Brianna Breiland recorded her sixth game with four or more goals Thursday to lead Crookston to a 4-0 win over Park Rapids in the first round of the Section 8A Playoffs.
Scoring four or more goals in a game is an incredible accomplishment.
The achievement has become unsurprising for Pirate senior defenseman Brianna Breiland, though, who recorded her sixth game with four or more goals Thursday to lead Crookston to a 4-0 win over Park Rapids in the first round of the Section 8A Playoffs.
"Brianna played a very good offensive and defensive game," said Pirate co-head coach Jeff Perreault. "She was creating scoring opportunities back there and that's what we wanted when we moved her to defense.
"She provided the offense," Perreault continued. "We were really solid defensively. We took care of things and that was nice to see because we will obviously need a big defensive effort against our next opponent."
Eighth grade goalie Lexie Cormican recorded 11 saves for the shutout victory as the Pirates advance to the section semifinals Monday against Warroad in East Grand Forks. The opening faceoff will be at 6 p.m. with the other semifinal between East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls to follow.
"Lexie had a couple of very nice saves tonight," Perreault noted. "She was playing with a pretty nasty ear infection. She hadn't been herself in the last couple practices. She had a gutsy performance tonight."
Breiland now has 53 goals in 24 games this season and needs four goals to tie Marlee Wheelhouse's school record of 150 career goals.
Coach Perreault says moving Breiland to the blue line creates more scoring opportunities for everyone on the ice.
"Moving her back there creates scoring depth," he said. "There are so many positives to having your best player out there every other shift. It's nice to see others getting some points and building their confidence. Several girls got on the scoresheet tonight.
"Tori Demarais had a very good game," Perreault noted. "Her first pass was right on all night long. That was a very solid performance by her."
Park Rapids netminder Shania Johnson had 32 saves, including 14 in the first period.
Breiland put the Pirates on the board with 1:38 left in the first period when her backhand from the slot tickled past Johnson. Freshman defenseman Tori Demarais and sophomore forward Abby Parr each assisted.
Park Rapids had two power plays in the opening period but the Crookston defense shut them out. The Pirates had one man advantage but didn't capitalize.
Just 34 seconds into the middle frame Breiland found the farside top corner of the net with a wrist shot from the slot to make it 2-0. Sophomore forward Sabrina Delorme and freshman forward Leah Trostad each assisted.
Each team had a power play in the second period but couldn't convert.
Breiland broke the game open early in the third with an unassisted goal at the 4:40 mark. She then made it 4-0 with 5:57 left when her low shot from the point slipped past Johnson, who didn't see it. Demarais had her second assist of the game.
East Grand Forks took care of Lake of the Woods to the tune of 11-0 in the other section playoff game Thursday.
The Pirates are now 13-11 on the season and go up against top-seeded Warroad, who is 22-2-1 this season and did not lose to a Class A opponent this season. The Warriors beat the Pirates 10-0 and 7-0 during the regular season.
"We know what we are up against," Perreault said of the Warriors. "The toughest matchup is with the first line with four potential Division I players there. We need to somehow limit their opportunities to have a chance. That's the formula everyone's been looking for this season and they haven't found it yet. We need to play a really scrappy style."