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GIRLS HOCKEY: 3-goal minute-plus sinks Jacks in critical section matchup with Alex

Facing Alexandria, the Lumberjacks celebrated Hockey Fights Cancer Day with special pregame uniforms, purple stick tape and a pregame puck drop. But once the action started, the Cardinals took over.

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Bemidji freshman Megan Berg (2) shoots the puck during the first period against Alexandria on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Bemidji Community Arena.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School girls hockey team was down big before it knew what hit it.

Facing Alexandria on Saturday at the Bemidji Community Arena, the Lumberjacks celebrated Hockey Fights Cancer Day with special pregame uniforms, purple stick tape and a pregame puck drop.

But once the action started out on the ice, the Cardinals took over. Alexandria scored thrice in a row in just over a minute, burying the Lumberjacks 3-0 and riding that margin to a 5-2 victory.

“Today was tough, because I think it was the determining factor for which of our teams gets a home playoff game,” BHS head coach Mike Johnson said. “By virtue of Alex’s victory, most likely they'll end up in the top four, we’ll probably be number five. We could still knock off Moorhead and really shake things up. But they're a strong team, and they played really well today. They played very inspired. Both teams knew what was on the line, and they just jumped out on us early and we never quite recovered.”

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The Lumberjacks fight for the puck during the first period against Alexandria on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Bemidji Community Arena.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

The Cards (9-10-1) put together three goals in rapid succession in the first period. Kennedy Ellingson scored first at 5:22, then Jersey Severson doubled it at 6:10. Lillian Dutton laced in Alexandria’s third at 6:42, and the Lumberjacks were playing from behind for the rest of the matchup.

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“It's just really hard to bounce back,” Johnson said. “I don't know if anything was the cause of it. They came out playing really hard, and I thought we did too. We were competing well, and it's just one of those things. They got some puck luck, they got some bounces that, you know, good for them. But it definitely was tough for us. And after those first three, we called a timeout, and then it was a pretty good, even game after that.”

The Jacks (12-6-3) got one back on Bella Webb’s shorthanded score at 14:00 in the first, but Alex went back up by three on Morgan Aure’s shortie at 0:52 in the second. Emma Ramstorf added the Cardinals’ fifth on the power play at 3:33 in the third, putting Alexandria up 5-1 and essentially sealing the outcome with a four-goal chasm. Makenna Dreher added a power-play goal for BHS at 11:33 to seal the final margin.

“The big focus today was probably the Hockey Fights Cancer, and the kids have worked hard at it and the parents have and the boosters have done a tremendous job,” Johnson said. “And sometimes, you're a little bit off. It's kind of like a senior night or some of those kinds of things too. I really don't feel like we were off today. I think we played well, and we just have to keep on doing what we're doing.”

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Bemidji senior Bella Webb (10) puts the puck past Alexandria goaltender Hunter Sellnow (31) to score during the first period on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Bemidji Community Arena.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Bemidji was shorthanded in net for the second consecutive contest, as starting goaltender Payton Weidemann again missed the Lumberjacks’ game with an undisclosed injury. The Jacks are waiting on an MRI to determine Weidemann’s readiness to return down the stretch of the season, but until then, it’ll be up to backup Ava Myhre to carry the load.

“We don't have much of a choice if someone is injured or if kids are sick,” Johnson said. “It’s the next player up, and we've had a lot of people step up. … We'll make do. Ava is a fantastic kid and a fantastic hockey player, and we’ll do just fine with her if we need to go that route down the road.”

Myhre stopped 17 shots in net for the Jacks, while Alex’s Hunter Sellnow also stopped 17.

Bemidji returns to the ice against Crookston at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24, in Crookston.

Alexandria 5, Bemidji 2

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ALX 3 1 1 -- 5

BHS 1 0 1 -- 2

First period -- 1, ALX GOAL, Ellingson (Hornstein), 5:22; 2, ALX GOAL, Severson (Treat), 6:10; 3, ALX GOAL, Dutton (Westlund, Maras), 6:42; 4, BHS GOAL, Webb (Fayette), 14:00, SH.

Second period -- 5, ALX GOAL, Aure (unassisted), 0:52, SH.

Third period -- 6, ALX GOAL, Ramstorf (Korynta), 3:33, PP; 7, BHS GOAL, Dreher (Webb, Berg), 11:33, PP.

Saves -- Myhre (BHS) 17; Sellnow (ALX) 17.

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Bemidji freshman Taylor Bjerke (24) controls the puck during the first period against Alexandria on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Bemidji Community Arena.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer
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Bemidji eighth-grader Millie Knott (27) moves the puck during the first period against Alexandria on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Bemidji Community Arena.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

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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