HIGHLIGHTS: Jacks Shut Down By St. Cloud To Open Season

An early power play goal and late shorthanded empty net tally were enough for the St. Cloud Crush to hand Bemidji boys hockey a season-opening 2-0 defeat on Saturday at the Bemidji Community Arena.

The Jacks had the game’s first good chance during a tight opening stretch of play when Cael Knutson slipped through the Crush’s defense for a power play breakaway that was turned aside.

Penalty problems plagued Bemidji in the first period to the tune of three separate minor penalties that gave the Crush chances on the power play. Top returning scorer Andrew Cumming got free at the side of the net to finish off a quick setup for the game’s opening goal with less than four minutes to play in the first period.

Bemidji found more opportunities in the second period, but remained without a tying goal after Nick Yavarow missed high on a breakaway and both Noah Mannausau and Wyatt Mattfield were denied in succession on a rush.

With the game moving into the third frame, the Jacks again ramped up the pressure with a flurry of looks early on.

The biggest chance to tie the game in the final period was presented to the Jacks in the form of a full two-minute 5-on-3 power play that came after a pair of minor penalties were called against the Crush. Despite numerous opportunities–including point shots from Mannausau and Casey Rupp–the Lumberjacks failed to capitalize on the advantage with several looks that flew off target.

Momentum to find a tying goal stemmed for Bemidji for the rest of the period, and St. Cloud wrapped up the result late with a shorthanded empty net goal from Sheldon Shiyak that came after the Jacks did not react to a clearance that went the length of the ice.

Goaltender Alex Schaefer finished with 15 saves as Bemidji outshot St. Cloud 25-17 in the loss.

The Jacks return to the ice at Moorhead on Tuesday evening for a 6pm game.

Postgame interview with Bemidji assistant coach Vinny Huerd: