HIGHLIGHTS: Alex First Period Flurry Leaves Bemidji Girls Behind

Three goals surrendered in a 1:20 span during the first period were too much for Bemidji to overcome in a 5-2 loss to Alexandria in an important Section 8AA girls hockey matchup on Saturday as part of Bemidji Hockey Fights Cancer Day.

The game carried great significance both on and off the ice entering the day, as Bemidji’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative was highlighted with fundraising, special pregame uniforms, and an honorary puck drop by eighth grade JV player and cancer survivor Lucy Solheim.

With both teams sitting near the middle of the Section 8AA pecking order and seeking a resume-boosting win for the section coaches’ playoff vote, the Jacks were inches away from scoring the opening goal of the game with a shot off the crossbar by Bailey Rupp.

Alexandria struck minutes later at 5:22 of the first with a tip-in by Kennedy Ellingson that was redirected past Ava Myhre in net.

Jersey Severson followed up in the low slot to make it two goals for the Cardinals in just 48 seconds.

The three-goal salvo was completed by Alexandria at the 6:42 mark after another odd-skater rush was capped off by a fluttering shot from Lillian Dutton that clipped over Myhre and drew a timeout from the Lumberjacks.

Bemidji’s desperate need for a reply was answered with three minutes remaining in the first period. Despite working to kill a Cardinal power play, the Jacks used their forecheck to create an offensive zone turnover, and Zoe Fayette found Bella Webb alone in front in goal for a quick deke and backhand to score a shorthanded tally.

Momentum stayed in the Lumberjacks’ favor with a power play that bridged the first and second periods, but the pendulum quickly swung back to Alexandria with a breakaway shorthanded marker by Morgan Aure in the first 52 seconds of the new frame.

The Jacks pieced together a short burst of chances late in the second, but could draw no closer going into the final 17 minutes of play.

Alexandria increased its lead to 5-1 by tallying on a power play through Emma Ramstorf just over three minutes into the final period.

Another shot from the Jacks rang the crossbar later in the period when Millie Knott went a hair high from the high slot.

The third period featured a pile of penalties from both teams, with Alexandria giving the Lumberjacks five different power play opportunities. Makenna Dreher cashed in on one of the advantages with a poked goal from a scramble that gave Bemidji a late consolation.

Myhre tallied 17 stops in the loss, with the Lumberjacks edged 22-19 in shots. Webb and Megan Berg each posted assists on Dreher’s goal.

The loss leaves Bemidji at 12-6-3 heading into a second matchup in a week with Crookston, this time on the road Tuesday at 7:30pm.