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Burgers, hot dogs and Jimmie hockey

University of Jamestown's Jason Richter moves in on Minot State's Paul O'Connor last season at John L. Wilson Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Burgers, hot dogs and hockey.

If that sounds like a good time, which it should, make plans to head over to John L. Wilson Arena tomorrow evening. University of Jamestown men's hockey will be opening its home season against in-state rival Minot State at 7 p.m., and prior to the drop of the puck the North Dakota National Guard will be supplying free burgers and hot dogs in the arena parking lot beginning at 5 p.m.

The pre-game tailgate party, which is scheduled to include live music and games for the entire family, is all part of University of Jamestown's homecoming-week festivities.

"We'll have some players out there who won't be dressing to meet people and tell everyone about our season and what our plans are," said Jamestown junior forward Jason Richter. "It should be a fun time. Our goal is to get people to come out, have fun and watch some good hockey."

Following what should prove to be competitive rounds of community ladder toss and cornhole in the parking lot, the Jimmies plan on getting down to business. Jamestown is 2-15-1 in 18 games played against Minot State and is looking to add a few more wins to the rivalry.

The Beavers (1-1-1) are currently the second-ranked program in the American Collegiate Hockey Association's top division. The Jimmies (0-2-0) are ranked 13th.

"They're obviously a good team," Richter said. "But I think right now we're a little more evenly matched than we've been in the past."

The Jimmies are coming off losses of 5-1 and 4-0 to Missouri State on Sept. 21-22. Junior defenseman Brandon Schaber, of Alder Flats, Alberta, tallied the Jimmies' lone goal of the road series, unassisted.

But Richter is one of a handful of Jimmie forwards who know what to do with the puck. The native of Cranbrook, British Columbia, has led Jimmie hockey in goals scored in each of its first two years of existence.

Richter buried 12 goals as a freshman and 15 more in 2017-18. Richter has also posted 27 career assists while wearing orange and black, giving him 54 career points.

"I think (scoring) as been my M.O.," Richter said. "Obviously, I like putting it in the net a little bit, but I also still like grinding in the corners a bit too."

Richter explained he's far from alone on the ice. He's one of the Jimmies' four captains this season, along with senior defenseman Cole Sonstebo, senior forward Phoenix McElroy-Scott and junior defenseman Garret Browning.

"I think it's going to be a little more balanced offensively this year," Richter said. "We don't have any one standout guy who's going to score 20 more goals than the other person, but we have two really good lines that can score and we plan on putting a lot of pucks in the net."

Junior forwards Cole McKechney (10 goals, 23 assists) and Cameron Todd (8 goals, 34 assists) were the only two Jimmies to outscore Richter last season.

Jamestown and Minot State will play a second game Friday in Minot. The two teams will play six games and a best-of-three series to end the regular season this winter on the ice.

"I think we're two of the top teams in the league again this year," Richter said. "The little things we just have to get better on. Getting better with our passing and burying opportunities."

Michael Savaloja

Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota

A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.

Follow on Twitter: @MichaelSavaloja

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