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Bemidji boys hockey ready for section semifinal against Brainerd

A year ago the Bemidji boys hockey team defeated Brainerd 3-1 in the Section 8-2A semifinals at the Community Arena, and Saturday the Lumberjacks will try to repeat that success.

A year ago the Bemidji boys hockey team defeated Brainerd 3-1 in the Section 8-2A semifinals at the Community Arena, and Saturday the Lumberjacks will try to repeat that success.

BHS, the second seed in the section, advanced to Saturday's 3 p.m. showdown at the BCA with Tuesday's workmanlike 6-0 quarterfinal win over River Lakes. The third-seeded Warriors punched their ticket to Saturday's contest with a 4-1 quarterfinal victory over St. Cloud Tech.

Saturday's other semifinal finds No. 4 Roseau visiting top-ranked Moorhead. Saturday's winners will battle for the Section 8-2A crown and a trip to the state tournament Wednesday night. The site for the championship game will be determined following Saturday's action.

During the regular season, Bemidji defeated Brainerd 5-2 on the loser's ice but BHS coach Wade Chiodo is expecting a stiffer challenge Saturday.

"I think it will be a tight game," Chiodo said. "In playoff hockey everybody pays attention to detail. The team that makes the fewer mistakes and the team that can capitalize on the opponent's mistakes is going to win.

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"I think the game is going to be a barn-burner," Chiodo added.

The Lumberjacks will take a 15-11 record into the game while Brainerd, which plays a less strenuous schedule than the Jacks, is 21-4.

John Forseth leads BHS with 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) and Matt Serratore, who had a goal and three assists Tuesday against River Lakes, isn't far behind with 14 goals and 18 assists. Also tied for the team goal scoring lead with 14 is Easton Halbert.

Jordan Heller is third on the squad in total points with 13 goals and 31 points.

Heller and Eric Hernesman led the charge in the quarterfinal victory as each notched a pair of goals.

"The kids were focused in the quarterfinals and I can tell that they are now focused on Brainerd," Chiodo said. "They are itching to go. All week in practice the kids have been flying around the rink and usually when we've had a good week of practice we play well."

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