BEMIDJI -- Not many teams like Roseau have had the number of the Bemidji High School girls hockey team.
And with a 53-second, three-goal stretch to close the first period on Thursday, the Rams reasserted their dominance in a 10-0 road win at the Bemidji Community Arena -- their 29th straight victory in the series dating back to 2007 -- to spoil the Lumberjacks’ home finale.
“Long-term, it’s a good matchup. It should be a good matchup, and hopefully we get better in the future,” BHS head coach Mike Johnson said. “I didn’t know we had lost 29 straight, but Roseau-Bemidji, it should be a good rivalry. Hopefully we’re building toward closer games in the future.”
Despite the lopsided final, the lasting image of the night came after all but eight skaters retreated to the locker rooms. Bemidji’s seniors lingered, huddling at the blue line for several minutes before leaving their home ice for the final time.
“I just thought that it was really neat to see how much hockey means to them, and how close they’ve become,” Johnson said. “I’m not sure what they talked about on the ice in that huddle, but I suspect it was leaving a legacy and turning things around.
“It doesn’t really feel like you’re turning things around when you lose 10-0, but I think that played into the whole game, too. There were more emotions going on, more thoughts about playing in your last-ever home game. It makes it tough to really compete at your highest level when you’ve got all those kinds of emotions going through your mind.”
BHS (9-10) gave up an early goal to Bemidji State women’s hockey commit Kayla Santl, who flipped a puck top shelf at the 2:35 mark. But Bemidji settled in from there and leaned on its defense to hold its own for much of the period.
However, things changed in the final 1:23 of the frame, when Santl scored one more and assisted Kate Helgeson and fellow BSU recruit Anika Stoskopf for a 4-0 game at the intermission.
“That’s classic Roseau,” Johnson said. “They’ve got a couple of players who are really just high-end. It’s not just speed… but it’s their overall skill level. They make the quick-touch passes, the return passes. They look for the open player. They set up on the back side and move the puck so quick and precise.”
The Rams (12-5-2) bagged four more goals in the second, including two shorthanded strikes on the same penalty kill. Olivia Urness first banged in a rebound at even strength, and then Memphis Mertens and Stoskopf netted goals just 39 seconds apart.
And just 13 seconds into a late power play, Stoskopf hit a hat track with a rebound goal for an 8-0 lead through two.
Helgeson sniped the top shelf at the 6:42 mark of the third, and Santl put Roseau at double digits with a shorthanded wrister from the slot off Stoskopf’s assist.
Santl finished with seven points (3g-4a) and Stoskopf six (3g-3a).
“Trying to match up with that line is tough,” Johnson said. “… It’s good experience for (us) to compete against that high-end talent. And (we have) good hockey players, too, so I think it elevates their game and gives them a little more confidence when they’re in that position.”
Nettie Kimble finished with 31 saves for Bemidji, including the 1,500th of her career. Rams goalie Josie Johnson finished with nine in the shutout.
Bemidji will have another go at its 10th win at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, at Crookston.
Roseau 10, Bemidji 0
RHS 4 4 2 -- 10
BHS 0 0 0 -- 0
First period -- 1, RHS, Santl (unassisted), 2:35; 2, RHS, K. Helgeson (Santl), 15:37; 3, RHS, Santl (K. Helgeson, Stoskopf), 15:57; 4, RHS, Stoskopf (Santl, Hugen), 16:30.
Second period -- 5, RHS, Urness (Huglen, Stroot), 5:07; 6, RHS, Mertens (S. Helgeson), 11:41, SH; 7, RHS, Stoskopf (Santl, Bergstrom), 12:20, SH; 8, RHS, Stoskopf (Santl, K. Helgeson), 16:39, PP.
Third period -- 9, RHS, K. Helgeson (Stoskopf), 6:42; 10, RHS, Santl (Stoskopf), 13:59, SH.
Goalies (saves-shots) -- BHS, Kimble (31-41); RHS, J. Johnson (9-9).