The Jamestown Ironmen opened their postseason Friday night with a convincing 7-1 victory over the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings in North American Hockey League playoff action at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena.
In the franchise's first ever playoff appearance, the second-seeded Ironmen hosted the third-seeded Jr. K-Wings in Game 1 of a best-of-five series in front of an enthusiastic 'Pink the Rink' crowd. Fans came out to support the team as well as WCA Hospital breast cancer care and the Links Charity.
"The fan support was great, for our players and for a good cause," said Ironmen head coach Dan Daikawa.
After leading the regular-season series with Kalamazoo, 6-2, Jamestown didn't waste any time and got off to a quick start, taking a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
Tyler Dunagan buried an assist from Dylan Zink to kick start the scoring only 3:30 into the game. Nathan Ropelewski chipped in with an unassisted, short-handed goal while Ryan Doucet added another unassisted goal, all in the first period.
It was deja vu in the second period as Jamestown matched its offensive output from the previous period, piling on three more goals.
Daniel Cesarz scored 3:30 into the second and added an assist later in the period. Brett Szajner and Evan Ritt each added goals while assists were credited to Dunagan and Nico Sierra.
The teams traded goals in the third as Cesarz racked up his second goal of the game with assists from Dunagan and Sierra.
"I'll take that game any day of the week," said a satisfied Daikawa. "Kalamazoo had some good opportunities early, but Joey (Ballmer) made some big saves and allowed us to build up a lead."
Ballmer paved the way for a victory with an outstanding performance, making 33 saves in the win.
Although satisfied with the victory, Daikawa knows there is still a lot of hockey to be played.
"It's not a one-game series," advised Daikawa. "I know Kalamazoo will come out and play a different game tomorrow, and we need to be prepared for that and take care of business tomorrow."
The puck drops for Game 2 of the North Division semifinal series at 5 p.m., today.