Hockey Day: Blue Jays fall to Blizzard in shootout
The Jamestown High School girls hockey team hosted Bismarck on Jan. 22.
JAMESTOWN — Andy Fitzgerald was trying to keep the mood light before the Jamestown High School girls hockey team headed into overtime at Hockey Day North Dakota Saturday afternoon.
"It was a lot of fun," Fitzgerald, JHS head coach, said. "The atmosphere is great and the girls were excited to get on the outdoor rink — we had snow falling from the sky — it was a lot of fun to be out there."
After Fitzgerald snapped the team pictures, it was back to business for the Blue Jays.
Eight minutes later, the Jays and Bismarck were still tied at two points apiece and the squad headed to a shootout.
Avery Matt and Brenna Curl put the Blizzard up 2-0, before Alexis Kirkeby got the Jays on the board with a shot made on the stick side.
Bauer Ackerman's miss on the post side put Bernadette Belzer in a prime opportunity to tie it again, but Belzer's shot was gloved by Blizzard netminder Kambree Grabar to seal the Blizzard's 3-2 win.
The loss puts Jamestown at 5-7 in conference play and 6-7 overall. Jamestown's next test is slated to come on Tuesday at Fargo Davies at 6:15 p.m.
"Especially in conditions like this there isn't really a script for a shootout, you're just hoping to get
the shot off really," Fitzgerald said. "We were unable to score that tying goal at the end, but the girls came out and worked hard and got a point in the league standings and that's important for us."
"We're happy with how we played today and excited to be a part of Hockey Day."
The first eight minutes of game play proved scoreless with the Jays trying to forecheck one of the most penalized teams in North Dakota girls' prep hockey.
Bismarck entered Saturday's matchup with 124 penalty minutes. Jamestown only had 52 minutes entering the team's second matchup against the Blizzard.
With 9:08 left to play in the first, the forecheck paid off as the Jays got a two-minute minor for tripping on Averie Hanson.
The Jays came up empty on the 5-on-4 powerplay, but two minutes after Bismarck returned to full strength, Alexis Kirkeby sent the biscuit in from the high slot off an assist from Madi Hagen.
Bismarck got three consecutive penalties on back-to-back to back plays, making it 5-on-3 for over 90 seconds. The Blizzard kept its composure for the minute and a half, keeping the puck away from the Jays in the corners and sending it deep when the Jays cramped their style.
Still, Blue Jay netminder Olivia Sorlie killed the Blizzard's momentum by covering up the puc and not allowing any second-chance shots. Sorlie had 10 saves after one.
"She went 95% today," Fitzgerald said of Sorlie. "That's more than you can ask of a goaltender especially in conditions like these where there's snow in your face. She stood tall for us all game and played outstanding.
Sorlie wound up with 41 total saves while Grabar nabbed 23.
The first ended with one of the Blizzard's players still in the box. Bismarck out-penalized Jamestown 4-0 in the first frame and outshot the Jays 10-5. By the 34-minute mark, the Blizzard had outshot the Jays 21-10.
Entering the second down a man wound up hurting the Blizzard when, with 46 seconds gone, Cadee Stockert sent the puck in off an assist from Ellie Krueger to double the Blue Jays' lead.
It didn't take Bismarck too long to rebound.
Fresh off of a two-minute minor, 12 seconds into the third, Brenna Curl created a turnover and beat Sorlies' reflexes to the inside of the goal to make it a 2-1 Blue Jay game.
"We just wanted to keep playing our game and do what made us successful in the first two periods," Fitzgerald said. "Unfortunately we got into some penalty trouble there in the third and they were able to get some in."
Back-to-back body checks on Kirkeby and Belzer shifted all momentum to the Blizzard's bench. Ella Curl capitalized on the 3-5 powerplay sending a knuckle puck in off a nasty bounce that cleared Sorlie's glove.
Bismarck got its third opportunity of the third after Arya Mickelson was sent to the box on a slashing call, but the Jays were able to kill off the two-minute stint with 4:30 to play in regulation.
A couple of mishandles and bad bounces forced Fitzgerald to call his one timeout of the game, coaching his team to stay composed, a feat which must have worked as both teams came up empty in the last 90 seconds.
"Bismarck is a solid team — they don't have a lot of weaknesses," Fitzgerald said. "They come at you hard and they do a good job of getting pucks to the net.
"This one will help us out confidence-wise. We know that we can play with anybody if we go out there and play with energy and play our game. We will keep trying to do what makes us successful."
Bismarck 3, Jamestown 2
BIS 0 0 2 (OT) 0 (shootout) 2 — 3
JHS 1 1 0 (OT) 0 (shootout) 1 — 2
First period: 1. JHS, Alexis Kirkeby (Madi Hagen), 11:37.
Second period: 2. JHS, Cadee Stockert (Ellie Krueger), 16:12.
Third period: 3. Brenna Curl (unassisted), 2:18; 4. Ella Gabel (Cameron Schmidt), 7:00
Overtime: No scoring.
Shootout: Bismarck 2; Jamestown 1
Goalie saves: Bismarck, Kambree Grabar, 4-6-5-8—23; Jamestown, Olivia Sorlie, 10-11-14-6—41
Penalties: Bismarck 6 for 12 minutes; Jamestown 3 for 6 minutes.