Steve Heller scored 7:20 into overtime to lift the Bemidji boys hockey team to a 3-2 victory over St. Cloud Tech Tuesday at Nymore Arena.
Last February the Tigers and Lumberjacks staged a classic 6-overtime marathon in the 8AA quarterfinals and Tech eventually outlasted BHS 3-2. Tuesday's contest seemed destined to be an overtime tie until the Lumberjacks took advantage of a late Tech penalty and Heller scored on a breakaway after being set up by Dillon Eichstadt and Brady Devescovi.
"It was an exciting game all the way to the end," said BHS coach Wade Chiodo whose team improved to 10-1-1 overall and 2-0-1 in section play.
"There were two good teams going at it from start to finish. We played well, especially in the second and third periods and in overtime. We hit the post at least six times but the big thing is we kept that sense of urgency even though we weren't finding the net.
"By playing that way we finally got the bounce and Steven found the back of the net," Chiodo said.
Tech opened the scoring 9:18 into the first period when David Kenney beat Bemidji goalie Jeremiah Graves while Tech was on the power play.
The visitors maintained the 1-0 advantage the remainder of the period but with 5:59 to play in the middle session BHS connected with the man advantage.
Tyler Tatro had the honors as John Forseth zipped a pass to Tatro who was positioned at the blue-line slot and Tatro let fly with a waist-high wrister.
The puck bounced off a defender just outside the crease and found a seam past goaltender Allen Patten. Matt Serratore also drew an assist on the goal.
Only 21 seconds later Bemidji struck again as Brady Devescovi wristed a shot from the right blue line through a screen and past Patten.
Eric Hernesman and Easton Halbert earned assists on the goal.
Late in the second stanza Tech notched the equalizer when Trevor Wolseth converted a feed from Brandon Anderson.
Neither team scored in the final period and the 2-2 deadlock continued until Heller found the net with only 40 seconds to play in the overtime.
"This was a huge win for us in terms of section position," Chiodo said. "Tech came into this game 3-0-0 in the section and I see a 5-team race for the top spot. We only play Tech one time this year so this was a very important win to get. It also gives us a nice start to the rest of the season when just about each game is against a section opponent."
Graves finished with 28 saves while Patten made 39 stops.
Bemidji returns to action Saturday when it battles Rocori in Paynesville.
St. Cloud Tech 1 1 0 0 - 2
Bemidji 0 2 0 1 - 3
First period: 1. SCT, Kenney (Hall) 9:18 PP
Second period: 2. B, Tatro (Forseth, Serratore) 11:01 PP; 3. B, Devescovi (Hernesman, Hulbert) 11:22; 4. SCT, Wolseth (Anderson) 15:45
Third period: No scoring
Overtime: 5. B, S.Heller (Eichstad, Devescovi) 7:20
Penalties/minutes: SCT 9/18; Bemidji 6-20
Saves: Patten (SCT) 8-11-13-7-39; Graves (B) 7-9-8-4-28