Bergquist’s zip is Lightning’s zap
Joey Bergquist’s season didn’t start like he hoped.
In the second game of the season, the Northern Lakes Lightning were destroyed by Class 2A’s Brainerd Warriors 10-2. Bergquist was in goal.
“That Brainerd game I knew all those guys and I kind of psyched myself out,” said Bergquist. “I just needed to calm down. I talked with my dad after that and he settled me down a bit.”
Since then Bergquist has been a wall.
The junior for the 14-8-2 Lightning concluded the regular season with 24 saves in a 4-0 victory over the Prairie Center North Stars Feb. 15. It was his first shutout of the season and he followed it with a 2-0 shutout against the same North Stars in the Section 6-1A opening round. The two-year starter collected 29 saves in that game.
“He loves this game,” said Northern Lakes head coach Shawn Chambers. “He works at it all the time. He played in an Elite Prep League last offseason and he came into the year with some confidence by just making that team. He played some really good games and that gave him some confidence right away.
“Then he had that bad game against Brainerd. Four games later I had a talk with both my goalies and told them they were about equal. Someone needed to step up and when we played Little Falls he had 60 saves.”
Northern Lakes lost 3-2 in overtime, but Bergquist regained his confidence. Through 24 games he had 639 saves, a save percentage of 92.6 and a goals-against average of 2.7. Chambers was quick to point out that Bergquist’s’ save percentage ranked him in the top 10 in the state and in the top 15 for saves.
The Lightning were 7-1-1 in their last nine games heading into Tuesday’s Section 6-1A game with the second-seeded Sartell Sabres. Bergquist had not lost in February.
He recorded 14 saves in 9-3 win over Wadena-Deer Creek Feb. 10. He made 49 saves in a 4-4 tie with Red Lake Falls and finished with 19 saves in a 3-1 win over Bagley-Fosston Feb. 2.
“Our recent success is probably 80 percent on him,” said Chambers. “He stops a lot of pucks and keeps us in every game. We get outshot almost every game. We don’t want to shoot the puck and I can’t figure that out.
“We have been able to get early leads in a handful of games and Joey shuts the door for us. The kids have a lot of confidence in him. They know we only need a couple of goals to have a chance.”
Last season, splitting time with Tyler Carraway, Bergquist finished with 353 saves, 89.6-percent save percentage and 2.9 goals-against average.
“Just looking at my stats I’ve gotten a lot better than last year,” said Bergquist, who has aspirations of playing hockey at the next level. “I figured I would be seeing the ice a lot more this year.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Caleb Janson, Pierz, broke the Pierz school record for rebounds in a season and finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds against Kimball.
Kurtis Moody, Pequot Lakes, scored 27 points against Duluth Marshall and 28 against Crosby-Ironton.
Cole Hunstad, Pillager, scored 30 points against Northland.
Zach Meidinger, Verndale, finished with 30 points and six steals against Staples-Motley.
Caleb Baker, Crosby-Ironton, scored 20 points against Pequot Lakes.
Jordan Reed, Wadena-Deer Creek, scored 27 points against Park Rapids.
Eli Beachy, Staples-Motley, scored 22 points against Detroit Lakes.
Matt Valentine, Little Falls, scored 20 points against St. Cloud Cathedral.
Nordic skiing: Ricky Devine, Little Falls, earned all-state honors at the state meet.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at jeremy. firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.