Season to rememberThe Jamestown High School girls hockey team ended the season the same way it started — winning seven of eight.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown High School girls hockey team ended the season the same way it started — winning seven of eight.
It’s been an amazing ride for the Blue Jays, who spent the regular season knocking down pillars. They beat Grand Forks three times this season and even swept Fargo North. Jamestown had previously never beaten a Grand Forks or Fargo team.
The big test comes when the fourth-seeded Blue Jays meet No. 5 Fargo South-Davies at approximately 2 p.m. today at the state tournament in Grand Forks.
The milestone wins were great for momentum and worth remembering, but they aren’t the ones that comfort Schaack the most.
“We’ve beaten every team below us; we’ve never been upset,” coach Brad Schaack said. “That’s the sign of a good team.”
South-Davies joins West Fargo as the only teams to have swept Jamestown this season. The Blue Jays’ only other conference loss was to Bismarck.
“Bounces were going our way, we were getting great goaltending; puck luck has a lot to do with hockey,” Schaack said. “My girls worked their butts off. We’re just not deep enough where we can take a shift or two off.”
With only nine regular skaters, logic says the Blue Jays should start fast and get weary as the game wears on. But Schaack said that’s not the case, as the third period has repeatedly proven to be their strongest throughout the season.
Sticking with that trend, the Blue Jays also seem to play better on the Olympic sheet of ice, Schaack said. They lost just 2-1 to Fargo North last year in the opening round, before beating Bismarck 4-2 and Minot 3-2 for a program-best fifth place.
“We’ve played good there the last couple of years,” Schaack said. “We’ve gotten stronger as the tournament goes on. I don’t know how they do it. Amber (Schaack) loves the bigger ice. There’s more room to roam around.”
As it has all season, the senior class will likely be at the forefront of most of the success. Though Amber Schaack and goalie Carissa Finck have put their stamps on most of the team’s wins, Brad Schaack said he doesn’t expect any less from Steph Kamlitz and Larissa Wiest, two seniors who have helped carry the burden all season long.
“Steph’s shot has come a long ways,” Brad Schaack said. “She’s actually getting some notice from D-3 schools. She’s really strong on her skates. She’s probably my most physical player.
“You aren’t gonna find a girl who works as hard as Larissa Wiest. She comes off every shift very tired. Everyone loves her. She keeps the team loose. They’re both great kids. They’re gonna be missed.”
Brad Schaack, in his fourth year, is contemplating stepping down with the graduation of Amber, his daughter. He’d like to find time to watch Amber compete at Concordia College next year as well as watch his son Nick, a freshman, play on the boys team.
“I’m gonna make my decision after state,” he said. “I’ve only gotten to see Nick play maybe three times this year. I’m always out of town. I missed his first high school goal, and you don’t get that stuff back. It’s got nothing to do with me getting burnt out with coaching. I love going to the rink every day. But I owe my kids to be there for them.”
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org