Three Crookston goals in the final three and a half minutes of regulation overturned Bemidji’s slender 1-0 lead in a 3-1 loss in girls hockey on Tuesday evening at the Crookston Sports Center.
Facing the Pirates for the second time in a week after finishing in a 1-1 tie the prior Tuesday, the Lumberjacks replicated their start from the previous game by striking for the opening goal in the first period. Seventh grader Naomi Johnson finished off the opportunity after being set up by linemates Ellie Solheim and Sammy Nistler.
Goaltender Ava Myhre preserved the lead with a variety of saves, first coming up with a diving shutdown of a chance around the crease before denying an odd-skater rush from the Pirates.
Myhre was again called into action later with an important glove save to maintain the advantage.
Despite outshooting Crookston through the first two periods, the Jacks could not add on to their small lead and it opened the door for the hosts late in the game. With just 3:19 to play in the third period, Taylor Field was able to find the tying marker for the Pirates.
Bemidji’s disappointment at losing the lead turned to stunned shock 11 seconds after the goal, as Cassie Solheim struck the game-winner to complete a rapid turnaround for Crookston.
There was still enough time for Brekken Tull to add another tally into the empty net of the Jacks at 15:31 that dashed hopes of a late rally.
Bella Webb pressed to find a late goal for the Lumberjacks, but missed wide on one final opportunity in the closing seconds.
Bemidji finished with a slim 28-23 edge in shots, getting 20 saves from Myhre.
The Lumberjacks drop to 12-7-3 and will next visit East Grand Forks on Thursday evening at 7:30pm.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Mike Johnson: