Kent Peterson scored three goals and added two assists Monday night to lead Thief River Falls past Bemidji 6-1 in the semifinals of the Minnesota Section 8A boys hockey tournament at Warroad's Gardens Arena.
The decision ended Bemidji's season. The Lumberjacks finished 14-12-1 in Wade Chiodo's first year as head coach. It was their first winning season since 2000-01.
Second-seeded Thief River Falls, 21-4-2, will meet top-seeded Warroad for the section championship and a state tournament berth Thursday night at Warroad.
Two quick power-play goals to open the third period put an end to Bemidji's hopes for a rally. The Jacks came back with two late goals Friday night to defeat Lake of the Woods 3-2 in the quarterfinals.
Peterson got things going for the Prowlers in the first period, stuffing in a rebound off a shot from Lucas Dillon at 3:52. That pair connected again at 12:24, this time with Dillon getting the goal.
Peterson made it 3-0 at 15:13 with assists from Dillon and Jacob Malwitz.
Bemidji got on the board at 9:28 of the second when Jesse Nemgar put in a power-play tally with an assist from Jared Bergquist. But Thief River answered less than four minutes later, restoring the three-goal cushion on Derek Kayser's tally.
Two Lumberjack penalties proved costly in the opening minutes of the third as Malwitz and Peterson scored on the man advantage to make it 6-1.
The teams traded penalties down the stretch, but there was no more scoring.
The Prowlers posted three wins over the Jacks this season. The earlier scores were 2-1 and 3-1.
Bemidji loses five seniors of this year's squad.
"It just wasn't our night," Chiodo reported. "We got behind the eight ball a bit after that first period and were never really able to get back into it.
"Hopefully, this game will be a major learning experience and show the guys that, especially in the playoffs, every single shift is important. At this time of year a team needs to do all the little things well in order to reach the next level.
"I'm proud of the kids and the season they put together. Obviously, this wasn't the result we wanted to see."
Bemidji 0 1 0 -- 1
Thief River Falls 3 1 2 -- 6
First period: 1, TRF, Kent Peterson (Lucas Dillon), 3:52. 2, TRF, Dillon (Peterson), 12:24. 3, TRF, Peterson (Dillon, Malwitz), 13:01. Penal;ties -- Brady Johnson, TRF (slashing), 5:19, Cody Knott, TRF (interference), 8:55
Second period: 4, BHS, Jesse Nemgar (Joseph Welle, Bergquist), 9:28 (pp). 5, TRF, Eric Kayser (Castle), 13:01. Penalties -- Lucas Phillips, BHS (tripping), 5:40, Matt Audette, TRF (interference), 8:30, Keaton Joppru, TRF (interference), 11:53, Welle, BHS (tripping), 12:54
Third period: 6, TRF, Malwitz (Dillon, Peterson), :56 (pp). 7, TRF, Peterson (Malwitz), 3:08 (pp). Penalties -- Bergquist, BHS (tripping), :36, Matt Hietala, BHS (cross checking), 2:53, Matt Lindquist, TRF (interference), 4:07, Welle, BHS (high sticking), 4:45, Dylan Berry, TRF (roughing), 10:06, Kevin Larson, BHS (roughing), 10:06, Welle, BHS (interference), 12:50, Berry, TRF (slashing), 13:51, Welle, BHS (double minor-holding, roughing), 16:15, Welle, BHS (game misconduct), 16:15, Knott, TRF (roughing), 16:15
Shots -- BHS 10-7-8 25, TRF 15-13-6 34
Saves -- BHS-Derek Dudgeon (34 shots-28 saves), TRF-Zane Gothberg (25 shots-24 saves)