Aide notches 300, Braves beat Century on Senior Night
BOTTINEAU – The Bottineau-Rugby hockey team couldn’t have asked for a better home finale on Feb. 7.
Harrison Aide started Senior Night with the game-opening goal to notch his 300th career point and the Braves held on for a 7-6 win over Century at Bottineau Community Arena.
The Braves avenged a 4-3 overtime loss to Century earlier in the season, but more importantly gave themselves a chance to earn the third seed in the West Region tournament. B-R fell 7-3 to Jamestown the following day to drop to the fourth seed and earn a first-round rematch with the Blue Jays on Thursday.
“I thought we got good play out of that second unit,” Hoff said, ” with (Austyn) Lorenz, (Casey) Tooke and (Cody) Bedlion, but also they had some offensive zone time where they’re really looking at trying to pin people on the goal line – not always scoring off of it, but being effective.”
B-R took a 7-4 lead on senior Andrew Hill’s first goal of the game at the 9:48 mark of the third period, but Century scored twice in the final four minutes and had a chance to send the game to overtime in the closing seconds.
Century junior Alex Flicek spun around in the slot with 12 seconds left and flung a shot on goal. Senior goaltender Riley Monson deflected it wide to preserve the win.
“I think both teams played pretty hard,” CHS coach Troy Olson said. “They do a lot of good things and if you make a mistake they make you pay for it. That happened a few times tonight. We didn’t quite take care of the puck like we should’ve and it ended up in the back of our net.”
The Patriots took a 2-1 lead in the first period on back-to-back goals by Flicek with assists from Keaton Leininger. The first was on the power play. B-R answered with a power play goal of its own as senior Cody Bedlion scored the first of his back-to-back goals and the Braves led 3-2 at intermission.
The pace slowed in the second period as Aide and Leininger traded goals in the first four minutes, but the next goal didn’t come until there was just 40 seconds left in the frame. Century’s Christopher Brown knotted the game at 4-4.
The Patriots struggled to stay out of the penalty box and Hill’s power play goal shifted the momentum back toward the home side. Aide completed what’s become a near-routine hat-trick midway through the third. He skated right to left through the neutral zone, daring helpless defenders to challenge him and then buried a wrister by goaltender Jack Abfalter.
Aide said the milestone evening comes with playing for five seasons.
“It’s nice to get it,” said Aide, before shifting the focus back to the team. “It was kind of the same game (as the first with CHS) almost – fast tempo, lot of chances. We had better scoring chances this game than in Bismarck.”
Hill put the finishing touches on the B-R scoring with a smooth run up the ice less than two minutes later. Hill’s unassisted effort ended with a backhander over Abfalter’s glove.
“It was sweet,” Hill said. “It was a repeat exactly almost of what I did last year in Century. Just kind of coming down the rink, I tried to get to an open area. First option was to pass it, but being inside as far as I was I gave it a shot and it went in.
“All of our leaders stepped up, our younger guys stepped up to give us a good final showdown here. Couldn’t have been any more perfect that we were playing Century.”
Hoff applauded his entire senior class and showered praise on Aide’s remarkable career.
“You just look at his skill, it’s unbelievable,” Hoff said. “How much attention has he received in the last couple of weeks? If you’d seen all the games we’ve played with people shadowing him. He’s learning to fight through those things. I’ve told people, ‘I’ve been here for 25 years and he’s been her for 20 percent of my career. He’s been there for five of those years and I’m enjoying the ride. It’s been fun to watch.”
The winner of Thursday’s game with Jamestown advanced to a semifinal against the winner of No. 1 Bismarck and No. 8 Hazen-Beulah on Friday. The losers of both games played an elimination game early Friday. The championship and state qualifiers will be played today at All Seasons Arena in Minot.
Through the regular season, Aide led the state with 86 points (49 g, 37 a) followed by junior teammate Luke Amsbaugh’s 80 (42 g, 38 a). Minot’s Quinn Fuchs was third with 59 points (21 g, 38 a).