Freshman Bailey Rupp’s remarkable six-goal performance highlighted a dominant 8-1 victory for Bemidji on the road at East Grand Forks in both teams’ first game of the new girls hockey season on Saturday at the East Grand Forks Civic Center.
The score was a familiar one for both teams, as the Jacks had opened last season with the same 8-1 result at home against the Green Wave. It took just 1:29 into the first period for Bemidji to strike first, as Rupp went for a solo skate before depositing the rebound of her own initial shot past Britlyn Rasmussen in EGF’s goal.
Chances kept coming for Bemidji during the first period, but Rasmussen bounced back from the early goal surrendered to come up with stops on Rupp’s linemates Megan Berg and Naomi Johnson.
Threats from East Grand Forks came primarily by way of its top line, with enough chances created during the first period to keep Bemidji honest with just the one-goal lead. Goaltender Payton Weidemann delivered a solid stop midway through the period to maintain the advantage.
The lead lasted until the final minute of the first period. A faceoff win by the Green Wave turned into a quick shot by Blake Schultz. Weidemann parried the effort into the path of Maggey Plante, who made no mistake on a one-time wrister into the top shelf.
The Lumberjacks took charge of the game with a five-goal outburst in the second period that was initiated by Megan Berg’s tally after just 24 seconds.
Berg then turned provider during a spell of 4-on-4 hockey almost five minutes later. She fed Rupp on the perimeter during an offensive zone possession, and the freshman coiled up a fierce wrist shot that beat Rasmussen to double the lead.
Makenna Dreher increased Bemidji’s lead to 4-1 at the 10:11 mark with a no-angle shot from the wing that squeezed under Rasmussen and was ruled a goal by the linesman after the puck was found across the goal line.
Rupp completed her hat trick–and first set of three goals–just over a minute after Dreher’s tally by polishing off a slick power play move that featured assists from Naomi Johnson and Millie Knott.
Her torrid scoring kept going late in the second period off another Berg assist, putting Bemidji up 6-1 going into the final frame.
The first tally of the third period was more of a cleanup job by Rupp, who fished a loose puck into the net at 7:09 following a save by Rasmussen on Johnson’s strong shot from the left circle.
More dangled puck handling by Rupp teed up another wicked wrister at the 8:30 mark, completing an incredible double hat trick and rounding of a resounding showcase of her improved shooting abilities.
The scoring exploits of Rupp were accompanied by big point days for her linemates, as Berg added four assists to her second-period goal and Johnson notched three helpers. Weidemann stopped 15 shots in net on a day where the Jacks held a 41-16 shots advantage.
Bemidji (1-0) opens the home slate with a test against Grand Rapids/Greenway at the Bemidji Community Arena on Tuesday at 7:15pm.
Postgame with Bemidji head coach Mike Johnson: