The Crookston Pirates Girl’s Hockey team opened the 2021 season on Thursday night with a 3-1 loss to the Thief River Prowlers, who got three goals from sisters Shelby and Jayden Breiland, in a Section 8A game played at the Crookston Sports Center. 

The opening 30 seconds of the game saw the first shot on goal of the year for the Pirates as Brekken Tull found a loose puck in the high slot and turned to fire it on goal. The Pirates would then go on a power play as Shelby Breiland went off for two minutes for checking but Crookston was unable to find the back of the net while getting two shots on the power play.  At 12:06 to play in the period, the Prowlers worked the puck deep from when Carli Prickett played the puck from the left point in deep to Jenae Johnson who got it the right half wall for Shelby Breiland. Brieland walked in off the right wall side-stepping the Pirates defenseman and beating goaltender Kailee Magsam to the glove side. “You can’t blame Kailee (Magsam-Pirate Goalie) on that one,” said Crookston head coach Tim Moe, “it was just a give away in the middle of the ice to a kid that is going to Bemidji State. That’s not who you want to give the puck away to.”  Thief River Falls seemed to have a lot more jump after the Breiland goal and started bottling the Pirates up. “They did and I think it carried over to the second period as well,” said Moe, “they are not a bad hockey team. They are solid with a couple of players that can really play.” The Pirates would get a penalty shot with 2:57 to go in the period when Nora Peterson was pulled down from behind on a breakaway. On the penalty shot Peterson skated in and tried to work to the right post but Prowlers goaltender Gabriella Steele stayed out high and followed Peterson before making a stick save to keep it a 1-0 game. “I think I got into her head a bit,” said Moe, “I should of let go as she has a heck of a shot, but we know what their goalie strengths are and we thought a deke would be a better idea and unfortunately it didn’t work out.” The shots on goal in the first period were 5-3 in favor of the Pirates. 

In the second period, the Prowlers were able to tilt the ice to their advantage as they built on their early lead.  With 13:32 to go in the period, Shelby Breiland played the puck from the left circle Johnson who connected with Jayden Breiland coming down the right side off the blue. Breiland collected Johnson’s pass and wired a shot from the top of the right circle into the pack of the net for a 2-0 lead. The Prowlers continued to pressure the Pirates and just 90 seconds later a shot rolled over the pads of Magsam and was sitting on the goal line where Kenze Epema was able to swat it away. Midway through the period the Prowlers would go on the power play but would manage just one shot as Epema led the penalty kill breaking up several passes and registering a blocked shot. During the last five minutes of the period, the Pirates started to gain more offensive zone time but were unable to muster many shots on goal. Thief River Falls outshot the Pirates 11-3 in the second period. “They did,” said Moe, “but I thought we had some chances as well.”

In a fast-paced third period, the Pirates would cut the Prowler lead in half with 10:28 to play when Brekken Tull picked up a loose puck in the slot and fired it home for her first career goal to make it 2-1 Thief River Falls. “It was the first game as a Pirate for Brekken and we expect big things from her,” said Moe, “she could have played high school girls hockey last year but decided to play Bantams (boy’s hockey) instead and I think it made her stronger.”  Both teams continued back and forth play until the Pirates went on the power play with 5:19 to play. The Pirates were strong on the power play but were unable to find the equalizer. “We talked between the second and third periods,” said Moe, “that we have to smarter on how we do things. Hit the net when we have a chance, we’re moving the puck too much, working it in too deep. Things we are working on and we’ll get better.” The Pirates pulled the goaltender with 45 seconds to play but Shelby Breiland was able to collect a puck in the defensive zone and race up ice. As Breiland crossed the blue line she fired a shot toward the open net that hit the left post and ricocheted out to the right circle where Breiland was able to get her own rebound and put the puck into the empty net for a 3-1 lead with 22 seconds to play. The Prowlers outshot the Pirates 8-5 in the period and 21-13 in the game. “It was a good girl’s hockey game,” said Moe. “Our first two games with East Grand Forks tomorrow night are good early tests for us as these are two programs that we are trying to close the gap with and have emulated them for the past few years. The girls will be able to come right back tomorrow and a chance to close the gap further.”

Crookston will take their 0-1 record tomorrow night when they host East Grand Forks at 7:30 PM and that game will be STREAMED at  Thief River Falls takes their 1-0 record to Roseau for a Saturday afternoon game.
JV-  Crookston won 3-1

Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Thief River Falls 1 1 1 3


1st Period
12:06 – TRF – Shelby Breiland (Jenae Johnson, Carli Prickett)

2nd Period
13:32 – TRF – Jayden Breiland (Jenae Johnson, Shelby Breiland)

3rd Period
10:28 – Crookston – Brekken Tull    unassisted
:22 – TRF – Shelby Breiland    unassisted    (open net) 

Saves 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Gabriella Steele-TRF 5 3 5 13
Kailee Magsam – Crox 2 10 7 19