FARGO — After a nearly 57-minute stalemate, Kaia Johnson scored the game-winning goal in overtime as Fargo Davies defeated Fargo North-South 1-0 in North Dakota girls hockey Tuesday at Farmers Union Insurance Center at Scheels Arena.
With 2 minutes, 3 seconds remaining in the overtime period, the junior forward received a pass from Olivia Opheim near the blue line. She cut to her left, skated around a North-South defender and fired a shot from the left circle, sneaking it by the goalie top shelf to the far side of the net.
“It feels pretty good to get this win,” Johnson said. “We were all working our hardest all three periods. That goal was from all of us, not just me. That was all of our hard work for the whole game combined.”
Johnson said the move she used to get open for the shot is one her coaches have drilled into her.
“My coaches always tell me to go to the outside and cut in around their defense, and that’s what I did,” she said. “Apparently, listening to your coaches works.”
Davies entered the game second in the standings, with North-South right behind in third. The teams were evenly matched throughout the game, playing to a stalemate through three periods. Both sides defended well and both goalies kept the other side off the board.
Davies goalie Kennedy Cook stopped 20 shots in the shutout and halted a number of North-South scoring opportunities.
“Kennedy made some huge saves for us,” Davies head coach Josh Issertell said. “A couple big ones throughout each period and it was a big game for her to get a shutout.”
North-South goalie Alex Kinney stopped 31 shots and kept the Eagles off the board through regulation.
Davies had most of the possession and outshot North-South 32-20, but North-South’s counterattack returned a number of scoring opportunities, including a Jerica Friese breakaway that almost won the game for N-S 10 seconds before overtime. She raced up the left wing and fired a shot at the far corner. Cook snagged it with her glove hand.
“We play as a group of five in all three zones, and team defense is key to the way we play,” Issertell said. “We take pride in being tough to play against.”
With friends on North-South, Johnson had to remind herself that they were rivals on the ice.
“We have friends on the other team since they’re just north of us,” Johnson said. “But we have to remember that we want to win just as much as they do, even though they’re our friends. So we have to turn on the enemy switch for three periods.”
The Eagles (17-0-2, 13-0-2 in-state) have 41 points and are in second place, one point back of first-place Bismarck in the North Dakota standings. North-South (14-4-2, 11-2-2) is in third with 39 points. The undefeated Eagles’ two ties came to North-South on Dec. 10 and against Minot four days later. They have won 12 games in a row dating back to the Minot game.
“It’s massive because we still control our own destiny,” Issertell said. “We still have our hopes and dreams, and a game like this hopefully helps propel us the rest of the way.”
FIRST: No scoring.
SECOND: No scoring.
THIRD: No scoring.
OT: 1, FD, Johnson (Opheim) 5:57.
SAVES: NS, Kinney 9-9-11-2—31. FD, Cook 6-3-9-2—20