Dec. 5—BEMIDJI — The Bemidji High School boys hockey team's goal-scoring lamp lit up with about five minutes remaining against Warroad on Saturday at Bemidji Community Arena, seemingly signifying that the Lumberjacks had taken a 4-3 lead over the Warriors late in the third period.
It was a false alarm. The action was actually on the other end of the ice, where Warroad took the real 4-3 lead seconds later, snuffing out the Jacks' chances and handing BHS its first loss of the season with the game-winner by Carson Pilgrim at 12:25.
"We feel we gave them the game," BHS head coach Pete Stahnke said. "That last goal they scored, we shot it right into their guy and they went down (and scored). And then we put one in our own net. Couple of penalties, they scored on power plays. ... They're a good team. You can't make mistakes on a good team."
Warroad entered the contest with a record of 2-0, nearly an exact match of Bemidji's 2-0-1 tally. The two teams traded the lead early, as Colten Pickett's score gave the Lumberjacks a first-period advantage at 9:15.
But mistakes haunted BHS in the second period and flipped the script — and the score. Two quick penalties put the Jacks on their heels and led to power-play goals by Warroad's Daimon Gardner at 5:33 and 7:02.
Bemidji had an answer with an early third-period goal by Wyatt Mattfield at 1:20, but the 2-2 tie didn't last. The aforementioned self-inflicted goal occurred at 2:06 and was credited to the Warriors' Murray Marvin-Cordes.
The Lumberjacks struck back minutes later with Ben Kieson's goal at 3:55. But Warroad would have the last word, with Pilgrim's final goal making the difference.
"With this team, same in Duluth (against Duluth East), we got down, we tied it," Stahnke said. "Got down again, we tied it three different times and then went into overtime. So these guys are pretty resilient on not quitting. They keep going. It's a good team. They really care about each other. That's what I see out of these guys."
BHS had chances to tie down the stretch, especially after pulling goaltender Jackson Hill. Mattfield fielded a particularly clear chance in the final seconds, but couldn't tickle the twine.
"It's always fun when you pull your goalie," Stahnke said. "I think we kind of had some chances down there, some opportunities and couldn't cash in."
The loss dropped Bemidji to 2-1-1. The record is still solid, and the Jacks are playing well. Continuing to build on the chemistry that already exists in the locker room is the plan moving forward.
"I just go back to the camaraderie in that locker room," Stahnke said. "... They're having fun, smiles on their face, working hard. I don't think they're going to have a problem with (losing for the first time). They don't get discouraged. And that shows with being down one goal (and) getting it back in several games like that."
BHS returns to the ice against Sartell-St. Stephen at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10, in Sartell.
Warroad 4, Bemidji 3
WAR 0 2 2 — 4
BHS 1 0 2 — 3
First period — 1, BHS GOAL, Pickett (Gladen, Mattfield), 9:15.
Second period — 2, WAR GOAL, Gardner (Shaugabay), 5:33, PP; 3, WAR GOAL, Gardner (Shaugabay, Comstock), 7:02; PP.
Third period — 4, BHS GOAL, Mattfield (Gladen), 1:20; 5, WAR GOAL, Marvin-Cordes (unassisted), 2:06; 6, BHS GOAL, Kieson (Malkowski), 3:55; 7, WAR GOAL, Pilgrim (unassisted), 12:25.
Saves — Hill (BHS) 24; Slukynsky (WAR) 21.