GIRLS HOCKEY: After Rupp score, Hilltoppers break away from ailing Jacks
With numerous injuries and illnesses at present, Bemidji has had to trudge along with a limited lineup. Thus, the stellar results it found earlier in the season have been harder to come by lately.
BEMIDJI – The Bemidji High School girls hockey team is putting the lumber in Lumberjacks.
With numerous injuries and illnesses at present, BHS has had to trudge along with a limited lineup. Thus, the stellar results it found earlier in the season have been harder to come by lately.
Saturday against Duluth Marshall at the Bemidji Community Arena was another case in point. Down several stalwarts, the Lumberjacks found an initial lead after Bailey Rupp’s breakaway goal 56 seconds into the second period. But it was all Hilltoppers from there, as Marshall ran away with a 5-1 win.
“We did have a really discombobulated lineup,” BHS head coach Mike Johnson said. “I thought the kids played hard, and we actually had generated some good opportunities. I think we got pretty worn out, though. We're not used to really running two lines.”
Rupp’s score started a run of three consecutive goals on breakaways between the two squads. After Rupp gave Bemidji (10-5-2) the lead, Duluth Marshall’s Danica Mark picked up a turnover at the blue line and skated back for a breakaway score, tying the matchup 1-1 at the 1:33 mark of the second period. Then, Nina Thorson found a loose puck and skated down the ice, scoring at 9:59 to give the Hilltoppers (11-4-1) a 2-1 advantage.
“We really struggled in that second period,” Johnson said. “They got a couple of good breaks that they finished on, and it was hard for us to really generate much.”
Meredith Boettcher stretched Duluth Marshall’s lead with a wraparound goal at 12:13 in the second, then Gigi Smith scored at 8:32 in the third for a three-goal cushion. Ilsa Lindaman lit the lamp at 14:19 in the third to seal the final 5-1 margin.
“The third period, we were really, really wearing out,” Johnson said. “Mya (Lundeen) and Sammy (Nistler) tried to come help us out, but that wasn't so good either. Overall, it played out a little bit how we expected. We really had a diminished lineup, let's say. We competed as best we could today, but wasn't to be against a good team like Marshall.”
Lundeen and Nistler – key contributors at defenseman and forward, respectively – were both under the weather and did not dress for the first two periods, but they talked Johnson into playing during the second intermission. Yet their illness limited them on the ice, and they weren’t nearly the only ones.
“The biggest thing is getting healthy,” Johnson said. “Between our varsity and JV, we had 14 kids out in the last two days, which is not quite half the team, but it's getting pretty close. So there's a lot of stuff going around.”
The shortage of healthy bodies comes at a time when Bemidji has a bit of a break upcoming. The Lumberjacks have a week off before resuming competition, and Johnson hopes those seven days will set BHS up for a successful stretch run.
“This is a week of recovery,” Johnson said. “It's a week of final exams, and so just kind of focus on school and rest and getting healthy and getting revved up for the playoff push. … Maybe not the hard workouts or hard skating or anything like that. Just really focus on fluids and rest.”
Payton Weidemann saved 27 shots on net for the Jacks, while Duluth Marshall’s Ray Anderson stopped 22.
Bemidji returns to action against River Lakes at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14, in Paynesville.
Duluth Marshall 5, Bemidji 1
DM 0 3 2 -- 5
BHS 0 1 0 -- 1
First period -- No scoring.
Second period -- 1, BHS GOAL, Rupp (Berg), 0:56; 2, DM GOAL, Mark (unassisted), 1:33; 3, DM GOAL, Thorson (unassisted), 9:59; 4, DM GOAL, Boettcher (unassisted), 12:13.
Third period -- 5, DM GOAL, Smith (Mark), 8:32; 6, DM GOAL, Lindaman (Lian, Makela), 14:19
Saves -- Weidemann (BHS) 27; Anderson (DM) 22.