Warroad senior forward Lisa Marvin, who has signed to play for North Dakota, scored a goal and added four assists Monday as the top-seeded Warriors recorded four goals in the second period to beat the Pirates 7-0 in the Section 8A semifinals in East Grand Forks.
"Anytime you lose and you're done it's a tough loss," said Pirate co-head coach Jeff Perreault. "I feel for those seniors. It's hard for them. The finality of your high school hockey career being done is a difficult one. It's one of those things where Warroad was heavily favored going in. We played a good period and a half but we needed three complete periods. They are a team that will capitalize on mistakes, we made a few and they put pucks behind us."
East Grand Forks, the three seed, upset Thief River Falls, the two seed, in the other semifinal game Monday. East Grand Forks and Warroad will meet Thursday in East Grand Forks at 7 p.m. with a trip to the State Tournament on the line.
To say Warroad has dominated the section this season would be an understatement. In nine games against section opponents the Warriors have outscored them 67-4.
Crookston, which finishes with a record of 13-12, was shut out Monday but it had its chances to score, including a few in the first period and, most notably, a shot by senior Brianna Breiland that clanged off the pipe in the third.
"We wanted to stretch things out," Perreault said. "A couple times Brianna would get some long passes but Warroad would do a nice job checking and being physical with her. You need to be physical with her or she'll make you look silly. The few times she got in their goalie came up for them."
Breiland, who will play at Wisconsin-River Falls next season, finished her career as the program's second all-time leading goal scorer with 146. She also had 71 assists in 218 games.
Pirate senior defenseman Natasha Skala finished her career with 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists) in 100 games. Senior Kaitlin Spivey played in 97 career games and recorded ten assists.
Pirate eighth grade goaltender Lexie Cormican recorded 41 saves, while Warroad senior Dayton Hilgert had 14 saves.
After Cormican made 17 saves in the first period, Marvin put the Warriors on the board with 19 seconds left.
"We did what we talked about going in," Perreault said of the first period. "We worked hard and kept pucks to the perimeter. We had a few scoring chances. If we could have found a way to get one in our hard worked would've paid off and we could have built off of that. You could feel the bubble burst a litttle bit when they scored with 19 seconds left. Our job as coaches was to go into that locker room and remind them how well we played that first period."
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Warroad capitalized in the second period with senior Sierra Hanowski scoring at the 2:47 mark, junior Lynn Astrup at the 8:00 mark, senior Cayla Nelson with 6:04 remaining and senior Kayla Gardner scoring on a power play with 48 seconds left to make it 5-0.
Astrup added another power play goal at the 2:43 mark of the third period and it was running time the rest of the way. Freshman Demi Gardner finished out the scoring with 8:41 left to play.
Coach Perreault explained that in order to compete with Warroad next year the returning Pirates will need to hit the weight room and shoot pucks.
"We have a nice core group of kids returning," he said. "We gave a lot of girls a lot of opportunities to play and get better. We also put a lot of girls in different positions, so next year we are going to have a lot of options. We will be loaded when it comes to experience. We need to get stronger. You can tell when you play a team like Warroad, we have a tough time with physical play. We also need to shoot pucks as much as possible. We graduate 80 percent of our scoring. We'll need someone to step up and play that role next year.
"I'd also like to thank our coaching staff for all their hard work," Perreault continued. "We have three good ones with Jeremy, Jaclyn and Jake. We were a better team at end of the season than the beginning. It was a good year and I really enjoyed working with this team."