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GIRLS HOCKEY: New scorers keep Bemidji close against TRF

Bemidji High School juniors Becca Josefson (15) and Jemma Copiskey (16) fight for the puck in Tuesday’s game against Thief River Falls at the Bemidji Community Arena. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 2
Bemidji High School junior Austyn Tobey (12) battles with Kia McGlynn of Thief River Falls for the puck on Tuesday at the Bemidji Community Arena. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- Senior Sarah Bruder and junior Becca Josefson each scored their first varsity hockey goals for the Bemidji High School girls hockey team on Tuesday.

The goals helped the Jacks put a scare in to Class A No. 8 Thief River Falls, but in the end the Prowlers held on for a 3-2 win at Bemidji Community Arena.

“I think we actually maybe wore them down a little bit,” BHS head coach Mike Johnson said. “We were going five D and three lines for those first two and three-quarter periods. Then we cut it down just a little bit at the end, but it was kind of our line that we hadn’t had any scoring out of them yet and they got the two goals tonight.

“Two players actually scored their first ever varsity goals, so that’s kind of exciting. When the whole team is doing what they’re supposed to do, those kinds of things happen when you’re working hard and trying to contribute to the best of your ability.”

Bemidji senior goalie Brooklyn Delap, who finished the game with 36 saves on 39 TRF shots, played a large part in sending the Jacks (1-6) into the locker room still tied 0-0 after the first 17 minutes.

“I guess I don’t pay a ton of attention to the shot count during the game, but not surprising,” said Johnson. “That’s kind of how she’s played all year and again, both Brooklyn and Nettie (Kimble) are fantastic goaltenders, they’re playing well and Brooklyn really, especially in that first period I think, kept us in that. We easily could’ve been down two- or three-nothing right off the bat, and she kept it alive and gave us a chance.”

Early in the second period, though, TRF (8-2) sophomore Shelby Breiland took off for a pair of unassisted goals in a span of a minute, sniping the top right corner on her first tally and going end-to-end for the second and somehow getting a shot through Delap.

“I had thoughts of maybe shadowing Shelby because she got two goals against us last time, too,” Johnson said. “But then with Marryn (Wilberg) out of the lineup from another concussion, we didn’t really have the personnel to be able to pull that off. She’s a good player. She gets that head up, picks a spot and there’s not much anyone can do, the goaltender included.”

At the 9:20 mark Bruder – assisted by Gracie Fisher and Maggie Marcotte -- put the Jacks on the board and cut the Prowlers’ lead to 2-1, where it stayed until the third period.

Less than four minutes into the final frame, Breiland claimed her third point of the night when she found Ava Sturgeon on a two-on-one and Sturgeon pushed the TRF lead to 3-1.

The Jacks then answered right back 31 seconds later when Josefson found the back of the net assisted by Eva Laituri.

Bemidji fought and clawed the rest of the way, but couldn’t get any more shots past Gabby Steele, who finished with 15 saves for the Prowlers.

“We’ll just keep working,” Johnson said. “We’re roughly a third of the way through the season, and we have a lot of time still left to work on those things. But I think the effort is there, and you need that, of course. If you don’t have effort, you’re in trouble from the beginning, and I think all the players are coming to practice to work hard every day and they’re playing hard in the games and really starting to understand the game better.”

Bemidji will look to return to the win column at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, when they host North Wright County at the BCA.

Thief River Falls 3, Bemidji 2

TRF 0 2 1 -- 3

BEM 0 1 1 -- 2

First Period -- No Scoring.

Second Period -- 1, TRF, Breiland (Unassisted) 4:31; 2, TRF, Breiland (Unassisted) 5:31; 3, BEM, Bruder (Fisher, Marcotte) 9:20.

Third Period -- 4, TRF, Sturgeon (Breiland) 3:45; 5, BEM, Josefson (Laituri) 4:16.