Blue Jays sitting pretty: Wild win puts JHS one victory from stateIt was a record-setting afternoon for the Jamestown Blue Jays at Minot’s All Seasons Arena on Thursday. Facing Bottineau/Rugby in the opening round of the West Region boys hockey tournament, the Jays and the Braves combined to set a new tournament-game record for goals scored in a 9-7 Blue Jay victory.
By: By Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
It was a record-setting afternoon for the Jamestown Blue Jays at Minot’s All Seasons Arena on Thursday.
Facing Bottineau/Rugby in the opening round of the West Region boys hockey tournament, the Jays and the Braves combined to set a new tournament-game record for goals scored in a 9-7 Blue Jay victory.
The new mark of 16 combined goals bested the old record by three.
Jamestown senior forward Alex Williams also tied the individual tournament-game record of goals scored with 5, as the Blue Jays move on to face Bismarck Century in today’s semifinals at 5 p.m.
“We had a lot of kids out there, juniors, sophomores and freshmen, with not much experience playing in the West Region Tournament,” JHS coach Matt Stockert said. “For them to go out there and play the way they did was nice to see.
“It wasn’t super great by any means, but it wasn’t bad, and overall I thought they played a pretty good hockey game.”
The Braves jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first 4 minutes behind goals from Luke Amsbaugh and Andrew Hill. The No. 4-seeded Braves and the No. 5-seeded Blue Jays split its pair of regular-season games prior to the tournament.
“It was a little bit of a wakeup call. The nerves hit us hard there in the first five minutes and they made us pay for it,” Stockert said. “We need to have our heads on a swivel and play better defensively. But on the flip side, when you look at the skill of some of those kids on the Bottineau (Rugby) team, if you make a mistake they make you pay for it and they certainly did that tonight.”
But after falling behind by a pair of goals, the Blue Jays erupted for 6 unanswered scores to pull ahead 6-2 halfway through the second period. Williams scored 3 of his 5 goals during the run, which was complemented with a pair of goals by Jakobi Lux and another by Jake Stilwell.
Williams and Stilwell each posted a power-play goal. Williams (5 goals, 1 assist), Lux (2 goals, 4 assists) and Stilwell (2 goals, 4 assists) all finished the game with 6 total points.
“We started shooting the puck like we wanted to on (Braves goalie) Riley (Monson) and getting a few rebounds here and there,” Stockert said. “The bottom line is a win is a win, and you have to win right now in order to play next week. We figured out a way to get it done today.”
Monson made 27 saves in the game, while Jamestown goalie Ben Walz faced 33 shots and turned away 26 of them.
Bottineau/Rugby would close the gap to 6-5 late in the second period, behind goals from Harrison Aide, Wyatt Johnson and Cody Longie. Aide led the Braves with 2 goals and 4 assists in the game.
But back-to-back goals by Williams with 53 seconds left in the second and another nearly 8 minutes into the third lifted Jamestown into the semifinals.
No. 1-seeded Bismarck Century (16-6) took Hazen/Beulah behind the woodshed 12-0 in the first quarterfinal game of the day. The Patriots defeated Jamestown 4-2 and 5-3 earlier this season.
A win would lock the Blue Jays (12-10) into next weekend’s state tournament in Grand Forks. A loss would set up a state play-in game on Saturday at 11 a.m. between Jamestown and either Dickinson or Mandan.
The state tournament begins next Thursday.
“There’s a reason why (Century) is No. 1 in the region. But we’ve played them twice and have played some pretty close-knit hockey games with them,” Stockert said. “It’s something that can possibly be done and the kids have to believe they can do it.
“We’ll see how the kids do when they lace them up and they drop the puck (today).”
West Region Boys Hockey Tournament
Jamestown 9, Bottineau/Rugby 7
Jamestown 4 3 2 — 9
Bottineau/Rugby 2 3 2 — 7
1, B/R, Luke Amsbaugh (Cody Longie, Harrison Aide), 2:18; 2, B/R, Andrew Hill (Aide), 3:36; 3, J, Alex Williams (Dakotah Spitzer), 4:08; 4, J, Williams (Jake Stilwell, Brandon Stalhut), 10:47; 5, J, Jakobi Lux (Williams), 15:13; 6, Lux (Stilwell), 16:24.
7, J, Williams (Stilwell, Lux), 1:00 (PP); 8, J, Stilwell (Lux), 9:10 (PP); 9, B/R, Aide (Wyatt Johnson, Hill), 9:57 (PP); 10, B/R, Johnson (Aide, Hill), 11:37 (PP); 11, B/R, Longie (Amsbaugh), 13:13; 12, J, Williams (Lux, Nick Stockert), 16:07.
13, J, Williams (Stilwell, Lux), 7:46; 14, B/R, Longie (Aide), 13:55; 15, B/R, Aide (unassisted), 14:12; 16, J, Stilwell (unassisted), 16:21 (EN).
Goalie saves: J, Ben Walz 9-6-11—26; B/R, Riley Monson 13-8-6—27.
Penalties: J, 5 for 10 minutes; B/R, 3 for 6 minutes.
Records: Jamestown 12-10; Bottineau/Rugby 14-6-1.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org