Nenow, Blue Jays take season opener against Legacy
The Jamestown High School boys hockey team hosted Bismarck Legacy to open the season Nov. 30.
The Black Eyed Peas song, "I gotta feeling" could have been coined as Nolan Nenow's soundtrack Tuesday night at Wilson Arena.
"I knew as soon as I came out of the locker room, I had a feeling that I was going to go out there and do my thing tonight," Nenow said. "I was just feeling it tonight and I went out there and got it done."
During the opening play of the Jamestown High School boy's hockey team's season opener against Bismarck Legacy, the junior forward sped his way past the defense to go one-on-one with Saber netminder Tyler Miler.
As any seasoned WDA goalie could have told Miller, that particular 1-vs-1 matchup isn't normally one that favors the man in goal. Nenow beat Miller's reflexes and with a flick of his stick, he gave the Jamestown High School boys hockey team its first advantage of the season.
"I was pretty confident coming down the ice," Nenow said with a grin. "I knew I was going to shoot it the whole time -- I kind of fanned on it actually -- but it went in."
The one-goal lead eventually turned into a 5-3 advantage that signaled the Blue Jays' first victory of the season.
Jamestown has two road tests scheduled for later in the week. The puck is slated to drop at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Bottineau's Al Wentz Arena. Stockert's crew will cap off the opening week of the official competition in Hazen on Saturday at 5 p.m.
"I am on the ice all year round but I've been waiting to play in Jamestown for a while here," Nenow said. "It's nice to come back especially after traveling for six weekends straight."
Nenow led the team in goals scored last season with 24. His 16 assists put him at 40 points to end his sophomore season, the sixth-best number in the state. Nenow was second-only to former Blue Jay forward and captain Jace Thompson for total points.
After his all-conference sophomore campaign ended, it didn't take Nenow long to get back on the ice. In addition to playing American Legion baseball during the summer, Nenow joined a traveling hockey team who not only worked on practicing elements of the game but also faced real-time competition, something that kept him sharp during the nine-month break between prep seasons.
"I play for Team North Dakota," Nenow said. "We go and play in a showcase-type tournament and there are DI athletes that play and USHO prospects that get drafted -- it's tough competition. It's nice to come back here and play in front of the hometown again."
While he competed for the Jamestown High School tennis team this fall, Newnow proved to still be a frequent flyer on the ice.
"During the weekends I was playing hockey and during the weeks I was playing baseball (and tennis)," Nenow said.
His off-season preparation proved incredibly useful against Legacy.
Nenow and a few other JHS team members traveled to Fargo last Saturday to scout the first-year program in the team's non-conference matchup against West Fargo. The Packers ended up winning the tilt 5-3.
"I went to watch them and texted my coach some things to watch for and came back, got a game plan and it worked," Nenow said. "They have a hard first line that forechecks hard and we shut them down, got the puck past them and went three on two and scored five goals off of them."
While the game plan proved to be a successful one, Legacy didn't go away easily.
Heading into the matchup, JHS head coach Matt Stockert said he expected that the Sabers would prove themselves to be a workhorse-type team. Legacy proved the 17-year head hockey coach right, netting the program's first goals in a span of six minutes.
Marcus Butts scored Legacy's first goal with 3:26 gone in the first period. Samuel Stanton followed suit with a mid-ice shot that got past the Jays' 6-foot-5 goalie Brode Hillstrom.
"They are gritty," Stockert said of the Sabers. "They made us work for everything that we got tonight. It will be interesting to see what kind of team they are at the next go around."
Jamestown tested Miller early on, forcing the 5-foot-10 sophomore to make seven saves. On the other side of the ice, Hillstrom made two saves. The Jays were issued no penalties in the first period, providing the home team with plenty of firepower down the stretch.
Legacy, on the other hand, was issued two back-to-back minors for slashing and hooking and while Jamestown proved unable to capitalize on the first 5-4 powerplay, the puck made a lucky bounce during the second minor and with assists from Jarrett Zalumskis and Nelson, Nenow managed to knot up the score at two apiece, heading into the first 12-minute break.
Legacy and Jamestown each exchanged their fair share of shots during the opening 15 minutes and 55 seconds of the second period. Miller made 12 saves and it looked like Hillstrom was going to record 10 until Ivar Martell got loose and split his legs, with 65 seconds left to play in the first.
Down 3-2, the Blue Jays' sense of urgency started to kick in and both teams started to crowd in between the pipes. It was junior Max Mehus who managed to push his way through to once again tie the game.
Samuel Stanton was issued a two-minute penalty and the Blue Jays took advantage. Zalumskis got on the board with a sidearm that flew past Miller to make it 4-3 Blue Jays with less than three minutes to play. The Sabers pulled Miller to go full strength on offense but it proved unfruitful as Ashton Stockert buried the Jays' fifth goal of the game with 42 seconds left.
"We probably didn't bury the puck like we wanted to in the first and second period but by all accounts, we owned that third period," Stockert said. "You can fix all the little things that didn't go the right way. I told the kids to enjoy the next 16 hours and then we'll get back to work tomorrow to get ready for Friday and Saturday."
Jamestown 5, Bismarck Legacy 3
LEG 2 1 0 -- 3
JHS 2 0 2 -- 5
First period: 1. JHS, Nolan Nenow (Hunter Nelson, Brooks Roaldson), 0:27; 2. LEG, Marcus Butts (unassisted), 3:26; 3. LEG, Samuel Stanton (Avery McMahon, Lucas Vasey), 9:05; 4. JHS, Nolan Nenow (Jarrett Zalumskis, Nelson), 16:36.
Second period: 5. LEG, Ivar Martell (unassisted), 15:55.
Third period: 6. JHS, Max Mehus (Zalumskis), 4:45; 7. JHS, Zalumskis (Nenow), 15:21; 8. Ashton Stockert (unassisted), 16:18
Goalie saves: LEG, Tyler Miller 7-12-10--29; JHS, Brode Hillstrom 2-9-12--23.
Penalties: LEG 5 for 10 minutes; JHS 2 for 4 minutes
Records: Legacy 0-1; Jamestown 1-0