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Blue Jays hold off late Coyote rally

Jamestown's Riley Gerhardt goes to pounce on the puck Saturday during an outdoor game against Williston at the Hockey Day North Dakota on the University of Jamestown campus. John M. Steiner / The Sun1 / 2
A loose puck gets between Jamestown's Gavin Haut and Gunner Alvarado (13) of Williston Saturday during the Hockey Day North Dakota on the University of Jamestown campus. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 2

Jamestown High School boys hockey player Riley Gerhardt has definitely been watching the NHL outdoor games over the past few years.

The junior goalie came out onto University of Jamestown's Allen Field sporting a Blue Jay stocking cap over his helmet. Many NHL goaltenders over the years have worn a stocking cap over their helmets throughout outdoor games, dating back to 2008.

Gerhardt made 29 of 30 saves Saturday during Hockey Day North Dakota, to help the Blue Jays defeat Williston 5-3. Jamestown is now 5-8-1 and have won 5 of its last 6 contests..

"I saw it in the Winter Classic, so I thought it would be pretty cool to do it today," Gerhardt said. "I had some buddies tape it on there for me."

Gerhardt and Jamestown's defense has been key to allow the first line to grind out contests offensively. Gerhardt has saved 178 of 193 shot attempts (92 percent) during the Blue Jays' last six games.

"It's kind of my job to stop pucks," Gerhardt said. "The defense has kept opponents to the outside so they haven't gotten a lot of quality shots on me. When they are I'm making saves, so a lot of credit goes to the team."

Jamestown rolled out a defensive first line of senior Conner Rene and junior Sam Halko. Rene's partner was Jacoby Nold until he was lost to an injury. Other key defenders have been sophomore Gavin Haut, freshman Braxton Jorissen and junior Jarron Larson.

"Jarron Larson has impressed me," Gerhardt said. "He's a quiet guy that doesn't say a lot. But he keeps chugging along, does what he's told and gets his job done."

The Blue Jays' first line, battling a 7 degree temperature, started off the contest right.

Jace Thompson opened the scoring in the first period with his 11th of the winter 10 minutes, 29 seconds into the game. Tommy Falk doubled the lead after a pass from Jace Thompson found Falk on the doorstep. Jamestown took a 2-0 lead into the intermission.

"We were really putting it in the net today," first-line forward Corey Nelson said, who tallied a empty-net goal and assist in the victory. "Many of them were lucky bounces, but you take what you can get."

Jamestown also got a rare second-line goal as Alex Stockert potted his third of the season in the second period off the power play. Falk added his second of the afternoon with another slick move from the slot.

"It's one thing to keep kids focused in a normal setting and it's really hard to keep focused in a settling like this," Stockert said. "When you get into a different environment with outdoor ice, the No. 1 thing is to keep it simple. I thought a couple times we tried to get too cute and a puck went off a stick."

Williston attempted to make the home crowd sweat, if that was even possible, in the third. Dale Djorstad broke the shutout 6:25 into the final frame. Goals by Ashton Collings and Kyle Mischke off Jamestown backup goalie Brode Hillstrom briefly trimmed the score to 4-3 with 6 minutes left.

Gerhardt came back into the contest and Nelson scored an empty-net goal to put the game out of reach.

"We're up 4-0 and gave up three, but I didn't think it was out of control by a whole lot," Stockert said. "Anything can happen, I guess, we just decided we weren't going to play hockey for 6-7 minutes of the third period.

Jamestown travels to Detroit Lakes (Minn.) on Tuesday for a non-conference game.

"We're going to try and go to Detroit Lakes and beat them," Stockert said. "We played them for the first time ever last year and knocked them off here in Jamestown."

Jamestown 5, Williston 3

WHS 0 0 3 -- 3

JHS 2 2 1 -- 5

First period

1. J, Jace Thompson (Corey Nelson, Tommy Falk), 10:29, 11; 2. J, Falk (Thompson), 12:52, 10.

Second period

3. J, Alex Stockert (Cooper Allen, Joe Cummings), 2:35, 3, PP; 4. J, Falk (Thompson), 11:30, 11.

Third period

5. W, Dale Djorstad (Hunter Rossland), 6:25, 3; 6. W, Ashton Collings (Carson Hopper), 11:21, 8; 7. W, Kyle Mischke (Hopper), 14:11, 10; 8. J, Nelson (Thompson), 15:05, EN.

Penalties: J, 4 for 9 minutes. W, 5 for 10 minutes, 1 major.

Goalie saves: J, Riley Gerhardt 13-11-5--29; Brode Hillstrom X-X-1--1. W, Jay Lambert 4-12- .

Records: Jamestown 5-8-1. Williston 4-10-1.

Mitchell Johnson

Hometown: Enumclaw, WA; College: Central Washington University

(360) 918-1853