Northstars move on to regionals
By Jarann Johnson
The goal of the postseason is simple – be the last team standing. The Hazen-Beulah Northstars didn’t fade from their goal in their first postseason game of the season.
The Northstars topped Bottineau-Rugby Monday night 4-1 on home ice to earn a berth in the West Region tournament. In the early goings of the game things didn’t look good.
The Northstars carried a bad regular season trend into the postseason. In the opening few minutes the Northstars were called for tripping, which gave Bottineau-Rugby a power play and chance to take the home crowd advantage away quickly.
The chance to take the crowd out of the game back-fired. Bottineau-Rugby pushed too hard and committed a turnover.
Northstars’ forward Mikey Morris made Bottineau-Rugby pay for the play with a wrist shot down the middle of the ice. Morris’ short-handed goal put the Northstars up 1-0.
Shortly after killing the penalty the Northstars added another goal. This time it was junior forward Jakob Parisien breaking through for a score, putting his team up 2-0.
The Northstars still couldn’t shake their penalty woes. Mason Weidrich was called for a penalty after breaking up a breakaway attempt.
Again the Northstars’ special teams cleaned up the dirt and killed a penalty. Late in the period there was a bit of a scuffle near the crease in front of Northstars’ keeper, Colin Johnson.
The referees cleaned up the scuffle and sent Joe Swenson to the box for roughing. Even though the Northstars were committing penalties, they were still ahead 2-0 on the scoreboard.
The Northstars kept playing with fire and getting called for penalties in the second period, and it finally looked like they were going to get burned. Bottineau-Rugby scored, making the score 2-1, but the initial goal was negated because of an offsides penalty.
The offsides penalty and almost goal seemed to awaken the Northstars’ offense. The Northstars scored two goals in 16 seconds to build a 4-0 lead with 9 minutes and 24 seconds left in the second period.
From there the game’s fate was locked-in. Bottineau-Rugby scored one goal before the end of regulation, but the final results of the game was a 4-1 home playoff win for the Northstars.
After the game, Northstars’ Head Coach Dan Frei said his team accomplished their goal and will turn their focus to No. 1-seed Minot now.