Jamestown High School's third-period penalty kill saved the day Friday at the VFW Sports Center in Bismarck.
Clinging to a 5-4 lead against Bottineau/Rugby in loser-out action of the West Region boys hockey tournament, Jamestown was on its heels after back-to-back goals scored by the Braves' Ian Amsbaugh evaporated a 5-2 Jamestown advantage to begin the third, and a two-minute minor assessed to the Jays' Gavin Haut for tripping then put the Braves on the power-play with 10 minutes, 44 seconds remaining.
But Jamestown held firm, tallying twice more down the stretch, and staved off elimination with a 7-4 victory. The Blue Jays will Dickinson in a state qualifier tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.
"We take a penalty and ask our killers to go out and do a good job of killing, and that they honestly did," said Jamestown boys hockey coach Matt Stockert. "It's good stuff."
Haut's trip was only the second minor penalty whistled on the Jays over the entire 51 minutes. Jamestown blew out to an early, second-period 4-1 lead before the state's leading scorer -- Amsbaugh -- became a problem. The junior forward scored all four of the Braves' goals, striking 19 seconds into the third and again eight minutes later to nearly do enough damage to send Jamestown home from the tournament.
Amsbaugh has tallied a state-leading 37 goals and 69 total points.
"You give him a decent opportunity and Ian's gonna make something out of it," Stockert said. "He had the hot stick today. I thought overall we played a pretty good hockey game, other than the few turnovers that we allowed those guys to capitalize on."
Jamestown (13-9) played like a team that wanted its season to continue, striking for back-to-back goals in the span of six seconds just three minutes into period No. 1. Sophomore forward Joe Cummings kicked off the scoring, assisted by senior captain Tommy Falk, and Falk immediately tallied following the faceoff at center ice to hand the Blue Jays at 2-0 lead at 3:24.
"That kinda sends a message that, hey, we're here and we don't wanna check out of the hotel early," Stockert said. "You wanna get up tomorrow morning and do the same thing all over again."
Hunter Nelson and Nolan Nenow later found the back of the net for the Jays. Nenow's second tally of the second period put JHS up 5-2 after two, and after Amsbaugh nearly leveled things the Jays put the contest away off the stick of junior Jace Thompson and Nelson.
Nelson buried an empty-netter at 16:43. Jamestown won shots 35-34 with senior goalie Riley Gerhardt posting 30 saves.
Dickinson (11-10) defeated third-seeded Mandan 4-2 in Friday's quarterfinals, before falling 11-1 to Bismarck Century in Saturday's semifinals.
The Blue Jays split two games with Dickinson this season.
"All year long the West Region's shown the three seed, the four seed, the five seed, the six seed and the seventh seed can play with each other," Stockert said. "At this point of the season, you just gotta do whatever it takes. It doesn't matter who's lined up across from ya, you've just gotta lace 'em tight, strap your chinstrap on nice and tight, and just got get after it."
West Region Boys Hockey Tournament
At Bismarck's VFW Sports Center
Jamestown 7, Bottineau/Rugby 4
JHS 3 2 2 -- 7
BR 1 1 2 -- 4
1. J, Joe Cummings (Tommy Falk), 3:18; 2. J, Falk (Corey Nelson, Cummings), 3:24; 3. BR, Ian Amsbaugh (Landon Rosendahl), 9:02; 4. J, Hunter Nelson (unassisted), 10:19.
5. J, Nolan Nenow (H. Nelson, Jace Thompson), 2:23; 6. BR, Amsbaugh (Rosendahl), 5:38; 7. J, Nenow (Conner McLachlan, H. Nelson), 11:47.
8. BR, Amsbaugh (Riley Biberdorf), 0:19; 9. BR, Amsbaugh (Rosendahl), 8:32; 10. J, Thompson (H. Nelson, Nenow), 14:21; 11. J, H. Nelson (unassisted), EN, 16:34.
Goalie saves: J, Riley Gerhardt 13-9-8--30. BR, Tyler Olson 8-7-14--29.
Penalties: J, 2 for 4 minutes. BR, 3 for 6 minutes.
Records: Jamestown 13-9. Bottineau/Rugby 10-14.
(Tournament seeding/records in parenthesis)
G1: (1) Minot 4, (8) Bottineau/Rugby 0.
G2: (4) Bismarck 4, (5) Jamestown 2.
G3: (2) Century 10, (7) Williston 2.
G4: (3) Mandan (11-10-0) vs. (6) Dickinson (10-9-0), 7;15 p.m.
G5: Jamestown 7, Bottineau/Rugby 4.
G6: Mandan 3, Williston 2.
G7: Bismarck 3, Minot 2.
G8: Century 11, Dickinson 1.
State qualifier: Mandan (12-11-0 vs. Minot (17-6-0), 11 a.m.
State qualifier: Jamestown (13-9-0) vs. Dickinson (11-10-0), 1:30 p.m.
Championship: Bismarck (9-14-0) vs. Bismarck Century (16-7-0), 4 p.m.
East Region Boys Hockey Tournament
At Grand Forks Purpur Arena
G1: (1) G.F. Central 8, (8) Devils Lake 0.
G2: (4) G.F. Red River 3, (5) West Fargo 2.
G3: (2) Fargo South 8, (7) Grafton/Park River 2.
G4: (3) Fargo Davies 4, (6) Fargo North 1.
G5: West Fargo 5, Devils Lake 1.
G6: Fargo North 5, Grafton/PR 0.
G7: G.F. Red River 3, G.F. Central 2.
G8: Fargo South 3, Fargo Davies 1.
State qualifier: Fargo North (10-11-2) vs. G.F. Central (19-4-0), 1 p.m.
State qualifier: West Fargo (14-9-0) vs. Fargo Davies (18-5-0), 3:30 p.m.
Championship: G.F. Red River (14-7-2) vs. Fargo South (18-4-1), 6 p.m.