Home Ice bergs GIRLS HOCKEY: Bemidji scores moral victory amid pursuit of real wins

GIRLS HOCKEY: Bemidji scores moral victory amid pursuit of real wins

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The senior captain slid to the far net, made a smooth turn to the center of the ice, and finally watched Monday night’s opponent Warroad converge on the opposite end of Bemidji Community Arena.

As Hasbargen prepared for the game, his attention turned to his teammates.

“My main goal,” said Hasbargen, “is to try to motivate the whole team and get them into a playing mindset. Then they’re ready to play.

Warroad controlled the scoreboard – winning 5-1 in the end – as the Lumberjacks fell to 1-12-2 this season.

Bemidji's junior Bella Webb (10) takes control of the puck in the second period against Warroad on Monday, January 3, 2022, at the Bemidji Community Arena.  (Madelyn Haasken / Pioneer of Bemidji)

Bemidji’s junior Bella Webb (10) takes control of the puck in the second period against Warroad on Monday, January 3, 2022, at the Bemidji Community Arena. (Madelyn Haasken / Pioneer of Bemidji)

It was a moral victory for BHS to an extent, with a one-win team keeping things respectable against the No.1 ranked team in Class A. But now Bemidji must find ways to turn moral wins into wins. real.

“I’ve always seen this season as a real process of building a different team at the end of the year than at the start,” said head coach Mike Johnson. “We have to move beyond this stage of moral victory, and I hope we are moving in that direction.”

This process, Johnson said, relies heavily on a leadership group he trusts.

(Hasbargen) put the team on their backs and said, ‘Hey guys, this is how we’re going to do it, and this is what we have to do,’ Johnson said. “She was a fantastic leader. And, of course, Madyson Nistler, Elizabeth Oster stepped up. Bella Webb is still in the mix. There is no doubt that we are always looking for those senior students to lead.

Bemidji's junior Madyson Nistler (21) controls the puck in the second period against Warroad on Monday, January 3, 2022, at Bemidji Community Arena.  (Madelyn Haasken / Pioneer of Bemidji)

Bemidji’s junior Madyson Nistler (21) controls the puck in the second period against Warroad on Monday, January 3, 2022, at Bemidji Community Arena. (Madelyn Haasken / Pioneer of Bemidji)

Optimism can be a challenge in a winter when the record is as cold as the weather. But with their first win in hand, plus a few recent draws and a few one-goal losses, the Jacks believe a long-awaited turnaround is in sight.

“I really think they’re starting to believe, and they seem to be having a good time,” Johnson said. “They buy what we sell – it’s got to be defense first, and then we’ll try to generate chances to put pucks in the net.

There were some promising moments on Monday, such as when Nistler redirected a Kiera Nelson shot on the power play at 14:10 of the first period. Once the puck found the net, Nistler nearly jumped off his skates in celebration.

The Lumberjacks celebrate the goal of Madyson Nistler (21) in the first period against Warroad, Monday, January 3, 2022, at the Bemidji Community Arena.  (Madelyn Haasken / Pioneer of Bemidji)

The Lumberjacks celebrate the goal of Madyson Nistler (21) in the first period against Warroad, Monday, January 3, 2022, at the Bemidji Community Arena. (Madelyn Haasken / Pioneer of Bemidji)

Then there was goalkeeper Payton Weidemann, who did some highlights while standing on the head. His showcase included a pair of saves on a 2-0 Warriors’ breakaway and back-to-back refusals at close range.

But the night still belonged to Warroad, who ended the game with a 51-9 advantage in shots on goal. Weidemann resisted the assault for 46 saves.

The Warriors (13-2-1) scored the first two goals of the game, then another with 0:01 left in the first period. They added two more strikes in the second quarter for a 5-1 advantage thanks to two.

But the third period was scoreless, another example of a moral victory that BHS wants to cultivate into further development.

Bemidji goalkeeper Payton Weidemann (35) deflects the puck in the second period against Warroad on Monday, January 3, 2022, at the Bemidji Community Arena.  (Madelyn Haasken / Pioneer of Bemidji)

Bemidji goalkeeper Payton Weidemann (35) deflects the puck in the second period against Warroad on Monday, January 3, 2022, at the Bemidji Community Arena. (Madelyn Haasken / Pioneer of Bemidji)

“It’s really exciting to see us improve and learn from everything,” said Hasbargen. “Learn from what we do, then improve from there (is the next step).”

Hasbargen was the first lumberjack to cross the handshake line, the first to thank the umpires, and she was sure to deal a few slaps on the back and slaps on the back to her teammates as they came off the ice.

“It’s really huge to have so many girls looking up to me,” Hasbargen said of his captain job. “I just want to make sure I’m setting a really good example for them. Then they can learn things from me for when they’re in the same role in a few years.

Bemidji is back home at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, Jan.6 against Thief River Falls at the BCA.

Bemidji eighth grader Megan Berg (2) shoots the puck in the third period against Warroad on Monday, January 3, 2022 at Bemidji Community Arena.  (Madelyn Haasken / Pioneer of Bemidji)

Bemidji eighth grader Megan Berg (2) shoots the puck in the third period against Warroad on Monday, January 3, 2022 at Bemidji Community Arena. (Madelyn Haasken / Pioneer of Bemidji)

Bemidji's sophomore Mya Lundeen (6) moves the puck in the second period against Warroad on Monday, Jan.3, 2022, at Bemidji Community Arena.  (Madelyn Haasken / Pioneer of Bemidji)

Bemidji’s sophomore Mya Lundeen (6) moves the puck in the second period against Warroad on Monday, Jan.3, 2022, at Bemidji Community Arena. (Madelyn Haasken / Pioneer of Bemidji)

War Route 5, Bemidji 1

WAR 3 2 0 – 5

BHS 1 0 0 – 1

First period – 1, GOAL, Lavergne (Sandy, Lindquist), 7:13, PP; 2, GOAL OF WAR, K. Johnson (Courteau, Skogman), 12:44; 3, BHS GOAL, M. Nistler (Nelson, Oster), 14:10, PP; 4, GOAL, Hendrickson (K. Johnson), 16:59.

Second period – 5, GOAL, K. Johnson (Hendrickson, Skogman), 0:47; 6, GOAL, Hendrickson (K. Johnson, Comstock), 10:30 a.m.

Third Period – No score.

Records – Weidemann (BHS) 46; Work (WAR) 8.