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One-sided victory great start to holidays

Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer Bemidji’s Sylvia Grimm had an open shot on Brainerd-Little Falls goalie Sara Wennerstrand during Saturday’s game. Wennerstrand won this battle but Grimm would score twice in the third period.

BEMIDJI — Heading into the Christmas break the Bemidji girls hockey players and coaches were searching for a reason to celebrate. Saturday afternoon at the Community Arena they found exactly what they were looking for.

Brainerd-Little Falls did not put up much resistance to Bemidji’s continual attack and the constant pressure was rewarded with a 9-0 victory.

The Jacks bolted to a 4-0 lead after one period, increased the cushion to 7-0 after two periods and coasted home. The score could have been much worse if the rules didn’t call for running time in the third period.

BHS coach Jackie Robertson had a premonition that Saturday’s contest might be one-sided and she dressed three players who had not seen any varsity playing time prior to Saturday.

“This was a fun game for us and it was great that we could get all of our kids into the game,” the coach said. “And everybody came through with a nice performance.”

The newcomers to varsity action included goalie Madeleine Pfleger, defenseman Ellie Hanson and forward Hannah Eller. Pfleger worked the third period and stopped all six shots that the Flying Warriors (1-11) sent her way. Hanson and Eller saw regular shifts and, although neither found the scoring sheet, both contributed to the victory.

“We had some new girls hopping into the lineup and I could see that the (regulars in the lineup) were happy to see them do so well,” Robertson said. “I thought everybody did an awesome job.”

After the opening stanza the suspense was gone as Bemidji scored four unanswered goals and outshot Brainerd-LF 17-6.

Paige DeLaHunt began the scoring five minutes into the game with a shot from just outside the crease. Jordyn Follis upped the lead to 2-0 at the 11-minute mark and within the next four minutes Savanna Hanson and Mackenzie Hietala would score.

The trend continued in the second session and sparking that spurt was Megan Dondelinger’s power play tally at the 3:13 mark. Heather Olson’s shot from the low right circle was stopped but Dondelinger was camped outside the left post and tapped home the rebound.

It took BHS only 15 seconds to score again. After winning the center-ice faceoff the Lumberjacks attacked and Hanson redirected Madison Schultz’ feed past Flying Warrior goalie Sara Wennerstrand.

Late in the period Dondelinger notched her second of the day when she converted a rebound of Hietala’s shot  from the right point.

Bemidji capped its victory with a pair of goals by Sylvia Grimm in the final stanza. On each play Grimm gained position between the circles and was in the perfect spot to tip home shots from the point.

Mercede Defatte assisted on Grimm’s first goal at 6:07 and Heather Olson took the initial shot on Grimm’s second tally at 12:20.

Leighton Rockensock tended Bemidji’s net during the first two periods and had 10 saves.

“This game was a confidence boost for us,” Robertson said. “We play many very tough teams and a game like this gives us a chance to try new things.

“Playing this well is a good way for us to go into the holiday break and it will set the tone for what’s to come.”

Bemidji, 4-7-2, is off until Jan. 3 when it hosts Fergus Falls. The Lumberjacks will also be home on Jan. 7 against Moorhead.

Bemidji 9, Brainerd-Little Falls 0

Brainerd-LF    0  0  0  -  0

Bemidji    4  3  2  -  9

First period - 1, Bem, DeLaHunt (Hanson, Olson) 4:5s1. 2, Bem, Follis (Grimm) 11:08. 3, Bem, Hanson (Hietala) 14:48. 4, Bem, Hietala (unassisted) 15:08

Second period - 5, Bem, Dondelinger (Olson, Hietala) 3:13. 6, Bem, Hanson (Schultz, DeLaHunt) 3:28. 7, Bem, Dondelinger (Hietala) 15:51

Third period - 8, Bem, Grimm (Defatte) 6:07. 9, Bem, Grimm (Olson) 12:20

Shots - Brainerd-LF 6-4-6-16; Bemidji 17-13-9-39

Saves - Wennerstrand (B-LF) 30-39; Rockenson (Bem) 10-10, Pfleger (Bem) 6-6

Penalties/minutes - Brainerd-LF 3/6; Bemidji 5/10

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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