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Top seed in Section 8AA boys hockey on line tonight when Moorhead visits Bemidji

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The Bemidji boys hockey team has played 22 games while Moorhead has tested itself 21 times. Despite logging all of that ice time the Lumberjacks and Spuds have not been able to separate themselves in the Section 8AA and Mariucci Conference standings.

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A gap could be created today, however, as BHS will host Moorhead 7:30 p.m. at the Community Arena. Tonight's contest is the feature home game of the week for Bemidji sports fans, who also can watch the Lumberjacks 5:15 p.m. Saturday at The Sanford Center against Warroad.

The only other home appearance by a BHS team this week comes Thursday when the Lumberjacks boys basketball squad hosts Duluth East.

Jacks, Spuds renew rivalry today

In early December BHS and Moorhead battled to a 1-1 draw in Moorhead and that tie has been the lone blemish on Bemidji's section and conference records.

Heading into tonight's contest the Jacks are 19-2-1 overall, 6-0-1 against Section 8AA foes and 7-0-1 against league rivals. The game represents Bemidji's final section contest but the Jacks will have two games remaining on their schedule as they host Warroad Saturday and invade Thief River Falls on Feb. 17.

Both of those opponents are members of the Mariucci Conference but not Section 8AA.

The Lumberjacks enter tonight's action rated No. 15 in the most recent Let's Play Hockey poll while Moorhead, 14-6-1, holds the No. 12 spot. The only other northern Minnesota team in the top 15 is Grand Rapids which is ranked 11th.

The Thunderhawks defeated BHS 7-2 in late January. Bemidji's only other setback came during the Christmas tournament in Duluth when it fell 4-3 to Cloquet.

If Bemidji wins tonight it will capture the section's top seed. Moorhead, however, enters the game 5-1-1 in the section and could tie the Jacks. The game also is Moorhead's final section contest as the Spuds will close the winter with Saturday's outdoor game against Hill-Murray and a Feb. 18 outing at Alexandria.

Leading the Lumberjacks' attack are Steven Heller, Max Hazelton and Matt Serratore as each has 29 points. Hazelton's 16 goals are team-leading while Serratore is second with 14.

Tyler Follis has 27 points while John Forseth has 25, Tyler Tatro 24 and Jordan Heller 24.

Also in double figures in the scoring column are Easton Halbert (18), Brady Devescovi (13), Dillon Eichstadt (13), Jake White (11), Will Bruestle (10) and Eric Hernesman (10).

Bruestle will not be suited tonight as he is recovering from a separated shoulder sustained in last week's game against Roseau.

The hope is that Bruestle will be healed in time to rejoin the team for the playoffs.

Basketball team has busy week

Bemidji's boys basketball team dropped to 15-2 after losing at home Saturday 76-68 to St. Cloud Apollo but the squad has an immediate opportunity to regain its winning ways as BHS visits Grand Forks Central tonight.

Thursday the Jacks will own the home spotlight as they host Duluth East and Saturday they will hit the road again, travelling to Alexandria for a 7:30 p.m. contest.

The girls cagers are off until Saturday when they begin a girls-boys doubleheader at Alexandria, facing the Cardinals at 6 p.m.

Bemidji will be trying to snap a losing streak which stretched to eight games last Friday with a loss at East Grand Forks.

Wrestlers continue successful season

The preseason goal of doubling last winter's dual-meet victory total of six has been accomplished as the wrestlers improved to 14-9 by taking three of their four weekend matches.

Friday saw the Lumberjacks down Apollo 45-22 and Saturday they toppled Spring Lake Park 63-11 and Irondale 39-30 after falling to Rosemount 51-12.

Bemidji has the opportunity to add to the victory total this week as it faces five dual meets in two road trips. Today the Jacks will face Blackduck-Cass Lake-Bena-Indus in its 4 p.m. opener at Bagley and the day will end with a 7 p.m. match against the home team.

Friday BHS will head to Moorhead for matches against St. Cloud Tech, Rocori and Moorhead.

Skiers, girls hockey begin postseason

The first Bemidji teams to enter their tournament schedule are the Nordic ski squads as Bemidji will join its 8AA peers at Camp Ripley Wednesday.

The pursuit format includes a 5-km classic run in the morning and a 5-km free ski in the afternoon. The girls varsity skiers will open both legs of the competition.

Little Falls is the defending boys and girls champ and last year BHS finished second in both divisions. The Flyers are expected to retain their girls crown but the Lumberjacks could give Little Falls a run for its money in the boys competition.

The girls hockey team will learn its Section 8AA future Wednesday when the coaches hold their annual seeding meeting.

BHS ended its regular season 7-16-2 and was 2-5-2 against 8AA foes. A likely scenario has Bemidji gaining the seventh seed and opening at the home of the No. 2 seed 7 p.m. Saturday.

Among the top-four section finishers were Roseau (6-0-1), Brainerd (7-2-2), North Wright County (4-1-1) and Sartell (5-3-1). The other section teams include St. Cloud (3-6), Moorhead (2-6-1) and River Lakes (1-7).

Gym, swim teams await tournaments

The swimmers will end their regular season today at Duluth East while the gymnasts are off until Feb. 18 when they head to Brainerd for the Section 8AA meet.

The Lumberjacks swimmers tallied 178 points Saturday at Hibbing and collected two individual wins as Dylan Hoven claimed the 50 free and 100 free, setting a pool record of 21.89 in the 50 free.

They open their postseason Feb. 25 at Morris.

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Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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