The Little Falls Flyers used their size, speed, and depth to beat the Crookston Pirate Boys Hockey team in a 7-3 victory at the Crookston Sports Center.  Little Falls outshot the Pirates 46-17 in the game.

Little Falls came out of the gates with a lot of energy and was able to get steady pressure the entire period.   Almost halfway through the first period, Little Falls scored the first goal of the game when Reece Hubbard was able to find the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.  About 30 seconds later, Crookston took a penalty, and Little Falls was on the power play.  It looked like Crookston was going to kill off the power play, but with 15 seconds left in the one-man advantage, Little Falls scored to take a 2-0 lead.  “I thought that was the turning point in the game,” said Pirate Coach Josh Hardy. “If you look at a point in the game that it changed, that would be it.”  Crookston had a few quality scoring chances in the final five minutes of the period, but they couldn’t find the back of the net, and Little Falls took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.  “I thought we looked good at times, defensively we were pretty poor.  We were playing on a back-to-back and we can’t go in the box because good teams make you pay.”

Little Falls was controlling play in the second period, and Crookston took a penalty about five minutes into the period while trying to stop one of the Little Falls players in the corner.  Little Falls had three good shots on goal, and Noah Dragseth made some excellent saves.  With a few seconds left in the Little Falls power play, they finally found the back of the net off a rebound when Robby Kuchinski-Helgeson scored his second goal of the game.   Little Falls scored their fourth goal of the game less than two minutes later for a 4-0 lead.  Little Falls continued to hammer the Crookston zone and scored another goal less than a minute later for a 5-0 lead. “It was boom, boom, boom there,” said Coach Hardy. “We got in some penalty trouble and that didn’t help us.” Crookston made a change in goal, and that seemed to give the Pirates a little bit of a spark as Ben Andringa sped past a defender and scored on a beautiful wrist shot to get Crookston on the board, trailing 5-1 with 6:20 left in the period.   Crookston took a penalty, but that didn’t seem to phase them as Jack Doda stole the puck away from a Little Falls defenseman and went in on a breakaway and found the left side of the net for a short-handed goal and the Pirates trailed 5-2 with 2:47 left in the period. “I was happy with how the guys kept battling and to get those two goals was nice to see,” said Coach Hardy. “We kept playing hard and started to play a little better defensively.”  Little Falls took away any momentum the Pirates were building when they scored 31 seconds later to take a 6-2 lead with 2:16 left.  Neither team scored in the final minutes of the period and Little Falls took a 6-2 lead into the second intermission.  “That was a tough period,” said Coach Hardy. “We didn’t play as well as we have in the previous games.  We took too many penalties and some of that might have had to do with the pressure they put on us.”

The third period was similar to the first two as Little Falls used their size to control the game and had some good scoring opportunities early in the period, but Pirate goalie Carter Nelson made some tremendous saves.  Little Falls finally wore down the Pirate defense and scored with 9:41 left in the period to take a 7-2 lead.  Little Falls started to play their third line and some other players that hadn’t played a lot in the first two periods the rest of the way and play started to even out the rest of the period.  Late in the game, Joe Doda dumped a pass to his younger brother, Jack Doda, who was all alone for a breakaway to score with 10 seconds left in the game to bring Crookston within a 7-3 deficit, and that is how the game would end.  “It was a tough go for us today and Little Falls has a nice team,” said Coach Hardy. “I thought we didn’t play like we are capable and that was disappointing.  Since it was the second game in less than 24 hours, that might have hurt us.  We played well at times, but when we didn’t they made us pay.”
Crookston drops to 0-3 on the year and will host Warroad on Tuesday. Little Falls improves to 3-1-1.  J.V. – Little Falls won 6-0.

Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Little Falls 2 4 1 7

1st Period
7:35 – LF – Reece Hubbard (Gabe Hirsch, Joe Majerle)
5:00 – LF – Robby Kuchinski-Helgeson (Matt Filippi, Reece Hubbard)  PP

2nd Period
10:24 – LF – Robby Kuchinski-Helgeson (Joe Majerle, Reece Hubbard)  PP
8:45 – LF – Nicholas Stevens (Reece Hubbard)
7:54 – LF – Gunnar Gustafson (Matt Filippi)
6:20 – Crox – Ben Andringa (Leyton Salentine, Kaleb Thingelstad)
2:47 – Crox – Jack Doda
2:16 – LF – Matt Filippi (Reece Hubbard)

3rd Period
9:41 – LF – Robby Kuchinski-Helgeson (Matt Filippi, Reece Hubbard)
0:10 – Crox – Jack Doda (Nick Schulz, Joe Doda)

Saves 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Dane Couture – LF 7 3 4 14
Noah Dragseth – Crox 14 5 19
Carter Nelson – Crox 11 9 20