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Bemidji HS girls hockey: Jacks penalty killers rise to occasion in win over Grand Rapids-Greenway

Bemidji's Allie Lapp, left, puts a shot past Grand Rapids/Greenway goalie Sydney Helmbrecht for a goal during the first period Tuesday at John Glas Fieldhouse. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Bemidji allowed three power-play goals but the BHS penalty killers rose to the occasion late in the third period and that effort helped the Lumberjacks girls hockey team down Grand Rapids-Greenway 4-3 Tuesday at the John Glas Fieldhouse.

Clinging to the precarious 4-3 cushion, Bemidji was whistled for a tripping penalty with 5:05 to play. The Lightning had already connected on three man-advantage situations, including two in the third period, and began this power-play with confidence and momentum. But the Jacks were inspired during this 2-minute span and killed the penalty without allowing a GR-G shot on net.

With 2:10 to play the visitors tried to recapture the momentum as they pulled their goalie but, although the Lightning kept the majority of the play in the Bemidji zone, the home team held firm and posted the 4-3 victory.

"That was a pretty dramatic ending," understated BHS coach Matt Menne. "Grand Rapids-Greenway is an excellent team but we have beaten them four straight games. Not many teams can say that. Tonight we won because the kids hung in there and that's a mark of a good squad."

The Lightning held the upper hand much of the first period but Bemidji scored the only goal. Ali Lapp had the honor as she stole the puck at the GR-G blue line, skated in from the left side and flipped a backhander past goaltender Sydney Helmbrecht.

The Lumberjacks began to take the play to the Lightning late in the opening stanza and continued that trend in the second period.

Casey Miller gave the Jacks a 2-0 advantage at 10:39 of the session when she tipped home a shot by Amanda Hunt from the right point. Janie Johnson began the scoring play by passing to Hunt.

The visitors drew within 2-1 with 2:57 remaining in the period when Morgan IIllikainen slapped a shot over Thompson's shoulder.

The Lumberjacks did not quit, however, and scored an important goal with 37 seconds to play in the stanza. Becca Gregg knocked a Lightning forward off the puck and ripped a backhander toward the net which Emily Larson tipped past Helmbrecht.

"It was a game of momentum swings," Menne said. "Luckily for us we dominated the second period and the early portions of the third period."

Less than four minutes into the final stanza Bemidji upped its lead to 4-1 when Shelby Sauer scored an unassisted short-handed goal. But the parade to the penalty box would eventually take its toll as GR-G tallied power-play markers at 5:36 and again at 8:02.

"Our lack of discipline was frustrating and resulted in our penalties," Menne said. "At times we played flat on our heels and that resulted in the penalties and the penalties resulted in the Grand Rapids goals. Most of the third period belonged to Grand Rapids but we were lucky to have a 3-goal cushion."

Tuesday's victory gave the Jacks a 15-4-1 record while GR-G fell to 9-11-2. Bemidji returns to action Thursday at Detroit Lakes and will enterntain Alexandria Saturday at the Nymore rink. That contest is set for 1 p.m. but Menne hopes to move the starting time to noon to better accommodate the Hockey Day in Bemidji schedule.

GRG 0 1 2 - 3

Bemidji 1 2 1 - 4

First Period

B-Lapp (unassisted) 5:21. Penalties: B-Larson (interfere) 5:51; GRG-Kohorst (trip) 10:40; B-Larson (elbow) 15:59; GRG-Rasmussen (rough) 15:59; B-J.Hunt (unsportsman conduct) 16:54; GRG-Gallop (unsportsman conduct) 16:54.

Second Period

B-Miller (Johnson, Hunt) 10:39 PP; GRG-M.Illikainen (Gallop) 14:03 PP; B-Larson (Gregg) 16:43. Penalties: GRG-Anderson (hook) 8:21; GRG-Illikainen (check) 9:36; B-Heifort (check) 13:48.

Third Period

B-Sauer (unassisted) 3;54 SH; GRG-Gallop (Illikainen, Illikainen) 5:36 PP; GRG-Illikainen (Gallop) 8:02 PP. Penalties: B-Heifort (check) 1:58; B-Hunt (hook) 4:54; B-Hunt (slash) 7:55; B-Sauer (trip) 11:55.


Helmbrecht (GRG) 8 14 5 - 31

Thompson (B) 8 7 9 - 27