Firebirds break losing streak in dominating fashion with 5-1 win over Jamestown
By Chuck Wickenhofer
The Devils Lake boys hockey team, who came into Tuesday night's game against the Jamestown Blue Jays on a five game skid, broke out in a big way with a 5-1 victory.
The Firebirds got on the board first against the Blue Jays at nine minutes, 52 seconds into the first period after keeping consistent pressure in the offensive end of the ice. That would be a theme throughout the night, even after the Jays managed to sneak one by Firebirds goalie Wyatt Ness with just over two minutes left in the first period.
After the Jays managed to tie the game, it was all Firebirds from there. There was marked improvement on the power play, as the Firebirds were able to move the puck around, pass to the point effectively and fire shots on goal.
The effort paid off 20 seconds into the second period, as the Firebirds began the frame with a five on four advantage, then capitalized on a goal by Ryyan Reule, who later added two assists on the way to a three point effort.
"We were outworking them,” Firebirds head coach Jens Stokke said. “When a team is outworking the other team, they're grasping to get a hold of something, and that's what's going to happen."
Just over six minutes after the power play goal, forward Cody Wren found the back of the net to put the Firebirds up 3-1.
Wren would add another goal in the final period to extend the lead to 4-1 after the Firebirds continued their dominance on both ends of the ice. The Blue Jays managed only 18 shots on goal compared to 43 for the Firebirds.
"We played tough on the blue line tonight,” Stokke said. “Our defensive did a good job, I was impressed with our defensive zone. We took care of the puck. Our offensive zone pressure was one of the better nights we've had, so that was great to see."
Matthew Boren added two points on two assists for the Firebirds, and Cooper Knoke scored the final Firebirds goal of the night, though he attempted to credit seldom-played senior Warren Blanchfield for the goal on a deflection in a show of good sportsmanship.
"He was trying to give the goal up to Blanchfield. It's Senior Night, and (Blanchfield) doesn't get to see much varsity time," Stokke said.
The Firebirds travel to face the Grand Forks Central Knights Thursday night, a team they lost to 7-0 on Jan. 5. The Knights have won eight of their last 10, including a tie and an overtime loss to undefeated Grand Forks Red River.
"(The Knights) always put up a solid team. A game like this was needed for us tonight," Stokke said.