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Bottineau-Rugby 19U girls fall to Richland Raiders

By Sue Sitter - | Jan 9, 2021

Sue Sitter/PCT The Bottineau-Rugby 19U girls celebrate after a goal at Al Wentz Arena against the Richland Raiders Jan. 3.

The Bottineau-Rugby 19U girls skated onto the ice at Rugby’s Al Wentz Arena Jan. 3 to take on the Richland Raiders.

The young team battled the 1-3 Montana-based Raiders, falling by a slim 3-4 goal margin.

The Raiders struck first, with forward Jaylen Baxter landing a goal with 5:22 on the clock in the first period. Early in the second period, the Raiders struck again, this time with a goal by Rebecca Aldrich, assisted by forward Samantha Hofer.

Bottineau-Rugby players found their way through Raider defenders to stay in Richland’s territory.

Forward/defender Haylee Jundt shot a goal past Richland’s Scout Hofer for the first point on the home team’s scoreboard in mid-period. Forwards Madison Hiatt and Brooklyn Bartsch assisted Jundt. The second Bottineau-Rugby goal came from forward Haley Mayer, who landed her shot with 52 seconds left in the second period.

Richland fought back quickly, scoring a third goal for their team with Baxter scoring just 41 seconds left in the period, assisted by Aldrich. Carried by the momentum, Aldrich shot another goal for the Raiders, assisted by defender Whitney Van Hook.

Bottineau-Rugby came back fighting after the break, with defender Madison Thompson scoring the only goal in the third period. Meanwhile, other 19U defenders kept the Raiders away from the goal.

Bottineau-Rugby Coach Michael Thompson said he talked with the team about their second period goal after the game ended. “They got a little too comfortable,” Thompson said. “I don’t know if they thought they’d won it, (or miscalculated the time left on the clock) but there were some small mental mistakes made and it cost us.”

The 19U team this year is younger than in past years; several team members graduated last year. Key players such as Bartsch and Jundt are freshmen at Rugby High. Thompson, Hiatt and forward/defender Tallie Fedje are three key returning players. Hiatt is the team’s only high school senior.

Jundt brings aggression to the game honed by a battle with cancer during her middle school years.

“She’s doing real well as far as I can tell. I never hear anything about any issues she’s having,” Thompson said. “I know from Scott (Mayer), the assistant coach, the chemotherapy might have affected her lungs a little bit, so we’re keeping an eye on her, but other than that, she hasn’t shown any signs of distress or anything,” Thompson said.

Bartsch brings speed to the game, developed by her time on Rugby High’s 2020 North Dakota Class B champion cross country team, where she was an all-state runner.

Thompson said Fedje’s return to the team after medical issues should help the Bottineau-Rugby 19U girls see their first win this season.

“She’s going to get that looked at this week, and hopefully, we’ll go from there,” Thompson said.

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