Pirate senior center Brianna Breiland, battling painful kidney stones, scored her fifth and sixth goals of the young season.
For years Crookston Girls' Hockey dominated Thief River Falls, but the only thing constant is change. The Prowlers, ranked No. 6, won their third consecutive meeting against the Pirates, ranked No. 12, Tuesday 5-3 in Thief River Falls.
Thief River Falls' Emily Bergland scored back-to-back goals late in the game, giving the Prowlers a 5-2 lead midway through the third period.
Pirate senior center Brianna Breiland, battling painful kidney stones, scored her fifth and sixth goals of the young season to keep the Pirates in the game but it wasn't enough.
Pirate eighth grade goalie Lexie Cormican, making her second career varsity start in goal, recorded 30 saves. Thief River Falls' Frances Marshall had 11 saves in goal.
"The Pirates had seven girls miss all or part of practice on Monday night and I feel that carried over into the game against Thief River Falls," explained Pirate co-head coach Jeff Perreault in an email interview. "We weathered the storm in the first behind some excellent goaltending from Lexie Cormican.
"The second period was penalty filled with the Pirates putting the Prowlers on the powerplay way too often," Perreault continued. "We only gave up one powerplay goal but playing special teams for half a period takes us out of our normal rotation and in a warm building takes a lot out of the players that play special teams."
In the first period, Sylvia Marolt put the Prowlers on the board at the 6:16 mark and Thief River Falls controlled the play for much of the period, outshooting the Pirates 13-3. The Pirates went into the first intermission tied, however, thanks to a goal by Breiland with less than a minute left. Freshman Sabrina Delorme passed the puck into the slot and Breiland turned and fired on the loose puck, beating Marshall down low.
Thief River Falls answered with a pair of goals off rebounds early in the second period by Jordan Solheim at the 3:50 mark and Callie Fagerstrom on a power play at 6:02.
The Pirates cut the deficit to one goal with 4:50 remaining in the second period when eighth grade forward Macy Strem came off the bench, got fed a pass from junior center Lizzy Awender, and skated in all alone, beating Marshall with a wrist shot past her stick.
"Macy Strem showed up on the score sheet with a break away goal in which she showed a lot of confidence wristing it past the Prowler goalie," noted Perreault. "Any time we get scoring from our third line we as a coaching staff are pleased."
Bergland lifted the Prowlers to a 4-2 lead with 2:13 left in the second period with a perfectly placed wrist shot to the top shelf over Cormican's glove.
Bergland made it 5-2 at the 8:02 mark of the third period but Breiland responded 44 seconds later with a power play goal on an assist from freshman defenseman Nicole Goosen.
"Overall the Prowlers put a lot of sustained pressure on us in our end mostly due to the lack of sharpness with our breakout passes," Perreault said. "I do like how hard we worked and the never die attitude on the bench. All three of our captains played through some form of sickness and showed great leadership and determination to be there for their team. That is what makes this team a lot of fun to coach!"
The Pirates fall to 1-2 on the season and will compete in the Thief River Falls tournament Friday and Saturday against Park Rapids and Eveleth-Gilbert.