Promersberger powers North-South girls to state hockey title game
FARGO — Both early and late in its state semifinal matchup with Fargo North-South, West Fargo had to deal with one of the most unwelcome sights a high school girls hockey team can face.
Abby Promersberger and an open net.
The state's leading scorer, Promersberger scored key goals in both the first and third periods, finishing with a hat trick to lift top-seeded North-South to a second consecutive appearance in the championship game of the North Dakota state girls hockey tournament with a 4-1 semifinal win over West Fargo Friday at Scheels Arena.
North-South will take a 22-0-1 record into Saturday's 4:30 p.m. championship game.
Promersberger got North-South off to a near perfect start, scoring her first goal just 1 minute, 17 seconds into the game. That lead stretched to 2-0 6 1/2 minutes later on a Josie Hell goal.
But a game that had the look of a blowout early soon got much tighter. Top West Fargo scorer Madison Hjelden answered the Hell goal with one of her own and behind the net play of Brooklyn Myrvik, who finished with 47 saves, West Fargo kept itself within a goal until late in the third period.
After failing to get on the scoreboard in the second period, North-South coach Chad Christensen implored his team to be more aggressive in the third.
"I feel like after they scored, we started playing not to lose," Christensen said. "And the message during the third period was we're not going to play not to lose, we're going to play to win. We're going to get after it."
Late in the period, North-South did just that.
Seconds after going on the power play, Promersberger finally gave North-South some breathing room, when she found a crease in the top-right corner of the net and scored around Myrvik.
Less than three minutes later, she completed a hat trick as she and teammates celebrated a second straight appearance in the state championship game.
"It's difficult preparing anybody who can handle the puck (like her)," West Fargo coach Pat Johnson said. "If you give her a little time and space, she's got the talent (to make you pay)."
North-South has been eagerly awaiting another shot at the state title following a rough showing in last year's championship game, a 3-0 loss to Bismarck. The Blizzard, the four-time defending state champions, punched their ticket again with a 4-2 win over Fargo Davies in Friday's other semifinal.
After holding off United, players were excited to be one step closer.
"That was not a good feeling getting to the championship game and losing," Promersberger said. "That's been in the back of our minds, making us work harder all season. We're really excited to get back after last year."
Christensen says there is reason to believe his top-seeded team can expect a different result.
"I honestly think we're more skilled, more talented this year," he said. "There's no individuals. We're a team of 20, all the way through the roster. All the girls have a role and they've bought into it. We're ready to go."