Bemidji girls hockey got within a goal in the third period before losing 3-1 on the road at Sartell/Sauk Rapids on Saturday in its final Section 8AA regular season game.
The Lumberjacks were playing from behind only 1:17 into the hockey game. After going on the power play seconds before, the visitors lost the puck in the offensive zone and Sartell/Sauk Rapids’ Mallory Heder raced the other way before beating Bemidji goaltender Nettie Kimble up high for a shorthanded goal.
Kimble came up with several good saves to keep Bemidji down just 1-0 going into intermission.
Despite the slow start and three power play chances without a goal in the first period, the Lumberjacks started creating more clear chances in the second. One of the best opportunities came midway through the period when defender Gracie Fisher broke into the slot before dragging wide around Storm’n Sabres goaltender Chloe Stockinger.
After making the lead stand up at one end of the ice, Sartell/Sauk Rapids jumped ahead 2-0 at 11:36 of the period on a power play goal from Lauren Wensel.
Bemidji was in need of a spark and got it in the third period on a rush into the offensive zone. Though the initial chance went begging, Gracie Fisher’s follow-up blast eluded Stockinger to get Bemidji back within one at 8:46 of the period. Later analysis of the goal indicated that it was forward Meray Eichstadt who got the final credit for the goal, tipping in Fisher’s shot in front of the net.
Kimble kept Bemidji within one and with a chance of tying things up, making another good save later in the third period.
The Lumberjacks had back-to-back power play opportunities with under six minutes remaining in the game, but could not convert on either of them. After pulling Kimble with less than two minutes to play, a turnover from Bemidji gave Sartell/Sauk Rapids the chance to wrap the game up with an empty-net goal.
Bemidji is now 10-14 and has one game remaining in the regular season this Tuesday at Crookston. The game–rescheduled from January 17 due to weather–is scheduled for 7:30pm.
The Section 8AA coaches’ vote to determine seeding for the playoffs will be the following day.
Postgame interview with Bemidji head coach Mike Johnson: