Boys hockey: Bemidji dominates Monticello 4-0
BEMIDJI — So far this season the Bemidji boys hockey team has found itself in tight games, including three that extended into overtime. The Lumberjacks dropped all three of those extra session contests and taking care of business in regulation was a priority Saturday when the Jacks hosted Monticello.
“Monticello is a section opponent and, because we play only once this year, this was a must-win game,” BHS coach Wade Chiodo said.
His players understood the importance of Saturday’s contest and made sure that the day would end on a positive note, storming to a 3-0 lead after the first period and blanking the Moose 4-0.
The victory was punctuated by three power play goals on five man-advantage opportunities and taking advantage of those situations is something the Lumberjacks have been working on.
“When we struggle on the power play we struggle with getting it set up,” Chiodo said. ‘But after we are in position we have a very good power play.
“Scoring when you have the extra man is what you need to do in the playoffs and in close games,” the coach continued. “Typically, special teams are what wins games. Against Grand Rapids (a 4-3 overtime loss) we were 1-for-10 on the power play. Against Moorhead (a 2-1 overtime loss) we went 0-for-6. But today we did much better.”
Both teams had their legs Saturday, especially in the first period. BHS, however, seemed to be a step ahead of Monticello much of the stanza and that edge helped the Lumberjacks outshoot the Moose 15-7.
Monticello goalie Nathan Isaacson kept the visitors in contention but Bemidji’s continual pressure took its toll in the final six minutes.
Noah Burns started the run with 5:46 to play in the period when he capped a 3-on-2 rush by racing to the crease and tapping home a rebound. Rocky Copiskey and Matthew Gregg joined Burns on the play and earned assists.
A minute later Monticello was called for a slashing penalty and Michael Forseth promptly scored with a blast from the blue line which clanked off the crossbar and into the net.
Another Monticello penalty with 1:49 remaining in the stanza set the stage for Copiskey’s goal at 16:29. Copiskey found an open spot in the crease and was in position to rip home Brett Isensee’s feed.
About five minutes into the second period Monticello was in the box again and the Jacks made the Moose pay. Sam Bruestle did the honors as he blasted an ice-hugger from the right point between Isaacson’s legs.
BHS continued to hold a territorial edge the rest of the way but Isaacson stood tall. Bemidji goalie Garrett Atteberry was tested only 12 times but he also rose to the challenge by making a handful of difficult saves.
“We ran four lines and used every defenseman and all of the kids contributed,” Chiodo said. “Everybody played their roles and it was fun to see them work this hard.”
Saturday’s game ended the home schedule for 2013. The Lumberjacks now hit the road for five straight games. The road trip begins Tuesday at East Grand Forks.
Monticello 0 0 0 - 0
Bemidji 3 1 0 - 4
First period - 1, Bem, Burns (Copiskey, Gregg) 11:16. 2, Bem, Forseth (N.Leitner, Isensee) 13:31 PP. 3, Bem, Copiskey (Isensee, Neubeck) 16:29 PP
Second period - 4, Bem, Bruestle (Neubeck, Lusby) 6:48 PP
Third period - No scoring
Shots - Monticello 7-5-5-12; Bemidji 15-11-11-37
Saves - Isaacson (Mont) 33-27; Atteberry (Bem) 12-12
Penalties-minutes - Monticello 5-10; Bemidji 2-4
Power play - Monticello 0-2; Bemidji 3-5