Two goals from Wyatt Mattfield were not enough for Bemidji to keep up with Roseau in a 6-2 loss on Thursday evening in an important late-season Section 8AA boys hockey matchup at the Bemidji Community Arena.
The defeat was the heaviest of the season for the Lumberjacks, who also surrendered a season-worst six goals on a night where they entered with hopes of making an impression for the upcoming Section 8AA coaches’ vote. Much like against Warroad on Tuesday evening, Bemidji went behind on the very first shot surrendered on goal–a blast from the Rams’ Jake Halvorson in the right circle just under a minute and a half into the game.
Bemidji settled in well after the early blow and responded at 10:52 of the period with a 4-on-2 rush created by Mattfield that the senior forward took himself for a backhanded finish.
But after Mattfield ended up in the penalty box a few minutes later, Roseau recaptured the lead with a backhand from Gavin Jensen after Lumberjacks goaltender Tate Metcalf could not hold a shot from the high slot on the power play.
The Lumberjacks worked a series of grade-A opportunities in the second period, springing Dominic Arndt for a breakaway opportunity that failed to be converted but turned into a power play.
Roseau absorbed pressure for much of the first two minutes, but needed only one chance to add to the lead at 2:54 of the second with Preston Lundbohm’s no-angle shot that glanced in off Metcalf.
At the other end, Bemidji continued to find the going tough against Roseau goaltender Atreyu Jones. A close look for Joey Fankhanel was turned aside before Hunter Brodina became the latest Lumberjack to come up empty–though draw a penalty–on a breakaway chance.
Mattfield struck for his second goal of the night at 10:35 of the second on another unassisted effort, saving a clearing attempt in the offensive zone at the blue line before gliding in and ripping a wrist shot past Jones.
The Rams countered through top scorer Noah Urness, who flipped a center-ice turnover into a low wrist shot past Metcalf just under two minutes later.
Urness went to the box for a slashing minor just after the goal, but Bemidji again could not convert the man advantage into a goal despite sneaking the puck behind Jones.
Moments after the scramble in the offensive zone, Roseau broke out with an up-ice pass that found Jensen streaking in alone shorthanded. Though Metcalf repelled his initial chance, Tanner George arrived to follow with a backhanded tally to push the lead to 5-2.
Alex Schaefer took over in Bemidji’s net to begin the third period and came up with a stunning save with his goalie stick to deny Jensen what looked like a certain goal during an early power play for the Rams.
Roseau still added one more marker late in the third with George scoring for a second time in the game.
The very open, free-flowing game ended with Bemidji outshooting Roseau 45-42, but Jones’ 43 saves and Bemidji’s 0-for-7 night on the power play left the Lumberjacks well short offensively. Metcalf made 20 saves across the first two periods, while Schaefer stopped 16 in relief for Bemidji.
The Lumberjacks fall back to .500 at 10-10 overall heading into their Senior Night game against St. Michael-Albertville on Saturday at 6pm. Pregame will be at 5:40 on The BUN Sportsradio 104.5 and Lumberjacks1 at kbunsportsradio.com.