Backed by a pair of second period goals and another outstanding game from goaltender Nettie Kimble, Bemidji girls hockey claimed its sixth win in seven games with a 3-1 road triumph against River Lakes on Friday evening at the River Lakes Civic Arena in Richmond.
Becca Josefson slid in Bemidji’s opening goal at 7:06 of the second period, tipping in a wrister from Jemma Copiskey. Gracie Fisher also picked up an assist on the goal.
The lead was doubled at 13:35 when Olivia Johnson danced through the slot to score her 11th goal of the season shorthanded off a setup from Eva Laituri.
A Bemidji game in recent weeks has not been complete without heroics in net from Kimble, and Friday night featured a few more glittering saves from the junior goaltender. Among her 30 stops, the pick of the bunch was a shutdown save on a 2-on-0 rush from the Stars in the second period with Bemidji still leading just 1-0.
The Lumberjacks’ leading goalscorer this season added on to the lead in the third period, as defender Lexi Leitner lasered in a wrister at 5:29 for her 12th goal this season. Austyn Tobey and Josefson provided the assists as Bemidji’s lead grew to 3-0.
Kianna Roeske broke through for River Lakes at the 10:33 mark of the third period, beating Kimble on a shot from the high slot. In spite of a 31-17 advantage in shots and two late power plays that briefly overlapped, the Stars could not break down Kimble and the Bemidji defense any further.
Earlier in the evening, the Lumberjacks’ JV team were also winners by a 3-1 score.
Kimble’s efforts in the week of December 30-January 4 have been recognized by MN Girls Hockey Hub, as she has been nominated for the Performer of the Week award. Fan voting closes at 12 noon on Sunday.
Bemidji is back at .500 on the season with a 9-9 record, the most wins the Lumberjacks have accumulated in a season since going 10-16 in the 2015/16 season. The Jacks return to the Bemidji Community Arena on Thursday to play Roseau at 7:30pm.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Mike Johnson: