Blend of talent returns for JHS girls hockey
Jamestown High School opens the girls hockey season Tuesday night with some familiar faces back on each side of the puck.
The Blue Jays will take the ice against Crookston (Minnesota) in the team's first game of the season at Kim Braaten Memorial Arena in Mayville at 7 p.m. The Jays defeated Crookston 7-0 last Jan. 19.
"They match up pretty equally with us," said JHS coach Andy Fitzgerald, who is beginning his third year heading up the program. "We had two overtime games with them last year so we're expecting another close game. It'll be a good way to see where we are at to start the season."
The Jays are down five seniors due to graduation, but the head coach said he's optimistic about what returning a pair of top scorers plus an experienced group of defensemen will produce.
Jamestown junior forward Ella Roaldson's 13 goals and 13 assists for 26 total points led the Jays last season. Joining Roaldson on the offensive side of the biscuit are juniors Sydney Mittleider and Erika Anderson.
The Jays put up 46 goals and 43 assists for 89 points in 2018-19. Freshman defenseman Alexis Kirkeby started all 22 games last season and racked up 16 points via 10 goals and six assists.
Seniors Megan Albrecht and Ashlyn Schauer, along with junior Lexi Leroux, will work to defend the goal for the Jays. The trio totaled a goal and five assists last winter.
Jamestown will have a new netminder in the form of freshman Jada Nelson. Nelson took the ice in a pair of games last season, working a save percentage of 95.2% and helping the team notch the 7-0 shutout vs. Crookston.
"Last year we graduated our goalie and four forwards," Fitzgerald said. "We have all our defensemen from last year, which is nice because we have (Nelson) that will be seeing every game. It'll be nice to have an experienced group of defensemen in front of her."
The Blue Jays ended 2018-19 at 7-13-2 overall. Fitzgerald and his squad were picked to finish ninth in the 11-team statewide standings in the preseason coaches' poll.
"I think our team has a lot of potential," Fitzgerald said. "We have a lot of returning players -- players with two, three, four years of experience. Last year we were an overtime away from making the state tournament, so we're right on the cusp of taking the next step and we're looking to take that next step this year."