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GIRLS HOCKEY: Bemidji continues late-season surge with third-period comeback against River Lakes

Bemidji’s Rachel Holm puts a shot on goal during the first period of hockey action against River Lakes on Saturday afternoon. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – A pep talk in the locker room combined with a growing confidence among the players to spark another third-period rally for the Bemidji girls hockey team Saturday at the Sanford Center.

After two periods the Lumberjacks trailed River Lakes 1-0 but, as they did Thursday in a 3-1 victory over Thief River Falls, the Jacks dominated the final 17 minutes and posted a 4-1 win.

Saturday’s triumph, which vaulted BHS over the .500 mark for the first time all year with a 7-6-5 record, may have stunned River Lakes but it came as no surprise to Bemidji senior forward Karlee Tower.

“I’m not exactly sure why but the third period is our period, and that’s a good feeling,” Tower, who contributed a goal and two assists, said. “As a team we’re getting it together. We’ve worked hard at figuring out our lines and defensive combinations and now everybody is putting their hearts into it.

“It is fun to be a part of this team,” Tower added.

Bemidji spotted River Lakes (8-7-4) a 1-0 lead after the opening stanza and the Stars maintained that advantage heading into the third period.

But the rest of the game belonged to the Lumberjacks.

At the 4:17 mark Rachel Holm converted Tower’s assist for the tying goal and two minutes later Erin Booth’s shot from the left circle bounced off the glove of goalie Shana Clark and slid across the line.

The Lumberjacks added a pair of insurance tallies in the final few minutes. Holm scored her second of the day with 7:47 to play when she beat Clark from just outside the crease. Tower set up the goal with a perfect feed from behind the net.

Tower iced the win with 5:23 remaining when Savanna Hanson’s pass set the stage for Tower’s breakaway from the blue line. Tower did the rest, as her shot zipped past Clark.

“We preach playing three periods but I thought we came out a little flat in the first period,” said Bemidji assistant coach Joe Adams. “Gradually we began to show more intensity on the ice, and in the locker room, and in the third period you could see that intensity.

“We know that it will take a great effort for us to accomplish our goals and after the second period we had a chat about our expectations,” Adams added.

Among those goals is a trip to the state tournament.

“To do that we need to keep playing this way. We need to keep doing what we are doing,” Tower said. “We may have started slowly this year but now we are moving in the right direction.”

The Lumberjacks hope to continue their recent success next week. On Tuesday they will host East Grand Forks and Thursday they will entertain Crookston. Both of those games will be at the Community Arena.

River Lakes 1 0 0 - 1

Bemidji 0 0 4 - 4

First period – 1, RL, Kuhlman (Stanger) 15:01

Second period – No scoring

Third period – 2, BHS, Holm (Tower0 4:17. 3, BHS, Booth (Hanna Olson) 6:15. 4, BHS, Holm (Tower) 9:13. 5, BHS, Tower (Hanson) 11:36

Shots – River Lakes 8-5-5-18; Bemidji 7-8-13-28

Saves – Clark (RL) 24-28; Miller (BHS) 17-18

Penalties/minutes – River Lakes 2/4; Bemidji 1/2

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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