Goals allowed in the final two minutes of each of the first two periods left Bemidji girls hockey playing from behind without a breakthrough in a 3-0 road loss at Thief River Falls on Thursday evening at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The visiting Lumberjacks had started very brightly in an opening period that featured 15 shots against first-time varsity starter Bell Hamre of the Prowlers, but an early flurry that was completely shut down was an early indicator of the difficulty ahead for Bemidji’s offense.
More chances followed during one of Bemidji’s three power play chances in the first period, but the sequence ended with Peyton Weidemann needing to make a big save at the other end of the ice to keep the game tied.
Despite being outshot 15-8 in the first, the Prowlers took the lead with less than two minutes to play in the period on a rebound that fell to forward Jenae Johnson in the slot.
The second period again started decently for the Lumberjacks with Kiera Nelson knocking on the door of finding a tying goal, though both of her shots were turned aside by Hamre.
At the other end, Weidemann was beginning to see more activity and had to be sharp to keep the Lumberjacks down by one during a flurry from Thief River Falls.
Chances were beginning to dwindle for Bemidji in comparison to the opening period, but there were still looks for both Bella Webb and Sammy Nistler later in the second.
Thief River Falls again struck late in the period to increase the lead, this time on a poked-in goal by Gretchen Cota where Weidemann was forced backward into her own net trying to smother a loose puck with just 31 seconds remaining in the second.
Webb put together Bemidji’s best succession of chances in the third period, but again ran into Hamre on both occasions.
The host Prowlers put the game out of reach later in the third period on Daniella Niebuhr’s blast that bounced off the pad of Weidemann and into the net.
Despite the strong opening period, Bemidji was outshot 38-32 in the game, with Weidemann stopping 35 in goal. The Lumberjacks also went 0-for-6 on power play chances in a game that had 10 penalties called.
Bemidji falls to 0-3 and will return home to First National Arena for a matchup with Roseau on Tuesday at 7:15pm.