MOORHEAD – There’s just something different on the ice when the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 rival boys hockey teams of Bemidji and Moorhead square off. Coming into Thursday’s matchup, four of the last five games went into overtime.
Moorhead moved to 6-0-2 in the last eight matchups with a 5-4 win over Bemidji on Thursday.
With less than four minutes left in the game, Tony Uglem fired a shot into the back of the net for the winner for Moorhead (3-1). It looked as though Uglem knew exactly what he was doing on the play, but, like most games versus Bemidji, things did not exactly go as planned.
“I was going to cut across and rip it right away, but I lost it, so I had to chase it and, once I got it, I just ripped it into the back of the net,” Uglem said.
Moorhead allowed four power-play opportunities – including a 5-on-3 for 1 minute, 27 seconds – for Bemidji in the first period.
The Lumberjacks didn’t capitalize on any of the chances, but the Spuds took advantage, opening the scoring with a shorthanded goal when Thomas Carey and Aaron Herdt executed a 2-on-1 to perfection. Herdt found the back of the net less than four minutes into the game. Carey found Herdt again less than five minutes later for a one-timer to make it 2-0.
Carey and Herdt knew before the season the two were going to find one another.
“Tom has great vision, and that’s what I feed off of,” Herdt said. “Before the season, he shot me a text saying we needed to play together, because he knew I could bury the puck and he could dish it. It’s been working out.”
Just as recent history shows, Bemidji (1-3) was not going to just lay down. Micheal Forseth netted a goal on a shot from the point with traffic in front to cut the Moorhead lead to 2-1 less than a minute after the Spuds went up two goals.
Matt Serratore added the tying goal 24 seconds into the second period. Serratore had the puck poked away from him on a 2-on-1 later in the second period, and the only person who knew where the puck trickled to was Mike Sauer, who fired it into the open net to give the Lumberjacks a 3-2 lead.
“They always keep coming back,” Herdt said. “You can’t just shoo them away. They aren’t going to give up. They keep battling and battling and it’s really fun to play in.”
A shot from Nick Uglem bounced off the pad of Bemidji goalie Gabe Heifort, but twin brother Tony was there to pound in the goal to tie things at 3-3 heading to the final frame.
“Second period was a rough one, but we pinned them in their zone for two minutes straight at the end and hammered shots on goal,” Moorhead coach Peter Cullen said. “We were unrelenting in our pursuit at the end. I rolled with that emotion and built on it, and they took it over from there.”
Grant Weiss netted a rebound off a shot from Nick Uglem to give Moorhead a 4-3 lead 26 seconds into the third period, but that was entirely too much time for Bemidji.
After starting 0-for-5 on the man-advantage, the Lumberjacks found the back of the net on their sixth power play when Serratore blasted in the tying goal with 5:38 left in regulation, but just as they have since they last beat the Spuds in January of 2009, the Lumberjacks fell short with Tony Uglem’s winner.
“It means nothing if you fall short,” Bemidji coach Wade Chiodo said. “Within our section, you have to come to play hard all three periods. We’ve had some power-play problems most of the year. There’s a lot of new kids I have in the lineup this year, and we’re learning.”
Bemidji 1 2 1 – 4
Moorhead 2 1 2 – 5
FIRST PERIOD: 1. M, Herdt (Carey), shorthanded, 3:56. 2. M, Herdt (Carey), 8:12. 3. B, Forseth (Sauer), 9:01.
SECOND PERIOD: 4. B, Serratore, 0:24. 5. B, M. Sauer (Serratore), 10:25. 6. M, T. Uglem (N. Uglem), 14:41.
THIRD PERIOD: 7. M, Weiss (N. Uglem) 0:26. 8. B, Serratore (Sauer, Forseth), pp, 11:22. 9. M, T. Uglem (N. Uglem) 13:16.
SAVES: M, MacFarlane 7-10-6 23 saves. B, Heifort 8-18-9 35 saves.