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Jacks snap losing skid with 5-2 win over Warroad

Bemidji senior forward Matt Gish corrals the puck in Thursday's game against Warroad at Bemidji Community Arena. (Jordan Shearer | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
Bemidji senior forward Joe Leitner battles for a puck near the boards during Thursday's game against Warroad at Bemidji Community Arena. (Jordan Shearer | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School boys hockey team shared the wealth Thursday night in a 5-2 win over Warroad at Bemidji Community Arena.

The team earned five goals and four assists for nine total points on the night, and those were spread out to eight different players.

Coming off a four-game losing streak since Jan. 26, Bemidji (10-12) came out ready to fight to get back in the win column.

“I thought it was a great effort,” BHS head coach Eric Monsrud said. “Our effort really hasn’t been there for our last four games, and I thought this game we definitely came with a great effort.”

After a defensive first 13 minutes to the contest, the Lumberjacks exploded for two goals in 22 seconds for a sudden 2-0 lead.

Junior Hunter Olson fed classmate Zak Justice with a pretty behind-the-back pass from behind the net to the doorstep for the first goal, and senior Matt Gish buried his first varsity goal unassisted at the 13:57 mark for the two-goal lead.

But Warroad (12-11-1) had an answer, as Carter Pelland got one past BHS goalie Matt Fitzgerald to cut it to 2-1 with 2:11 left in the first frame.

After each team was called for a penalty early in the second period, Bemidji’s Tate Hammitt fired a point shot, and Andrew Dondelinger was there for the rebound tally at the 3:07 mark. Ryan Pogue also picked up an assist on the play.

The two-goal lead was short-lived once again, however, when Warriors senior Max Marvin squeezed a point shot through traffic, off the base of the left post and in.

Despite taking four penalties in the second period to Bemidji’s two, Warroad had the upper hand through most of the action in the second period, but Bemidji stayed composed in its defensive zone to keep it out of the net.

“We have worked on our D-zone coverage a little bit more, just trying to shore up on things,” Monsrud said. “Sometimes we have a tendency to make two guys go to the puck, and that’s not the right way to do it. It’s just a matter of getting back to some of those basics and just shoring up on those.”

In the third period, the Lumberjacks learned that no shot is a bad shot, because both shots that went in should’ve been saved.

Olson slid the first one five-hole at the 5:48 mark, and Josh Baker buried minutes later, resulting in junior Max Gausen replacing senior Joseph Jacques in the Warroad crease.

“It’s nice to have some bounces go your way,” Monsrud said. “There’s an old adage that coach (Bob) Peters used to say: Luck only favors those who are best prepared. And we were prepared to score in those situations.”

Fitzgerald stopped 22 of Warroad’s 24 shots on the night, improving to 10-10 this season.

The Jacks head to Hermantown for a 3:15 p.m. puck drop Saturday, Feb. 10, before heading into the last week of the regular season.

Bemidji 5, Warroad 2

BHS 2 1 2 -- 5

WAR 1 1 0 -- 2

First Period -- 1, BHS, Justice (Olson) 13:35; 2, BHS, Gish (Unassisted) 13:57; 3, WAR, C. Pelland (Marvin, Slukynsky) 15:49.

Second Period -- 4, BHS, Dondelinger (Hammitt, Pogue) 3:07; 5, WAR, Marvin (Skappel) 7:58.

Third Period -- 6, BHS, Olson (Unassisted) 5:48; 7, BHS, Baker (Mostad) 9:06.

Goaltending (Shots-Saves) -- BHS, Fitzgerald (24-22); WAR, Jacques (26-21); Gausen (4-4).

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