Bismarck's penalty killers stole the show amid an unusual third period in the Demons' 4-0 boys hockey victory over Williston on Saturday.
Two major penalties within a minute left BHS skating two men short for 4:13, and in a nonstop penalty killing situation for 5:17. Not only did the Demons escape with their 4-0 lead intact, but they surrendered only three shots on net in the process.
"You don't want to be killing two five-on-threes. It's pretty rare to see five-on-three. It's extremely rare to see five minutes of five-on-three," said BHS assistant coach Mark Erickson.
The strange turn of events began when junior defenseman Preston Wachter was whistled for a checking from behind major at 5:52, an infraction that carries a 10-minute misconduct penalty, as well.
Then, at 6:39, junior forward Caleb Petrie was sent off the ice after a five-minute boarding call.
"We looked at it more as a challenge," said senior defenseman Zach Kuhn, who drew a regular penalty-kill shift as Bismarck tried to fend off Williston while two men short. "At the beginning of the year we weren't as strong on the penalty kill, but we've kind of got it figured out now."
Although he wouldn't want to go through a similar ordeal on a regular basis, Kuhn said it was a thrill to come out of it unscathed.
"We're pretty proud of it. It was pretty hectic, but we've come a long way on the penalty kill now," he said.
Erickson said the Demons ran three three-man units to overcome the five-on-three disadvantage.
"You've got to keep the shifts short. Obviously the guys did a pretty good job," he noted. "I'm proud of how they responded."
Kuhn said the rotations were quite brief.
"I'd say 30 to 45 seconds. We had to try to get fresh legs out there," he said.
Bismarck got all the offense it needed in the first 34 minutes, putting two goals on the Capital Ice Center scoreboard in each of the first two periods.
Junior forward Landon Fischer put the Demons ahead with just 1:59 expired, finding the range from the top of the slot. Junior forward Dain Sardelli scored on a rebound in mid-period and BHS took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Power-play goals by Joey Heinert and T.J. Ball in the middle session completed the scoring for the day.
The third period was marred by 26 minutes of penalties.
Coupled with Friday's 7-1 victory over Bottineau-Rugby, Saturday's victory gave Bismarck a 12-point weekend. That enabled the Demons to tie Century for the West Region lead with 30 points.
Century picked up six points on Friday with a 12-0 victory over Williston. On Saturday the CHS junior varsity dropped a 4-2 decision to Bottineau-Rugby in a non-points contest.
Erickson said BHS felt no need to try for a blowout of Williston, still winless in the West Region.
"I thought we played a pretty solid game. We had two lines of young guys out there. It was good for them and good for us. We got the shutout and six points in the WDA," he observed.
The Demons improved to 8-1 in regional play and 13-3 overall.
BHS returns to action on Tuesday, visiting Dickinson for a regional contest.
NOTES: BHS head coach Mike Peluso missed the weekend's games with Bottineau-Rugby and Williston. He was attending a hockey reunion. ... West Region wins are normally worth three points. Six-point games come about when the teams meet just once in the regular season. Bismarck also plays Williston and Bottineau-Rugby with its junior varsity in non-point games. That was the case in Century's game with Bottineau-Rugby on Saturday, as well.