Laker strikers start out 1-1-1; tie with Alex and lose to Bemidji
Despite outshooting the home-team Bemidji by a 22-13 margin, the Detroit Lakes boys' soccer team suffered its first defeat of the season with a 3-2 loss to the Lumberjacks.
A couple of injuries hindered DL's flow in the second half, leading to quick back-to-back goals by Bemidji to erase a 2-1 deficit.
Junior midfielder David Jonason's goal two minutes in the second half gave the Lakers a 2-1 advantage, but a shoulder stinger to Martin Lanning --who was playing in the place of senior midfielder Brandon Baker, after he suffered a sprained ankle against Alexandria Saturday -- disrupted the flow for the visitors.
It led to goals by Bemidji, four minutes apart from each other, against a flat-footed DL defense.
"One tough thing is we had to adjust to Baker being hurt, forcing us to move David Jonason up front and Lanning moving to defense," said DL head coach Justin Wegleitner. "After Martin's injury, it slowed up our defense and they were pretty flat-footed the rest of the second half."
After DL held the Lumberjacks to just two shots on net the first half, Bemidji had 11 in the second.
The Lakers (1-1-1) had several near misses for goals in the second, as junior defenseman Charlie Smith's 35-yard half volley was inches away from going in the net, but instead screened it on the upper left corner.
Senior midfielder Jon Carter also had two shots deflect off posts.
"It was just that kind of day for us," Wegleitner said. "But the guys were able to create some scoring opportunities."
The first DL goal was aided by a Bemidji defenseman, after a Joe Thompson shot deflected off him and past the Lumberjack goalie.
That led to a 1-1 halftime tie.
DL goalie Alex Guetter took the loss in the net after rounding up 10 saves.
The Lakers followed up their season-opening win over Fergus Falls with a 2-2 comeback tie in Alexandria Saturday.
The Cardinals are traditionally a deep and talented team, but the Lakers played even with them throughout most of the first half.
Alexandria had a 7-5 shots on goal edge in the first half, as the two teams dueled to a scoreless halftime.
"Alexandria was able to pressure our side of the field some, but our defense held them out of the net," Wegleitner said.
The Cardinals scored 20 minutes into the second half, on a rebound off of Guetter after a good save, and struck for a 2-0 lead two minutes later.
Alexandria kept the pressure on, recording three more solid shots on net, but Guetter made each and every save for the rest of the game to hold DL in it.
With adversity staring them in the face, the Lakers responded quickly by cutting the lead in half, on a hard shot by Jonason on a nice pass from Carter from about 10 yards out.
Three minutes later, DL tied the score at 2-2, with the same duo, but in different roles. This time Jonason picked up the assist for Carter, who marked his shot on the inside left post.
"Getting that first goal was big, because there was only 12 minutes left in regulation and we would have been forced to change our entire approach," Wegleitner said.
Guetter finished with 13 saves, while DL had 15 shots on net.
"Being down 2-0 against a good team like Alexandria and coming back to tie it was nice, because it showed we can pick up the pace and respond to some adversity," the DL coach added.
The Lakers will host Hillcrest, which is another tough opponent, on Thursday.
"Starting out 1-1-1 against some pretty good teams is close to where we want to be," Wegleitner said. "It's not a bad point to be at."
Thursday's game against Hillcrest starts at 5 p.m. on the Rotary Soccer Field Complex.