The fact that Williston entered Tuesday's contest near the bottom of the West Region standings meant little to the Minot High School boys hockey team.
A week earlier, the Magicians lost in overtime to Devils Lake - the last-place team in the East Region - in a game in which Minot dominated every statistical category except goals.
Minot did not allow such an upset against Williston as the Magicians controlled the puck throughout and defeated the Coyotes 5-2 at Maysa Arena.
Minot High School junior forward Quinn Fuchs tries to avoid a shoulder check by Williston’s Corey Cayko during Tuesday’s game at Maysa Arena.
"We had 60-something shots that game (against Devils Lake) and lost in overtime so you always have to respect the goaltenders no matter how many shots you get," senior forward Andrew Keller said.
It was a complete team effort for the Magicians (12-7-1 overall, 10-3 region) as five different skaters recorded goals and eight tallied at least a point. Senior forward Taylor Kast and junior forwards Isaac Weisberg and Daylen Benjamin were the only Minot skaters with multi-point games.
"The guys are just getting to the net," MHS coach Chad Burckhard said. "We talked about it earlier in the year, we just weren't getting goals in the dirty areas where you had to play with some elbow grease. Guys are going there now and getting rebounds and cleaning up some garbage goals. That's the difference."
Sophomore goaltender Breydan Effertz did his part, recording nine saves in two periods of play. Junior Zach Dockter relieved Effertz at the start of the third period and recorded three saves.
Keller tallied Minot's first goal at three minutes, 28 seconds of the first period on a deflection in front of the net. Keller positioned himself in front of Williston goalie Camden Haugenoe and got his stick on Carter Bechtold's shot from the point. Haugenoe finished with 59 saves as the Coyotes were outshot 64-14.
"(Williston) had a good win against Mandan the other night so we wanted to get on them right away and strike quick and strike often," Keller said.
Minot's fifth goal summed up Williston's night perfectly. Senior forward Morgen Martelle took a wrist shot from just inside the blue line that deflected off Haugenoe's glove and ended up in the net.
The victory followed a 9-1 loss to Grand Forks Red River, Minot's worst defeat of the season.
The Coyotes (3-14-1, 2-12-1) got on the scoreboard with two quick goals at the latter end of the third period. Cole Weltikol scored on the power play at 10:37 and Tracer Overland netted a 4-on-4 goal 56 seconds later.
The win completed a season sweep over the Coyotes as Minot posted a 7-0 victory in Williston in January.
"Every game means everything," Kast said. "If we win out we can get a better seed and win the West Region if we want, which we can."
The Magicians host Bottineau-Rugby on Thursday in a game that could decide the region's No. 2 seed.