Jays notch first league win in 662 days
Jamestown High School girls hockey hasn’t won a league game in 662 days.
“It feels amazing,” junior defender Abby Grounds said, who scored a pair of goals in the victory. “We’ve been putting in so much effort to get this win. It’s an amazing feeling to pull through.”
The Blue Jays last won a league game on Feb. 14, 2017, when they defeated Devils Lake 3-2, behind Erin Anderson’s 31 saves in net. Jamestown has two non-league victories between that time, beating Crookston (Minn.) 5-2 and Park Rapids (Minn.) 7-4 on Dec. 27-28, 2017.
“It was nice to get the win tonight,” Blue Jay coach Andy Fitzgerald said, who’s in his second year at the helm. “Part of what we’re striving to do is learn to win the winnable games. We’ve been on the wrong side of it most of the time.”
A six-minute stretch in the second period made all the difference for Jamestown. A pair of goals by Grounds, along with tallies from sophomore Ella Roaldson and Abby Soulis gave the Jays a 4-0 lead heading into the third period.
“That second period was huge for us,” Fitzgerald said. “We had pressure going all period. We weren’t happy being tied 0-0 after one period, so the girls dug down deep and outworked Williston.”
The Coyotes’ Brenna Ashby briefly trimmed the lead to 4-1, but Roaldson scored her second of the night with 7 minutes, 6 second remaining to seal the victory.
“That line had four of our five goals,” Fitzgerald said of Roaldson, Grounds and Kendra Paiement. “Abby Soulis also got her first goal, which was nice to see.
“Finding the back of the net has been a challenge, so it was nice to score.”
Anderson stopped 19 of 20 shots for Jamestown, which was well under her 45.5 shots per contest this season.
“That’s a 95 save percentage,” Fitzgerald said. “She didn’t get a lot of pressure, especially in the second period when we held them to one shot. But they did have some scoring chances throughout the game.”
The Blue Jays have three points on the year now, which ties them with Mandan for ninth place. Jamestown will be vying with the likes of Devils Lake, Dickinson, Minot and Mandan for playoff spots 6-8.
“We have everybody looking at us as a bad girls hockey program,” Grounds said. “This win will turn our program around and show teams we’re here to play.”
Jamestown (1-3-1) will travel to Devils Lake (3-3-0) on Thursday night.
“We’re beyond prepared,” Grounds said. “We just have to get the practices passed us and show we’re not the old Jamestown. We’re here to play.
Added Fitzgerald: “Devils Lake works hard. They’re going to pressure us and not give us a lot of room to make decisions. A lot of that game will come down to positioning and hard work.”
Boys lose in shootout
Jamestown High School boys hockey fell to Williston 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday. The Blue Jays will host Bismarck Century on Friday night.
Jamestown 5, Williston 1
JHS 0 4 1 -- 5
WHS 0 0 1 -- 1
1. J, Abby Soulis (Mary Belzer), 9:36, 1; 2. J, Abby Ground (Ella Roaldson), 7:43, 2; 3. J, Abby Grounds (Roaldson), 7:12, 3; 4. Roaldson (Alexis Kirkeby), 3:41, 3.
5. W, Brenna Ashby (Hailey Krieger), 9:21; 6. J, Roaldson (Kendra Paiement, Grounds), 7:06, 4.
Goalie saves: J, Erin Anderson 8-1-1--10. W, Olivia Bervig 7-5-14--26.
Penalties: J, 4 for 8 minutes. W, 5 for 10 minutes.
Records: Jamestown 1-3-1. Williston 0-5-0.