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Prowlers spoil season finale for Bemidji boys hockey

Bemidji forward James Bofferding clears the puck from the corner in the second period against Thief River Falls on Friday at the Sanford Center. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

The Section 8-2A playoffs for the Bemidji boys hockey team begin Tuesday. Already seeded No. 2 in the tournament, the Lumberjacks were hoping to gain momentum for the postseason when they entertained Thief River Falls Friday at the Sanford Center.

Instead of moving ahead and fine-tuning their play for the rigors of the section playoffs, however, the Jacks took a step backward when they lost to the Prowlers 3-0.

The visitors scored on their first shot 30 seconds into Friday's contest and BHS never caught up. Bemidji did manufacture a handful of quality chances but on each occasion the Lumberjacks were denied by Thief River Falls goaltenders Jon Narverud and Tanner Holmes who split Friday's duties.

BHS goalie Ben Schram allowed a pair of goals, including a shot by Evan Ose from the blue line that sailed over his shoulder and inside the post 30 seconds into the contest.

The 1-0 score continued until Riley Soderstrom found an opening outside the crease and converted a behind-the-net feed from Austin Odberg and zipped a one-timer past Schram.

An empty net goal by Logan Engelstad with 1:09 remaining clinched Thief River Falls' second shutout win over the Lumberjacks this winter. On December 15 the Prowlers blanked the Lumberjacks 1-0 in Thief River Falls.

Schram finished with 27 saves and was sharp much of the game. The Jacks tested the Prowler goalies 32 times but could never find the back of the net.

Bemidji's best period in terms of pressure was the second. Early in the stanza Kole Spencer was unlucky when his screen shot from the right point hit Narverud who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Midway through the stanza John Forseth was denied from just outside the post and Jordan Heller was stopped when Narverud was in position to deny his tip and send the rebound over the goal.

With 6:50 to play in the second period, Heller had another chance but his uncontested shot from the right slot on a 3-on-1 BHS rush sailed over the net.

Both teams generated offensive pressure in the final 17 minutes but neither team could find the scoreboard until Soderstrom connected in the final four minutes.

Bemidji ended the regular season with a 14-11 record and was 1-3 in its final four games. The Lumberjacks will open their section playoffs 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Community Arena against either No. 7 River Lakes or No. 10 Northern Lakes. Those teams meet Saturday in Paynesville in a play-in contest.

Thief River Falls 1 0 2 - 3

Bemidji 0 0 0 - 0

First period - 1, TRF, Ose (Soderstrom) 0:30

Second period - No scoring

Third period - 2, TRF, Sodeerstrom (Odberg, Ose) 13:28. 3, TRF, Engelstad (Doherty) 15:51 EN

Shots - TRF 11-9-10-30; Bemidji 9-13-10-32

Saves - TRF, Narverud 9-6-x-15, Holmes x-7-10-17; Bemidji, Schram 10-9-8-27

Penalties: TRF 2 for 4 minutes; Bemidji 3 for 6 minutes

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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