BEMIDJI — A third-period adjustment produced the two goals Bemidji needed to come back and beat Class A No. 5 St. Cloud Apollo 2-1 Saturday at the Bemidji Community Arena.
The Class AA No. 10 Lumberjacks (1-0) trailed going into the third period. And they dominated most of the play in the final frame but it wasn’t until the 11 minute, 17 second mark that junior forward Brady Tatro evened the score at 1-1.
The Eagles (0-1) had just returned to full strength when Tatro took a pass from Chase Hartje and scored from just outside the crease.
“In the third period we played our best hockey, which is the most important period,” BHS head coach Wade Chiodo said. “We found a way to get the W.”
The Jacks kept the pressure on and forced Apollo to take a timeout with 2:41 left.
The timeout didn’t seem to help, though, because sophomore forward Ryan Pogue scored his first career varsity goal 39 seconds later.
Chiodo said he moved Pogue up to play with Tatro and Alex Pollock to give the team some third-period motivation.
“I kind of switched the lines around a little bit for the third period for the mere fact of trying to get a spark,” he said. “It was kind of one of those things as a coach… You get a gut feeling and I went with it, and obviously he got a big goal for us.”
Pogue’s goal was a tip-in on a shot from Nick Leitner and proved to be the game-winner.
The Eagles pulled their goalie with 35 seconds left but couldn’t get anything to the net.
Matt Fitzgerald got the start between the pipes and stopped 19 of 20 Apollo shots. The shot that got past him was from Gino Lucia, at the 14:31 mark of the first period.
“He did a great job,” Chiodo said. “He was fundamentally sound, he was in good spots. He made the saves he needed to make and that’s what’s most important.”
But the starting role isn’t set in stone for Fitzgerald, according to Chiodo, with junior goalie Carson Olson coming off an injury.
“It’s still up in the air; we’re early in the season,” he said. “We gotta get (Olson) healthy and back in form and go from there. By Christmas time we’ll figure out who our No. 1 is and we’ll go with it.”
The Jacks are back in action at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when they travel to Grand Rapids.
“Grand Rapids will be a good test for us,” Chiodo noted. “It’ll show us exactly what else we need to do, because right now there’s some things we need to figure out. It’ll be a big test.”
Bemidji 2, St. Cloud Apollo 1
SCA 1 0 0 — 1
BHS 0 0 2 — 2
First Period — 1, SCA, Lucia (Bisset), 14:31.
Second Period — No Scoring
Third Period — 2, BHS, Tatro (Ch. Hartje), 11:17; 3, BHS, Pogue (Leitner), 14:58.
JILLIAN GANDSEY | BEMIDJI PIONEER Bemidji High School junior Alex Pollock drives the puck toward the St. Cloud Apollo net in the first period against the Eagles on Saturday at the Bemidji Community Arena. The Lumberjacks won 2-1.