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Tom Mix, Published February 21 2013

West Fargo tops Williston in state girls hockey quarterfinals

GRAND FORKS – Thursday was nothing like the previous two meetings between West Fargo and Williston, but when the final buzzer sounded, the Packers had earned a win.

West Fargo defeated Williston 4-0 in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota state girls hockey tournament at Ralph Engelstad Olympic Arena.

The No. 1-seeded Packers (22-1-0) had posted two 10-0 victories over the eighth-seeded Coyotes in the regular season, but on Thursday, West Fargo clung to a 1-0 lead heading into the third period.

Hayley Walsh, Kelly Krahn and Maddy Nelson each scored goals for the Packers in the third period to seal the win.

“We didn’t come out and play the way we wanted to,” West Fargo head coach Pat Johnson said. “Hats off to (Williston). They came out and showed they can play with the teams here and they did. … We got a couple good goals in the third period that broke it open, but we took too many penalties.”

West Fargo advances to play Jamestown in today’s semifinals at noon.

Walsh, the state’s scoring leader, scored the Packers’ first goal 13 minutes, 32 seconds into the first period. She now has 42 goals this season and 87 points.

Six penalties kept West Fargo off balance in the first two periods. Williston’s prevent defense didn’t help either.

“Once you get to this point, you have to throw away the seeds that are next to the team names and come out to play,” Williston head coach Mat Ekblad said. “We were trying to keep everything to the outside. We kept West Fargo to limited scoring opportunities in the first two periods.”

Senior Andrea Klug recorded her 12th shutout of the season and stopped 14 shots in the victory.

West Fargo has won six consecutive games.

“We made some mistakes,” Johnson said. “We can’t do that against teams at the state tournament. Every team is going to play better.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, WF, Walsh, (Springer, Krahn), 13:32 (pp).

SECOND PERIOD: No scoring.

THIRD PERIOD: 2, WF, Walsh, 1:24 (pp). 3, WF, Krahn, (Springer), 2:26. 4, WF, Nelson (Wangen, Monkman).

SAVES: W, McLees 4-8-14–26. WF, Klug 5-4-5–14.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562