The Grand Forks Knightriders were opportunistic with their scoring chances, scoring four unanswered goals, to defeat the Crookston Pirate girls hockey team 5-2 in a game played at the Crookston Sports Center on Tuesday night.

First Period
Crookston coach Tim Moe said before the game, “We want to get off to a good start and play with the lead.” He got what he wanted as Freshman Reese Swanson, who had three goals on Friday, added one tonight just 38 seconds into the game on a shot from near the top of the circles to give Crookston a 1-0 lead. “I don’t think Reese was shooting to score, but shooting to get a rebound, but when you are going good, things like that happen,” said Moe. “We need the rest of the team to start doing that. We need to start shooting more.”  Crookston’s lead was short lived as Grand Forks (a co-op of Grand Forks Red River and Grand Forks Central) would tie it up seven minutes into the game when Morgan Stenseth walked from the corner, put a shot on net and Emily Becker was there to poke in the rebound and it was a 1-1 game. Later the Pirates took the only penalty of the period and the KnightRiders scored on the power play on a shot from the point by Maya Tellmann that trickled off the glove of Pirate goalie, Kailee Magsam and the KnightRiders took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. “That was a period where I thought the play was mostly in their end,” said Coach Moe, “we had some chances as well but never seemed to get it to the right person in front or get a shot through from the blue line. Plus, we should have shot more as you think you outplay them and it’s 6 to 6 in shots.”

Second Period
Penalties took center stage for Crookston in the second period, particularly for the Pirates Swanson who 32 seconds into the period took a five-minute major penalty for head contact. Crookston was 28 seconds from skating that off when Grand Forks scored the only goal of the period on a shot from Tellmann from the point that appeared to hit Magsam’s stick, pop up to her glove, and the in the net for their second power play goal and a 3-1 lead five minutes into the period. About nine minutes later, it was deja vu. Swanson was whistled for another five minute major for checking from behind, which was also a game misconduct, and the Pirates leading scorer was ejected from the game and will miss one more game, which is at Thief River Falls on Thursday. “In all my years coaching girl’s hockey, I don’t remember us getting a major penalty ever,” said Moe, “let alone, one girl getting two in one period!!” Tellmann who had one goal on the season coming into tonight now has three! “It was the circumstances that Reese was in,” said Moe. “People were saying that the girl was going down when Reese checked her, but the girl did suffer a cut, but was OK. These are things that we have to learn about as a team.” Crookston had 14 minutes of penalty minutes in the game. “I told the girl’s that the Detroit Lakes games previously we took four penalties in the third period which was more than we had all season up to that point,” said Moe, “Now tonight! We have to have more discipline, we’re not good enough to be in the penalty box all the time.” Toward the end of the period, the Pirates had a 48-second four-on-three power play.  They had several chances in front of the KnightRiders net but couldn’t get it past the goalie.

Third Period
Crookston started the third period with another penalty but was able to skate that off for the first three minutes of the period. Grand Forks would score first in the period on a nice rush by sophomore center, Averi Greenwood who came into the Crookston zone, worked around a Pirate defenseman neatly and was in alone on Magsam and able to beat her to give the KnightRiders a 4-1 lead. “Yeah, that might have been the dagger,” said Moe. “Down by two you can cut it in half and maybe tie it, but when you’re down three goals and 11 minutes to go, that is tough.” Crookston would get their second goal just under two minutes to go when Pirate senior captain defenseman, Mackenzie Epema let a wrist shot go from just inside the blue line to the left of the goal that got past the netminder and Epema’s first goal of the season and it was 4-2. “That was what we’re talking about, “said Moe, “Kenzie put it on net and good things usually happen when you do that.” With about 38 seconds to go in the game, Crookston pulled their goalie, and the KnightRiders leading scorer, Shaley Richards, was able to put in her 21st goal of the season on the empty net to make it a 5-2 win for Grand Forks. “You know the girl’s never quit working in the game,” said Moe. “I liked that effort, and although we outshot them 31-21, we have to get more quality shots, passes, and people in front to distract these goalies. We’ve played some very good goalies during this stretch.”
Crookston drops to 4-5 on the season and travel to Thief River Falls on Thursday. “Thief River Falls beat us with an open net goal 3-1 last time at our rink,” said Coach Moe. “We will be a little shorthanded going there on Thursday, but it will all hands on deck and this stretch with Thief River Falls, East Grand Forks, and Detroit Lakes. We could solidify a top seed with wins against those teams.”
Grand Forks is 11-6 on the season and then will play at East Grand Forks on Thursday and out to Bismarck, N.D. on Saturday

Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Grand Forks 2 1 2 5

1st Period
16:22 – Crox – Reese Swanson (6) (Mackenzie Epema)
10:06 – GF – Emily Becker (Morgan Stenseth, Quinn Fournier)
3:38 – GF – Maya Tellmann (Shaley Richards, Morgan Stenseth)   (PP)

2nd Period
11:56 –  GF – Maya Tellmann (Morgan Stenseth)   (PP)

3rd Period
12:18 – GF – Averi Greenwood  unassisted
1:49 – Crox – Mackenzie Epema (1) (Morgan Nelson, Parker Strand)
0:07 –  GF – Shaley Richard (Annika Presteng)   (empty net)

Saves 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Kaylee Baker – GF 5 13 11 29
Kailee Magsam – Crox 4 5 7 16