Chased by Bemidji’s Michael Forseth, Thief River Falls’ Adam Pancoast moved the puck along the boards behind the Prowlers’ net during Thursday’s boys high school hockey game at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
That Thief River Falls and Bemidji were involved in a low-scoring game should come as a surprise to nobody. Both teams have struggled mightily to put the puck in the net during the early portion of the 2012-13 boys high school hockey season. The trend continued in a Thursday renewal of the long-time athletic rivalry at the Ralph Engelstad Arena when the Prowlers escaped with a 2-1 win.
Bemidji, shut out three times in its first six games, fell to 2-5. Thief River Falls, limited to a single goal in three of its first five games, bumped its record to 2-4.
“They’re not unlike us,” acknowledged Thief River Falls coach Tim Bergland. “Both teams were in need of a win.”
The Prowlers got it. Both sides did get on the board in the opening period, but the only other goal – the game-winner – came at 4:16 of the second period when Ethan Johnson was fed the puck in front of the Bemidji net and the Thief River Falls freshman quickly converted the chance by beating sophomore netminder Gabe Heifort.
Thief River Falls put the first goal in the books in unexpected fashion when junior forward Ian Lund snapped off a shot as he crossed the blue line in a one-on-one confrontation with Bemidji defenseman Sam Starkey. The long-range shot just 2:49 into the game eluded Heifort.
Bemidji got the equalizer on a power play goal by junior forward Sam Carlson at 8:17. Thief River Falls junior goalie Tanner Holmes made the initial save on the play, but with bodies clamoring for possession in the crease, the puck was shoved across the goal line.
“It was nice to get that first goal,” said Bergland. “I’m sure it’s one of those shots their goalie would like to have back. On their goal, I’m not so sure there wasn’t goalie interference. But it wasn’t called, so you just have to move on.”
Thief River Falls didn’t cave in after giving up the goal, and that was a key to picking up the win, according to Bergland. “We stuck with it,” he explained. “We’ve had a habit of getting frustrated after giving up a goal like that. But tonight, the kids shook it off and got the job done. It’s nice to see them do some of the things we’ve be talking about and working on in practice.”
Heifort finished with 25 saves. A lot more Thief River Falls shots missed the target. “We had a lot of good looks,” noted Bergland, “but we need to hit the net.”
Holmes had a 16-save night.
First period – TRF, Ian Lund, 2:49; Bemidji, Sam Carlson (Matt Serratore, Mike Sauer), 8:17.
Second period – TRF, Ethan Johnson (Zeb Nelson, Keaton Huot), 4:16.
Third period – no scoring.
Goalie saves – TRF, Tanner Holmes 4-7-5-16; Bemidji, Gabe Heifort 9-8-8-25