Hayden Schwarz can't really explain why he's scored 10 goals in the last five games. The Minot senior, of course, deflects credit to his teammates and likes to talk about preparation.
Minot coach Chad Burckhard finding Schwarz's natural position has to have something to do with it.
Since making the switch from defenseman to forward, Schwarz has shown a knack for finding the net. He added his second hat trick in four games in a 5-0 West Region win over Jamestown on Tuesday night at Wilson Arena.
"We felt we needed to add a little more of a dynamic and a power-winger to that first line," said Minot coach Chad Burckhard, whose team improved to 9-3 in the region and 11-6 overall. "Hayden was accepting and willing to try it out. I wouldn't bet that he'll go back to playing defense anytime soon."
Schwarz dumped a pair of goals on the Blue Jays in the second period as part of a four-goal onslaught that Jamestown didn't handle well. Schwarz got his hat trick in the third period, breaking away for a short-handed score.
For Jamestown (8-5, 8-9), it was another second-period struggle.
"It's a 1-0 game in the first and in the third periods," Jamestown coach Matt Stockert said. "I don't know where the kids were. There was no desperation, no inspiration. The second period, we've had some troubles. Once the kids figure out how to play 51 minutes of hockey, I think we're gonna be hard to beat."
The game was certainly physical.
Minot was called for eight penalties, while Jamestown had just four. Still, both teams mixed it up on a regular basis, especially in the third period with the game out of reach.
Despite not putting the puck past Jamestown goalie Ben Walz, Burckhard was pleased with the first period.
"I thought we did a good job of kind of feeling our way into the hockey game," he said. It was "a little more up and down the ice."
Jamestown's defensemen struggled to contain Minot's forwards in the second, however, as Jersey Kelley scored on a right-side rebound 20 seconds in. Morgan Martelle added the second goal more than four minutes later on a shot from the top of the left circle. Schwarz rounded out the scoring.
"I think we came out and got pucks deep in behind their defensemen," Burckhard said. "Our forwards just went to work. They were relentless in their fore check. We created a couple of bad turnovers by their defensemen and fortunately, the puck was on the right guys' sticks for us, and we were able to finish off the scoring opportunities."
Jamestown, which hosts Century on Thursday, actually tied Minot in shots (28), a feat that only added to the frustration for Stockert. Jamestown goalie Ben Walz had 23 saves.
Minot goalie Breydan Effertz got his third shutout of the season with 28 saves. He also shut out Jamestown 6-0 at home on Dec. 1.