GRAND FORKS-For the first time in the four-year history of the co-op, Fargo North-South will play for a state championship.
Sophomore defender Josie Hell scored two goals and added an assist to lead North-South to a 5-2 win over Fargo Davies on Friday afternoon, Feb. 23, in the North Dakota state girls hockey tournament semifinals at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
No. 1 seed North-South, 21-4 overall, will play No. 2 Bismarck in the state title game at 5 p.m.
"It's a dream you always have when you're a kid," Hell said of playing for a state title. "You always want to be part of all the fans and the atmosphere."
Davies' last hope against North-South came early in the third period when Kylie Schafer scored her second goal of the game.
Schafer's goal at 1:39 of the third period trimmed the North-South lead to 4-2. Shortly after the Schafer goal, Davies went on the power play looking to make it a one-goal game.
But North-South killed the penalty and pushed its lead back to three when Hell scored her second of the game at 4:44 of the third.
"(Hell) has been steady all year," North-South coach Kris Dougherty said. "It was great to see the sophomore step up with determination and a get-it-done attitude. She plays with a determination that isn't often seen in a sophomore."
Davies goalie Sydney Peterson finished with 20 saves, while North-South's Lauren Harr stopped 16 shots.
"They're a tough team," Davies coach Josh Issertell said. "We did enough good things to win but they capitalize on any mistake. They play with speed and take away time and space. When you do those things, you typically have success."
North-South, which also received goals from Katelyn Arman, Anna Erickson and Mackenzie Hanson, has played Bismarck twice this year. North-South won the first matchup 6-3 and lost the second one 5-3.
"You go through the hard work and the ups and downs just for a chance to get there," Dougherty said of the state championship. "It's special. It doesn't happen very often."