Late goal pushes Dickinson past Devils Lake in close contest
By Sam Herder
As Dickinson head girls hockey coach Al Takle put it, his team hasn’t been in a situation like Saturday’s game in Devils Lake too often this year. The same could be said for the Firebirds.
The Midgets (3-12) survived a third period where Devils Lake (1-17) scored two quick goals to tie the game. Dickinson’s Kira Zastoupil made up for it with the go-ahead goal with one minute, 37 seconds remaining to seal a 5-4 win.
“We haven't had a lot of those, so it’s fun,” Takle said. “There were times I thought we played really well and there were times we had some lapses. Devils Lake has a lot of speed on their team and they utilized that to get opportunities. We kept battling.”
Dickinson had a chance to pull away with a 5-3 power play seven minutes into the third period while holding a 4-2 lead. But eight seconds after the Firebirds put their second player in the penalty box, Devils Lake’s Kaylie Klemetsrud found herself on a breakaway and snuck a shot past goalie Grace Kraiter.
“It was super huge, plus that’s her first goal of the year,” Firebirds head coach Rob McIvor said. “She was pumped, the girls were pumped. We just needed to build off of that.”
Devils Lake did that, tying it at 4-4 with seven minutes and change to play when Madelyn Longtin was assisted by Haylee Carlson.
The Firebirds came within inches of taking the lead a few minutes later, but Calli Forsberg’s shot hit the side of the net.
Neither team threatened to score again until Zastoupil’s shot found its way through traffic and into the net for the game winner.
“We finally picked it up in the third period today, but that was too little too late,” McIvor said. “I really wished they would’ve came out with the same competitiveness that they came out with against Mandan yesterday. I thought we had a lot better shot of winning today’s game.”
In the early periods, the Midgets found something in Paige Schweitzer and Taia Klaman. Schweitzer assisted in two Klaman goals, the first with 10.8 second left in the first period for the first score of the game. The second made it 3-1 after her teammate Abby Wandler and Devils Lake’s Forsberg traded goals earlier in the second period.
“I put those two together because they’re similar type of players,” Takle said. “We’re trying to get some chemistry between those two.”
The Midgets and Firebirds exchanged goals one more time in the second.
Dickinson’s Kennedy Kuntz was assisted by Kamryn Kuntz and Hallie Hoffer. Brina Abrahamson answered for the Firebirds with her first career goal to make it 4-2 with four minutes, 21 seconds left in the period.
Devils Lake made its valiant comeback effort in the third, but Dickinson was the team which found a way to win in the closing minutes.
“I got a lot of young players. They’re starting to get it, but it’s still taking some time to sink in,” McIvor said. “We’re making some silly mistakes that are costing us.”
Devils Lake’s Molly Black finished with 23 saves. Kraiter recorded 32 saves for Dickinson.