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Penalties doom Jays

Jamestown’s Nick Watne and Devils Lake’s Cole Thompson reach for the puck during Tuesday night’s game at Wilson Arena. (John M. Steiner/The Sun)

There was no love lost between the Firebirds and the Blue Jays at Wilson Arena on Tuesday night

The two high school hockey programs combined for 22 penalties, including six roughing calls and a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, as Devils Lake managed to squeak out of town with a 3-2 victory over Jamestown.

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“I told the kids before the game that we’d have to stay out of the box, and unfortunately we didn’t do that here tonight,” Blue Jay coach Matt Stockert said. “We didn’t stay composed tonight, as far as staying out of the penalty box and it turned into a special teams game.”

A special teams game that Devils Lake capitalized on.

Senior forward Austin Moser scored all three of the Firebirds’ goals in the game, and none came at even strength. He tied the game at 1-1 seven minutes into the second period with a power-play goal and later scored on a 5-on-3 opportunity and with Devils Lake down a skater to put the Firebirds ahead 3-1 with 4 minutes, 27 seconds remaining in the second period.

Moser left Wilson Arena with 7 goals scored on the season.

“He’s a good little hockey player for Devils Lake. I thought he played a pretty good hockey game up and down the ice,” Stockert said of Moser. “He plays hard all the time and you’ve got to watch out for a kid like that.”

All the scoring occurred in period No. 2, which was a wild 17 minutes of hockey.

The two teams combined for 13 penalties in the period, with Devils Lake racking up eight of them. A total of five roughing penalties were dished out, three of which were called on the Jays, as the home team at one point had 3 players in the penalty box.

Jamestown got on the board right off the bat when the puck found Tommy Bruns in front of the Devils Lake net just over a minute into action. He sent it past Devils Lake goalie Holden Kurtz, who never saw the shot coming through a host of players, with the assist going to Nick Watne.

Each team was assessed 11 penalties in all. The Blue Jays struck out on numerous power-play opportunities, included a pair of 5-on-3 opportunities.

They did, however, score a power-play goal with 2 minutes, 51 seconds remaining before the third, when Jakobi Lux, assisted by Brandon Stahlhut, lit the lamp.

“We had a couple of power-play opportunities where we moved the puck around great, but we just didn’t find the back of the net and I blame that on just not enough time yet,” Stockert said. “It’s come along ways since Day 1, but we’re only in week three or four here, so I think we’ll continue to push that aspect of our game and that will only get better going forward.”

Jamestown started the third period with 36 seconds left on a 5-on-3 opportunity, and after that they had 19 seconds remaining on the power play. But Devils Lake held firm.

The Blue Jays then thwarted any attempt at building moment in the frame, committing three penalties — a pair of tripping violations and a hold — in the third, which aided Devils Lake to victory.

Ironically, Jamestown didn’t commit a single penalty in last Saturday’s 6-2 victory over Williston.

“We have to stay composed. We have to take less penalties,” Stockert said. “We just need to do a better job of not letting the other team or other player or two, or three or four, get under our skin.

“We can’t get caught up in all that attention. We need to get caught up in what we’re trying to do.”

Both goalies were kept busy all night. Kurtz ended the game with 38 saves, while Jamestown’s Brian Wenzel turned away 34 shots on goal.

The Blue Jays dropped to 1-4 overall on the season. They travel to Bismarck Century to face the Patriots on Friday.

“They’re always good,” Stockert said of the Patriots. “I look for nothing different from our kids. We’re going to go out and compete and do some good things. I think we just need to play brilliant hockey all over the ice for 51 minutes.”

Devils Lake 3, Jamestown 2

Devils Lake 0 3 0 — 3

Jamestown 0 2 0 — 2


First period

No scoring.

Second period

1, JHS, Tommy Bruns (Nick Watne), 1:07; 2, DL, Austin Moser (Matthew Boren and Logan Kraft), 7:02 PP; 3, DL, Moser (Boren, Jordan Swanson), 11:13 5-on-3; 4, DL, Moser (Boren), 12:33 SH; 5, JHS, Jakobi Lux (Brandon Stahlhut), 14:09 PP.

Third period

No scoring.

Goalie saves: DL, Holden Kurtz 12-18-8—38; Jamestown, Brian Wenzel 16-8-10—34

Penalties: DL 11 for 22 minutes; Jamestown, 11 for 22 minutes.

Records: Devils Lake 2-3; Jamestown 1-4.

Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at