COLD SPRING -- Noah Johnson recorded his first varsity hat trick as the Bemidji High School boys soccer team posted its first clean sheet of the season Thursday with a 5-0 victory at Rocori.
“Once we put in a couple goals in, then we really started to think about maintaining that clean sheet, so we did a good job I thought defensively,” head coach Rick Toward said.
The floodgates opened for the Lumberjacks in the second half following a 0-0 halftime score.
The first two goals came in quick succession only 30 seconds apart. Wylee Gladen buried the eventual game-winner with his header off a corner by Silas Bitter six minutes after halftime. Johnson knocked in his first goal seconds later on a Ryan Rautio assist.
Johnson had a brace by the 55th minute when he scored off a long throw-in from Michael Dickinson. The junior then set up Colten Pickett for the Jacks’ next goal two minutes later.
Johnson completed his hat trick in the 65th minute -- Dickinson again getting credited with an assist -- on a shot from outside the 18-yard box that floated over the goalkeeper’s head.
“We’ve encouraged (Johnson) to try and shoot more often than he has,” Toward said. “A lot of times he tries and looks for that perfect pass into his strikers and those passes will open up if he’s willing to crack a little bit with shots on net. Tonight he did that.”
The BHS goalkeepers weren’t challenged much as John McNallan notched two saves in the first half and Josh Nyberg tallied one in the second. The Jacks outshot the Spartans 11-3.
Bemidji brought its record to 3-6-1 with the win, while Rocori fell to 1-8-1.
The Lumberjacks are scheduled to host one more regular season game next week against a Central Lakes Conference opponent, though a time, date and opponent are still to be determined based on the final league standings.
BHS will then open the Section 8A Tournament on either Oct. 12 or 13.
Bemidji 5, Rocori 0
BHS 0 5 -- 5
ROC 0 0 -- 0
First half -- No scoring.
Second half -- 1, BHS GOAL, Gladen (Bitter), 46’; 2, BHS GOAL, Johnson (Rautio), 47’; 3, BHS GOAL, Johnson (Dickinson), 55’; 4, BHS GOAL, Pickett (Johnson), 57’; 5, BHS GOAL, Johnson (Dickinson), 65’.
Saves -- McNallan (BHS) 2; Nyberg (BHS) 1.