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Falk, Gerhardt lead Jays to OT victory

Jamestown's Joe Cummings (8) moves the puck between two Minot skaters Friday at John L. Wilson Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Jamestown High School boys hockey captain Tommy Falk did what captains are supposed to do Friday, Jan. 11, at John L. Wilson Arena.

The junior forward backed up a brilliant performance turned in by JHS goaltender Riley Gerhardt against visiting Minot, scoring the game-winning goal 44 seconds into overtime. The result of a Blue Jays' odd-man rush early into the 8-minute OT, Falk spun around in the the slot and flung home his second goal of the contest to walk off the Jays 2-1.

"We give all credit to Riley on that," said Falk, whose tally in the first period tied the game at 1-1. "They had all the moment and Riley kept us in that game the whole time."

Gerhardt was asked to make 49 saves in the victory, including a perfect 33 of 33 over scoreless second and third frames. Minot outshot Jamestown 50-22 all told in a contest that witnessed just a single penalty—a 2-minute minor on the Magicians in the second for holding.

Other than the early Blue Jay power-play opportunity 45 seconds into the second, the puck rarely left Jamestown's zone throughout a largely uninspiring second 17 minutes of hockey.

"We needed to keep moving but we didn't," Falk said of the second. "We kinda got comfortable with a 1-1 when we should've been attacking. Riley did a heck of a job keeping us in it."

Minot struck first 7:39 into the first period on Aiden Morelli's second goal scored against Jamestown this season. Morelli tallied the game winner for the Magicians in the third period of a 3-2 victory over Jamestown on Dec. 15 in Minot. Jamestown was being outshot 36-17 entering the third on Friday, but rebounded energy-wise in the third.

"We didn't play very well in the second period, and I thought the bottom line there was we just needed to be stronger getting pucks out, doing the little things and have a purpose," said JHS hockey coach Matt Stockert. "In the third period we did that, and in overtime I just told the kids to keep doing what you were doing and you'll get a 2-on-1 break, and we actually did which ended up creating the goal."

Jamestown appeared to have moved ahead 2-1 at 4:09 in the second period. But a Jamestown tally was wiped off the board due to goalie interference after a lengthy conference by the officials.

"It went off a Minot player and into the net, and they said one of our other players interfered with the goaltender prior to. I just respectfully disagreed a little bit," Stockert said. "This disagreement really came from Minot's first goal, because we felt Riley got interfered with and they let it go.

"It is what it is. The kids just buckled down and we got out of the second, thankfully, and got into the third and played much better and won a game in overtime."

Falk's first-period goal was assisted by sophomore Jace Thompson, while Thompson and junior Corey Nelson helped on the second. Jamestown's top line of Falk, Thompson and Nelson has tallied 50 of the Blue Jays' 67 points this season, including 25 of the team's 31 goals scored.

The Blue Jays host Dickinson on Tuesday, Jan. 15, before facing Williston outdoors on Jan. 19 during Hockey Day North Dakota at University of Jamestown's Allen Field. Jamestown (4-8-1) defeated Dickinson 4-3 on Jan. 5.

"It feels good. We're finally getting some confidence with the young guys," Falk said. "Hopefully we can keep this moving, especially into Dickinson because that would be a big three points for us."

The Blue Jays are trending upward, winners of three of their last four and taking over fifth in the West Region standings after an early patch of both bad luck and learning. Four of the team's eight losses have been decided by a single goal.

"Hats off to the kids. They don't give up, they work hard and the mistakes they're making now are all coachable, Stockert said. "I think you're starting to see a team that's coming together a little bit, and that's always a good thing. We want to be playing our best hockey a month from now and we're definitely on the right track for sure."

Jamestown 2, Minot 1 OT

MIN 1 0 0 0 -- 1

JAM 1 0 0 1 -- 2

Scoring

First period: 1. M, Aiden Morelli (Mason Diehl, Casey Fjeld), 7:39. 2. J, Tommy Falk (Jace Thompson), 10:40.

Second period: No scoring.

Third period: No scoring.

Overtime: 3. J, Falk (Corey Nelson, Thompson), 0:44.

Goalie saves: M, Tre' Sortland 9-7-5-0--21. J, Riley Gerhardt 16-19-14--49.

Penalties: M, 1 for 2 minutes. J, 0 for 0 minutes.

Records: Jamestown 4-8-1, 4-4-1 WR. Minot 4-5-0, 3-4-0.

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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