Braves fall to Patriots 5-3 at home
A 2-0 win over Bismarck High School Jan. 29 motivated the Bottineau-Rugby Braves to battle No. 1-ranked Minot High and No. 2-ranked Bismarck Century High in early February.
However, the No. 6-ranked Braves fell to the Magicians 8-2 in Minot.
At home in Bottineau Arena Feb. 6, the Braves lost 5-3 to the Bismarck Century Patriots.
The Braves’ game against the Patriots held some promise at the start. The JV Braves had defeated the Patriots JV squad 4-2, with Rugby High’s Dylan Bartsch scoring one of the goals.
The Braves began with a disadvantage, as forward Matt Olson sat the game out due to a face mask game penalty in Minot. Still, the Braves’ passes found their players and with 14:10 on the clock, forward Colton Getzlaff shot a goal into the Patriots’ net, assisted by forward Ian Amsbaugh.
The Patriots took nine minutes to answer with a goal, but defender Kieffer Long found an opening, assisted by forward Colton Schulte.
Just one minute later, Schulte assisted with a goal shot by Patriots forward Dawson Shirley.
The Braves’ defenders kept the Patriots away from scoring opportunities throughout the second period, but found an equally strong Patriots defense. But as the clock wound down to zero, Shirley slapped the puck past Braves goalie Tyler Olson for a 3-1 Patriots lead.
The Patriots continued their onslaught in the third period, with goals from Schulte and forward Cullen Curl.
The last two minutes of the game saw the Braves recover. Amsbaugh fought off pressure from Patriots guards to land one shot with 1:56 to go. Seconds later, Amsbaugh assisted a goal by defenders Adam Handeland and Rylie Rybchinski.
“It’s nice to come back at the end but I didn’t really like their effort in that third period,” Braves Coach Jesse Nostdahl said after the game. “When things got tough, we kind of folded and didn’t fight back there in the end until we got some more pressure. That’s unacceptable for this late in the year.”
“In the last month or so we’ve built into a pretty good hockey team,” Nostdahl noted. “We’ve really put together some good efforts. We lost it in Minot, but I thought we came back strong here again today and just kind of had some lapses. Century had some rushes and they were scoring off the rush, and that kind of killed us.”
“It was hard to bounce back,” he added.
The Braves would next battle the Braves of Mandan at Rugby’s Al Wentz Arena Feb. 11. Results from that game and the post-season outlook for Bottineau-Rugby will appear in next week’s Tribune.
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