Red River too much for JaysTo be No. 1, a team needs more than just dedicated players and a stealthy game plan.
By: By Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
GRAND FORKS — To be No. 1, a team needs more than just dedicated players and a stealthy game plan.
It also needs a little bit of luck, and Grand Forks Red River — the East Region’s No. 1 team — got plenty of that in the first period against Jamestown during the opening round of the state boys hockey tournament Thursday at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Already leading 2-0, Red River junior standout Jacob Benson scored his first goal of the tournament with just over 3 minutes left.
But what the stat sheet doesn’t point out is that Benson’s shot went directly off the stick of Jamestown senior defenseman Matt Grounds, and then sailed past Jamestown goalie Tygh Yatskis for the score. Red River rolled on to outshoot the Jays 40-11 in its 6-0 win.
“Hockey’s a funny game like that. Nine times out of 10, (Grounds) handles that puck and makes a good decision with it,” JHS coach Matt Stockert said. “But that one time it went right off his stick and in the net. You just take a big sigh and says let’s get after it and keep going.”
The Blue Jays struggled to find rhythm offensively for most of the game, especially in the first period. The Jays were outshot 12-4 in the frame, taking a handful of attempts from the circles and beyond that missed the mark, as that was about as close the Jays could come to Red River goalie Aaron Sauve for most of the game.
Red River’s third line got the Roughriders on the board first when sophomore forward Logan Montgomery scored his seventh goal of the year 6 minutes into the game. Andy Norman picked up Red River’s other tally in the first.
The Roughriders scored just once in the second on Jordan Lunski’s eighth of the season, but limited Jamestown to just two shots on goal over the second 17 minutes.
“First period, we didn’t come out and play our hockey and that resulted in them being up 3-0,” Stockert said. “We had a conversation with the kids in the locker room, and they actually came out and played pretty well, even though we didn’t get many shots on net in that second period.
“I thought we played a lot better, and kept (the puck) to the outside and did a lot of things real well.”
Red River’s Matt Christian picked up a short-handed goal in the third, while Benson would later score his second goal of the game, this one on the power play, firing a shot through the 5-hole with 9 minutes left. It was his 32nd goal of the year.
“The kids in the second and third period, I thought they went after it and stuck to our game plan to keep them to the outside,” Stockert said. “We did a lot of good things in that second and third period that you’ve got to give our kids credit for.”
Yatskis (28) and Ben Walz (6) teamed up for 34 saves in the contest.
Jamestown (13-12) was hoping to pick up its sixth win in seven games, but fell to the very same team that took them out of the first round the last time the Jays were at state in 2011. The Jays face Minot this morning at 11 in loser-out play on the Olympic sheet.
The Magicians have shut out the Jays twice this season, 6-0 and 5-0.
“You have to have bounces hopefully go your way rather than the other way, but you’ve got to tip your hat to (Red River coach Bill Chase’s) team,” Stockert said. “They’ve got a good group of players over there and they deserved to win today.”
State Boys Hockey Tournament
At Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks
Grand Forks Red River 6, Jamestown 0
Jamestown 0 0 0 — 0
GF Red River 3 1 2 — 6
1, GFRR, Logan Montgomery (Ben Cleveland, Grant Caulfied), 6:07; 2, GFRR, Andy Norman (Branden Lunski), 7:40; 3, GFRR, Jacob Benson (unassisted), 16:38 (PP).
4, GFRR, Jordan Lunski (Matt Christian), 7:23.
5, GFRR, Christian (Lunski), 5:13 (SH); 6, GFRR, Benson (Norman, Lunski), 7:58 (PP).
Goalie saves: J, Tygh Yatskis 9-15-4—28, Ben Walz x-x-6 – 6; GFRR, Aaron Sauve 4-2-4—10.
Penalties: J, 2 for 4 minutes; GFRR, 3 for 6 minutes.
Records: GF Red River 19-5-1; Jamestown 13-12.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org