Devils Lake downs JaysDevils Lake eighth-grader Cole Thompson provided the definition of backbreaker against the Blue Jays at Jamestown’s Wilson Arena on Friday night.
By: By Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Devils Lake eighth-grader Cole Thompson provided the definition of backbreaker against the Blue Jays at Jamestown’s Wilson Arena on Friday night.
Down a skater, the Firebirds’ defenseman intercepted the puck inside the Blue Jays’ blue line and buried an unassisted short-handed goal past Jamestown goalkeeper Ben Walz with 6 minutes left to play in the fourth period.
The goal handed Devils Lake its first lead of the game at 3-2, and the Firebirds would hang on for a 4-2 non-conference victory over Jamestown.
“We made a simple mistake there on the power play in the D-zone there and turned it over,” JHS coach Matt Stockert said. “If you make a mistake like that, nine times out of 10 they’ll take advantage of it.”
In a game that included a combined 16 penalties, the Blue Jays had ample opportunities to put the game away using the power play after taking a 2-0 lead in the second. None bigger than a 5-on-3 advantage late in the second, and a 5-on-4 opportunity for 5 minutes in the third after Devils Lake picked up a high-sticking major.
But Devils Lake held tough, scoring four unanswered goals, three of which came in the final 17 minutes. The Firebirds scored the only power-play goal of the game early in the third to tie it at 2-2, which was followed by Thompson’s dagger and a late Firebirds’ goal which came after Jamestown pulled Walz out of the net with 37 seconds remaining.
“I didn’t think we did all that bad on the power play tonight. We didn’t score, but I thought we moved the puck around pretty well and got the puck to the net,” Stockert said. “We’ve got to pick up rebounds and be better at that. Just do the little things better in front of the net.”
Devils Lake goalie Holden Kurtz had plenty to do with Jamestown’s scoring woes. The sophomore picked up 40 saves in the game, including 15 in the final period.
“It’s a matter of finding the net rather than the goaltender, and Holden (Kurtz) is a pretty good goaltender over there for Devils Lake,” Stockert said. “Tip your hat to that kid. He’s always played really well in the net.”
Sophomore forward Nick Stockert put the Blue Jays out front 1-0 in the first period scoring his third goal of the season. The puck found the stick of Stockert during a scrum in the corner to the left of Kurtz with just over 10 minutes left in the opening 17 minutes. Stockert simply spun and fired the puck into the net, catching Kurtz off guard.
Fellow underclassman, freshman forward Austin Rene, was credited with his third assist of the year on the play.
Kurtz stopped 13 shots in the first, while Jamestown goalie Tygh Yatskis turned away three shots. The biggest save by Yatskis in the period was arguably during Devils Lake’s lone power-play attempt of the period. Devils Lake’s Matthew Boren fired a clear shot from center as time expired on the Firebirds’ man advantage, but Yatskis collected the shot to keep Devils Lake off the scoreboard with 4 minutes to go.
Yatskis collected 6 saves in the game before being replaced by Walz late in the second. Walz finished the game with 10 saves.
Jamestown’s advantage grew to 2-0 early in the second on Jake Stilwell’s 11th goal of the season. Jamestown’s Jakobi Lux found Stilwell with a pass during a Jamestown break, which ended with Stilwell just squeezing a shot through the legs of Kurtz in the net. It appeared that Kurtz stopped the initial shot by Stilwell, but somehow the puck squirted through and across the goal line just 1 minute, 9 seconds into the second.
The second then turned into a penalty bonanza, as the two teams combined for seven minors over the next 16 minutes.
Devils Lake did get on the board in the midst of all the penalties, helping Devils Lake trail 2-1 at the end of two periods. The Firebirds’ junior defenseman Tanner Elshaug collected a loose puck out near the blue line, which he sent past Yatskis with just under 12 minutes before the third.
Friday night’s action for Jamestown (3-5 overall) was its first in 14 days. The Jays will be back at it at home on Jan. 4 against Bottineau.
Devils Lake 4, Jamestown 2
Devils Lake 0 1 3 — 4
Jamestown 1 1 0 — 2
1, JHS, Nick Stockert (Austin Rene), 6:40.
2, JHS, Jake Stilwell (Jakobi Lux), 1:09; 3, DL, Tanner Elshaug (Austin Moser), 5:05.
4, DL, Chris Dahlen (Logan Kraft), 3:05 PP; 5, DL, Cole Thompson (unassisted), 11:00 SH; 6, DL, Kraft (Dahlen), 16:22 EN.
Penalties: Devils Lake 8 for 19 minutes; Jamestown 8 for 16 minutes.
Goalie saves: Devils Lake, Holden Kurtz 13-12-15 — 40; Jamestown, Tygh Yatskis 3-3-x — 6, Ben Walz x-1-9 – 10.
Records: Devils Lake 3-5; Jamestown 3-5.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org