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Belzer, Kirkeby named to all-state hockey team

Alexis Kirkeby and Bernadette Belzer were named to the 2022 girls hockey All-State team.

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Jamestown's Bernadette Belzer moves the puck across the ice in front of Julia McIvor (17) of Devils Lake in a game on Feb. 15, 2022, at Wilson Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Bernadette Belzer just wanted to be a part of her family's affairs when she was 5 years old.

"I started playing hockey when I was 5 because I wanted to play with my older sister and I didn’t want to be a figure skater anymore," Belzer said.

Now, about 12 years later, she's not only one of the best in her family, but also one of the best in the state.

Belzer and her teammate, Alexis Kirkeby, were the two members of the Jamestown High School girls hockey team who were named to the 2022 Girls Hockey All-State Team, which was announced Thursday.

The Blue Jays placed fifth at the 2022 state tourney last weekend. Jamestown defeated both Minot and Mandan in sudden-death overtime in order to claim the consolation championship.

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"We had gone into so many OT games this season we were very familiar with the situation and everyone knew what we had to do, and more importantly that we could do it," Belzer said.

"All the girls were extremely supportive and great teammates throughout the whole weekend which is so awesome to see. We also had girls dealing with injuries and sicknesses all weekend but everyone on the team stepped up to fill in roles which was a critical part of our success."

The 2021-22 season marked the Jays' second-straight state tournament appearance. Last season, the Jays lost to Fargo North/South in the opening round of the tournament.

A fifth-place finish as the No. 7 seed and an all-state finish were icing on the cake for Belzer and Kirkeby.

"My goal at the beginning of the season was to make the all-WDA team, All-State was not really on my mind," Belzer said. "One of my individual goals was to try and step up and be able to help generate more offense for our team this year and score some more goals.

"I really wanted to help our team dynamic on and off the ice be the best it could be."

Belzer did her due diligence on the offensive side of the biscuit this last season, tying Fargo Davies' Kylie Autrey and Averi Greenwood of Grand Forks for the ninth-best numbers in the state.

Belzer powered 15 pucks past opposing goalies and dished out 18 assists to her fellow forwards for 33 total points. The junior was 36th in the state a season ago, finishing her year with 14 points.

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The nearly 20-point increase is due, at least in part, to Belzer's commitment to the ice throughout the year. The junior said she tries to shoot pucks and stickhandle every day throughout the offseason. She also attends a variety of camps so she can keep her skating sharp throughout the year.

Belzer said her strength and stamina up and down the ice are testaments to JHS head football coach Bill Nelson and his strengthening and conditioning program he runs for Jamestown High School athletes.

Aside from her own work out on and off the ice, Belzer noted that Kirkeby's — and the rest of her teammates' contributions — have made her better as a hockey player.

Kirkeby wound up the No. 3 scorer in the state with 27 goals and 19 assists for a whopping total of 46 points. Last season Kirkeby was 25th in the state for total points earned with 18.

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Alexis Kirkeby was a key player for the Jamestown Blue Jays this year.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Kirkeby was leading the state in scoring heading into January.

"Lexi is so deserving of this award, she is such a great example of a leader and what a teammate should be," Belzer said. "She is also such a hard worker in and out of season, she puts in so much work and also pushes me to be the best athlete I can be."

All-state athletes deserve some all-state type coaching and thankfully for Belzer and Kirkeby, they got some this weekend.

Jamestown High School head girls hockey coach was awarded the NDHSCA Subway Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the state tournament.

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"Coach Kirkeby and (Coach) Fitzgerald sacrifice so much of their time and effort for us and we all appreciate it."

Fitzgerald led the Jays to an 8-12 regular-season record. This season the Jays went 12-13 overall.

While the Blue Jay squad and fans might be the ones saying thank you to the duo for all the work they have put in this season, Belzer and Kirkeby are saying it right back to those in the stands and those on the sidelines.

"Thank you to all the parents and fans that cheer us on every game and to this team that has let me have the most successful and fun season I’ve ever had," Belzer said. "To Olivia Sorlie, (thank you) for stepping up to play goalie with no experience at all and being such a huge part of our success.

"To all of our coaches ... we can't thank you enough for everything (you) do for our team ... I am so proud of this team and I am so excited to see what we can do next year."

2022 CLASS A GIRLS HOCKEY ALL-STATE TEAM

Alexis Kirkeby, Jamestown
Bernadette Belzer, Jamestown
Jillian Ackerman, Minot
Maggie Seeley, West Fargo
Allie Emineth, Fargo North/South
Emily Thiele, Minot
Kaylie Zimmerman, Fargo Davies
Rylee Bartz, Fargo North/South
Taylyn Cope, Minot
Brenna Curl, Bismarck
Averi Greenwood, Grand Forks,
Olivia Opheim, Fargo Davies
Morgan Sauvageau, Fargo Davies
Taylor Severson, Fargo Davies

NDHSCA POWERade Outstanding Senior Athlete - Morgan Sauvageau, Fargo Davies
NDHSCA SUBWAY Coach of the Year - Andy Fitzgerald, Jamestown

Related Topics: JAMESTOWN BLUE JAYSPREP SPORTSBLUE JAYS HOCKEYNDHSAA
Katie Ringer is a sports reporter for the Jamestown Sun. Katie joined the Sun staff in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in journalism. She can be reached by email at kringer@jamestownsun.com or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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