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BOYS HOCKEY: Spuds slice up Jacks with swift attack, strong defense

Sometimes, you just run into a buzzsaw. Or, more specifically, a Spud-saw. That’s what greeted the Bemidji High School boys hockey team on Tuesday at the Bemidji Community Arena.

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Bemidji junior Ashton Niemi (24) controls the puck in the third period against Moorhead on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, at the Bemidji Community Arena.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – Sometimes, you just run into a buzzsaw.

Or, more specifically, a Spud-saw. That’s what greeted the Bemidji High School boys hockey team on Tuesday at the Bemidji Community Arena. Moorhead sliced and diced its way through the Lumberjacks for a 7-0 win, and BHS couldn’t do too much about it.

“That is the best team we've seen all year,” assistant coach Vince Huerd said. “They’ve got a nice little club over there.”

The Spuds got off to a scorching start in the first period, with Harper Bentz, Wyatt Tweet and Gavin Lindberg tapping in goals near the net.

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Bemidji senior Josef Lalli (6) shoots the puck in the third period against Moorhead on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, at the Bemidji Community Arena.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

They kept it going in the second period. Colby Krier scored from close range at 4:31, with Thomas Schroeder backing him up at 6:32. Carson Triggs laced in a shorthanded, unassisted wrister at 15:53 for a 6-0 lead.

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Bentz added a capper at 5:47 in the third while the running clock marked time.

“They’ve got three lines that go up and down the ice really well,” Huerd said. “They go to the net and they drive the net hard. They keep shots low and keep coming.”

Not only did the Spuds successfully keep shots on net and pursue them, they simply outshot the Jacks by a factor of more than five – 51 to nine. Bemidji goaltender Jackson Hill stopped 44 shots, but he couldn’t stop all of them.

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Bemidji senior Wylee Gladen (11) fights for the puck in the second period against Moorhead on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, at the Bemidji Community Arena.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“Jackson battled hard again tonight,” Huerd said. “He's been playing some really good hockey. He's matured as a hockey player – mentally, physically, all the way around. Jackson had another great game tonight.”

Hill’s performance is an obvious building block to take from the game, but Bemidji (7-13-2) has plenty else to work on. As good as Moorhead (17-5-1) is, the Lumberjacks didn’t help themselves with some of the mistakes they made.

“We were a little slow on the backside with the puck transition,” Huerd said. “But that will come. We’ve just got to keep working with that and moving our feet.”

Sometimes, a blowout can be beneficial because it allows a team to turn the page quickly. That’s the response Huerd hopes to see from the Jacks as they return to practice tomorrow.

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Bemidji junior Nick Yavarow (5) moves the puck in the second period against Moorhead on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, at the Bemidji Community Arena.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

“It's quick memory, quick turnaround,” he said. “As we say, the sun comes out tomorrow. We’ve just got to get back to it. We're all coming back to work tomorrow. You can't dwell on it forever. Tonight, we'll go to bed, and we'll get up tomorrow and start a new day."

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With section play coming soon, Bemidji will have to buckle down and refine its habits if it hopes to compete with teams like Moorhead. And time is running out.

“It’s getting real close,” Huerd said. “We’ve got to get everything shored up and dialed in so we're ready to go. … We had a good chat about the little things that we’ve got to do. We’ve got to win the puck battles (and) the battle of the boards.”

The Lumberjacks get their next shot to do so against Warroad at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 10, in Warroad.

Moorhead 7, Bemidji 0

MHD 3 3 1 -- 7

BHS 0 0 0 -- 0

First period -- 1, MHD GOAL, Bentz (Triggs, Lindberg), 3:12, PP; 2, MHD GOAL, Tweet (Ness), 11:35; 3, MHD GOAL, Lindberg (Triggs, Bentz), 16:00.

Second period -- 4, MHD GOAL, Krier (Gast, Kortan), 4:31; 5, MHD GOAL, Schroeder (Ness, Tweet), 6:32; 6, MHD GOAL, Triggs (unassisted), 15:53, SH

Third period -- 7, MHD GOAL, Bentz (Gramer, Triggs), 5:47

Saves -- Hill (BHS) 44; Weigel (MHD) 9.

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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