Four-goal second period helps Magi hockey upend Blue Jays

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot High junior Kyler Stenberg (20) gets around Jamestown skaters Bryce Nelson (9) and Jace Thompson (12) in a West Region game played Friday at Maysa Arena.

The Jamestown boys hockey team skated into Maysa Arena tied a top of the West Region standings. The Minot High Magicians (6-6-1, 5-2-0 West Region) put a dent into the Blue Jays record (8-5-0, 5-4-0 West Region) Friday evening with a 5-1 home victory.

The Magi scored four goals in the second period and junior goaltender Odin Nelson made 31 saves to take care of the Blue Jays on home ice.

“Of the five goals, I think three of them were goals from ‘dirty’ areas,” MHS co-head coach Jason Bennett said. “Hunter Cope had a great tip, he had a goal and an assist. Another right on the goal line… We have had a hard time scoring this year and we preach getting to the net. And we got in front of the goalie that had 92 (save) percentage coming in.”

After Jamestown killed off the first penalty of the game and Nelson stoned a breakaway attempt by Blue Jays senior Parker Stockert with his right pad, Minot broke the deadlock.

A faceoff win by Brett Davis with just over 4 minutes left in the first period set up a precise cross-crease pass from Cope to fellow junior Ian Abrahamson, who was lurking at the back post and buried the puck into the wide-open net. It was Abrahamson’s first goal of the season.

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot High junior Ian Abrahamson skates up the boards in a game against Jamestown on Friday at Maysa Arena in Minot.

“It feels amazing to get the monkey off my back,” Abrahamson said. “It was draining me a lot. Confidence was going down, but it feels nice now.”

Nearing the halfway point of the second period, Minot senior defenseman Zachary Pedersen doubled the Magi’s lead with a little help from the hockey gods off a shot in front of Minot’s bench.

“I kind of muffed on it and it went in,” Pedersen said. “The goalie was down and didn’t see it. Kind of puck luck there.”

Bennett added: “It was like a pitching wedge. It was about a 30-yard chip shot and he put it up over (Matthew) Schneider’s shoulder and gave us some momentum.”

Minot sophomore Avery Behm, in his third varsity game, assisted Pedersen’s goal for his first point.

Jamestown responded with a goal of their own seconds later, but it was taken off the scoreboard due to a high stick. A pivotal swing that kept the Magi in control, and Odin kept the score at 2-0 again with a short-handed breakaway save on Jamestown senior Leo Halko.

“The first shift after a goal, you want it to be your best one,” Pedersen said. “We caught a break there. We need to tighten things up in the D-zone.”

With a pair of Blue Jays in the penalty box, giving Minot a 5-on-3 opportunity, senior Samuel Opozda capitalized with his first goal of the season on a power play snipe with traffic in front of the net.

With 4:10 remaining, senior defenseman Logan Braaten crashed the net to grab a rebound goal to put Minot up 4-0.

Nelson lost his shutout bid after getting called for a tripping penalty on a diving poke check, as he tried to bail out his defense that committed a careless turnover in front of his net. On the ensuing power play, Jamestown senior Bryce Nelson scored his second goal of the season.

Cope added to his earlier assist by scoring a goal with exactly one minute left in the second period.

The Magi’s penalty kill kept the Blue Jays at bay in the third period. They handled the ramifications of a two-minute interference penalty by Patrick Heide, a cross-checking minor by Abrahamson and a five-minute major for checking from behind that send Jamestown senior Connor Fuchs to the locker room early after a nasty collision with the boards.

A scoreless third period concluded a 5-1 Magi win. Minot narrowly outshot Jamestown 36-32. Like Nelson, Blue Jays goaltender Schneider also stopped 31 shots.

The Magi return to the ice this afternoon with a 3:30 p.m. contest against Fargo Davies at Maysa Arena.

Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.