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GIRLS HOCKEY: Bemidji strikes down Lightning for 1st time since 2013

The victory was Bemidji’s first over the Lightning since 2013 and snapped a 13-game losing skid against Grand Rapids/Greenway.

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Bemidji Lumberjacks
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BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji High School girls hockey team flipped the script on Tuesday night in Grand Rapids.

Facing a Grand Rapids/Greenway team to which they had dropped 9-0 and 7-1 decisions last season, the Lumberjacks fell down 1-0 early. But they countered with two goals of their own, then rode three goals in the third period to a defining 4-2 win.

The victory was Bemidji’s first over the Lightning since 2013 and snapped a 13-game losing skid against GRG.

“They played really well,” BHS head coach Mike Johnson said of his squad. “We started down, but kept fighting.”

Kylie DeBay scored a first-period goal for Grand Rapids/Greenway at 12:45 on the power play, but Kristen McClellan answered for the Jacks in the second period, scoring at 2:52 off assists from Megan Berg and Bailey Rupp.

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In the third period, BHS took a 2-1 lead on Sammy Nistler’s goal at 2:16 off Bella Webb’s assist, but it saw that advantage evaporate when GRG’s Mercury Bischoff scored seconds later at 2:59.

Undeterred, McClellan gave the Lumberjacks a 3-2 edge with her second goal at 12:39, a power-play score assisted by Rupp. Then, with the Lightning (0-1) in desperation mode, Bemidji’s Mali McLean slid the puck into an empty net at 16:57 to seal the final 4-2 margin.

Payton Weidemann stood tall in net for BHS, negating a 25-16 shots-on-goal advantage for GRG by collecting 23 saves. Grand Rapids/Greenway goaltender Samantha Baratto recorded 12 stops.

Now 2-0 this season, the Jacks return home to face Thief River Falls at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Bemidji Community Arena.

Bemidji 4, Grand Rapids/Greenway 2

BHS 0 1 3 -- 4

GRG 1 0 1 -- 2

First period -- 1, GRG GOAL, DeBay (Bischoff, Reed), 12:45, PP.

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Second period -- 2, BHS GOAL, McClellan (Berg, Rupp), 2:52.

Third period -- 3, BHS GOAL, Nistler (Webb), 2:16; 4, GRG GOAL, Bischoff (Reed), 2:59; 5, BHS GOAL, McClellan (Rupp), 12:39, PP; 6, BHS GOAL, McLean (unassisted), 16:57, EN.

Saves -- Weidemann (BHS) 23; Baratto (GRG) 12.

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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