Photo: @BemidjiHockey on Twitter

HIGHLIGHTS: Mattfield Hat Trick, Bjornerud Winner Give Bemidji Rare Triumph Over Duluth East

Bemidji boys hockey rallied three times on goals from Wyatt Mattfield to set up Tyson Bjornerud’s winner 37 seconds into overtime for a 4-3 result and first win over Duluth East in decades on Thursday evening at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center.

The Lumberjacks created the game’s earliest chances in the opening minutes, but found themselves down 1-0 at 9:51 of the first on Lars Berg’s close-range goal for the Greyhounds.

Following a trend of responding to going behind that was established against Mounds View in the season-opener, Bemidji tied the game back up just 45 seconds later. Cade Voge’s point wrist shot found its way through traffic to knot the score at one, though the goal was eventually credited to Wyatt Mattfield for a tip in the slot.

Ben LaMaster gave Duluth East the lead back less than three minutes into period two, but coincidental penalties against the Greyhounds not long after handed Bemidji a golden opportunity on a 5-on-3. Mattfield again struck on a tip-in late in the power play, redirecting Josef Lalli’s pass to level the score once more.

Chances were difficult to come by early in the third period for the Lumberjacks, but Colton Pickett was still able to ring the top of the crossbar before Cade Voge also threatened on a chance.

At the other end of the ice, Jackson Hill fought through traffic to secure one of his 27 saves midway through the third.

A late penalty against Bemidji paved the way for Berg to put Duluth East in front with exactly three minutes to play through a rebounded power play goal after Hill had made a kick save.

Yet again, the Lumberjacks replied. Bjornerud deflected a Duluth East clearing pass in the defensive zone, with the loose puck finding its way to Mattfield for a one-time rocket to tie the game and complete his hat-trick–once again just 45 seconds after Bemidji had gone behind.

Hill was called into urgent action to send Bemidji to overtime when he snatched a save with the glove in the dying moments of regulation.

Bemidji found the winner just 37 seconds into the extra session. Lalli tested Duluth East goaltender Fletcher Dirkers with a shot requiring a kick save, sending the rebound into the path of a crashing Bjornerud to fish the game-winner into the partially vacated net.

The Lumberjacks’ win snapped a run of four consecutive losses to Duluth East since their matchup was revived in 2016, with no other recorded Bemidji victories dating as far back as 2004.

Bemidji moves to 2-0-1 heading into a Saturday afternoon home game with Warroad.