BEMIDJI – The Bemidji boys hockey team scored first and never trailed in its 3-2 win over St. Cloud Tech Saturday at the Bemidji Community Arena.
The win snaps a two-game losing streak that included a tough 5-4 loss to Moorhead Thursday.
“It is always important to win games, no matter when it is in the season,” Bemidji head coach Wade Chiodo said. “It is doubly important when it is a section game. We only play them once and we found a way to win. At the end of the day that is all that matters.”
The Lumberjacks created several scoring opportunities early in the first period, including a shot from Matt Serratore that missed to the left by less than a foot. The near-goal was the first of many on the day for Serratore.
Bemidji even mustered a couple of shots while killing a penalty to keep the game scoreless midway through the first period.
Then, on a power play of their own, the Lumberjacks got on the board with exactly five minutes remaining in the first period thanks to Sam Bruestle’s shot from just in front of the blue line.
Brett Hartje and Zach Ponser assisted on the goal.
Less than two minutes after Bruestle’s goal, Noah Burns scored to give Bemidji a 2-0 lead.
Sam Carlson and Brett Isensee were credited with assists on the play.
With a 2-0 lead on the scoreboard and a commanding 13-7 lead in shots after one period, it appeared as if the Lumberjacks may have been in position to pull away from the Tigers early on.
“It was important,” Chiodo said of the early lead. “I thought we were a bit sluggish all game long, honestly.”
A costly penalty in the closing seconds of the first period gave Tech a man-advantage to start the second period and it capitalized.
Davis Reinholz’s power play goal brought the Tigers back to within one goal of the Lumberjacks with 15:33 left in the second.
Bemidji answered quickly with a goal from Carlson to rebuild its lead back to two goals.
Burns assisted on the goal for his second point of the game.
At just about the halfway point in the second period, Riley Bates was in the right place at the right time for Tech as he came across the middle of the ice to put a rebound past Bemidji goaltender Grant Tharaldson.
Bemidji still led 3-2 with just over eight minutes remaining in the period.
Later in the period, Carlson had a chance to score his second goal of the night—this time on a penalty shot—but his goal missed wide to the left.
The Lumberjacks held off, and even out-shot, the Tigers in a defensive third period to seal the 3-2 win.
“Defense is part of the game,” Chiodo said. “You have got to out-work them and make sure you make smart plays. We played good enough to win the game, and that is the bottom line.”
Tharaldson made eight of his 21 saves in the third period.
Saint Cloud Tech goaltender Austin Althaus denied 33 shots in the game.
Bemidji (2-3-0) will look to stay in the win column when it hosts Warroad at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
St. Cloud Tech 0 2 0 – 2
Bemidji 2 1 0 – 3
First Period – 1, BHS, Bruestle (Hartje, Ponser) 12:00. 2, BHS, Burns (Carlson, Isensee) 13:58.
Second Period – 3, SCT, Reinholtz (Bates, Skaja) 1:27. 4, BHS, Carlson (Burns) 3:33. 5, SCT, Bates (Altena) 8:48.
Third Period – No scoring.
Shots on goal: SCT 23; BHS 36
Saves: SCT (Althaus) 33; BHS (Tharaldson) 21
Penalties/minutes: SCT 3 for 6; BHS 2 for 4