Senior shutout: Blue Jays top Braves in final week of play
The Jamestown High School boys hockey team hosted Mandan on Tuesday evening.
JAMESTOWN — Matt Stockert announced nine seniors and nine favorite hockey memories Tuesday night at Wilson Arena.
If the Jays keep playing as they have been this season, some new memories might replace taking fifth at the 2020 Class A State Hockey Tournament.
"These last four years have been the best four years of my life," Blue Jay senior Braxton Jorissen said. "This team is mature and ready to win any game and we're going to keep looking one period at a time and focus on that."
Jorissen and the other eight Blue Jay seniors helped Jamestown kick off the final week of regular-season play with a 4-0 shutout over Mandan. Under the strong senior leadership the Jays have gone 13-2 in the regular-season standings and 15-4 overall.
Game No. 2 of the Jays' final week of play is slated to come against Williston on Thursday. The faceoff against the Coyotes is slated for 6:30 at Wilson Arena.
Most of Stockert's seniors have only been playing hockey together for a couple of years but Jorissen said strong chemistry has been developed among the Jays, which contributes to dynamic and balanced scoring and defense out on the ice.
"The second the younger kids walk into that locker room they are welcomed in by the seniors," Jorissen said. "That started when I was a freshman and I've tried to continue that.
"I feel like we have done a really good job at welcoming in the new kids and they can feel comfortable and not afraid to make those mistakes that those young kids will make."
While mistakes are expected and accepted by the older Blue Jays the team is trying hard to stay positive and not make mistakes similar to last year's blunders in the WDA tournament.
The Jays came into the WDA tourney as a top-seeded team but lost in both the first and second rounds, leaving them short of the season goal of making it to the state tournament. The squad has been training for another trip to the state tournament ever since the upset in last season's WDA tournament.
"We can't get ahead of ourselves," Jorissen said of reaching the end of the season tournament. "Last year we kind of started looking forward to state too early.
"I think this team has the potential to go really far in the state tournament. It will just take hard work, passion, determination and having one collective goal."
This Blue Jay squad has no intention of letting up on the brakes this season and they have let other teams — like the Braves — know it.
Mandan tried to keep pace with the aggressive pace pitched by the Jays, but a team dominated by sophomores and juniors were outmatched and out-experienced by the Jays.
Lunde kicked off his senior night with an unassisted, backhanded goal off of a Mandan turnover just barely three minutes into the opening period.
Max Mehus doubled the Jays' lead with off an assist from Michael Mahoney. The assist was Mahoney's, a senior, first of the season, bringing his season point total to five.
The Braves kept the Jays from extending their lead any more in the last 11 minutes of period No. 1, but Mandan goaltender Bennett Leingang had to stay sharp as Jamestown put 14 shots on target.
The Braves were not un-used to the Jays' scoring ability as the Jays previously defeated the Braves 8-1 on Jan. 11 in Mandan.
Hillstrom had to only fend off five pucks sent his way in the first. Hillstrom has posted a 2.3 goals-against average and is averaging a 91.8 save percentage.
Mandan worked to contain the Jays' firepower in the second and proved successful for 12 minutes, 30 seconds but Leingang couldn't hold out against three Blue Jay forwards.
Brooks Roaldson tapped the biscuit past Leingang off assists from Nelson and Rene.
Nolan Nenow, the state's leading scorer, finally got in on the scoring action with 9:54 left in regulation. The junior pushed the puck in off a pass dished out from Jarrett Zalumskis to make it a 4-0 Blue Jays.
In total, the Jays outshot the Braves 41-8. All three lines Stockert ran wound up scoring for the home team.
"We were very solid defensively and didn't let them get out of their own zone and once they got in our zone we were up tight on the blue line and blocking shots," Jorissen said. "That's a good recipe
to win games."
Jacob Pfeifer added.
"It's coming to an end here, but we're going to finish this season off strong."
Jamestown 4, Mandan 0
MAN 0 0 0 — 0
JHS 2 1 1 — 4
First period: 1. JHS, Zach Lunde (unassisted), 3:08; JHS, Max Mehus (Michael Mahoney, Braxton Jorissen), 5:53;
Second period 3. JHS, Brooks Roaldson (Hunter Nelson, Zach Rene), 12:31.
Third period: 4. JHS, Nolan Nenow (Jarrett Zalumskis), 6:06;
Goalie saves: MAN, Bennett Leingang 14-9-14—37; JHS, Brode Hillstrom 5-1-2—8
Penalties: Mandan 1 for 2 minutes; Jamestown 0 for 0 minutes.