With postseason play around the proverbial corner, the Spuds and Lumberjacks got a chance to play in a playoff-style atmosphere.
There was defense, physical play and a natural flow. The only thing that didn’t meet the playoff game requisite was the finish as the contest ended in a 1-1 tie.
We love this kind of game, this is a section final kind of game,” said Bemidji head coach Rick Toward. “As much as we like to score goals, this is the kind of game we’ll have to play. We’ve had to win some low-scoring games against the better teams we’ve played. We want that pressure. That’s what it takes. There won’t be any easy games. That’s the environment we want to be in.”
A close-to-the-vest contest throughout, neither team generated a high volume of great scoring chances. Moorhead’s Abditafah Ibrahim wreaked some havoc with his speed. He had a grade-A chance to score in the first half, but was denied by Bemidji goalie Adam Laakso. Silas Hess, who scored the game-winning goal in Bemidji’s 2-1 win over Moorhead earlier in September, also had his share of scoring chances and missed on a point-blank header early in the second half.
The Spuds looked like they may had taken control of the game after Ibrahim got behind the Bemidji defense and beat Laakso for a goal in the 65th minute. Bemidji’s Linaes Whiting had a chance to even things up minutes later but missed on a point-blank header.
The Lumberjacks showed no quit though, and after forcing a turnover, Silas Hess found a loose ball and placed a perfect left-footed kick past Moorhead’s Caden Triggs to even things in the 75th minute.
But as most of the game went, the scoring opportunities beyond that were scarce. And in the 10 minutes of overtime, neither team seemed to mount much of an attack.
It’s the kind of game both teams want to get comfortable playing heading down the stretch of the regular season.
“We kept our heads well, it was a much cleaner game for us,” said Moorhead head coach Ben Patrie. “Exactly the kind of game we want at this time of year. We were hoping to make more of a statement but the competition is excellent. This game is huge for us.”
Hess had a chance to essentially win the game on a penalty kick in the final minute but was denied by Triggs.
“We had opportunities to win that game,” said Hess. “It’s nice that we can score. In that type of game, it’s good for us.”
Bemidji moves to 9-2-2 on the season and plays again Saturday at Sartell-St. Stephen. Moorhead moves to 12-2-1 and wraps up its regular season Thursday against Fargo North.
“First time we played these guys was rough,” said Ibrahim. “We had a lot of penalties and it was just sloppy. Today was a lot better. We had some good chances. We didn’t finish that last few minutes but that’s a really good team. That’s a good game for us.”
Moorhead and Bemidji have scored goals in surplus this season, so It seemed fitting that when the two teams met up Thursday, defense would ultimately prevail.
Moorhead and Bemidji tied 1-1 in the Class A, Section 8 match-up at Moorhead High School.
Abditafah Ibrahim broke a scoreless bout in the 65th minute, using his speed to get behind the Bemidji defense and beat goal keeper Adam Laakso for a score.
The Lumberjacks responded 10 minutes later when Silas Hess placed a perfect left-footed kick past Moorhead’s Caden Triggs.
Hess had a chance to essentially win the game with a penalty kick in the final minute, but was denied by Triggs.
The overtime session was much like regulation. Neither team mounted much pressure on net and neither team going home with a loss as a result.
Moorhead moves to 12-2-1 on the season while Bemidji goes to 9-2-2.
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