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Bemidji topples Class A No. 1 Hermantown

By Austin Monteith - Bemidji Pioneer, 01/17/16, 3:45PM CST


HERMANTOWN — In a matter of three days, the Bemidji High School boys hockey team took down both of last season’s Class A finalists after beating Class A No. 1 Hermantown in a 4-2 road win Saturday afternoon


The victory was the first for the Lumberjacks against 2015 Class A runner-up Hermantown since 2011.


Bemidji (13-2-2) had previously beaten defending Class A state champion East Grand Forks 3-2 at home Thursday.

“It was a team effort,” Bemidji coach Wade Chiodo said. “I was really proud of the kids. They made the game simple and you know what, we came out with a victory.”

The loss was just the second of the season for the 13-2-1 Hawks but Chiodo said the team does not think about things like its opponent’s record going into a game.

“It has nothing to do with that,” he said. “It’s the fact that we played solid hockey and we play good in all three zones. That’s my focus every game. Play hard, you do the right things and good things are going to happen. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing against. You gotta play the game the same way and tonight from the drop of the puck I thought guys battled extremely hard and kept the game simple and played solid in all three zones.”

Erik Fitzgerald gave the Lumberjacks a 1-0 lead after scoring an unassisted goal at the 11:29 mark of the first period.

Cole Koepke evened things up barely a minute into the second period for Hermantown to make it 1-1.

Bemidji went on the power play after a roughing call went against the Hawks. Fitzgerald capitalized by netting his second goal of the game to return the lead to the Lumberjacks.

Hermantown began the final period the same way it did the equalizer from Ryan Sandelin on the power play only 47 seconds into the frame.

The penalty was the only one Bemidji committed all day as the team was able to stay out of the box.

“We gotta keep them to the outside,” Chiodo said. “They’re obviously a good hockey team and we gotta stay out of the penalty box. And the kids did a great job of moving their feet and that’s why we didn’t take penalties.”

With the game tied at 2-2, Nick Leitner delivered Bemidji the eventual game-winner by scoring an unassisted goal at 5:37 of the third period.

The Hawks pulled their goalie in the waning minutes of the contest in a last-ditch attempt to get a third equalizer. But Jack Johnson stopped any chance of a comeback by scoring an empty netter with 1:23 left on the clock to secure to win for the Lumberjacks.

Bemidji will have the week off before returning to Bemidji Community Arena for a 3:15 p.m. contest this Saturday against Alexandria.

Bemidji 4, Hermantown 2

Bemidji 1 1 2 — 4

Hermantown 0 1 1 — 2

First period — 1. BHS, E. Fitzgerald (unassisted) 11:29

Second period — 2. Hermantown, Koepke (Sandelin) 1:13, 3. BHS, E. Fitzgerald (power play) (Pollock) 8:16

Third period — 4. Hermantown, Sandelin (power play) (Aamodt, Jacques) 0:47, 5. BHS, Leitner (unassisted) 5:37, 6. BHS, Johnson (empty net) (unassisted) 15:37

Goalies — BHS: M. Fitzgerald: 28, Hermantown: Olson: 32