Braves fall to Magicians
After traveling to the southwestern corner of the state last week, the Bottineau/Rugby Braves played on their home ice at Bottineau Arena Tuesday.
The 12-5 Minot Magicians came to face them, bringing cheerleaders on ice skates and plenty of fans along.
Both teams dedicated the game to Williston High School hockey player Boston Glueckert, who died suddenly Jan. 5. A fan winning the Braves’ 50-50 raffle donated his prize money to Glueckert’s family as well.
After a group photo and introductions, the Braves set to work against the big city visitors, crowding into their defensive zone. Tyler Olson landed a goal with 3:50 left in the first period with assistance from Landon Rosendahl and Ian Amsbaugh. Braves fans went wild.
“Our first goal was a draw play,” Braves Coach Jess Nostdahl explained. “There were a lot of things that led up to it. It was a set draw that they ran and the executed it, and that’s how you beat big teams like this.”
The Magicians regrouped during the break between periods, returning to tie the score at 10:27 when Alden Morelli landed the puck behind Braves goalie Tyler Olson. Nicholas Murphy and Riley Opperude assisted. An unassisted Morelli goal followed, and the second period ended with a 2-1 Magicians lead.
Tiny players from the Bottineau Mites hockey team entertained the crowd with a short game of their own during the break, and Magician cheerleaders performed a routine complete with figure skating spins.
The game’s intensity grew in the third period, with more body checks, penalties and tumbles on the ice. The Braves’ defense held the Magicians off until the final seconds of the game, when Morelli scored another goal for a 3-1 Minot win.
Magician defenseman Opperude and Magician goalie Tre Sortland landed in the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct. Amsbaugh was penalized for cross checking.
“We played our D-zone fairly well that first period and that’s what we wanted to jump on those rushes and really get in there. That first period really looked like (draw plays) might be the formula (for a Braves win), and then, it just kind of went away from us,” Nostdahl said after the game.
“The game evolves as you go on. I think Minot just kind of adapted to that a little bit and I think that’s kind of the story,” he added.
“I think this is really a statement for Bottineau/Rugby hockey,” Nostdahl added. “All these young guys that were here tonight, these mites that were playing and all the people in the crowd, it shows that we can go play with these big towns and we can develop players right along with them and that’s the takeaway of the evening for me. Something bigger than the game itself.”
The loss against Minot came after a 7-3 win against Hazen-Beulah’s North Stars, who have a 7-7 record and a 2-6 loss to the Dickinson Midgets, who have a 7-8 record, last weekend.
In the game against the Magicians, the Braves scored 22 shots on goal, while Minot scored a total of 45 shots on goal.
The Braves junior varsity squads will travel to Bismarck for two games this weekend. The varsity Braves face Williston at Rugby’s Al Wentz Arena Tuesday, Feb. 4.
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