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BOYS HOCKEY: Jacks lose early lead, fall 4-1 to Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS -- Monday night’s meeting between the Bemidji High School boys hockey team and Grand Rapids came without as much fanfare as in recent years.

The Thunderhawks (5-16-1) have struggled this year after losing the bulk of last season’s Class AA title-winning team, while the Lumberjacks (9-12) entered the contest going through their own struggles in the midst of a losing streak.

Despite conceding the opening goal, Grand Rapids scored four unanswered to overcome a first-period deficit and top Bemidji 4-1 at the IRA Civic Center. The win ended a three-game skid for the Thunderhawks and marked the fourth consecutive loss for the Lumberjacks.

Joe Leitner was responsible for the first goal of the game late in the opening period. The senior scored at 14:31 of the period off of assists from Andrew Dondelinger and Zak Justice to send the Lumberjacks into the first intermission up 1-0.

The lead lasted more than 10 minutes into the middle frame when the Thunderhawks pulled even shortly after Bemidji finished killing a five-minute penalty. Nano DeGuiseppi tallied the equalizer at 10:34 of the second period for Grand Rapids.

Less than two minutes later, the Thunderhawks struck on the power play with Anthony DelGreco’s goal at 12:22 to take their first lead of the evening.

Shortly after another BHS penalty expired, DelGreco added to the lead in the third period with his goal at 9:35 that made it 3-1.

An empty-net goal by Jack Burnson in the final minute sealed the win for Grand Rapids.

DeGuiseppi (1g-2a) and Burnson (1g-2a) each finished with three points to lead the Thunderhawks.

The Jacks outshot the Hawks 27-24 for the contest. Matt Fitzgerald made 20 saves in net for Bemidji, while Gabe Holum stopped 26 shots for Grand Rapids.

The Lumberjacks will attempt to snap their losing streak by welcoming Warroad to Bemidji Community Arena for a 6:30 p.m. game Thursday, Feb. 8.

Grand Rapids 4, Bemidji 1

BHS 1 0 0 -- 1

GR 0 2 2 -- 4

First period -- 1, BHS, Leitner (Dondelinger, Justice), 14:31.

Second period -- 2, GR, DeGuiseppi (Broking, Jaeger), 10:34; 3, GR, DelGreco (DeGuiseppi, Burnson), 12:22, PP.

Third period -- 4, GR, DelGreco (DeGuiseppi, Burnson), 9:35; 5, GR, Burnson (Heitkamp), 16:16, EN.

Goaltending (Shots-Saves) -- BHS, Fitzgerald (24-20); GR, Holum (27-26).

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