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Heath Hotzler, Published February 28 2009

Spartans return to state final

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The Spartans are back in the finals.

Defending champion Fargo North reached the championship game of the North Dakota state girls hockey tournament for the sixth consecutive season with a 5-0 win against Grand Forks on Friday at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

The Spartans will take on Bismarck at 11:30 a.m. today at Ralph Engelstad Arena for the program’s fourth title in the seven years of the tourney.

“Today, I asked the girls to go out there and win the game for me today,” said North coach Dave Bjugson, who has led the Spartans to three state titles. “I never do that. Tomorrow, they can win for themselves, but today I wanted them to win it for me. With everything we’ve been through, I just had a feeling they would respond to it.”

The Spartans opened quickly for the second consecutive game, scoring a pair of goals in the first period to take a 2-0 advantage.

North also scored two goals in the first period of its 6-0 first-round win Thursday against Dickinson.

Freshman forward Mara Teschendorf flipped a wrist shot past Grand Forks goaltender Ali Sondreal at 5:08 to open the scoring.

Senior defender Kayla Berg blasted a slap shot into the net from just inside the blue line to make it 2-0 at less than two minutes later.

“We knew coming into the game that we had to get on them right away because they are a tough team,” Teschendorf said. “It just happened that we were able to get on them right away.”

After gathering a perfect pass in front of the net from Haley Olmstead, Emily Dahl beat Sondreal to put the Spartans ahead 3-0 at 4:38 of the second period.

Teschendorf scored her second unassisted goal of the game at 9:30 of the second to increase North’s lead to 4-0.

The KnightRiders had few offensive opportunities against North in the first two periods.

Grand Forks, which had just nine shots combined in the first two periods on Spartans goaltender Chelsea Sitzmann, was limited to just one quality chance heading into the third.

On that chance, KnightRiders senior forward Cass Dahl missed the net on a breakaway midway through the second.

“The first and second period, we had a combined total of nine shots,” Grand Forks coach Melanie Lima said. “We kind of stepped up in the third period, but it was kind of too little, too late. … We weren’t doing the little things right.”

Grand Forks ramped up the pressure in the third period, outshooting the Spartans 9-7.

However, Sitzmann turned away all 21 shots she faced to earn her second consecutive shutout of the tournament.

“This is really big for all of us,” Teschendorf said. “Some of the new kids don’t know how big it is. The feeling I got last year (from winning the state title) is a feeling that’s never going to be replaced.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, FN, Teschendorf (unassisted), 5:08. 2, FN, Berg (Teschendorf, Brenneman), 6:58.

SECOND PERIOD: 3, FN, Dahl (Olmstead, Berg), 4:38. 4, FN, Teschendorf (unassisted), 9:30.

THIRD PERIOD: 5, FN, Boetel (Teschendorf), 8:59.

SAVES: GF, Sondreal 7-9-6–22. FN, Sitzmann 4-5-9–21.

Bismarck 6, Fargo South 5 (OT)

Samantha Harris scored four goals, including the game-winner at 2:46 in overtime, to help the Blizzard slip past the Bruins into the championship game.

“It was meant to be,” Harris said. “We had this game from the beginning. We were supposed to win.”

After South came back from a 4-1 second-period deficit to force overtime, Harris corralled a long cross-ice pass from Laura Maddock, and beat Bruins goaltender Emily Foyt on a breakaway to seal the win for Bismarck.

“I’ve been on many breakaways before, and I’m usually not confident,” Harris said. “When I got the puck there was no doubt in my mind it was going in.”

With help from a pair of power-play goals, Bismarck grabbed a 3-0 first-period lead.

Bismarck’s defense limited the Bruins to just one shot on goal in the opening 16 minutes of the game.

The state’s top scoring line of Harris, Maddock and Maddy Gendreau torched the Bruins for four goals in the first two periods. The trio combined for 80 goals this season. Gendreau leads the state with 83 points (41 goals, 42 assists) in 21 games.

South came roaring back with three goals in the second to cut Bismarck’s lead to 4-3 with a period-and-a-half to play.

The Bruins went ahead 5-4 on an Haley Rheault goal at 10:23 of the third.

Bismarck tied it at 5-5 with 54 seconds remaining.

South finished the season at 16-7.

“When they went ahead of us, we never had a doubt in our minds we would come back,” senior defender Lauren Kringstad said. “We knew if we tried we could come back. We can do anything.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, B, Harris (Maddock, Gendreau), 5:42. 2, B, Harris (Gendreau), 11:31 (pp). 3, B, Maddock (Gendreau), 14:55 (pp).

SECOND PERIOD: 4, FS, Stellrecht (Hayes), 3:35. 5, B, Harris (Kringstad), 4:52. 6, FS, Olson (Freeman, Peterson) 6:28 (pp). 7, FS, Freeman (Sellner, Olson), 6:41.

THIRD PERIOD: 8, FS, Nagel (Sauvageau, Rheault), 5:36. 9, FS, Rheault (Nagel), 10:23 (pp). 10, B, Kringstad (Maddock, Erhardt), 16:06 (pp).

OVERTIME: 11, B, Harris (Maddock), 2:46.

SAVES: FS, Foyt 6-7-6-2–21. B, Cariveau 3-5-9-0–17.

Consolation bracket

West Fargo 5, Dickinson 1

Kacie Johnson and Kelsey Kloos each scored two goals to lift the Packers to a win in the consolation semifinals.

West Fargo will face Minot at 3:30 p.m. today at Purpur Arena for fifth place.

The Packers raced to a 4-0 lead to open the game.

Madison Kinzel scored Dickinson’s only goal at 12:26 of the third period.

Eighth-grade goaltender Adrea Klug finished with 14 saves for the Packers.

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, WF, Johnson (unassisted), 5:34. 2, WF, Lothspeich (Johnson, Springer), 8:30 (pp). 3, WF, Kloos (Springer), 15:17 (pp)

THIRD PERIOD: 4, WF, Johnson (Swanson), 4:37. 5, D, Kinzel (Kuntz), 12:26. 6, WF, Kloos (unassisted), 15:10.

SAVES: WF, Klug 4-4-6—14. D, 6-11-11—28.

Minot 3, Williston 2 (OT)

Kaari Burbach scored an unassisted goal in overtime to lift the Majettes to victory in the consolation semifinals.

Minot junior Brigitte Lafontaine forced overtime, scoring a goal at 16:38 of the third period to knot the score at 2-2.

Minot plays West Fargo at 3:30 p.m. today for fifth place.

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, W, Hennessy (Walz) 3:41 (pp). 2, M, Kongelf (Sandvold) 11:39.

THIRD PERIOD: 3, W, Lutz (Wenstad) 12:59 (pp). 4, M, Lafontaine (Herslip) 16:38.

OVERTIME: 5, M, Burbach 3:39.

SAVES: M, Galvin 4-5-4-2–15. W, McCaughtry 5-8-6-4–23.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found

at www.areavoices.com