Moorhead broke open a 1-1 game with two third-period goals, then staved off a late rally from Bemidji for a 3-2 result in boys hockey on Tuesday at the Moorhead Sports Center.
A tight, physical opening period along the boards still featured good chances for both teams, with Cole Matetich testing Moorhead goaltender Will Kunka with a point shot on an early power play.
At the other end, Tanner Rebischke and Bemidji’s collective units on the ice had to scramble a few chances away on close-range opportunities created by the home team.
The Spuds’ Justin Stalboerger broke through for the game’s opening goal at 15:56 of the first period, beating Rebischke up high after Moorhead won a battle for the puck along the boards.
Reversing how the hockey game had opened in the first, Moorhead held an early power play in the second period but failed to find another goal thanks to more solid stops from Rebischke.
Bemidji pulled even at 3:46 of the second period on a rebounded finish from Colton Pickett that had been set up by linemates Wyatt Mattfield and Wylee Gladen.
Moorhead went ahead for good with a 2-on-1 rush finished off by Aaron Reierson at the 4:39 mark of the third period.
Despite going behind, Bemidji’s defensive activity around Rebischke remained fierce, with a desperate battle to both block and clear numerous chances on another look in the low slot later in the third.
Top-line center Max Dronen picked up the eventual game-winner for the Spuds at 9:10 of the third with a keep of the offensive zone that led to a top-shelf wrister over Rebischke.
Late hope for the Lumberjacks came on a 6-on-4 power play with less than a minute left in regulation. Defenseman Connor Savard’s heavy shot across the slot deflected off a Moorhead skate and past Kunka to give Bemidji a chance.
The ensuing face-off and exchanges of possession failed to yield any chances for the Lumberjacks to seek out a tying goal, leaving them a goal short.
Rebischke totaled 35 stops, with Moorhead holding a final 38-23 advantage in shots.
The 2-8 Lumberjacks are home for seven of the final eight games of the regular season, beginning Thursday evening against River Lakes. Gametime is 7:15pm from the Bemidji Community Arena on KBUN+ (FM 100.1) and KBUN2 at kbunsportsradio.com.