A wraparound goal from Jace Blythe at 1:36 of overtime downed Bemidji boys hockey in a tight 4-3 overtime loss at Moorhead on Tuesday evening after the Jacks had led twice in the third period at the Moorhead Sports Center.
Bemidji went behind on Moorhead’s first shot of the game at 3:15 of the first period when Aaron Reierson one-timed a feed from Mason Kraft into the top of the net past Tate Metcalf on his debut in the varsity net for the Lumberjacks.
The Lumberjacks progressively created more chances as the first period continued, but could not solve Spuds goaltender Kai Weigel for a lengthy stretch. Peyton Neadeau came closest with a point-blank chance that Weigel somehow slid across to deny.
A tying goal eventually came at 14:56 of the first just after a power play expired for the Lumberjacks. Nick Yavarow’s wraparound try squeezed under Weigel’s pads and across the line on a goal announced as Benji O’Leary’s but eventually credited to Yavarow.
Neither team came up with a goal to move in front during the second period, but Metcalf was the busier of the two netminders. He delivered a pair of decisive saves that helped keep the score knotted up, showing quickness with both the pads and glove.
The game remained tight in the third period, but exploded to life with just under six minutes remaining. Wyatt Mattfield gave Bemidji its first lead of the night by combining with O’Leary off a takeaway at center ice that set up the senior forward to beat Weigel one-on-one.
Moorhead replied just 40 seconds later with Reierson scoring his second goal of the night on a turnaround shot from the right circle after a flurry from the Spuds around Metcalf’s net.
Incredibly, it took Bemidji a mere 46 seconds to find a reply of its own. Noah Mannausau let fly with a shot from the high slot that drew a save by Weigel, but his spilled rebound was crashed in by Yavarow to restore the lead to the Jacks.
The Spuds completed a dizzying sequence of four goals in 2:24 of hockey by tying the game at three just 58 seconds after Yavarow’s tally. Colby Krier’s perimeter shot was redirected off the body of Ian Ness in the slot and eluded Metcalf beyond.
With the game needing extra minutes to find a result, Blythe won possession behind the Jacks’ goal line and beat Metcalf under the pads with a wraparound effort that concluded the night just over 90 seconds into overtime.
Bemidji edged Moorhead 30-26 in total shots, with Metcalf posting 22 saves in the loss. In addition to Yavarow’s two goals, Mattfield finished with a goal and an assist for Bemidji, O’Leary had two assists, and Mannausau posted a helper as well.
The Lumberjacks (0-2) will return home to face Duluth East at the Bemidji Community Arena on Thursday evening at 7pm.
Postgame interview with Bemidji assistant coach Vinny Huerd: