BOYS HOCKEY: Blue-collar effort earns Bemidji 4-2 win over Alexandria
With the victory, the Lumberjacks have won three games in a row for the first time in over two years.
BEMIDJI -- After Monday’s 4-2 win over Alexandria at First National Rink, Tanner Rebischke walked out of the Bemidji High School boys hockey locker room wearing a hard hat.
White all around and a Lumberjacks logo emblazoned in the center, Rebischke’s player of the game award was a perfect representation of his blue-collar performance between the pipes.
“Honestly, to win games, you’ve got to have a goalie who will take away some of those goals from their opponent. He’s been doing that,” BHS head coach Pete Stahnke said. “(Rebischke) has really focused in now, the last few games. I think that’s why we’ve had our success, too.”
Rebischke finished with 31 saves on Monday, including a few standing-on-his-head, won’t-be-denied kind of stops when the Cardinals were vying for the game-tying goal on a power play that started with 2:35 to go.
“I just knew that I had to stay strong and play my position well,” Rebischke said. “I have good teammates, and they cover the front of the net for me well. (Alexandria) didn’t get too many prime opportunities, but the ones they did, I made sure I was in good position and didn’t get too wild.”
The Bemidji penalty-kill unit did its job, preserving the lead and allowing Wyatt Mattfield to score the empty-net dagger with 24 seconds to go.
And with the victory, the Jacks (7-10) have won three games in a row for the first time in over two years.
“It’s just the little things,” Rebischke said. “A lot more people are buying in (compared to last year). They’re doing the right thing, not getting too focused on personal goals, but making sure that we as a team do the right things.”
BHS senior Ethan Maish opened the night with a dazzling goal by dangling between and through two defenders, and finally beating Alexandria goalie Christopher Loken for the tally. Hunter Marcotte and Tate Hammitt assisted the strike at the 6:50 mark.
Both sides had quality chances from then on, but it was the Cardinals (7-8-1) who finally found the back of the net. Jagar Steele leveled the score with a snipe past Rebischke at the 11:06 mark.
Even so, Wylee Gladen restored the Bemidji lead at 2-1 by cleaning up a rebound from Connor Savard’s shot and cooly sweeping it into the net with 52 seconds left in the frame.
The second period went scoreless, but it didn’t stay that way for long. At 2:42 of the third, Mattfield buried a rebound off another Savard shot that Alexandria failed to clear away or cover up.
“We started out the season having no goals like that,” Rebischke said. “That’s getting to the dirty areas of the ice. They may not be pretty goals, but they’re the ones that get past the goalies the best.”
Grant Declusin further set the tone for Bemidji, checking a Cardinal head over heels into the Bemidji bench -- much to the delight of the Lumberjacks suddenly surrounding him.
But another rebound goal came back to bite BHS. With 12 seconds to go in a power play, Grant Rebrovich banged in a loose puck to make it 3-2 with 7:27 still on the clock.
Things got even more suspenseful when Alexandria went on the man advantage with 2:35 left. Rebischke and the defense were steady in the midst of chaos, though, making stops and clearing pucks to wind the clock down to zeroes.
“That was clutch,” Stahnke said. “Their power play was really on fire. I thought they had a really good power play. For us to front them and not allow them to get the puck in the net, that was good.”
Bemidji will close the regular season at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 13, by hosting Fergus Falls at First National Rink. A victory would mark the team’s first four-game win streak since January 2018.
Bemidji 4, Alexandria 2
ALX 1 0 1 -- 2
BHS 2 0 2 -- 4
First period -- 1, BHS, Masih (Marcotte, Hammitt), 6:50; 2, ALX, Steele (Lamski, Kludt), 11:06; 3, BHS, Gladen (Savard), 16:08.
Second period -- No scoring.
Third period -- 4, BHS, Mattfield (Savard, Hammitt), 2:42; 5, ALX, Rebrovich (Berg, Partington), 9:33, PP; 6, Mattfield (unassisted), 16:36, EN.
Goalies (saves-shots) -- BHS, Rebischke (31-33); ALX, Loken (28-31).