West Fargo gets by JaysAfter watching Jamestown hand Fargo South/Davies a 4-2 loss in the quarterfinals on Thursday, West Fargo coach Pat Johnson and the No. 1 Packers were understandably a bit concerned prior to Friday’s semifinals of the state girls hockey tournament at The Ralph.
By: By Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
GRAND FORKS — After watching Jamestown hand Fargo South/Davies a 4-2 loss in the quarterfinals on Thursday, West Fargo coach Pat Johnson and the No. 1 Packers were understandably a bit concerned prior to Friday’s semifinals of the state girls hockey tournament at The Ralph.
Just like the Bruins, the Packers had defeated Jamestown twice during the regular season, so it was completely plausible to think that Blue Jay coach Brad Schaack and his 12 girls may have had the card they needed up their sleeve to figure out West Fargo as well.
But in this case, the third time wasn’t the charm.
West Fargo’s ridiculously potent offensive attack struck with four goals to open the game, and the Packers rolled into tonight’s championship with a 7-2 victory over the Jays.
Jamestown’s storybook season will come to a close facing Grand Forks this morning for third place at 11 a.m.
“Jamestown’s got a tough team. They work hard, and you can never look past a team because at the state tournament everyone plays better,” Johnson said. “One lucky bounce here, or bad bounce, however you want to look at it, the whole game changes.
“We just had to come out and keep forcing our game on them.”
The Packers’ wealth of riches didn’t disappoint. West Fargo forwards Haley Walsh and Kelly Krahn each scored a pair of goals and tallied three total points, along with fellow first-line mate Allison Springer who posted a goal and an assist.
Walsh (90 points), Krahn (67) and Springer (63) sit 1-2-3 at the top of the state scoring list. Walsh’s 90 points (44 goals, 46 assists) is currently the fourth-best offensive season to date. She’s 11 points off the state scoring record set by Williston’s Emily Sell back in 2007.
“You’re going up against a line that had 108 goals between them going into this game. We did our best,” Schaack said. “And hey, we got two by (West Fargo senior goalie Andrea) Klug.”
Klug has been a starter since the eighth grade and gives the Packers the proverbial perfect storm. The team has held opponents to less than a goal per game this season (0.90), due in large part to Klug, who had just 13 saves on Friday to help West Fargo to the victory.
Klug’s 0.94 goals per game allowed (95.2 save percentage) is currently the best on record. She has 12 shutouts and is now 21-1 between the pipes for the 23-1 Packers.
“We just had to go out there and do what we usually do,” Krahn said. “We just came out and put pucks in the net.”
Krahn, Springer and Walsh scored back-to-back-to-back in the first, prior to Rachel Monkman notching her 11th goal of the season to start the scoring, helping West Fargo to its 4-0 lead with just under a minute left to play in the period.
“It’s really amazing playing with them,” Krahn said. “I’ve basically played with them for four years, and we know how to move the puck really well together.”
“Their first line is good, their second line is good, their third line is good,” Schaack said. “(Coach Johnson) was rolling his first line, double-shifting there for a little bit, and I guess I really can’t blame him when you’re that good. They deserve to be out there.”
But the Blue Jays wouldn’t be shut out in the first period. Amber Schaack posted her 41st goal of the year with just 2 seconds remaining.
Jamestown’s Torri Kamlitz later scored her third goal of the tournament 6 minutes into the second to cut the advantage to 4-2, but that was as close as the Jays would get. Larissa Wiest picked up a pair of assists in the game for the Jays, while Sydney Soulis also notched an assist.
“My girls, when it was 4-0, they didn’t quit. We got it to 4-2, and if we could have chipped another one in there you never know,” Schaack said. “But you’ve got to play a pretty flawless game against West Fargo, especially with the numbers I have, and obviously we didn’t do that.”
Jamestown’s Carissa Finck picked up 34 saves, as the Packers racked up 41 shots on goal to just 15 by the Jays. There was just one penalty in the game, a lone hooking call on the Packers.
Jamestown has been the best team in the state all season at staying out of the penalty box (56 penalties for 112 minutes), and with just 11 skaters that stat has been critical to the team’s success.
Jamestown has a big hurdle to clear today, as they’ll be trying to defeat the Knight-Riders for the fourth time this season in their final game.
West Fargo will take on Bismarck for all the marbles at 5 p.m.
“Actually we didn’t play too bad, but it was too many mistakes,” Schaack said. “We’ve got to forget about it real quick ... Grand Forks is a helluva team, but if they go in the box we’ll have a chance.”
North Dakota State Girls
At Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks
West Fargo 7, Jamestown 2
Jamestown 1 1 0 — 2
West Fargo 4 1 2 — 7
1, WF, Rachel Monkman (Chelsea Wangen), 2:40; 2, WF, Kelly Krahn (Allison Springer), 10:42; 3, WF, Springer (Haley Walsh, Kourtney Lothspeich), 14:04; 4, WF, Walsh (Tori Holland), 16:08; 5, J, Amber Schaack (Larissa Wiest), 16:58.
6, J, Torri Kamlitz (Wiest, Sydney Soulis), 10:59; 7, WF, Krahn (Springer), 13:45.
8, WF, Walsh (Krahn), :47; 9, WF, Paige Lazorenko (Janey Sandoval), 12:24.
Goalie saves: J, Carissa Finck 10-12-12—24; WF, Andrea Klug 3-7-3—13.
Penalties: J, 0 for 0 minutes; WF, 1 for 2 minutes.
Records: West Fargo 23-1; Jamestown 18-7.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org