Nov. 30—Dickinson boys hockey opened their season with a two game matchup against May-Port Ice Dawgs on Friday and Saturday at the Dickinson Recreation Center. The first match was a 4-2 loss for the Midgets, but they would follow it up with a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
Cole Kadrmas and Jacob Lucas were Dickinson's goal scorers from game one, with Sam Stillings and Kaeden Krieg scoring in game two.
"First game of the year, I am proud of the effort. Obviously we made a few mistakes there that cost us some goals, but those are things we can correct," Dallas Kuntz, Midgets head coach said. "We are not a type of team that is going to skill people, so we just got to work them."
Kuntz recognized early that the Midgets were a gritty team this season, and wouldn't take kindly to being bullied on the ice.
"I think after last night, we kind of got kicked in the teeth a little bit by them, but we responded well," Kuntz said. "I felt like we got to the front of their net a little bit better. Something that we struggled with last night. Granted we didn't score more goals than we did yesterday, but good overall team effort."
The first game's stalemate was broken early with a quick succession of goals in the first period by the Ice Dawgs. They would lead by 2 at the nine minute mark. Dickinson struck back at 10:04 courtesy of Lucas to make it 2-1 via an assist by junior Dawson Frank and senior Ethan Lawrey.
The Midgets would rally back and tie the game at 2 in the dying moments of the second period when Kadrmas forced the puck into the Ice Dawgs net with only 17 seconds remaining.
The third period would prove disastrous for the team as May-Port scored two more goals to rekindle their lead and seal the home team's fate.
Despite the loss, Dickinson showed real grit as they led an attack that tallied 34 shots on net.
"I thought we controlled the game there for a while, we just have to find ways to put the puck in the net," Kuntz said. "We are always looking for another pass, we're trying to get in the perfect scoring opportunities and May-Port showed tonight that It doesn't matter where you are at, get the puck to the net and good things are going to happen."
The second game showcased a Midgets team that quickly took the 1-0 lead in the first period courtesy of an unexpected biscuit in the basket. Leading the charge was Stillings who was fed by Ryker Klaman on a change on the fly that would garner a tremendous opportunity that would not go wasted. Dickinson stayed hungry and controlled the ice for the entirety of the opening period, showcasing some stellar sub-collegiate play and awareness.
The second period would be a defensive battle that would be scoreless until the final minute and would showcase some strong play by underclassmen — many of whom were getting the first significant play time of the young season. Despite the Midgets holding the majority of possession and hammering 13 shots on goal, the Ice Dawgs would tie the game in the final minute with 52 seconds remaining on a sequence that started with a sly steal and a near icing call before ringing the post stick hand low.
"We sat out some of our older guys, brought in some of our younger guys to give them more experience and I am happy with the way we responded," Kuntz said. "There are no excuses on our bench, we play enough guys where our guys don't get run down or fatigue, so you are expected to go out there shift in and shift out and just grind as hard as you can."\u0009\u0009\u0009
The third period would feature thrilling exchanges and physical play to the very end. Dickinson, pushing for the elusive goal, regained their lead at 11:50 via Kaden Krieg who was assisted by Kadrmas with the apple. This goal would prove to be the decisive and final goal. May-Port would attempt two further rallies, even running did all they could, controlling possession in the period and nearly tying the game in the final moments.
"We started running around a little bit, probably wasn't our best d-zone in the third. Once May-Port started moving the puck we were just kind of chasing it around," Kuntz said. "Biggest thing for us is clearing pucks away from in front of the net. They had a lot of good shots and hats off to our goaltender. I felt like he responded from last night to tonight remarkably. Exactly what we were looking for."
Starting goaltender Jayce Concha, a junior, would fight off 28 shots on goal in the second game and 46 over the series.
These two matches will not be recorded as a varsity match for the Dickinson team, but as expressed by Kuntz, has allowed the team an opportunity to give their younger squad experience before facing the Williston Coyotes on Tuesday at home.