Bemidji HS Thursday preview: Jacks travel to Thief River Falls seeking section title, state tourney

All eyes will be on Thief River Falls' Ralph Engelstad Arena tonight when the Bemidji girls hockey team battles Roseau for the Section 8-2A title. It will match the first and second seeded teams for the state trip won last year by Moorhead. The t...

Megan Phelps and the Bemidji High School girls hockey team faces Roseau tonight in the Section 8AA title game. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

All eyes will be on Thief River Falls' Ralph Engelstad Arena tonight when the Bemidji girls hockey team battles Roseau for the Section 8-2A title.

It will match the first and second seeded teams for the state trip won last year by Moorhead.

The two reached the title round by opposite paths, Bemidji demolishing Moorhead 7-1 at Nymore Gardens while Roseau was forced to come from behind to shade Wright County 4-1.

In other action tonight, the Jacks cagers are home with Little Falls at 7:30 while the boys hockey team closes with Thief River Falls at 7:30 at Nymore.

The girls hockey team is primed and ready for Roseau after bowing twice to the Rams this winter in close games.


Roseau won here 2-0 despite being outshot 22-18 and repeated at home 2-1 with Bemidji holding a 20-11 shots advantage.

Tonight, they hope to put more of those shots into the net and continue the staunch defense that has been their strength this year.

This will mark the eighth trip to the final for a Bemidji team in its 14-year history.

They have taken the title only twice. The first came in 2000, their fourth season on the ice when they finished 25-4 and won a state game.

That was the sophomore year for the six-year Hopps-Sullivan-Miller line that was the team's feature line for six years.

The second title came in 2007, the second year of the Sarah Erickson, Jessie Christofferson era where they blew away Elk River in the section final.

This year, senior Shelby Sauer will lead the top line with junior Chaniel Nelson and soph Alli Lapp her linemates.

Sauer and Lapp each scored twice in Tuesday's runaway win over the Spuds.


They are the team's scoring leaders with Sauer at 36 points and Lapp at 32.

Johnson, who moved up from the second line late in the year, has 14.

Janie Johnson will center Becca Gregg and Casey Miller on the second unit with Karleigh Wolkerstorfer centering Allie Heifort and Caitlin Blotske on the third, All three lines have scoring potential.

Defensive pairs match Emily Larson with Amanda Hunt and Annie Swartz with Jessie Hunt and Megan Phelps alternating in,

Maria Thompson will man the net.

Bemidji takes a 19-5-1 mark into play, trying to become the sixth team to reach the 20 win mark in the team's history. The 25 of 2000 it still the school record. Roseau is 22-5.

Getting the first goal is critical, said Coach Matt Menne. Bemidji scored quickly in each of the first two periods against Moorhead with the key to the win coming in back to back goals in a 28 second stretch that spanned the first break.

That broke a 1-1 tie and sent Bemidji on to an historic four- goal second period that broke the game open.


Bemidji used all three ways of scoring, getting one on a power play goal, one shorthanded tally and five at even strength.

Maria Thompson carries a 14-5-1 mark into the game matched against all of the team's top games this winter.

Boys need win

The boys sextet badly needs a win tonight to salvage hopes of a top four seed for the tournament.

That gets underway Saturday when the 8-9 seeds meet to fill the quarterfinals.

'Those will be played Tuesday at the high seeds with the semifinals Saturday and the title game at TRF March 3.

The Jacks are hoping that Nymore Gardens proves the good luck charm it did for the girls.

They stopped Detroit Lakes Tuesday 3-0 at The Glas in a game not figured to be that close.


That lifted them to 13-11 ,assuring them of no worse than a .500 season.

Thief River is 16-7-1 but pushed Roseau to the hilt in its last start before bowing 3-2.

Four of their setbacks have come to Roseau and Warroad with one each to Hermantown, Moorhead and Crookston, only the Crookston setback an upset of note

The Jacks are 3-4 against section opponents but all three wins have come against tail enders Monticello, Buffalo and River Lakes.

Brainerd, Roseau and Moorhead are the likely top three picks

Roseau split with Moorhead but lost to Brainerd. Moorhead swept Brainerd ending the Warriors 14-gam,e win skein 4-2 in their last start.

The loose section does not have a large amount of games between teams at the opposite ends making it harder to get a true line on team strengths.

Jesse Nemgar (40) and Rylee Curb (29) will lead the attack scoring all three goals in the DL win Tuesday.


The first TRF game was a 20-20 standoff in shots at TRF with Max Hazelton scoring both Bemidji goals.

He is back on ice after a bout with mono to center the third line.

Miah Graves ,also back after being sidelined with a knee injury ,should be in goal.

Axel Osborn worked the DL shutout, his fourth of the winter, and the team's eighth. It also has four one-goal games with defense a strong suit all season.

Scoring has been a major problem with Bemidji held to two goals or less eight times going 1-7 in those eight starts.

Cagers favored

The girls cagers should be a favorite tonight against a Little Falls team that reached 7-14 with a Tuesday win over Sartell.

Bemidji is 19-1. stopping Alexandria 72-69 in overtime it its last start.


It won last year's meeting 74-55 with Kayla Hirt netting 30.

She hit 25 in the Alex win to reach 534 on the year. Kelsey Heisler will join her on the front line with Abby Hendricks, Megan Huseby and Erika Weimann around the perimeter .

Jess Yost, Kenzie Kane, Selina Gilbertson and Caitlin Gangelhoff are first off the bench.

The B Team brings a 7-12 mark to its game while the freshmen are 9-5.

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