DULUTH — An overtime goal cost the Bemidji High School boys hockey team as it sustained its first loss of the season, falling to Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 4-3 in the first round of the Hilltopper Classic on Tuesday night in Duluth.
C-E-C (7-5) took an early lead in the first period with a goal by Dawsen Cossalter with less than seven minutes to go in the opening frame.
Chase Hartje responded just seconds later with a goal of his own to tie it at 1-1. Alex Pollock and Brady Tatro grabbed assists on the goal at 10:42 of the first period.
Cloquet held an 8-6 edge in first period shots but Bemidji (7-1-2) began to pick up the pace late in the frame.
The heightened pace continued through the middle period for Bemidji.
The Lumberjacks went on the power play late in the second period looking to take their first lead of the game.
A Nick Leitner one-timer did the trick, as he scored with 5:29 left in the second period. Erik Fitzgerald and Jack Johnson picked up assists on the goal.
Bemidji wasted no time in striking again as Alex Pollock scored an unassisted goal at the 12:31 of the second to put the Lumberjacks up 3-1.
The Lumberjacks needed to kill off four consecutive power plays late in the second and early in the third period, which they were able to accomplish through the first three penalty kills.
However, C-E-C scored with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation to cut the lead to 3-2.
Jaret Lalli was sent to the penalty box after the goal on a delayed penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Pollock was called for a fourth straight penalty less than a minute later as Bemidji had to kill off a 5-on-3 Cloquet advantage.
Ryan Nelson scored on the two-man advantage to knot it up at 3-3 with about five minutes left in regulation.
The Lumberjacks went on the power play late in the third period as a would-be goal was waved off by the officials.
Bemidji went on the power play in overtime.
As the power play expired, goaltender Matt Fitzgerald was caught out of net and Cloquet’s Cole Litsey took advantage by scoring the game-winner in overtime.
Bemidji will face Duluth Marshall at 3:15 p.m. this afternoon at Mars Lakeview Arena in Duluth.
In other first round games Tuesday, Roseville beat Superior 4-3 to advance to the semifinals against Hermantown, who defeated Delano 5-2.
Green Bay (Wis.) Notre Dame defeated Duluth Marshall in a shootout after playing to a 2-2 score through overtime to move on to the semifinals to face Cloquet.