Mack's two goals carry East Grand Forks over Bemidji
East Grand Forks Senior High star forward Tanner Mack's two goals gave Bemidji coach Eric Monsrud a flashback.
And not because Mack also had two goals earlier this year in a win at Bemidji.
Monsrud played three years of college hockey at Bemidji State with Mack's dad, Jason.
"His dad was the same way," Monsrud said. "Tenacious on the puck and an excellent player."
Tanner was the difference in a 3-2 win over Bemidji on Thursday at the Civic Center, scoring 17 seconds into the game and again to mostly put the Lumberjacks away in the third period.
Mack scored his 14th and 15th goals of the season in the Green Wave's 15th game of the year, leading East Grand Forks to a 12-3-0 record.
Bemidji dropped to 6-9-0.
"I thought we played OK," Mack said. "I thought our effort could have been a lot better. Credit to Bemidji they came hard and came to play."
Unlike a 6-2 loss to the Wave earlier this year, this time Bemidji made East Grand Forks sweat it out until the final buzzer.
After Mack and Josh Nelson scored first-period goals for Senior High, Bemidji cut the lead to 2-1 in the second period with Chase Fillipi's goal from the blue line through traffic.
Mack finally gave East Grand Forks some breathing room at 10:53 of the third. Linemate Cole Avery won a battle for a puck in the corner and found Mack who wiggled free around the net and scored high on Bemidji goalie Broc Waldhausen, who finished with 20 saves.
With an extra attacker, Bemidji cut the East Grand Forks lead to 3-2 with 35 seconds remaining. Bjorn Jorgenson's shot from straight away weaved through bodies to beat East Grand Forks goalie Tucker Brown (21 saves).
But Bemidji was barely able to get Waldhausen out of the net in the final 30 seconds as East Grand Forks was able to keep the puck deep in the Lumberjacks' zone.
"We knew we'd have to have a bend but don't break," Monsrud said. "We were able to do that and the goalie kept us in there but we couldn't get that tying goal."
East Grand Forks coach Tyler Palmiscno was pleased with the play of his top line of Mack, Carter Beck and Avery—especially on the game-winning goal.
"That line has been good for us for the last month and a half," Palmiscno said. "Avery and Beck are making plays and forechecking hard. Those three work so hard."
On the game-winning goal, Palmiscno said Beck was disruptive on the forecheck and Avery won a footrace as Mack put the goal away. He said it's indicative of the trio.
"It's been really fun to play well together," Mack said of his line. "We work extremely hard and I think that's what pays off. We seem to find bounces and that's how we score."