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Fitzgerald, Blue Jays excited for Hockey Day

The University of Jamestown will be hosting Hockey Day North Dakota this weekend.

jhs girls hockey 9 18 31 vs dl 10 012020.jpg
Skye Herman (10) of Devils Lake looks toward the ice action with Jamestown's Megan Albrecht (9), Abby Grounds (18) and Jada Nelson (31) during a 2020 North Dakota Hockey Day outdoor game on the University of Jamestown campus. John M. Steiner / The Sun
John M. Steiner
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The excitement for Hockey Day North Dakota has been building since mid-December for the Jamestown High School girls hockey team.

"The setup is right next to the hockey arena this year so we've been able to watch the progress of the rink going up, I think they just need to get the ice in now," Jamestown High School head girls hockey coach Andy Fitzgerald said. "That creates a little bit of extra excitement for the girls."

Hockey Day North Dakota 2022 will be held on Saturday on the University of Jamestown campus. The almost-assembled outdoor rink is located between Wilson Arena, UJ Place and Harold Newman Arena.

The Blue Jays girls squad is just one of 14 teams to be featured in the two-day event this year. The University of Jamestown will have the Division I and Division II Jimmie teams out on the ice to face off against Williston State and Minot State.

Matt Stockert and the Jamestown High School boys team are set to take on Devils Lake High School in a non-region game at 7 p.m. Friday. Fitzgerald and his crew are scheduled to take on Bismarck at noon on Saturday.

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The West Fargo Bantam and Bismarck Bantam crews will kick off Saturday's festivities at 10 a.m. Grand Forks Central and Grand Forks Red River will battle Bismarck Century and Bismarck High at the 2:30 and 5 p.m. slots.

The Jimmies will cap off the night with a rival game against Minot State at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

"This will be our third year doing it and the last time we did it two years ago I believe it was negative 20 out," Fitzgerald said. "Looking at the forecast this year, it looks like it's at least going to be on the positive side of the weather."

As of Jan. 18, the National Weather Service is calling for a 40% chance of snow and a high of 30 degrees on Friday while on Saturday highs are predicted to hit 16 degrees. Teams and Hockey Day attendees should expect lows to hover around the 1-degree mark.

The last time the Jays took to the outdoor rink, they squared off against Devils Lake in a non-conference tilt which made for a little less pressure.

"This year we're playing Bismarck and it's a league game that counts in the standings," Fitzgerald said. "That adds a little bit more pressure to the actual game."

The Blizzard beat the Jays 2-1 on Dec. 3. Since playing the Blizzard, the Jays have strung together a 5-6 conference and 6-6 overall record.

While the Jays have suffered some tough losses of late, Fitzgerald said his squad is a much more composed and experienced team than they were even 45 days ago.

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"We hoping to come out and be competitive and win the game to improve our place in the standings," Fitzgerald said of the upcoming game. "When you play a team with almost two months between games, it's really hard to know what to expect, but we know that we were competitive with them the first time and had a chance right down to the third period.

"We expect it to be no different this weekend."

What will be different is the environment the two teams will be playing.

"When it's the middle of the year, things can get a little repetitive so it's nice to have this special day in the middle of the season where it's a different atmosphere," Fitzgerald said. "You get outside, there's more excitement about it.

"It brings the whole hockey community together in one spot here in Jamestown which is really neat to see. Even if you aren't connected to the teams playing, it's just fun to be there and be a part of it."

Hockey Day North Dakota Outdoor Game Schedule

Friday

University of Jamestown (DII) vs. Williston State (DII), 4:30 p.m.
Jamestown High School (boys) vs. Devils Lake, 7 p.m.

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Saturday — Hockey Day North Dakota

West Fargo Bantam AA vs. Bismarck Bantam AA, 10 a.m.
Jamestown High School (girls) vs. Bismarck Blizzard, noon
Grand Forks Central vs. Bismarck Century, 2:30 p.m.
Grand Forks Red River vs. Bismarck High, 5 p.m.
University of Jamestown (DI) vs. Minot State, 7:30 p.m.

Related Topics: JAMESTOWN BLUE JAYSBLUE JAYS HOCKEYHOCKEY
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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