Freshman goaltender stonewalls Pirates until the closing minutes of the third.
The Pirate girls' hockey team took the ice at Crookston Sports Center Friday evening against the Jamestown Bluejays in a contest that pitted two evenly matched teams, but in the end strong performances by a couple of Jamestown players, junior Ella Roaldson, with a goal and two assists, and freshman goalie Jada Nelson, who stopped all but one of 20 shots fired at her by the Pirates, carried Jamestown to a 4-1 win.
"We had our chances and we worked hard but sometimes it's just not enough," Pirate Head Coach Tim Moe told the Times. "One of the things that we've been trying to get the kids to do better is to shoot the puck when we have a chance and my biggest takeaway on what we could have done differently was to shoot the puck instead of trying to make one more move around their defensemen."
Crookston High School alum, one-time Pirate girls' hockey standout and former UND women's hockey player Shannon Kaiser, in her fourth year as a volunteer assistant coach for the Bluejays, agreed that Nelson was a difference-maker in Friday's game.
The Pirates outshot the Bluejays 20-15, but Nelson came up big on several occasions, including a couple from point-blank range. She also stopped eighth-grader Raina Satrom on a second period breakaway.
"She was stellar," Kaiser tells the Times. "It has been really fun to watch her improve game by game."
The first period was back-and-forth and scoreless until the closing minutes, when Jamestown's Abby Grounds fired a wobbly wrist shot from just past the slot that found its way through the pads of Pirate freshman goalie Kailee Magsam. Magsam, who's seen very limited varsity action so far this season, probably would like to have that one back. But, to her credit, Jamestown's second goal got past her when a shot going wide was redirected by a Bluejay skate inches from the crease, and Jamestown's third goal, scored by Roaldson, was a high, hard wrist shot from in close that zoomed over Magsam's shoulder and almost went bar-down.
Moe thinks the Pirates may have been trying to do a bit too much to protect Magsam in net. "I think we may have been trying to do too much at times knowing we needed to support Kailee," he said. "But like what so often happens when you do more than your job you end up in a bad position and I think that caught up with us.
"But give (Jamestown) credit, their goalie played well. And Ella Roaldson is a really good player. We need to be better though and I thought we bounced back nicely against Grand Forks," Moe added. (The Pirates carried much of the play on Saturday at home against Grand Forks, and came up short, 3-2.)
The Jamestown game was 4-0 until the final handful of minutes in the third stanza. The Pirates got on the board on the power play when eighth-grader Morgan Nelson got a shot past Nelson from the blue line. Assisting were senior Kylee Meier and junior MacKenze Epema.
Asked about coaching against Kaiser - Moe coached her during her freshman year for the Pirates - Moe said it was great having an opportunity to catch up with her. Pirate assistant coach Emily Meyer was a classmate and grew up playing with Kaiser, so they were able to catch up as well.
"It's always nice to see former players have success," Moe said. "One of the reasons I'm so happy that we have both Emily Meyer and Stacy (Flikka) Olson on staff is so the current players can see alumni who've had success both on the hockey rink and in their personal lives, and can emulate them. And Shannon having the success she's had here, and at UND, and now with Jamestown helping them build their program I'm really proud of her."
The non-Section 8A loss brings the Pirates' record to 6-8. Jamestown is 3-4 after the win. The Pirates are scheduled to be back in action again at home on Saturday against Grand Forks. Puck drop is set for 2 p.m. at Crookston Sports Center.