GIRLS HOCKEY: Bemidji falls to EGF in season opener
BEMIDJI -- As the Bemidji High School girls hockey team's penalty killing showed, special teams play is difficult early in the season. Especially in the very first game. BHS gave up two power play goals against East Grand Forks on Friday night, a...
BEMIDJI - As the Bemidji High School girls hockey team’s penalty killing showed, special teams play is difficult early in the season.
Especially in the very first game.
BHS gave up two power play goals against East Grand Forks on Friday night, and the Green Wave beat the Lumberjacks 2-1 in the season opener for both teams at Bemidji Community Arena.
“The penalties got us,” Bemidji coach Jackie Stoffel said. “Five-on-five we were up a goal, but those penalties kind of killed us there.”
The Jacks (0-1) came out of the gate strong, keeping the majority of the play in the Green Wave’s end and outshooting the Wave 14-5.
“Bemidji dominated us in the first period,” EGF coach Jim Enright said. “Our goaltender kept us in it.”
It looked like the Lumberjacks were going to get up early when the Green Wave took a penalty at the 1 minute, 20 second mark of the first period. BHS generated a prime scoring chance with Madison Shultz, Jacie Lalli and Rachael Holm all in front of the net with the puck but couldn’t bury it past EGF sophomore goalie Mckenzie Whalen.
“I really expect her to be one of the top goalies in the section if not one of the top in the state,” Enright said. “She fills the net, she squares to the puck. You’re not going to get many rebounds. She smothers everything.”
Whalen went on to stop 28 of Bemidji’s 29 shots and started the season off with a win.
The momentum shifted drastically in the second period, and EGF sophomore forward Nicole Schlenk finally opened the scoring with a power play goal off a rebound at the 6:35 mark of the second frame. Tiffany Hanson and Ashley Ayotte were credited with assists.
Bemidji held them off for the rest of the period, but EGF extended the lead to 2-0 early in the third when Ayotte found the puck in a swarm in front of Bemidji goalie Leighton Rockensock and put it away. Hanson received her second assist on the night.
BHS answered at the 10:39 mark of the third when Rachael Holm passed it to Hannah Eller coming straight from the bench and in on a breakaway. Eller wasted no time with dekes, shooting as soon as she hit the slot area and putting it under the crossbar to make it 2-1.
EGF played well in their defensive end until the final buzzer, keeping the Jacks from mustering a scoring opportunity.
Bemidji called timeout with 2:18 left and pulled Rockensock about a minute later, but were unable to even the score.
“Just a great game overall by both teams, and some fantastic saves by both goaltenders,” Enright said.
Rockensock finished with 29 saves on 31 Green Wave shots.
The Jacks return to the ice Tuesday as they host Grand Rapids/Greenway at the BCA.
East Grand Forks 2, Bemidji 1
EGF 0 1 1 - 2
BHS 0 0 1 - 1
First Period - No Scoring
Second Period - 1-EGF: Schlenk (Hanson, Ayotte), 6:35.
Third Period - 2-EGF: Ayotte (Hangson), 3:36; 3-BHS: Eller (Holm, Defatte), 10:39.