FLINT, Mich. - The Jamestown Ironmen have already clinched a playoff spot, but are still battling for position in the North Division with eight games left on their regular season schedule. The Ironmen hit the road last weekend and split a two game series with the Michigan Warriors in North American Hockey League action.
Jamestown squeaked out with a 4-3 comeback victory on Friday night at the Perani Arena. The Ironmen headed into the third period trailing 2-1 with a first-period goal supplied by Matt Lanzillotti with an assist from Joe Mottiqua.
Jamestown proceeded to light up the scoreboard with three goals during the final period of regulation.
Dylan Zink kicked off Jamestown's surge with a powerplay goal, 6:05 into the third with assists from Tyler Dunagan and Ryan Urso to tie the game at 2-2.
Just over a minute later, Evan Ritt netted a goal to give the Ironmen a 3-2 lead. Ritt's score was assisted by Ryan Doucet and Luc Gerdes.
The contest was not over, though, as Michigan beat the Jamestown goaltender to regain the lead once again.
It looked as though the North Division foes were destined for overtime until Dunagan notched the game winner for Jamestown, scoring a goal with less than two minutes left on the clock. Zink was in on the assist.
Joey Ballmer earned the win in goal for the Ironmen with 29 saves on the night while Jamestown outshot the opponents, 44-32.
"Good team's find a way to win," said Ironmen head coach Dan Daikawa. "We turned it up at the end and found a way to get the job done."
Saturday evening's competition was not as favorable for the Ironmen as they fell to Michigan, 3-1.
Jamestown's only goal of the night came from Victor Johansson with an assist from Huba Sekesi to begin the scoring in the first period, but the Ironmen were shut out the rest of the way.
Although the Ironmen outshot Michigan, 41-25, their opportunities were stifled by outstanding goaltending by the Warriors, Dillon Kelley.
"Their goalie had a great night, and it cost us," said Daikawa. "This weekend didn't turn out exactly how we drew it up, but Michigan is better than their record indicates, they are a team that battles hard. I think we took the Warriors a bit lightly and it cost us a win on Saturday."
After the conclusion of the weekend's NAHL schedule, Jamestown sits in third place in the North Division, four points behind the Soo Eagles in first place and a point back from the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings in second.
The top two teams in the division at the end of the regular season will earn a first-round bye in the playoffs. Jamestown is currently 12 points ahead of the fourth-place team and has an opportunity to gain ground on that second place spot with a pair of games on the road against Kalamazoo in two weeks.
The Ironmen will head to Johnstown, Pa., this weekend for a pair of games against the Tomahawks on Friday and Saturday and won't return home to the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena until March 22 and 23 to host the Warriors.