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Tom Mix, Published February 22 2014

West Fargo wins ND state girls hockey championship

GRAND FORKS – Book-end power-play goals in the second period lifted West Fargo to a state championship Saturday.

Kelly Krahn and Janey Sandoval scored goals in the first and final minutes of the second period, helping the Packers to a 2-1 win over Bismarck during the title game of the North Dakota state girls hockey tournament at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

The West Fargo-Bismarck meeting was a rematch of last season’s championship, which the Blizzard won in an upset.

Saturday, West Fargo played the role of underdog.

“It feels amazing,” Krahn said of the title-game victory. “I thought we played with a lot of heart, and that is what won it for us.”

The championship is West Fargo’s second in program history, with its other title coming in the 2009-10 season.

West Fargo (21-4-1) snapped Bismarck’s state-best 17-game winning streak and is the only North Dakota opponent to defeat the Blizzard (24-2-0) in more than a year.

After a scoreless first period, the Packers came alive when Krahn scored 51 seconds into the second period.

In contrast to the highs that come with two goals, West Fargo also had a big low in the second period. Minutes before Sandoval made it 2-0 for the Packers, senior defenseman Tori Holland left the game after hitting the boards hard.

Holland, who assisted on Krahn’s goal, broke her collarbone on the play and didn’t return to the game.

Holding the championship was a temporary pain killer.

“It didn’t even hurt when we were celebrating,” Holland said. “It hurts right now, but it felt great then.”

Holland’s injury meant the Packers would have to survive 17 minutes without their captain.

“We got rattled a little bit,” West Fargo head coach Pat Johnson said. “We got to regroup inside the locker room and we basically told them we can’t lose our focus. We had to get back to what we do best and that is skating hard and playing together.”

Bismarck’s Britta Curl scored 3 minutes, 23 seconds into the third period, but the Blizzard never got the equalizer.

“It was going to be a one-goal game,” Bismarck head coach Annie Cashman said. “You knew it was going to come down to special teams, and we took one too many penalties. West Fargo got some good shots that went in and that is going to happen sometimes. They deserved to win and at the same time I’m proud of my girls for playing a gutsy game. West Fargo was goal better than us.”

Morgan Stirling stopped 14 shots for the Packers and sophomore goaltender Kennedy Blair posted 21 saves for Bismarck.

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, WF, Krahn, (Holland), :51 (pp). 2, WF, Sandoval, (Lothspeich, Nelson), 16:35.

THIRD PERIOD: 3, B, Curl, (Bischof), 2:23.

SAVES: WF, Stirling 2-7-5–14. B, Blair 4-9-8–21.

All-tournament team: Forwards: Lexi O’Halloran, Grand Forks; Kelley Krahn, West Fargo; Kennedy Hageness, Bismarck. Defensemen: Tori Holland, West Fargo; Kylie Yineman, Bismarck. Goalie: Kennedy Blair, Bismarck.

Tournament MVP: Kelly Krahn, West Fargo

Coach of the year: Mat Ekblad, Williston

Senior player of the year: Tori Holland, West Fargo

Third place

Grand Forks 3,

Fargo South-Davies 1

After falling behind by a goal one minute into the game, Grand Forks recovered to defeat Fargo South-Davies 3-1 during the third-place game.

Lexi O’Halloran, Brooke Berry and Tori Christian scored goals for the KnightRiders (14-12-0).

Freshman forward Alysse Glasner scored the lone goal for the Bruins (10-16-0).

FIRST PERIOD: 1, FSD, Glasner, (Bachmeier), :55. 2, GF, O’Halloran, 5:09.

SECOND PERIOD: 3, GF, Berry, (O’Halloran), 12:56 (sh).

THIRD PERIOD: 4, Christian, (Olson), 7:04.

SAVES: FSD, Grothmann 10-3-6–19. GF, Rosendahl 4-5-4–13.

Fifth place

Minot 4, Mandan 2

Minot overtook Mandan in the third period to post a 4-2 victory during the fifth-place game.

Makaila Anderson, Mackinzy MacIver, Kinsey Hanson, and Alaynee Thompson each scored goals for the Majettes (20-6-0).

Mariah Marsh and Maiah McCowan scored goals for Mandan (9-15-0)

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, MIN, Anderson, (Boyce), 8:24. 2, MAN, Marsh, (Bussman, Ripplinger), 16:18.

THIRD PERIOD: 3, MIN, MacIver, (Hanson), 2:29. 4, MIN, Hanson (Love), 5:57 (pp). 5, MAN, McCowan, 10:10 (pp). 6, MIN, Thompson, (Love).

SAVES: MAN, Norton 7-9-6-22. MIN, Swanson 3-9-9-21.

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