Bemidji used contributions from ten different goalscorers to rack up a massive 16-0 defeat of Willmar on Friday evening at the Bemidji Community Arena in the first recorded boys hockey meeting in over 16 years between the schools.
The Lumberjacks started the scoring just over seven minutes into the hockey game after a sustained build of pressure in Willmar’s zone. Connor Savard picked up a loose puck from a flurry around the Cardinals’ goal to score the game’s opening goal from the point.
Colton Pickett followed up not long after with another follow-up finish, tapping in a rebounded puck in the slot just over a minute later.
Quick passing up ice produced another goal at 14:13 of the opening period when Cade Vote and Nathan Alto combined to spring Lincoln Huerd free. The senior cruised into the slot before beating Willmar netminder Gavin Steinwand with a backhander.
One of the themes of the night was players scoring their first goal playing varsity hockey for the Lumberjacks, and a player making his varsity debut started that trend at 15:57 of period one. Picking up a loose puck on a turnover in the Willmar zone, sophomore Nick Yavarow wheeled around and fired a wrist shot past Steinwand to tally the milestone goal and complete a 4-0 opening period.
Four more goals followed in the second period, starting with Savard getting his second of the night and Ethan Maish supplying a tip-in midway through. Cole Matetich kicked off what would end up becoming a hat-trick with his first goal of three at 10:53 of the second.
Senior Michael Dickinson–playing on the blue line for the first time this year after being on the wing previously–became another first-time goalscorer when he supplied the eighth goal of the evening at 13:43 of the second.
Incredibly, half of Bemidji’s goals were fired in during the third period against Willmar backup Chase Birchard. Pickett scored his second of the evening less than a minute into the third before Hunter Marcotte scored the goal that took Bemidji into double figures.
Yet another puck was fished out of the net for saving at 2:20 of the third period when senior Josh Nyberg converted from the edge of the crease for his own first tally of varsity hockey.
Matetich would score twice more in the third–including the game’s final goal–to complete his hat-trick as part of a five-point game, while Yavarow and Huerd each scored for a second time and team assist-leader Tate Hammitt notched his first goal of the season.
In addition to Matetich’s three goals and two assists, Yavarow, Huerd, and Savard each finished with two each of goals and assists, while Maish and Marcotte had a goal and three assists and Alto, Grant Declusin, Nate Mannausau, and Wyatt Mattfield each tallied three assists. All 18 Bemidji skaters tallied at least one point in the victory.
Jackson Hill needed just five saves at the other end of the ice to record his first shutout at the varsity level.
Bemidji improves to 4-9 with the victory and will now host Section 8AA foe St. Cloud on Tuesday evening at 7:15 at the Bemidji Community Arena.