SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - Jamestown Ironmen traveled to Michigan this past weekend and split a two-game series with the division-leading Soo Eagles in North American Hockey League play.
The Ironmen edged out the Soo (31-11-4) on Friday night,of 3-2, while the Eagles prevailed with a 5-1 win on Saturday.
On Friday night, Jamestown (28-14-4) headed into the third period with a 1-0 lead after Daniel Cesarz scored with assists from Evan Ritt and Tyler Dunagan in the second.
The Eagles charged out of the gates in the third period and took the lead after scoring a pair of goals within the first seven minutes.
Ironmen defensemen, Dylan Zink scored a powerplay goal to tie the score at 2-2 with 5:01 remaining in the game. Assists were credited to Dunagan and Tyler Minx.
It seemed like the game was destined for overtime until Aaron Scheppelman netted a goal with only four seconds remaining on the clock to seal the 3-2 victory for Jamestown.
Assists came from Luc Gerdes and Cesarz.
With Friday's win, Jamestown snapped a four-game losing skid and outshot the Eagles, 45-44.
Joey Ballmer made his return to the net for the Ironmen. Ballmer played for Jamestown a season ago and spent most of this season playing in the United State Hockey League until being acquired by the Ironmen this past week. Ballmer made 42 saves and earned the win.
On Saturday, the teams traded first-period goals and headed into the second period tied.
The Soo tacked on a powerplay goal in the second period to take the lead. Jamestown trailed by one deep into the third period until the Eagles scored with 4:35 left on the clock.
The Ironmen pulled the goaltender and sent an extra attacker onto the ice as a last-ditch effort to crawl back into the game. It didn't work out as the Soo managed to score a pair of empty-net goals within the last minute of regulation.
Jamestown's only goal came from Gerdes off of a Huba Sekesi assist in the first period.
Ballmer once again got the nod in goal and made 31 saves.
The Ironmen outshot the Eagles, 47-36, yet couldn't convert those opportunities into goals.
Despite Saturday's loss, Ironmen head coach Dan Daikawa saw the positive that came from last weekend's games.
"We went on the road and played a good team; the top team in our division, and we are happy to walk away with one win," said Daikawa. "Ballmer played very well in goal and that gives us a lot of confidence moving forward."
After the split with the Eagles, the Ironmen still sit six points back from the North Division leaders.
"We had a good weekend. We are going to re-evaluate some things and prepare for Thursday," said Daikawa.
Jamestown now readies for a two-game home stand Thursday and Friday at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena against the Fresno Monsters at 7 p.m. each day.