BEMIDJI – After beginning the season with three consecutive ties, the Bemidji girls hockey team finally had a different outcome Tuesday when it hosted Roseau at the Sanford Center.
Unfortunately, the string was broken with a 4-2 loss to the Rams.
BHS sputtered at the start, spotting Roseau a 3-0 lead, and was unable to make up the ground despite playing better in the final two periods.
The Lumberjacks have opened their campaign against four quality opponents and are 0-1-3 against East Grand Forks, Grand Rapids, South St. Paul and Roseau.
South St. Paul finished second at last year’s state Class A tournament while Grand Rapids and Roseau ended their seasons at the state meet and East Grand Forks lost in the section final.
“The month of November is very tough for us,” said Bemidji coach Bob Brink whose team heads to St. Cloud this weekend to play the Icebreakers (a cooperative of all of the St. Cloud schools) and Sartell. “We probably could use a rest so we can work on some things but right now our schedule is game-heavy so we will do the best we can.”
On Tuesday against Roseau the Jacks played well at times but also struggled to keep the Rams away from the attacking zone.
Roseau dominated the first period and led 3-1 at its conclusion. The differential could have been much wider had not BHS goalie Morgan Miller stood tall. The sophomore did allow three goals in the period but she also stopped 17 shots, including many from point-blank range.
“As a team we need to do a better job of helping our goalie,” Brink said. “So far this year all of our goalies have seen too many shots.”
Roseau notched its third goal 11:33 into the opening stanza and appeared to be headed for an easy victory. Bemidji, however, regrouped and sparking the comeback bid was Karleigh Wolkerstorfer who scored from the right side with three minutes to play in the stanza.
The second period was played on even terms as each team generated a few legitimate scoring opportunities.
Roseau notched the lone goal of the session, however, when Ciscely Nelson circled behind Bemidji’s net and fed Maddy Helgeson with a perfect pass.
Helgeson, who was camped outside the crease, was able to zip it past Miller.
BHS continued to battle in the final 17 minutes and the work paid dividends six minutes into the period when Erin Booth banged the puck off the Rams goaltender from a sharp angle left of the net.
That was as close as the Lumberjacks would come, however, as Roseau’s defense successfully limited Bemidji’s opportunities.
“We knew that Roseau was going to be a tough opponent and when you spot them three goals you will be in for an uphill battle,” Brink said. “One of our goals is to play 51 solid minutes. During our first four games we have had some breakdowns that have cost us some goals and some wins.
“But we also did some nice things in the second and third periods and we will learn from our mistakes,” the coach added.
Roseau 3 1 0 - 4
Bemidji 1 0 1 - 2
First period – 1, Ros, Tangen (Olson, Holter) 1:48. 2, Rou, Przekwas (Weiland, Pahlen) 11:11. 3, Rou, Pahlen (Helgeson, Nelson) 11:33. 4, Bem, Wolkerstorfer (Ha.Olson) 14.07
Second period – 5, Rou, Helgeson (Nelson) 4:23
Third period – 6, Bem, Booth (Dondelinger) 6:00
Shots – Roseau 32; Bemidji 25
Saves – Slater (Rou) 7-6-10-23; Miller (Bem) 17-5-7-29
Penalties/minutes: Roseau 3 for 6 minutes; Bemidji 3 for 6 minutes