The sophomore scores in the first, third periods to get Fargo Davies into championship game.
FARGO — Less than 20 hours after playing what basically amounted to two and half girls hockey games due to a four overtime North Dakota High School Activities Association state tournament quarterfinal, Devils Lake — on wobbly legs and all — had to face the tournament’s top seed in Fargo Davies.
The turnaround, or lack of bodies to combat the residual affects of Day 1, was just too much to overcome as the Eagles got two goals from Olivia Opheim to come away with the 2-0 semifinal win Friday, Feb. 28 from Scheels Arena. The loss, the Firebirds second to the Eagles this season, put them into the tournament’s third place game against Minot, which lost to the defending champion Bismarck Blizzard 4-3 in the other semifinal.
The Firebirds and Davies played to a tie in their previous meeting back on Feb. 18.
“When you’re running two lines, fatigue will always be a factor,” said Firebirds head coach Rob McIvor. “I told the girls that I was pretty happy with their response from the first goal. We kept it down on their end multiple times and I kept telling them that we had them right where we wanted them.”
The Firebirds were penalized twice during the game, the first, a Hannah Barendt inference at the five minute, 37 second mark of the first period proved be a costly one. With 23 seconds remaining in the power power, Opheim sneaked the puck through Firebirds goaltender’s Molly Black’s legs to take the early lead. The goal was assisted by Maddy Green and Kaia Johnson.
After a scoreless second period, Opheim unleashed a shot that zipped past Black’s right shoulder, grazing the crossbar and hitting the back of the net. It was all they needed to advance to Saturday’s championship game.
“It was a great shot,” McIvor said about Opheim’s unassisted goal. “It put them up 2-0 and at that point I had to pull the goalie with two minutes left and we kept it in their end for a lot of that time but hats off to Davies. I’m just proud of our girls and the way we battled.”
The Eagles outshot the Firebirds 34-10 and had 13 more quality scoring chances. The two won an equal amount of face-offs (20-20).
“I’m supremely happy with the way they played and the amount of effort they had to put out the last two days,” McIvor said.
Black finished with 32 saves. Eagles goalie Kennedy Cook had a perfect save percentage, saving all 10 of Firebirds shots on goal.
The summary can be found here.
Chris Harris can be reached at email@example.com.