Last season Park Rapids ended Crookston's season with a 3-1 win in the first round of the Section 8A Playoffs in Warroad.
While a regular season game does not come close to the magnitude of a playoff game, the Pirates got a hint of revenge Tuesday in Park Rapids with a 6-3 win with help from a hat trick by senior Brady Heppner.
"We played hard; we played well," said Pirate head coach Jon Bittner. "But we played like we were on the freeway at 70 miles per hour. We did not jump to 100 miles per hour until about two minutes left. Give Park Rapids credit, though, their goalie played well. They got opportunistic and took advantage of it."
Park Rapids made things very interesting when they came from being down 3-0 in the second intermission to tying the game at 3-3 with about seven minutes to play. Heppner scored the game-winning goal, though, with about five minutes left.
Heppner's linemates, sophomore Chandler St. Michel had two goals and senior Connor Morgan had two assists.
"Brady, Chandler and Connor are just clicking right now," Bittner said. "It's just awesome. They are going up and down the rink and they are not slow to anything. They were our best line over the weekend in Duluth."
Pirate senior Landon Stainbrook recorded 17 saves in goal. Cody Brumbaugh had 26 saves in goal for the Panthers.
"I thought he played fine," Bittner said of Stainbrook. "It's systematic. We are doing things purposefully."
Heppner got things going with his first goal at the 2:47 mark of the first period on an assist from Morgan. St. Michel made it 2-0 just 36 seconds later with an unassisted goal.
Senior Ryan Edevold made it 3-0 with the only goal of the second period on an assist from sophomore Montell Tate at the 4:55 mark.
Park Rapids fought back, though, when Noah Macpherson made it 3-1 at 6:04 of the third period. Frank Moren then added two goals at 8:42 and 10:10 to knot the game at 3-3.
But Heppner answered with a power play goal with 5:08 left on assists from Edevold and junior Kal Salentiny.
St. Michel made it a two-goal game with 1:46 left to play on assists from Heppner and Morgan. Heppner notched an empty net goal with 31 seconds remaining, sealing the deal.
Crookston was 1 for 2 on the power play and Park Rapids was 0 for 3.
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Now 6-2 on the season, the Pirates have a important meeting with the East Grand Forks Green Wave Thursday at 7:30 p.m.