Jamestown Ironmen had a great start to the 2012-2013 North American Hockey League season last weekend in Blaine, Minn. The Ironmen played four games as part of the league's Showcase Tournament and finished with three victories.
"We are definitely excited," said Ironmen head coach and general manager Dan Daikawa . "It's good to pick up some victories, but it is very early. It's a long season. We need to build off of what we did successfully in these first four games and keep working to get better."
Despite dropping their first game last Wednesday to the Bismark Bobcats, 3-1, the Ironmen went on to rattle off three victories in a row from Thursday through Saturday. Jamestown edged Minot, 3-2; dropped Corpus Christi, 4-1; and downed Kenai River, 6-2.
The Ironmen were led by second-year forwards Luc Gerdes with four goals and Jeff McFarland who added three goals.
Ironmen newcomer forwards Ross Pavek (two goals, three assists), Joe Mottiqua (one goal, three assists) and Tyler Dunagan (one goal, one assist) were key contributors. All three acquired by daikawa in the offseason.
Daikawa made quite a few changes in the offseason as he looked to improve his team by acquiring veterans through trade and free agency. The head coach also released several players that weren't a 'good fit' on the team and otherwise would have been returning for their second season in Jamestown.
Daikawa has noticed an early chemistry in the locker room after a successful start to the season.
"We have returning players and newcomers who are holding each other accountable," he said. "We're working hard and it's paid off so far."
Some more offseason additions that had a huge impact during the tournament were goaltenders Reid Mimmack and Tim Shaughnessy, who combined to allow only eight goals through four games. Mimmick has a 2-0 record with 2.00 goals against average, 47 saves and a .922 save percentage while Shaughnessy isn't far behind with a 2.03 goals against average, 46 saves and a .920 save percentage.
Throughout the first four games of the season, the Ironmen defense featured newcomers, Payden Mielke and Matt Lanzillotti along with second year standouts Brett Szajner and team captain Aaron Scheppelman.
"We will take a couple days off to rest and start working Tuesday to get ready for Port Huron," said Daikawa.
The Ironmen will be preparing for their first homestand of the season as they are slated to take on the defending North Division Champion, Port Huron Fighting Falcons (5-1) at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena at 7 p.m. on Friday and at 5 p.m. on Saturday.