GIRLS HOCKEY: KnightRiders fall in state semifinals to Bismarck
For only the fourth time this season, the Bismarck girls hockey team on Friday was held to fewer than three goals in a game.
But for Grand Forks KnightRiders goaltender Jerrica Rosendahl, the accomplishment was a hollow one.
“I wish I could have those two goals they had back,” Rosendahl said. “It was a good game by our defense. But it could have been better. We gave a good effort. But they’re a good team.”
Two goals was plenty for the Blizzard, as Bismarck blanked the KnightRiders 2-0 in the semifinals of the North Dakota Class A girls high school hockey tournament at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The win advances the defending state champion Blizzard (24-1-0) into today’s 5 p.m. state championship game against West Fargo. It will be a rematch of last season’s state final, when Bismarck beat the Packers 4-1. Grand Forks plays Fargo South-Davies in the third-place game at 11 a.m.
While Grand Forks held down a Bismarck offense that averages six goals a game, the Blizzard was its normal stingy self on defense. The shutout was the 10th this season for Bismarck, which has allowed just 23 goals in 25 games.
Kennedy Blair had 22 saves for the Blizzard, one more than Rosendahl recorded.
“It came down to goaltending,” Bismarck coach Annie Cashman said. “Kennedy played just a little better. She’s an excellent goaltender.”
“They (KnightRiders) played out of their minds. We got two lucky bounces. They didn’t.”
The first came in the opening period. With the Blizzard on the power play, Anne Dickson was centering a pass from behind the Grand Forks net. But the puck hit Rosendahl in the back and bounced into the net for a 1-0 Bismarck lead.
Katie German made it 2-0 with 3:42 left in the second when she lined a shot from the point into the net. “It was a high shot with a screen,” Cashman said. “She was just whipping it on the net.”
That was more than enough for the Blizzard defense.
“We brought it to them,” Grand Forks coach Darin Schumacher said. “We were aggressive the whole game. We made them work. But a couple bad bounces hurt.
“We did what we needed to do. They just didn’t let anything in. We couldn’t solve the goaltending. (Blair) is good.”
Bismarck hasn’t lost to a North Dakota team, its only setback a 2-1 decision to St. Paul United, the team that lost a 3-2 decision to East Grand Forks Senior High on Friday in the semifinals of the Minnesota Class A tournament.