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GIRLS HOCKEY: Lumberjacks drop home opener to Roseau

Bemidji High School goalie Nettie Kimble (1) deflects a shot in the second period against Roseau on Tuesday at the Bemidji Community Arena. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 3
Bemidji High School junior Maddie Hanson (9) fights for control of the puck in Tuesday’s game against Roseau on the Bemidji Community Arena. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 3
Bemidji High School sophomore Alexis Leitner (8) and the Lumberjacks celebrate Leitner’s goal against Roseau on Tuesday at the Bemidji Community Arena. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)3 / 3

BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School girls hockey team secured its first lead of the season in its home opener Tuesday night against Roseau, but the Jacks couldn’t hang onto it longer than 10 seconds as the Rams stormed back for five unanswered goals and a 6-2 win at Bemidji Community Arena.

“They have some good, fast skaters, they move the puck and they are very creative in the offensive zone, but for the most part we managed to hang with them,” BHS head coach Mike Johnson said. “We bent quite a bit, but we didn’t break. I don’t know if we were liking our chances to win the game, but we were sure liking our chances to go out and compete and I think we did that quite well.”

The Rams (3-0) held Bemidji without a shot in the first period for a 1-0 lead at the intermission, but the Lumberjacks came out strong in the middle frame for a first-minute unassisted snipe from Gracie Fisher to the top left corner of the net.

“It was more of a recognition that, ‘Hey, we did OK in that first period,’” Johnson said. “We looked at the official shot count. It was zero for us, and I said we had a lot of scoring chances for not having any shots. That happens sometimes. I think we went in actually feeling more confident coming out for that second period than we had before the game.”

At the 10:57 mark, sophomore Lexi Leitner snagged the lead with a goal assisted by Maggie Marcotte, but Roseau juniors and Bemidji State commits Kayla Santl and Anika Stoskopf connected for the second time of the game to tie it at 2-all. Stoskopf scored the game’s first goal in the first period assisted by Santl, and they switched roles for their second.

Kate Helgeson then scored a breakaway goal just over a minute later for a 3-2 Roseau lead after two.

Despite the deficit on the scoreboard, Johnson said the Jacks were pleased with the work they put in getting on the scoreboard.

“After the second period, several of them were saying, ‘We’ve never scored two goals against Roseau, like ever in youth hockey or whatever,’ and so I think it is kind of ingrained in their minds that they have certain expectations and they’re not really expecting success on the scoreboard or in the win column,” he said. “We’re trying to change that, and I think bit by bit we’re making some progress and they sure had some good high emotions after we took that lead for a bit.”

Santl, Helgeson and Reese Strand buried each found the back of the net in the third period while the Jacks once again couldn’t manage a shot on goal.

Bemidji scored on two of its four shots in the contest, all coming in the second period, while BHS sophomore goalie Nettie Kimble stopped 49 of Roseau’s 55 shots in the game.

“She struggled a little bit earlier this year at the beginning of the season, and I think this was a great game for her to get back, get her confidence back,” Johnson said. “There’s no way she can leave here feeling anything but that she really did her job and really put us in position to possibly win this game. I’m sure she’s feeling good, and Brooklyn (Delap) is feeling great. She’s been playing fantastic. You can’t beat that, when you’ve got two quality goalies that are both on their game.”

The Lumberjacks are back on the road next Tuesday, Nov. 27, when they head north to Warroad to take on the Warriors. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at The Gardens.

Roseau 6, Bemidji 2

ROSO 1 2 3 -- 6

BEM 0 2 0 -- 2

First Period -- 1, ROSO, Stoskopf (Santl, Strand) 1:38.

Second Period -- 2, BEM, Fisher (Unassisted) 0:50; 3, BEM, Leitner (Marcotte) 10:57; 4, ROSO, Santl (Stoskopf) 11:07; 5, ROSO, K. Helgeson (Hedlund) 12:28.

Third Period -- 6, ROSO, Santl (Strand) 1:15; 7, ROSO, K. Helgeson (E. Helgeson) 8:41; 8, ROSO, Strand (Hedlund) 9:20.