In the biggest game of the season, against No. 4 ranked East Grand Forks, the Pirates came out with energy and effort, but could not keep pace with the Green Wave offense, losing 7-2.
"We played great," said Pirate head coach Jon Bittner. "This is one of the better teams that Crookston has had in a long time. We were dejected. We wanted to win last night. The attitude is good, though. The boys are banding together to keep on working, keep on playing, keep on growing.
"We are going to Hastings and Red Wing to win," Bittner continued about the team's upcoming road trip. "Tomorrow is another day, another day to be successful. You can't change yesterday but you can change today and tomorrow.
Pirate junior Parker Epema recorded 22 saves in goal. Tanner Lindstrom had 21 saves in goal for the Green Wave.
After the first period, the Pirates trailed 1-0 despite outshooting the Green Wave 8-2.
Kolton Aubol scored the East Grand Forks goal in the first period with 2:26 left. Brandon Loven gave the Green Wave a 2-0 lead with each team short a skater at the 1:43 mark of the second period.
The Pirates answered about a minute later, though, as senior winger Connor Morgan put a strong shot on net and the rebound came to senior Ryan Edevold, who put it past Lindstrom for his 13th goal of the season.
The Green Wave answered right back, however, killing any momentum that was building for Crookston. Reed Corbid scored just 12 seconds later to make it 3-1. Loven then added his second goal with 6:14 left on a power play and Nick Korynta made it 5-1 with about two minutes remaining.
The East Grand Forks blitz continued into the third period as Dixon Bowen extended the lead to 6-1 at the 8:57 mark and Nathan Peabody made it 7-1 with 2:02 left.
Pirate junior defenseman Justin Cameron notched his second goal of the season with 40 seconds left on a power play with assists from senior winger Dylan Klatt and Edevold.
East Grand Forks, who improves to 16-2-2 on the season, also beat Crookston 7-2 on Dec. 20. The Green Wave are 5-0-1 against the Pirates in the last six meetings between the rivals. The last Crookston win came on Dec. 23, 2010 with a 3-2 victory in overtime.
Falling to 9-12 on the season and 5-6 in Section 8A play, the Pirates will go on the road to face Hastings Thursday and Red Wing on Saturday. The regular season then wraps up on Feb. 8 against Lake of the Woods in Baudette and Feb. 12 at home against Red Lake Falls.