BEMIDJI – A frenetic pace in the final 6 and a half minutes of Bemidj’s game against East Grand Forks taught the Lumberjacks something Tuesday night: Play a full three periods, and that desperate grasp for an equalizer isn’t necessary.
Bemidji allowed three unanswered goals in the first period and despite a late East Grand Forks penalty and numerous shots on goal in the last seven minutes of the third, it wasn’t enough.
The Green Wave topped the Lumberjacks 4-2 at Bemidji Community Arena.
“They’re a real good team,” BHS head coach Bob Brink said of East Grand Forks. “We can’t leave it to the third period against a team like that and expect to have a lot of success.”
The Lumberjacks (7-7-5) trailed 3-2 coming into the third frame and did a good job putting pressure on East Grand Forks goaltender Madi Galstad, getting 12 shots on goal.
An interference call on EGF’s Alexa Mack at the 10:33 mark of the third gave Bemidji a power play and led to nearly six straight minutes of puck pressure in the Green Wave end.
The Wave (14-7-1) killed that penalty, but the Lumberjacks didn’t let up.
The Lumberjacks’ best chance came when defender Hannah Olson sent a shot from the point that bounced off Galstad’s chest and to her glove side.
Bemidji’s Rachel Holm tried to find daylight between Galstad’s pad and the post but the EGF netminder made a last-second kick save.
Seconds later the puck found its way in front of the net with three white jerseys ready to poke it in, but Galstad made a swan-dive save and smothered the puck in front of her.
“It was a little hectic out there,” EGF head coach Jim Scanlon said. “Our kids played their positions well and Madi made some great saves.”
The Lumberjacks pulled goaltender Leighton Rockensock with 1:20 to go in regulation and had numerous chances on a 6-on-5.
However, the Wave’s Riley Koberinski forced a turnover and got the clear. CoCo Piche found the puck near the red line and easily deposited into the empty net with 51 seconds to go, ending Bemidji’s chance at forcing overtime.
“We came out flat in the first period,” Bemidji head coach Bob Brink said. “We knew we’d have to play tough against an East Grand Forks team like this but we didn’t do that in the first period.”
The Lumberjacks scored the game’s first goal just 3:09 into the first period on Karleigh Wolkerstorfer’s tally.
However, the Wave fired back. Piche scored at the 10:02 mark, Mack added one at 14:20 and Karly Nelson scored with just six seconds left to but the Wave up 3-1 heading to the first intermission.
Bemidji finally answered in the second period when Olson scored on a 4-on-3 penalty at the 7:25 mark.
The Lumberjacks went 1-for-4 on the power play while the Wave was held to 0-for-3.
“Bemidji did a great job killing penalties,” Scanlon said. “They came out very strong in the second period. They won that second period and beat us in the third. I’m very proud of our girls for hanging in there against a tough team like Bemidji.”
Rockensock made 27 saves on 31 shots while Galstad made 23 saves on 23 shots.
“We had a lot of good chances that we just couldn’t convert,” Brink said. “It was a hard game and we came out with the loss, but they’re a really good team.”
East Grand Forks 3 0 1 – 4
Bemidji 1 1 0 – 2
First Period – 1, BHS, Wolkerstorfer (Dondelinger, Olson), 3:09; 2, EGF, Piche (Koberinski), 10:02; 3, EGF, Mack (Langel), 14:20; 4, EGF, Nelson (Piche, Eades), 16:51.
Second Period – 5, BHS, Olson (Tower), 7:25, PP.
Third Period – 6, EGF, Piche (Koberinski), 16:09, EN.
Goalies – EGF, Galstad (25-23); BHS, Rockensock (31-27).
Shots On Goal – East Grand Forks 9-8-12-31; Bemidji 7-6-12-25.
Penalties-Minutes – East Grand Forks 4-8; Bemidji 3-6.
Power Plays – East Grand Forks 0-for-3; Bemidji 1-for-4.