The West Fargo girls’ hockey team went into the North Dakota State Tournament with all of the momentum. They were the No. 1 seed, they hadn’t lost to a North Dakotan team all season and they had three of the top five scorers in the state.
Then they met a freshman goalie who refused to let anything get past her.
Despite having almost twice as many shots on goal as their opponent, the Packers were shut out by the No. 3 Bismarck Blizzard in a 4-0 state championship game.
The highlight of the game was Blizzard goalie Kennedy Blair, who stopped all 28 shots from the Packers.
“We met a hot goalie, but we played well for the most part,” Packer head coach Pat Johnson said. “We had a few breakdowns here and there that Bismarck capitalized on, and we had them at the wrong times.”
Leading up to Saturday’s championship game, the Packers topped the No. 8 seed Williston Coyotes 4-0 on Thursday before beating the No. 4 Jamestown Bluejays 7-2 on Friday.
The team was “slow out of the gate” – as Johnson said it – against Willston, but two goals from senior Hayley Walsh and strong offensive third period were enough to advance.
Against Jamestown, the team had two goals from both Walsh and juior Kelly Krahn.
“They worked hard and played hard all weekend,” Johnson said. “That’s all you can ask of them.
The Packers lose six seniors this year – including the state’s top scorer, Hayley Walsh, and long-time goalie Andrea Klug – but Johnson has confidence in the team in place for the 2013-2014 season.
“It will be different, but you could some growth in the younger players this year,” Johnson said. “They came up strong, and hopefully we’ll see a lot more of that through the summer.”