BOYS HOCKEY: No. 2 Green Wave blanks Bemidji 3-0
BEMIDJI — Bemidji High School head boys hockey coach Wade Chiodo knew his Lumberjacks were in for a battle against East Grand Forks.
The No. 2-ranked team in Class A, the Green Wave came to town sporting a 19-2-1 record — their only losses to Breck Academy and an out of state private school.
And despite an outstanding performance from junior goaltender Gabe Heifort, the Lumberjacks couldn’t get anything going against the Green Wave, as East Grand Forks rolled to a 3-0 shutout victory at Bemidji Community Arena.
“They’re a great hockey team,” Chiodo said of the Wave. “They’re as good a team as we’ve played all year. They do a great job clogging holes and taking away time and space. They didn’t give us anything.”
Bemidji (9-11-1) found that out the hard way Monday, the the fast, physical Green Wave didn’t give BHS many scoring opportunities and found themselves possessing the puck for the lions’ share of the evening.
“That was a good hockey game,” EGF head coach Tyler Palmiscno said. “I thought we did a good job keeping it in our zone and not letting Bemidji get many opportunities.”
Three different players scored for EGF (20-2-1), who had the first eight shots of the game and got on the scoreboard early in the first with a shot from defenseman Taylor Breierly.
The Lumberjacks never really recovered despite a late first-period power play opportunity after a tripping call on Reed Corbid.
The Green Wave never let the Lumberjacks set up their power play and Palmiscno said killing off a majority of the penalty before the first intermission buzzer sounded gave his team a boost.
“That was a big kill for us,” he said. “We got that penalty with a minute and a half left in the first and they could have swung some of it their way with a score there but I thought we did a nice job shutting them down.”
In the second period Dixon Bowen helped EGF extend its lead to 2-0 at the 6:53 mark after picking up a rebound in the slot in front of Heifort and fooling the BHS goaltender with a little spin move for a score.
The Wave gave the Lumberjacks another late power play chance with a tripping call on Trevor Selk but once again killed it off without letting the Jacks do much damage.
“We put a little more pressure in the puck in that second power play,” Chiodo said. “But we had a tough time setting anything up.”
The Wave had its first power play chance in the third period and it didn’t take them long to capitalize.
When Jack Johnson went to the box for a trip at 4:14, Tenner Tweeten needed just six seconds to make it 3-0 East Grand Forks.
The teams spent the rest of the game playing dump-and-chase; BHS had a few good looks, including one two-on-one opportunity with Brett Hartje and Matthew Gregg, but Hartje couldn’t beat EGF goalie Josh Weber.
“Against a team like East Grand Forks we have to find different ways to generate offense,” Chiodo said. “Sometimes it’s just getting a lucky bounce or finding an outlet pass, something. We didn’t find many ways to get some offense tonight and you can’t do that against a good team.”
Weber made 12 saves for EGF in the shutout victory while Heifort made 36 saves for BHS It was Heifort’s first start in about a month and a half for the Lumberjacks and he looked solid in preventing a few sure goals and keeping the score at 3-0.
“He did a very good job,” Chiodo said. “He directed rebounds and covered the puck nicely.”
Bemidji hosts another team ranked in Class A Thursday when Warroad comes to town before traveling to Section 8AA rival St. Cloud Tech Saturday.
“We have two big games coming up here next so we need to find a way to get some momentum going into the postseason,” Chiodo said.
East Grand Forks 3, Bemidji 0
EGF 1 1 1 — 3
BHS 0 0 0 — 0
First Period — 1, EGF, Brierley (Mack), 3:59. Penalties — EGF, Corbid (Tripping), 11:12.
Second Period — 2, EGF, Bowen (Corbid), 6:53. Penalties — EGF, Selk (Tripping), 15:19.
Third Period — 3, EGF, Tweten (Bowen, Poolman), 4:20, PP. Penalties — BHS, Johnson (Tripping), 4:14; EGF, Ausmus (Roughing), 6:59; BHS, B.Hartje (Roughing), 6:59; BHS, B.Hartje (Kneeing), 12:05.
Shots On Goal — EGF, 15-10-11—36; BHS, 3-4-5—12. Goalies (Shots-Saves) — EGF, Weber (12-12); BHS, Heifort (39-36). Penalties-Minutes — EGF, 3-6; BHS, 3-6. Power Plays-Opportunities — EGF 1-for-2; BHS, 0-for-2.