughout the contest without getting many scoring opportunities, finally got through when Cody Longie wristed a shot from the high slot past Devils Lake goaltender Holden Kurtz to tie the game at the the 14:23 mark of the first period. Kurtz had stopped Bottineau on each of the first three shots he faced in the game.
He later turned in a brilliant play when a Bottineau player skated in all alone in front of Kurtz, who stone-walled the shot early in the second period to keep the score tied at 1-1.
But, it was three power play goals, including two in the final period, that proved to be the difference.
“We need to learn how to finish off plays,” Zimmerman said, “ ... three power plays, that was the difference.”
Kurtz finished the game with 24 saves, including 12 in the final period. His counterpart, Monson, tallied 23 saves in the game.
Devils Lake returns to action Nov. 29 when the Firebirds open Eastern Dakota Conference play at Fargo Davies, a state-qualifying team of a year ago. Devils Lake will return home to play Hazen-Beulah the following night.
“That’s not much turnaround time,” Zimmerman said.
Bottineau 1 1 2 — 4
Devils Lake 1 0 0 — 1
Devils Lake — Lukas LaMotte (Riley Thomas, Jordan Swanson), 11:45.
Bottineau — Cody Longie (Harrison Aide, Luke Amsbaugh), 14:23.
Bottineau — Amsbaugh (Aide, Longie), 11:01 (pp).
Page 2 of 2 - Third Period
Bottineau — Andrew Hill (Longie, Aide), 1:05 (pp).
Bottineau — Hill (Aide), 14:28 (pp).
Goaltender saves: Bottineau — Riley Monson 8-9-6 — 23, Devils Lake — Holden Kurtz 4-8-12 — 24. Penalties — Bottineau 4 minors, Devils Lake 5 minors.