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Cougars wear down Blue Jays

Jamestown goalie Erin Anderson knocks the puck out of the way as Aberdeen's Kaitlyn Holland attempts to make a goal Thursday at John L. Wilson Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Jamestown High School girls hockey couldn't contain Aberdeen Central's (S.D.) Holland sisters Thursday night at John L. Wilson Arena.

The Cougars' Hailey and Kaitlyn Holland each scored two goals in the non-conference contest to defeat the Blue Jays 5-2. Jamestown is now 0-1-1 on the season.

"They're good," Blue Jay coach Andy Fitzgerald said of the opposing sisters. "They had a real good top line, but so do most of the teams in North Dakota, so it's something we have to get used to."

Aberdeen Central's Morgan Dean opened the scoring 1 minute, 57 seconds into the first period. Jamestown eighth-grader Alexis Kirkeby scored her first of two tallys on the night with a shot from the blue line to tie the game at 1-1 after one frame.

"She had a few chances against Crookston as well," Fitzgerald said of Kirkeby. "To have someone create chances from the defensive position is always a huge thing."

Each of the Hollands tallied in the second, helping the Cougars lead 3-1. Kirkeby, however, cut the deficit to 3-2 with 43 seconds remaining in the period with her second goal of the season.

"She got her own rebound and slammed it in," Fitzgerald said. "It's exciting to see as an eighth grader. You see it in practice, a lot of times that doesn't transfer to games, but for her it does. She's patient out there, doesn't get rattled by the fast pace and looks calm out there on the ice."

Jamestown's legs looked tired in the third period, getting outshot 20-5. The Cougars buried two more pucks in the final frame, putting the contest out of reach.

"You could tell it's still early in the season and our game legs weren't quite under us because you could see us wearing down, especially in the third period," Fitzgerald said. "We got outshot quite a bit and they controlled play for the most part.

"But I thought we took a step forward from Crookston (Minn.) last week."

Valley City native Erin Anderson stopped 37 shots in net for Jamestown, including 18 in the third period. The senior also stopped 35 of 37 against Crookston back on Nov. 20.

"None of those goals you could fault her for," Fitzgerald said. "Aberdeen Central was buzzing around our net and getting lots of chances, especially on the power play. She made all the saves she should make and more than that."

Jamestown now plays five straight games on the road, starting with Bismarck (1-0) today. The Blue Jays return to Wilson Arena on Dec. 18 for their final home game of 2018, which is a rematch against the Cougars.

"Aberdeen was a step up from Crookston from last week, and Bismarck will be a step up from what we saw tonight," Fitzgerald said. "We'll see how the girls handle it, especially on playing back-to-back nights with tired legs. It'll be interesting to see how we respond."

Aberdeen Central 5, Jamestown 2

AC 1 2 2 -- 5

JHS 1 1 0 -- 2

First period

1. AC, Morgan Dean (Estelle Harrison), 1:57, 1; 2. J, Alexis Kirkeby (Megan Albrecht), 6:44, 1.

Second period

3. AC, Hailey Holland (Unassisted), 0:59, 1; 4. AC, Kaitlyn Holland (Kensi Eckoff), 8:20, 1; 5. Kirkeby (Bernedette Belzer), 16:17.

Third period

6. AC, K. Holland (H. Holland), 5:35; 7. AC, H. Holland (Eckhoff, K. Holland), 12:28.

Penalties: J, 2 for 4 minutes. AC, 3 for 6 minutes.

Goalie saves: J, Erin Anderson 11-8-18--37. AC, Shelby Snow 3-7-5--15

Records: Jamestown 0-0-1. Aberdeen Central 0-0.

Mitchell Johnson

Hometown: Enumclaw, WA; College: Central Washington University

(360) 918-1853