Tuesday night was a grudge match between the Jamestown and Bismarck High boys hockey teams.
"We played three tight games with them last year and now all of a sudden we've kind of got a grudge match between BHS and Jamestown, which is nice to have," said JHS hockey coach Matt Stockert. "It makes for good, fun, competitive hockey. As a coach, you can't ask for more than that."
The Jays bested the Demons 5-3 in the team's season opener at Wilson Arena. The Jays are slated to travel to Minot on Saturday. The puck is scheduled to drop at 4:30 p.m. at MAYSA Arena.
The Jays beat out the Demons' 4-3 in last season's fifth-place state tournament game. Prior to that, the Demons had beat out the Jays 4-2 in the opening round of the WDA tournament.
"There were a few years there where BHS has just loaded year in and year out," Stockert said. "They're typical south-side Bismarck kids -- they work hard, they get after pucks and they make it extremely hard on you."
Brady Korsmo got after a puck a little faster than Brode Hillestrom could make the stop in the first period. Korsmo drilled the biscuit past Hillestrom to put the Demons up 1-0 with 10:20 off the game clock.
Nolan Nenow, the Jays' leading scorer a season ago, put his skates to work toward the end of the second period. Nenow found the back of the net off an assist from Gavin Haut on a powerplay to tie up the game. A mere six seconds later, the freshman racked up his first assist passing the puck to Jace Thompson who scored to make it 2-1 Blue Jays.
"I think it went well tonight," Haut said. "We did what we needed to do. It was a blast playing BHS. They're a good team and it was fun to start off the season with a little challenge."
Thompson scored again with 13:50 gone in the second off an assist from Hunter Nelson to make it 3-2 Blue Jays. The Thompson/Nelson duo racked up another score with 8:10 gone in the third.
While Stockert's lines were putting the puck in the BHS net, Hillstrom, a first-year varsity netminder for the Jays, was busy keeping the pucks out of the net. The junior made 31 saves in his varsity debut.
"Starting in net, Brode made saves when we needed him to make saves. That's what you ask your goaltender to do," Stockert said. "We mixed defensemen tonight all throughout the course of the hockey game.
"I thought overall it was a pretty good effort by everybody."
Nelson iced the match with a solo goal scored with less than two minutes to play in the third. While Nelson, Thompson and Nenow were the big scorers in the season opener, Stockert was pleased with the numbers he saw sitting on the Blue Jays' bench.
"We have options," Stockert said. "We have some kids that didn't play tonight who eventually will be capable of playing the varsity lineup. We are not going to hesitate on using fresh legs on any given night. This will benefit their hockey season for the whole year."
The Jays have a whole lot of hockey to play before facing their grudge match opponents again on Feb. 12, but Stockert is sure of one thing.
"I can guarantee you one thing when we play them in the last game of the season, they will be a much-improved team and I can say the same thing about us," Stockert said.
Jamestown 5, Bismarck 3
BHS 1 1 1 -- 3
JHS 0 3 2 -- 5
First Period: 1. BHS, Korsmo (unassisted), 10:20.
Second Period: 2. JHS, Nenow (Haut), 4:30. 3. JHS, Thompson (Nenow), 4:36. 4. BHS, Gavin Rader (Miles Stiefel), 9:09. 5. JHS, Thompson (Nelson), 13:50.
Third Period: 6. BHS, Nico Mortenson (R. Richardson), 4:07. 7. JHS, Thompson (Nelson), 8:10. 8. JHS, Nelson, 13:17.
Penalties: BHS, 6 for 20 minutes. J, 9 for 18 minutes.
Goalie Saves: BHS, Logan Hendrickson 10-9-6--25. J, Hillstrom 6-12-13--31.
Records: Jamestown 1-0, Bismarck 0-1.