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Raiders Advance

Jamestown Moves On To ‘Super Thursday’ After 10-2 Rout

Jamestown’s Jameson Walsh (27) is followed up the ice by teammate Liam Nickerson during Friday’s Western New York High School Club Hockey League playoff game against City Honors/Cardinal O’Hara at Northwest Arena in Jamestown. Photo courtesy of Steve Garvey

In Game 1 of its three-game playoff series, the Jamestown Raiders boys high school club hockey team escaped with a narrow 5-4 victory against City Honors/O’Hara. Looking to close out the series at home at the Northwest Arena, Jamestown opted for a more comfortable margin of victory, closing out the game and series 10-2 to advance to Super Thursday next week.

“First game we went in there like they should be handing us the win,” Jamestown head coach Jim Bergman said. “Sometimes that’s how 16-, 17-, 18-year olds think. Today, they knew they definitely needed to go in and play a harder game, practice for next Thursday. It’s just a total night-and-day difference with how we came out in this game compared to last. Obviously the score showed.”

Jamestown got after City Honors/O’Hara early thanks to a Liam Nickerson rush down the right wing which he turned into a shot-pass off the City Honors/O’Hara goalie, bouncing a juicy rebound right to the stick of Jameson Walsh who slammed home the puck for a 1-0 lead at 12:37.

The Raiders next four goals all came as a result of their speed in transition or on the forecheck.

First, it was Kyler Wojtowicz squeaking the second goal through on a zone entry; and then Nickerson blazing through the neutral zone and cutting across the ice before leaving Walsh another puck on a platter in the slot. Brandon Smith followed up with a shorthanded goal by forcing a turnover forechecking; and Nickerson mimicked Smith as he pressured a City Honors/O’Hara defender into a turnover which he took to the net and finished.

Jamestown goaltender Stahi Theofilactidis makes a save. Photo courtesy of Steve Garvey

“We don’t have, I’d say, all kinds of natural goal scorers,” Bergman explained about the Raiders’ system. “We have a system where we play hard, we dig hard. We’re more of a dump and chase, use our speed, get in position. When we play that way it is night-and-day difference.”

City Honors/O’Hara managed a goal in the first period on the power play, then scored again to begin the second period, but it did not change the Raiders’ approach one bit.

The Ryan Van Cott goal was responded to with Nickerson’s goal at the end of the first period and the early unassisted goal by Keenan Quinlivan was answered in less than a minute when Jackson Kresge sent a perfect feed to Smith in front of the net for his second.

“I’ve got to give him big props,” Bergman said about Smith. “He was really looking for goals here in the middle of the season and was kind of on a streak with no points. The last month here he’s really turned it right around, he’s got the confidence back and with him having that little extra confidence I think he’s taking more chances and it’s paying off for him.”

Even with a lot of game left, Jamestown’s 6-2 lead, and ability to answer everything City Honors/O’Hara had, made it pretty obvious the Raiders would be advancing to Super Thursday next week. Then, making things even worse for City Honors/O’Hara, Parker Norlander’s shot in the second period had eyes from the point, finding its way to the back of the net for a 7-2 lead and Smith’s third point in the game.

Jamestown’s Phillip Myer (16) and City Honors/Cardinal O’Hara’s William Krause battle for the puck along the boards during Friday’s Western New York High School Club Hockey League playoff game at Northwest Arena in Jamestown. Photo courtesy of Steve Garvey

The Raiders kept it coming in the third period with both Walsh and Smith finishing off hat tricks, and Nickerson putting his final stamp on the game.

Walsh nabbed his hatty first, once again burying a rebound, this time trailing Meyer Talbott and Nickerson on a 3-on-0 and finishing off Talbott’s rebound with a loud clunk off the back bar. Then Smith’s final tally was not as flashy as his first two with him hammering a hard slapper toward the net which slowly squeaked through the goalie.

“It’s a huge confidence boost (having two guys score hat tricks),” Bergman said. “We’ve got a large bench there and when you can have two lines go ahead and score, it shows that scoring doesn’t just have to be done on one line. It can be done on a lot of lines. We’ve had a lot of scoring through the years and it’s changed around through a lot of players. One line all the way down through the fourth line they can put one in anytime which is a huge confidence booster going into Thursday.”

Then, perhaps the best of Friday’s goals, Nickerson received a puck from Talbott and proceeded to buzz through the neutral zone and past the City Honors/O’Hara defense for a breakaway which he lifted over the left pad of a sprawled-out goalie to make it 10-2.

“We found a pretty good combination with those three out there,” Bergman said about the Talbott-Nickerson-Walsh line. “Liam is just natural at finding the puck, finding the right area on the ice. Jameson is just a powerhouse. He’s there whether it’s the high guy, in the slot, he gets the puck and just hammers it home. The speed is tremendous with those guys.”

Jamestown’s Kyler Wojtowicz (22) advances the puck up the ice while being chased by City Honors/Cardinal O’Hara’s Keenan Quinlivan (12). Photo courtesy of Steve Garvey

Jamestown advances to Super Thursday with the victory and will likely face an opponent in Eden/Lake Shore/Pioneer/Springville, which has gotten the best of them twice already this season, last winning on Feb. 2 by a score of 5-0.

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