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BOYS HOCKEY: Bemidji picks up big section win

BUFFALO -- Zak Justice, Hunter Olson and Joe Leitner each had a goal and an assist Saturday afternoon, helping the Bemidji High School boys hockey team earn a much-needed Section 8AA win over Buffalo on the road by a 4-1 score.

Justice opened the scoring for Bemidji (8-8) with just over a minute left in the first period, beating Buffalo goalie Nathan Mueller for the first lead of the game.

Early in the second, Bison (6-8) sophomore forward Jake Braccini tied it at 1-1, but it would be all the offense Buffalo would muster.

Olson scored the eventual game-winning goal at the 7:37 mark of the middle period, and Leitner added an insurance goal four minutes later to take a 3-1 lead into the final frame.

In the third, BHS junior Casey McNamara put the game away with a goal at the 4:26 mark, and the Jacks held fast for the 4-1 win.

Bemidji goalie Matt Fitzgerald saved 15 of the 16 Bison shots he faced, while the Jacks put 21 shots on goal at the other end.

The Lumberjacks return to their home rink with a three-game winning streak to host Class A No. 4 East Grand Forks at 7:30 Thursday, Jan. 18, at Bemidji Community Arena.

Bemidji 4, Buffalo 1

BHS 1 2 1 -- 4

BUF 0 1 0 -- 1

First Period -- 1, BHS, Justice (Leitner) 15:52.

Second Period -- 2, BUF, J. Braccini (Nelson) 4:53; 3, BHS, Olson (Pogue) 7:37; 4, BHS, Leitner (Justice, Dondelinger) 11:24.

Third Period -- 4, BHS, McNamara (Olson) 4:26.

Goaltending (Shots-Saves) -- BHS, Fitzgerald (16-15); BUF, Mueller (17-21).