It was almost too perfect.
Crookston moves a home game to Red Lake Falls to honor the three girls in a co-op with Lafayette High School and all three play outstanding as the Pirate girls' hockey team defeated Roseau, ranked No. 11 in Class AA, 4-2 Thursday at Cardin-Hunt Arena.
Pirate senior Brianna Breiland was the best player on the ice by a long shot, scoring all four of her team's goals. She is currently tied for the most goals in Minnesota Girls' Hockey with 18. Pirate senior Natasha Skala was rock solid on the blue line and notched three assists. Pirate junior Brooke Schmitz didn't make it on the score sheet but was a +4 for the game.
"This fulfilled our career," said Skala, who was released from the hospital on Tuesday after dealing with kidney issues. "It feels like the beginning of the season. I just kind of ignored it. I knew this was not a game we could afford to give up."
Schmitz said after the win, "This boosts us up a lot. It was awesome."
Breiland was excited to play a game on her home ice.
"I haven't played here since 10U," she explained. "It was amazing. It shows we can beat anyone. The atmosphere was great. Everyone is on top of us."
Pirate eighth grade goalie Lexie Cormican made 17 saves in the first period and 34 for the night to earn her second career victory. Roseau goalie Bridget Slater recorded 20 saves in the loss.
The Pirates got off to a great start with Breiland scoring 43 seconds after the drop of the puck off a pass from sophomore Abby Parr. Breiland came into the zone on the left side, beat a defender to get to the slot and slid the puck under the glove for a 1-0 lead.
Cormican and the Pirates killed off Roseau's 28-second, two-man advantage in the middle of the first period and went into the intermission with momentum.
Roseau's Gracie Olson tied the game with 4:21 left in the second period.
The Pirates busted out in the third period with three straight goals by Breiland. The first came at the 3:36 mark, shorthanded, when she received a perfect pass from Skala in the neutral zone that sprung her for a breakaway and she slipped it past the stick with a backhand. The second came at 9:20, on another breakaway where Breiland jammed it past Slater's pad on assists from Skala and freshman Sabrina Delorme. The natural hat trick was complete a little more than a minute later when Breiland poked it home off a Skala pass, 20 seconds into a power play.
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Roseau's Tianna Gunderson made it 4-2 with 2:34 left to play but Roseau, which falls to 4-4-1, couldn't get any closer.
The Pirates impove to 4-3 on the season and will host Bemidji, another Class AA team, Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m.