Blue Jays dominate third period, advance to semifinals Friday
The Jamestown High School boys hockey team faced Mandan in the WDA hockey tournament quarterfinals on Feb. 16.
MINOT — The PSP Network broadcasters coined Matt Stockert's speech to the Jamestown High School boys' hockey team as the turning point in Thursday afternoon's quarterfinal matchup against Mandan.
"Wait, what did they think I said?" Stockert said with a laugh. "It literally was just a fact-based conversation that just says, hey we need to do things a little bit better. I think the kids listened to that and believed that they could do a better job than they did in the second (period).
"Overall, the message was pretty crystal clear. We just needed to play better and we did and kind of took it to them in the third like I think we should have."
Pretty cut and dry — just like the Jays' victory over the Braves.
The Blue Jays topped the fifth-seeded Braves 6-2 in the opening round of the WDA Hockey Tournament.
With the win, the Jays have advanced to Friday's semifinal where they will face Minot. The puck is scheduled to drop at 5 p.m. at Minot's MAYSA Arena. Mandan will face off against Bottineau-Rugby in the loser-out game.
There wasn't a whole lot to talk about after a scoreless first period but the second and third periods were worth the price of admission.
After Mandan's Carter Kilen made it 1-0 Braves early in the second, Jamestown came from behind and Nate Walz and Max Mehus both buried the puck to make it 2-1 Blue Jays with about six minutes left in the middle frame.
The Blue Jay defense broke down about three minutes later and Mandan's Trinity Johnson renewed his team's energy with a score coming at the 13:45 mark.
Being tied with one period left to play might have unnerved some teams but for Jamestown, scoring goals in the third has become a bit of a routine.
Mehus, Gavin Gerhardt and Brooks Roaldson scored three straight in a four-minute span to jump out to a 5-2 lead.
On the defensive side of the puck, the Jays went to work cleaning up their defensive and neutral zone play which, consequently, created some turnovers and provided Jamestown with a number of scoring opportunities.
With just over three minutes remaining in regulation, the Braves pulled goaltender Bennett Leingang to go 6-on-5 but Easton Romsdal took advantage of the empty net and flicked in the Jays' final goal of the afternoon.
"Honestly at this point in the season, we're pretty focused on doing the things that help win hockey games and that's just playing the game the right way," Stockert said. "We're working on getting pucks out, getting them deep, making sure (opponents') chances are limited and making sure that when we have our chances, we're finding twine.
"We don't re-write the book, we're just continuing to do what's got us to where we are at," he said.
Roaldson kept doing what he's been doing all season, notching a goal and three assists for a four-point day. The senior captain's totals stand at 16 goals and 21 assists for 37 points.
"He had a good game," Stockert said of Roaldson. "He's kind of been snake-bit these last four games. He's had a few points in the last couple of weeks but I made a comment to our coaching staff after our game in Bismarck and said, something's going to come out at the region tournament.
"Hopefully that continues. That whole line played well, with him and Easton and Max. You back that up with Gavin, Ashton (Stockert) and Nate and you back that up with Jordan (Johnson) and Tyson (Jorissen) and Jackson (Maddock) and you've got three balanced lines that hit you a little bit differently from a defensive standpoint. That's not a bad thing."
If those lines, take care of business against Minot, the Jays could end up in the WDA Championship game for the second consecutive year. The Magicians and Blue Jays split during the regular season and the one the Jays won, happened at MAYSA.
"Honestly, it's a coin flip," Stockert said of the semifinal. "If we go out and play well I feel like we have a better chance at winning. We don't want to see them on the powerplay so we've got to make sure to stay out of the box and I think it will be a fun and interesting matchup."
Jamestown 6, Mandan 2
MAN 0 2 0 — 2
JHS 0 2 4 — 6
1. MAN, Carter Kilen (Brady Helbling, Matt Haider), 2:46; 2. JHS, Nate Walz (Gavin Gerhardt), 10:38; 3. JHS, Max Mehus, (Roaldson, Easton Romsdal), 11:05; 4. MAN, Trinity Anderson (Tukker Horner, Tate Olson),13:45
5. JHS, Mehus (Roaldson, Romsdal), 1:11; 6. JHS, Gavin Gerhardt (Roaldson, Nate Walz), 2:24; 7. JHS, Brooks Roaldson (Mehus), 5:27; 8. JHS, Easton Romsdal (Tyson Jorissen), 14:35.
Goalie saves: Mandan, Bennett Leingang 9-7-10—26; Jamestown, Andrew Walz 7-12-7—26
Penalties: Mandan 3 for 6 minutes; Jamestown 2 for 4 minutes.