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Bemidji High School boys hockey: No. 5 Hermantown holds off Jacks for 5-3 win

Bemidji's Luke Burns (10) chases down the puck and is pursued by Hermantown's Brian LeBlanc (21) and Chad Bannor (back) during the second period of Tuesday night's game at John Glas Fieldhouse. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

The Bemidji High boys hockey team learned a valuable lesson Tuesday night ... hopefully.

If the Jacks want to compete against teams in the upper echelon of the state rankings, they need to play three strong periods of hockey.

The Jacks played a solid third period at the John Glas Fieldhouse Tuesday, but it was not enough -- despite the stellar goaltending of Derek Dudgeon. The Lumberjacks senior ended the night with 36 saves -- several spectacular -- that kept the game close.

Hermantown built a 3-1 lead after two periods and made it stand up in notching its 18th victory of the season. The fifth ranked team in Class A, Hermantown has only two losses this year.

"We played well in the third period," said BHS head coach Wade Chiodo. "But the guys have to understand we need to play three complete periods in order to be successful -- especially against a top ranked team like Hermantown.

"We only played ½ a game of Lumberjack hockey. The other half we were flat."

The game started out well for the Jacks as Lucas Phillips got BHS on the board first, just 1:40 into the game.

But things went steadily down hill from there for the home team.

Branden Perrault evened the score for Hermantown at the 8:04 mark and Grant Huttel gave the Hawks the lead about five minutes later. Hermantown applied heavy offensive pressure for most of the first, holding a huge 14-5 shot advantage.

However, the Jacks came within an eyelash of evening the score in the final seconds of the first. Luke Burns led a 2 on1 break for the Jacks and beat Hermantown goalie Ben Tessier, only to have the puck solidly clang off the cross bar with 30 seconds left.

Dudgeon kept the Jacks in the game in the second period, keeping the Hawks off the board until the final seconds. Dudgeon made several big saves in the period as Hermantown had at least five grade A chances to score.

Hermantown finally broke through with only eight seconds left in the period on a power play goal. Kurt Peterson scored on a deflection in front to give the Hawks a 3-1 lead.

The Jacks came back strong in the third, only to have Hermantown respond quickly. Mike Rees made it 3-2 when he scored off a fine individual effort at 3:28, connecting on a backhand top shelf with a Hermantown defender draped all over him.

The visitors responded almost immediately as Adam Krause scored unassisted on a big time skill move at 4:01.

The Jacks came back again to make it 4-3 as Rees connected on his second, this time picking up a loose puck in the slot and connecting on a low wrister through traffic at 7:25.

But Hermantown responded quickly again and put the game away 1:28 later with a power play goal. Jeff Paczynski connected a on a hard low shot from the high slot, giving the Hawks a 5-3 lead. That was the way it ended.

Hermantown ended with a 41-30 shot advantage for the game.

"Dudgeon played very well," said Chiodo, "and kept us in the game for a while. As a team we had that good third period -- but it takes more than that to compete against the top teams."

The Jacks fell to 10-9-1 on the year with the loss. The team returns to action Friday at River Lakes.

HHS 2 1 2 -- 5

BHS 1 0 2 -- 3

First Period -- 1, BHS, Lucas Phillips (Matt Hietala), 1:40. 2, HHS, Branden Perrault (Andrew Oakes), 8:04. 3, HHS, Grant Huttel (Adam Krause, Steve Bockovich), 13:50. Penalties -- Mike Rees, BHS (checking from behind, 10 minute misconduct), 2:43, Corey Kolquist, HHS (tripping), 10:20, Braden Devescovi, BHS (interference), 14:47

Second Period -- 4, HHS, Kurt Peterson (Cody Christopherson, Jeff Paczynski), 16:52 (pp). Penalties -- Willis Kantonen, HHS (tripping), :47, Huttel, HHS (high sticking), 12:38, Jared Bergquist, BHS (interference), 16:25

Third Period -- 5, Rees, BHS (Max Hazelton, Isaac Bitter), 3:28. 6, HHS, Krause (unassisted), 4:01. 7, BHS, Rees (Jesse Nemgar, Joseph Welle), 7:25 (pp). 8, HHS, Pacyzynski (Krause, Connor Hady), 8:53 (pp). Penalties -- Peterson, HHS (hooking), 4:48, Huttel, HHS (high sticking), 6:31, Nemgar, BHS (interference), 8:27

Shots -- HHS 14-16-11 41, BHS 5-10-15 30

Saves -- HHS-Ben Tessier (30 shots-27 saves), BHS-Derek Dudgeon (41 shots-36 saves)