Familiar foe: Jays seek first state tournament win against NorthThe Jamestown girls’ hockey team is getting accustomed to meeting up with Fargo North in the opening round of the state high school hockey tournament. The Blue Jays, however, aren’t ready to get accustomed to the previous two outcomes.
The Jamestown girls’ hockey team is getting accustomed to meeting up with Fargo North in the opening round of the state high school hockey tournament. The Blue Jays, however, aren’t ready to get accustomed to the previous two outcomes.
The Spartans dealt Jamestown first-round losses each of the last two years, but after a tight contest earlier in the year and a school-best 11 wins later, JHS coach Brad Schaack is hoping this is the year the Blue Jays get over the hump.
“The girls will know what to expect,” said the third-year Blue Jay coach. “We have to watch that first line, obviously. We’ve got to watch (Mara) Teschendorf, and if we can keep that line in check and keep everything to the outside on that big ice I think we will be alright.”
Teschendorf is fourth in the state in scoring and her other two linemates, Sam Hagen and Megan Boe, are 21st and 23rd.
“We wanted to play against them,” said JHS senior Mataya Olson. “We always seem to play well against them.”
The Blue Jays lost a one-goal contest to open the season, but the defending state-champion Spartans had a little easier time the second time around — winning 5-2 in Jamestown.
But if history has shown anything, it’s that Jamestown typically plays its best hockey in the tournament.
Two years ago, Jamestown pushed North to overtime before Haley Olmstead scored the game-winner in the extra session. Minot finished off the Blue Jays with another heart-breaking loss behind two unanswered goals in the third period.
Last year, the Spartans had Jamestown’s number in the first round, defeating the Blue Jays 5-1, but once again JHS pushed Minot to the wire in the elimination game before falling 2-1 to the Majettes.
“Everyone is going to have to work hard and have their heads in the game,” said JHS senior Sarah Auka. “The first period is when we’ve been having a tough time, so we just need to get on them right away.”
Schaack said if the Blue Jays can score the game’s first goal, it could change the dimension of the game. But getting on the board first against the Spartans hasn’t been easy for opponents over the last four years at state.
In the previous four state tournaments, North has scored first in every game but one. Williston was the last team to score first against North back in 2008, and the Spartans didn’t take kindly to it. North went off for seven unanswered goals to win 7-1. The Spartans went on to win the state title — their first of three over a four-year span.
“The last two years we’ve been doing really well,” said Schaack. “For some reason we do better (up at state). I can’t put my finger on it, but whatever it is it seems to be working.
“Hopefully with North the third time is the charm. We’re going to have to play our best game and Carissa (Finck) is going to have to stop the ones she’s supposed to stop and stop the ones that are highlight saves.”
Finck didn’t see the ice at last year’s state tournament, but the last time she played on the state’s stage she held North to just two goals in regulation and nearly lifted Jamestown to an upset victory.
“It’s going to take hard work and good passing,” said Blue Jay senior Morgan Geigle. “It would be amazing to get that first state-tournament win. We would be pretty proud if we could beat them with just 11 players.”
Geigle would normally make it 12 players for Jamestown, but she won’t be able to play at state because of a hit from behind earlier in the year when the Blue Jays traveled to Grand Forks. The hit fractured her clavicle and separated her shoulder.
“It’s pretty hard,” Geigle said of having to finish out her final season from the bench. “I just want to be out there and play instead of watch.”
The loss of Geigle has forced the Blue Jays to shuffle up their lines. Instead of playing with just three defensemen, Amber Schaack, Jamestown’s leading scorer, will have to spend some time on the blue line instead of leading the offense.
“It would really be nice to have Morgan,” Schaack said. “Three defensemen on that big ice — we’ll see how it goes. It’s that 15 extra feet of width that they’ll have to cover, so we may have to throw Amber back there more than I would like, but you have to do what you have to do.”
Amber Schaack, once again, has proven to be one of the best goal-scorers in the state. She has 32 goals in her junior campaign — fifth most in the state — and 44 points.
The puck is set to drop at 5 p.m. tonight, and one thing is certain — win or lose — Jamestown won’t be playing Minot on the second day of the tournament for the first time since 2006.
“It would really be nice to get that first goal,” said Brad Schaack. “We’ve done that a few times this year against some of the upper echelon teams, and it’s helped. We just can’t fall behind by more than two, because we’re not a team that scores in bunches.
“We beat Crookston this year, and Crookston beat North earlier this year. … If we can get a get a good start, I like our chances.”
Sun sports writer David Griswold can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at www.twitter.com/DGriswoldSun