HIBBING — After beating North Shore 5-0 way back on Nov. 27, Hibbing/Chisholm girls hockey coach Emily Erickson said she knew it would be different on Friday afternoon when the two teams met in the quarterfinals of the Section 7A Girls Hockey Tournament semifinals at the Hibbing Memorial Building Arena.
Erickson said she figured the Storm would be a much-improved team from the one the Bluejackets beat in late November and she was right. The Bluejackets jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the game only to watch North Shore battle back to tie the game. However, Bluejacket junior Allie Bussey answered back late in the middle period and that proved to be the difference as Hibbing/Chisholm topped North Shore 3-2.
A key moment came with under four minutes left when Hibbing/Chisholm senior goaltender Abby Edstrom stopped the Storm’s Gracie Komarek on a lone break to preserve the Bluejackets’ lead. Edstrom finished with 19 stops in the game.
With the victory, Hibbing/Chisholm will play No. 1 seed Proctor/Hermantown at 6 p.m. today in the Miners Memorial Building in Virginia with the winner earning the right to play in the section championship game which is set for Wednesday, Feb. 13, in Virginia.
“You definitely know both teams are going to bring their top game when it comes to playoff time and we knew they were going to give us a hard game,” said Erickson. “You have to make sure you are playing your game and you are creating good habits throughout the game. Our end goal is to make a trip to the state tournament so you need to do the little things during the game that are going to get you there.
“No matter who your opponent is, if you still beat them 5-0 during the regular season, you still need to take them seriously and North Shore definitely showed that tonight. They brought their A game and kept us on our toes which I think is a good thing going into Saturday because now we have to make sure we are sharp just like they made sure we were sharp tonight.”
Erickson said Edstrom’s stop during the lone break late in the game was key to the victory.
“It was huge. It shows the senior leadership we have there in the nets and I think it was a big momentum boost for our team,” Erickson said. “I like the way our entire team after that finished out and really stayed strong. They kept their focus, didn’t panic, kept playing their game and in the end we ended up winning on the scoreboard.”
North Shore coach Neva Maxwell said she expected her team to come out hard and play well on Friday, and she said her team did just that.
“We were hoping for a couple extra lucky bounces today, but our team shows up when they need to,” Maxwell said. “We played a great game. They did exactly what we had planned on doing; they played the perfect game that we had set up. It was fantastic.
“Hibbing is great at getting the puck in front of the net and finding the back of it. They made the most of their opportunities.
“We have a really strong junior class who will be seniors next year and we have a ton of younger players moving up. We are going to have a lot of eighth and ninth graders next year moving into spots.”
Emma Lundell got Hibbing/Chisholm off to a flying start as she scored just 2:06 into the game. However, that turned out to be the lone goal of the period as both Bluejackets goalie Edstrom and North Shore goalkeeper Maureen Dwyer kept the puck out of the net.
It appeared Hibbing/Chisholm was off and rolling as Julia Gherardi scored on a Bluejacket power play at the 6:44 mark of the second period to increase the lead to 2-0.
But the Storm battled back as they played their best hockey of the game in the first few minutes following the Bluejacket goal by Gherardi. North Shore cut the Hibbing/Chisholm lead to 2-1 at the 9:01 mark while on a power play when Megan Maxey found the back of the net.
Then, just a minute-and-a-half later, the Storm tied the game at 2-2 on a goal by Callie Klemmer. That set up the big goal by Bussey at the 13:55 mark on feeds from Lundell and Maddie Rewertz to put Hibbing/Chisholm ahead for good.
There was no scoring in the third period as Hibbing/Chisholm had the better of the play in outshooting North Shore 12-3. While Edstrom finished with 19 stops, North Shore goaltender Dwyer had 31.
Erickson said a penalty got her team in trouble during the stretch where North Shore scored both of its goals in the second period.
“You have to hand it to them, they found a way to score on their power play which is huge and you need to do that if you are going to have success in the postseason,” Erickson explained. “But we also have to find a way to make sure that our penalty-killing unit isn’t letting those goals in. We need them to play tough and weather the storm.
“The girls had a real nice start tonight in getting a two-goal lead in the beginning of the game which helped us grab the momentum. I just think we have to find a way to keep that energy rolling into Saturday and keeping it for all three periods rather than having little let-ups here and there.”
Erickson said Proctor/Hermantown, the Bluejackets’ opponent today, is a familiar foe in the playoffs. Hibbing/Chisholm played P/H two times during the season, losing 5-1 on Nov. 20, and then by a 3-2 score on Jan. 17.
“You have to respect any opponent you have and we definitely respect them,” Erickson said. “We have to make sure that we are ready to go both mentally and physically. It is always a good game between us in the playoffs and it always creates a good atmosphere. It will be fun for our girls to play in, it’s always a memorable game and hopefully we are the ones that come out of it with the smiles on our faces at the end of it.”
Erickson said the Bluejackets need a start similar to the one they had on Friday, and that they need to grab the momentum early.
“We need to play physical, play strong, and play fast,” Erickson said. “We have to focus on the nets, our defensive play and our offensive play too. We need to finish off on our offensive opportunities.”
North Shore 0 2 0 – 2
Hibbing/Chisholm 1 2 0 – 3
First period: 1. HC, Emma Lundell (Allie Bussey), 2:06.
Second period: 2. H/C, Julia Gherardi (Megan Bussey, Darian Carlson), 6:44 (pp); 3. NS, Megan Maxey (Jessie Ketola), 9:01 (pp); 4. NS, Callie Klemmer (Hope Ernest, Maxey), 10:37; 5. HC, Allie Bussey (Lundell, Maddie Rewertz), 13:55.
Third period: No scoring.
Goalie saves: Maureen Dwyer, NS, 12-7-12-31; Abby Edstrom, HC, 9-7-3-19; Total penalties: North Shore 2-for-4 minutes; Hibbing/Chisholm 3-for-6 minutes.
Hill City 56
CHISHOLM — The Chisholm High School boys basketball team ran past Hill City 95-56 in play Friday at home.
The Bluestreaks led 57-32 at the half.
Justin Pioske led Chisholm in scoring with 25 points. Harrison Reinke had 18 points, Jude Sundquist drilled four 3-pointers and scored 16 points, Eli Sundquist scored 11, and Alec Pessenda added 10.
NASHWAUK — The Nashwauk-Keewatin High School boys basketball team defeated Northland-Remer 92-32 in action Friday.
No more information was available.