BEMIDJI -- A pair of Sartell-St. Stephen ejections showed the team’s frustration throughout Saturday’s game against the Bemidji High School boys hockey team at the BCA. The Jacks answered on the scoreboard and claimed a lopsided 7-0 win over the Class A No. 9 Sabres.
“We got a little mojo offensively, and that’s something that we’ve been working on,” head coach Eric Monsrud said. “2018 has been good to us so far... We’re making tape-to-tape passes more often than we were in 2017, and so far we’re happy with the new year.”
BHS junior Hunter Olson led the way with two goals and an assist on the night. One goal was shorthanded, one was 4-on-4, but both were the same forehand-to-backhand deke to beat Sabres goalie Cole Bright unassisted.
Olson attributed the team’s offensive improvement to chemistry within the lines.
“We’ve been looking for it the past few games,” he said. “It’s been a struggle for a little bit, but I think we’re kind of bouncing back and getting to our flow here.”
Josh Baker, Andrew Dondelinger and Tate Hammitt each recorded a goal and an assist in the contest, and other goal scorers included Ryan Pogue and Joe Leitner.
With a 4-0 lead late in the second period, Sabres captain Trevor Dummer was ejected for hitting Olson from behind, an act Pogue took offense to and served a two-minute roughing penalty for. Pogue had already drawn a five-minute boarding major penalty earlier in the game.
Late in the third period, Pogue laid a hip check on Sartell’s Nathan Stoebe, who got up and swung his stick around to hit Pogue in the side of the helmet, meriting the game’s second ejection.
“I’m happy that our kids stepped up, defended each other,” Monsrud said. “It did get to a point where it got a little chippy, and it’s just position. When you’re in a lead like that, you just have to defend yourself, and you can’t turn and get chippy and find yourself sitting in the box for five minutes at a time. I’m really proud of our kids to keep their composure and defend each other.”
Between the pipes for the Jacks, Matt Fitzgerald secured a 19-save shutout, his fifth of the season.
“He’s the backbone of our team,” Olson said. “He leads this team very well, and it’s an honor to have him on our team.”
Bemidji’s schedule turns to the road next week, as they head to Crookston for a 7:30 p.m. game Tuesday at the Crookston Sports Center.
“We’re going to ride this wave a little bit here,” Monsrud said. “I think it’s important that we do. We have a lot of positive things going on for us right now, and so we’re definitely going to key on those positive things. We’re looking forward to Crookston, and we’re going to get to work on Monday.”
Bemidji 7, Sartell-St. Stephen 0
BHS 2 2 3 -- 7
SSS 0 0 0 -- 0
First Period -- 1, BHS, Pogue (Baker, Olson) 2:35; 2, BHS (PP), Baker (Tate Hammitt) 10:23.
Second Period -- 3, BHS (SH), Olson (Unassisted) 11:24; 4, BHS, Leitner (Justice, Dondelinger) 14:11.
Third Period -- 5 (4-on-4), BHS, Olson (Unassisted) 0:15; 6 (PP), BHS, Dondelinger (Tanner Hammitt, McNamara) 2:52; 7, BHS, Tate Hammitt (Mock, Justice) 13:13.
Goaltending (Shots-Saves) -- BHS, Fitzgerald (19-19); SSS, Bright (32-25).