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BOYS HOCKEY: Late goal lifts Bemidji to 2-1 victory

RICHMOND – During last weekend’s Heritage Hockey Classic in Duluth, the Bemidji High School hockey team scored just two goals in three games and won just one game in the three-day tournament.

On Thursday night against River Lakes, the Lumberjacks equaled that total and had a positive result.

Bemidji scored the game-winning goal with just under a minute left to play to defeat River Lakes 2-1.

“It’s a good win,” BHS head coach Wade Chiodo said. “It was a fun way to win, too. We’re still struggling to score goals but we got the victory tonight with hard work.”

The Lumberjacks (4-8) had more grade-A scoring chances than the Wildcats (5-7), according to Chiodo, but didn’t get on the board until the second period of the game.

The Jacks were a man down on the penalty kill but Matt Serratore still found a way to break loose and score a shorthanded goal at the 8:30 mark of the frame and make it 1-0. Sam Starkey assisted on the goal.

River Lakes got back into it late in the second period.

Jake Herges beat BHS goaltender Gabe Heifort at the 12:22 mark of the final period to even the score at 1-1.

The game look destined for overtime until the final minute of the game, when Zach Posner scored with just 43 seconds remaining in regulation to give Bemidji the game-winner.

Starkey and Sam Bruestle got credit for the assists.

The assist gave Starkey a two-point night in the scoresheet for BHS.

“He played a really solid game tonight,” Chiodo said of Starkey. “He played his good defensive style and got the two assists.”

Heifort made 24 saves on 25 shots for the Lumberjacks, while River Lakes goaltender Chris Skluzacek made 30 of 32 saves.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Chiodo said. “We’ve got to find a way to score some more goals, find the back of the net, but we’ll take this one.”

The Lumberjacks return to the ice Saturday when they travel to Sartell at 3 p.m.

Bemidji 2, River Lakes 1

Bemidji 0 1 1 – 2

River Lakes 0 0 1 – 1

First Period – No Scoring.

Second Period – 1, Bem, Serratore (Starkey), 8:30, SH.

Third Period – 2, RL, Herges (Prozinski), 12:22. 3, Bem, Posner (Starkey, Bruestle), 16:17.

Shots On Goal – Bemidji (9-13-9=32); River Lakes (6-7-11=25).

Goaltenders – Bem, Heifort (25-24); RL, Skluzacek (32-30).

Penalties-Minutes – Bemidji 2-4; River Lakes 1-2.

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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