BHS girls hockey: Sele leads Jacks over No. 5-ranked Crookston
Riding the rock solid performance of senior goaltender Kaia Sele the Bemidji High girls hockey team defeated its second quality opponent in less than a week, dropping state ranked Crookston 3-1 Tuesday at The Glas.
Sele turned back 23 of 24 Crookston shots on the night as the Jacks improved to 7-1 on the year.
"It could be said the score was Kaia Sele 3, Crookston 1," said Bemidji High assistant coach Keith Huerd. "(Sele) played very well. You could see she was very confident and in control out there."
The first period went by quickly as the teams skated to a scoreless tie with no penalties called. There was some action, however, as the Jacks had three golden opportunities to score, but just couldn't connect past Crookston freshman goaltender Rachel Biermaier. Less than a minute into the game the Jacks' Shelby Sauer hit Karly Engen in front with a pass, and Engen got off a quick shot that Biermaier stifled. Jessica Christofferson also was stopped on a good chance off a rebound at the 6:40 mark.
The period also showcased the consistently fine play, on both ends of the ice, of the BHS sophomore line of Janie Johnson, Becca Gregg and Andrea Hanson. Then line defended well and played hard, which carried over into the final two periods as well.
"No doubt, that sophomore line played hard every time they got the chance," said Huerd.
The Jacks got on the board first, connecting with less than three minutes gone in the second period on the power play. On the play, Engen fought for the puck near the far side of the crease and got a pass in front to Haley Johnson, who deflected a shot off Biermaier into the goal.
That was to be all of the scoring in the period that the Jacks pepper 15 shots at Biermaier. The Crookston goalie came up huge on at least four occasions in the period, however, keeping the game close.
Johnson and Engen paired up again for what turned out to be the game winner at the 4:05 mark of the third period - this one shorthanded. Engen found Johnson with a pass at the Crookston blue line and Johnson entered the zone then cut towards the net. Her hard wrist shot from the far hash marks zipped past Biermaier.
Crookston fought back to score its only goal of the game about two minutes later. Pirates defender Lexi Wangen scored on a blast from the high slot that beat a screened Sele top shelf.
The Jacks then added an insurance goal at the 9:48 mark to ice the game. Christofferson hit Alissa Johnson in stride at the blue line with a fine pass. Johnson then skated in and muscled a hard and low wrist shot five hole past Biermaier.
"We had some spotty play," said Huerd. "Some lines played well and some not so well. It wasn't the prettiest, but it was a win. We can't allow teams to hang around like we did (Tuesday). We've got to put them away when we have the opportunity."
Huerd reported the Jacks will next face a very stiff challenge, traveling to Warroad Thursday. "It will be a mighty challenge for us," he said. "We'll need to get a top effort from every one of our players or things are going to be very difficult."