A three-goal deficit would prove too difficult to close as the Braves defeated the Midgets 5-2 on Saturday night.
The Midgets’ start to the game was far from ideal, to say the least. Just over a minute into the game, the Braves found the back of the net, thanks to Cole Vietz-Reile for an early 1-0 lead. Midgets head coach Dallas Kuntz wasn’t impressed with the way they started the game.
“The guys weren’t ready to go tonight,” Kuntz said. “After the warm-ups we coaches would talk about the guys who seemed too loose, especially for a game of this magnitude. Bottineau lost last night and they were looking to react. They jumped on us early and often.
Dickinson (0-3-0-0) found his place for the next ten minutes, but would concede another power-play goal, Bottineau-Rugby (1-2-0-0) taking advantage of the additional male advantage of 20 seconds in the power play.
The bleeding didn’t end there as the Braves added a third goal with 3:21 left in the first period, extending their lead to 3-0. The Midgets made a costly turnaround that sparked a Bottineau-Rugby counterattack that they threw themselves into.
Dickinson goalkeeper Jayce Concha was caught in no man’s land, defending a shot to his left but leaving his right side open for the Braves to score their third goal.
But credit the resilience of the Midgets. Much like the Braves did in the first period, Dickinson did the same in the second, scoring within two minutes of the period, coming from junior forward Taylor Giese.
They weren’t done yet. It was the Midgets’ turn to gain a power play later in the period, with their second goal coming off the bat by second-year forward Kasey Stengel.
The penalty shootout statistics were almost identical in the first two periods. After one, the Braves had the 10-9 advantage. After two, Dickinson held a 20-19 advantage.
“I’m not that big on moral wins, but the fact that we reacted and made it a one-goal game, I think we played well in the second,” Kuntz said. “But our departure and arrival were not at all close to where we needed to be.”
Their resilience continued through the early stages of the final period, searching for an equalizing goal. They were on the power play at the start of the period, but came away empty-handed.
Clinging to a 3-2 lead, the Braves scored their fourth goal with 12:51 left in the period, scored by Matt Olson.
Still, the Midgets had time for a final comeback, but their efforts weren’t enough, despite a brief 6-4 advantage on the ice in the dying moments of the game. Bottineu-Rugby’s last goal came with five seconds left.
Dickinson has allowed five goals in each of his first three games. Kuntz said if they want to improve on this side of the ice, it starts with training.
“We have to work hard in training,” Kuntz said. “They have to bring their pale lunch and a helmet (to practice). We will play as we practice. I’ll be honest, our defensive zone in training hasn’t been what it should be and it shows in games.
The Midgets will return home on Tuesday, December 7 for a clash against Bismarck Legacy.
“I think Bottineau beat us and beat us tonight and the score clearly shows that,” said Kuntz.
EDS – 0 2 0, 2
BR-3 0 2, 5
BR – Cole Vietz-Reile, assisted by Eli Bristol and Dalton Vietz-Reile, 1:10, 1-0
BR – Gabe Glasner, assisted by Ethan Siemens and Macen Heisler, 11:20 a.m., 2-0
BR – Heisler, assisted by Matt Olson and Colton Getzlaff, 13:39, 3-0
DHS – Taylor Giese, assisted by Cole Kadrmas, 1:56, 3-1
DHS – Kasey Stengel, assisted by Ryker Klaman, 8:30 am, 3-2
BR – Olson, assisted by Heisler and Getzlaff, 4:09, 4-2
BR – C. Veitz-Reile, assisted by Olson, 16:55, 5-2