The Crookston Pirates Girl’s Hockey team hadn’t played a game in two weeks after their opening 7-1 win over Thief River Falls. They shook the rust off with lineup adjustments to defeat the previous 3-0 Northern Lakes Lightning 4-1 in Breezy Point. The Pirates had senior goalie Jacey Larson playing her first-ever varsity game and she stoned the Lightning with 32 saves in the win.

Crookston’s Brynley Coleman, a sophomore from Hatton, N.D., who didn’t score a goal last year and didn’t play the Pirates first game, struck first using her speed gaining entrance into the Lightning zone and slid a nice crisp shot that beat the goalie and just over a minute and a half into the game the Pirates had a 1-0 lead. “It was good to get that first goal quick,” said Crookston head coach Emily Meyer,’ with not playing for two weeks and having to shake up the lines and so, I was worried how we would start, but Brenly’s goal got us off to a good start.”  Northern Lakes tied it up as Kiana Landt took a pass from behind the Pirate net and snuck it past Larson for a 1-1 game. Then with Crookston having the edge in the offensive zone, the Pirates scored two goals in a minute to take a 3-1 lead. Brekken Tull had a pass to her in the high slot and sniped a shot by the Lightning goalie for a 2-1 lead and then Pirate eighth-grader Ashlyn Bailey, a defenseman carried the puck into Northern Lakes territory and after a scrum behind the Lightning net, the puck bounced out to the side of their goal and Bailey managed to get her stick on it and put a backhander in past the goalie was trying to get to the other side. “We took it to them in the last part of the second period,” said Meyer, “Brekken had a nice shot for her goal and Ashlyn used her speed and created the play and was in the right place to score to give a two-goal lead.”

The second period didn’t see any scoring but saw a lot of action from Crookston who put 16 shots on goal. Bailey rang one off the Northern Lights goal about three and a half minutes into the period but it remained a scoreless period with Larson and Katherine Stephens for Northern Lakes were sharp. Crookston rolled three lines through and showed good speed “I thought we really outplayed them in the second period,” said Meyer, “we just couldn’t get the puck to go in as their goalie played well but we didn’t have much luck in the period and the puck was in their zone most of the period.”

The third period was much like the second with neither team scoring for most of the period with Crookston continuing to pepper the Northern Lights goal and according to the official stats that Larson had 15 saves in the third period! Northern Lakes did a good job of jamming it up in front of their goalie which made it hard for Crookston to get pucks through from 10-15 feet in front and connecting on passes. When Northern Lakes pulled their goalie with just under three minutes left, the Pirates Reese Swanson snapped up a puck at center ice, skating past a Lightning defender and had the open net and put it right in the middle to cap off the scoring in a Pirate 4-1 win. “It was a good game for us, “said Meyer, “to play a physical team like this and kept our cool and just went along with our business. We played three lines, four defensemen throughout the game and it was great to see Jacey get the win in her first varsity start and playing well. She’s worked hard in practice and played like that tonight.”

With the win, Crookston improves to 2-0 and will play in the annual Ralph Engelstad Arena Holiday Classic in Thief River Falls on Friday and Saturday. The Pirates will play West Fargo, N.D. on Friday at 5:00 PM and Saturday morning at 10:00 AM will play Irondale. The West Fargo game will be on KROX RADIO starting at 4:30 PM. Northern Lakes suffered their first loss of the season and are now 3-1 on the year.

JV –  Crookston won 5-0

1st 2nd 3rd Total
Northern Lakes 1 0 0 1

1st Period
15:23 – Crox – Brynley Coleman (Samantha Sanders, Addie Fee)
12:40 – NL – Kiana Landt (Isabelle Lee)
5:12 – Crox – Brekken Tull (Aleah Bienek, Reese Swanson)
4:10 – Crox – Ashlyn Bailey unassisted

2nd Period
No scoring

3rd Period
2:34 – Crox – Reese Swanson (Empty net)

Saves 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Jacey Larson – Crox 8 9 15 32
Katherine Stephens – NL 15 16 12 43