All-State honor is 'pretty fun' for Jamestown's Bernadette Belzer
Bernadette Belzer, the lone senior for the JHS girls hockey team, was named to the 2023 All-State Hockey Team last week.
JAMESTOWN — Bernadette Belzer got a pretty satisfying text message a couple of weeks ago.
"I found out I got on the all-state hockey team on March 11," Belzer said. "My cousin, Brenna Curl, from Bismarck also made all-state and texted me congrats on making it. It's pretty fun when you and your cousin get the same award."
Belzer a senior for the Jamestown High School girls hockey team was the only member of the Blue Jay squad to earn all-state honors this season.
"I wouldn’t say that all-state was necessarily one of my priorities this season, but it was a goal I had especially since I made it last year," Belzer said. "My personal goal was to be able to help the team out both on and off the ice, and I think we all accomplished that. It did feel nice to be recognized and a good note to end on, and I appreciate all the coaches that voted for me."
Belzer has been a part of the Blue Jays' varsity roster since the 2018-19 season. In her five years on the team, she has accumulated 79 total points — 55 of which came in the last two seasons. Belzer has scored at least three goals every year since the 2019-20 season. Her senior year marked the most goals she has scored in a season with 16. In total, the senior put up 42 goals over the course of her career.
"My teammates pushed me every day to be the best player I could be in practice, as well as just overall being very encouraging, which helped me out greatly," Belzer said. "We were pretty short on numbers this year, but my teammates always stepped up to the plate, they never complained about the double shifting, and everyone had an uplifting attitude, which I think speaks volumes about our team.
"My happiest memory of this season was definitely watching my little sister Stella score her first varsity goal and cheering like crazy. Olivia Sorlie also faced an insane amount of shots this season and kept our team in every game."
Stella, a seventh grader, notched three total goals and an assist this year. Sorlie, a second-year starting goaltender for the Jays, faced 912 shots on net and made 832 saves for a save percentage of 91.2%.
While Sorlie was back in between the pipes for the Jays, the team lost former all-state skater Alexis Kirkeby to a school transfer. Kirkeby was the Jays' leading scorer during the 2021-22 season with 27 goals and 19 assists — totals that ranked her third in the state overall in terms of scoring.
"Losing Lexi, who was a huge point-getter for us last year, meant I had to focus on being more aggressive on my offense this year," Belzer said. "There are a lot of talented girls playing hockey in North Dakota, so working hard is definitely what it takes to compete against them. I just want to thank my parents coaches and teammates. I wouldn’t be where I am today without any of them."
Belzer scored 16 goals and notched six assists in the 22 games played this season. Ellie Krueger, the Jays' second-leading scorer, was credited with eight goals. The two-way player only spent 12 minutes in the box all season.
Belzer did her best to get the Jays back to the state tournament this season but due to a lack of numbers and varsity experience, the Blue Jays missed qualifying for its third straight tourney and finished out the season with a record of 4-17-1. Belzer said she is not set on playing hockey at the collegiate level but said she is still planning on playing the game recreationally.
"(Bernadette) has a lot of hockey talent but what stands out about her is her work ethic, " JHS head coach Andy Fitzgerald said. "She has been a team captain for the last two years and has provided leadership for the younger girls. (She) has been a pleasure to coach over the last five years."
2023 Girls Hockey All-State Team
Bernadette Belzer, Jamestown
Brenna Curl, Century
Ashlyn Abrahamson, Devils Lake
Anna Nelson, Fargo North/South
Taylyn Cope, Minot
Courtney Docktor, West Fargo United
Zoey Gervais, West Fargo United
Ava Krikorian, Legacy/Bismarck
Jillian Ackerman, Minot
Maggie Seeley, West Fargo United
Siri Olson, Devils Lake
Kenleigh Fischer, Fargo North/South
Ella Gabel, Legacy/Bismarck
Allie Emineth, Fargo Davies
Mathilde Vetter, Faro Davies
NDHSCA POWERade Outstanding Senior Athlete - Kaylee Baker, Grand Forks
NDHSCA SUBWAY Coach of the Year - Ben Hertz, Mandan