Bemidji HS boys hockey: Jacks post high-octane win over St. Cloud Cathedral
If you want to play hockey for Bemidji head coach Wade Chiodo and his staff, you should expect to be tired at the end of a game.
"My style is high energy, transition the puck, play tough defensively, go to the net and play with respect for the game and with pride," Chiodo said following his team's 6-1 victory over St. Cloud Cathedral Saturday at the John Glas Fieldhouse.
The Lumberjacks ran their winning streak to four games and upped their season record to 9-5 with Saturday's dominating high-octane performance. From the initial drop of the puck until the final horn, Bemidji outskated, outworked and outmuscled the Crusaders.
"This was our third game in five days but we had jump in our legs," Chiodo said. "The guys played hard and with high intensity. This was a good effort by the Lumberjacks hockey team."
The Jacks scored first with 10:20 remaining in the opening period when Jesse Nemgar camped in front of the crease and converted Jordan Heller's pass from behind the net. The scoring play began when John Forseth stole the puck from the Cathedral defense and Heller pounced on it. He quickly spotted Nemgar and goalie Nick Maiers had no chance on the one-timer.
The visitors, who fell to 7-4, were still wondering what happened when Bemidji struck again, this time when Curb tipped home a low bullet by Joseph Welle from the blue line. Isaac Bitter also earned an assist on the goal which came with 9:34 to play in the period.
Chiodo preaches storming the net and with 2:42 remaining in the session that tactic gave the Lumberjacks a 3-0 cushion when Heller, Forseth and Nemgar all batted at a loose puck near the crease. Nemgar eventually slid it under Maiers and the home team had a 3-0 lead and, more importantly, the momentum after the first period.
"The kids responded from the first drop of the puck," Chiodo said. "Everybody played their roles on the ice. As a team we just ran the lines through and the players gave a full team effort."
That effort continued in the second period as BHS increased its lead to 5-1. Brady Devescovi's tip of Isaac Bitter's low wrister from the left point gave the home team a 4-0 edge 5:22 into the stanza and, after St. Cloud Cathedral narrowed its gap to 4-1 with a powerplay marker at 7:40, the Jacks answered when Kevin Larson's bullet from the right point deflected off a defender and past Maiers. That goal, which came 25 seconds after Cathedral scored, effectively ended any hopes of a Crusader comeback.
Bemidji tallied the only goal of the final stanza when Rylee Curb banged home a rebound of Nemgar's low screamer from the blue line. The Jacks enjoyed a 5-on-3 powerplay at the time.
Axel Osborn handled the goaltending chores for the Jacks and finished with 22 saves. Maiers stopped 32 BHS shots.
"We've given up only two goals in our last three games," Chiodo said. "That is a credit to our defensive corps and to our goaltenders."
Bemidji also captured the preliminary with a convincing 10-3 victory over Cathedral at the Nymore rink. Tyler Follis paced the Jacks with four goals and two assists.