BEMIDJI -- A lopsided game against Cloquet-Esko-Carlton ultimately proved to be too much to handle for the Bemidji High School girls hockey team on Friday.
BHS kept pace early on through a stout defensive effort from Nettie Kimble and a game-tying goal from Maggie Marcotte in the second period, but a disproportionate shot total of 35-9 led to a 4-1 home loss at the Bemidji Community Arena.
“They play the game the right way,” BHS head coach Mike Johnson said of C-E-C. “They have a lot of good skaters, a lot of depth. They just went 100 percent all the time, and they knew exactly what each other was going to do. … They all played really hard and played the game the way they should.”
Kimble shut out the road Lumberjacks (16-7-0) in the first period, in part to a number of quality saves that kept Bemidji (7-16-1) tied through one.
However, C-E-C finally cracked the scoreboard when Jaxie Pogorelc netted a close-range shot on an odd-man rush, making for a 1-0 game early in the frame.
But Marcotte evened things up 2 minutes, 40 seconds later when she fired a wrister past C-E-C goalie Elise Lund for the leveling goal.
“We’ve done that a couple times now, where we’ll get down a goal and come right back,” Johnson said. “Maggie is dialed in. She’s all in, and she’s done that a lot for us this year. … It’s nice to see.”
The rally was short lived, though. C-E-C scored twice more in the period -- the first from Kiana Bender in the slot and the second from Emmie Ellena on a deflected slap shot -- as they continued to assault Kimble with shots.
Bemidji had a chance to climb back within one, but Austyn Tobey was denied a shorthanded goal into an open net when Lund pulled off a brilliant kick save five minutes into the third period. Dana Jones then put the game on ice late in the frame by burying a one-timer with one second left on a power play, which roped in the 4-1 final.
“(C-E-C) would go out for 20, 25, 30 seconds, and then a new line would come out,” Johnson said. “They were all so committed to getting to the puck and putting pressure on.”
Kimble finished with 31 saves, while her counterpart in Lund stopped eight of nine BHS shots.
“(Kimble) actually made it look really easy that first period,” Johnson said. “She played fantastic. … She was in the zone tonight because she was making it look so simple, seeing all the pucks. She definitely played very well.”
Because of the recent cancellations due to cold weather, Bemidji’s upcoming schedule is still in limbo. Johnson said they’ll try to squeeze in one last game before Section 8AA seedings come out Wednesday, Feb. 6, with quarterfinal matchups to follow on Saturday, Feb. 9.
C-E-C 4, Bemidji 1
C-E-C 0 3 1 -- 4
BHS 0 1 0 -- 1
First period -- No scoring.
Second period -- 1, CEC, Pogorelc (DeLeon, Rasmussen), 1:23; 2, BHS, Marcotte (Tobey, Johnson) 4:03; 3, CEC, Bender (Nelson, Anderson) 10:35, PP; 4, CEC, Ellena (unassisted), 13:47.
Third period -- 5, CEC, Jones (Bender), 13:19, PP.
Goalies (saves-shots) -- BHS, Kimble (31-35); C-E-C, Lund (8-9).