The Pirate boys' hockey team is 2-5-2 in games decided by two goals or less this season.
The Pirate boys' hockey team is 2-5-2 in games decided by two goals or less this season. That record includes the latest and maybe the most heart-wrenching loss, a 4-3 overtime loss at home to Fargo South/Shanley Monday. The Pirates rallied from two goals down in the third period to force overtime.
"We have had a lot of those this year, a lot of stingers," Pirate head coach Joel Gasper said. "I really never felt like we should've had to battle back like we did. Fortunately, we came back in the third. They definitely outplayed us in the second half of the game, though. I still believe we can turn this season around."
Crookston controlled the first period but South/Shanley dominated the next period and a half of play.
"We stopped moving our feet," coach Gasper said. "In the Warroad game our focus was defensive zone coverage and to force things to the outside. It was the same tonight. We were pretty good in the first period and for whatever reason this team doesn't know how to handle success. Over and over again we get complacent. I don't know if it's a maturity thing or what. We go away from the little things and look what happens."
Gasper said sophomore Doug Larson was stellar.
"Dougie Larson had the best game of the season," Gasper said. "He was inspiring to watch and he absolutely owned the wall in the first period."
The Pirates controlled the first period and held a 1-0 lead after the frame thanks to Larson's 11th goal of the season when he scored on a rush with a hard wrist shot at the 5:33 mark of the period. Senior Justin Cameron assisted on the play. Crookston held an 11-9 advantage in shots in the first period.
South/Shanley dominated the second period, scoring at the 2:16 mark with a goal by James Johanneson and again with 6:15 left on a power-play goal by Dylan Raftevold.
South/Shanley grabbed a 3-1 lead with 10:48 left in the third period on a goal by Gage Stromme.
Then the Pirates' top players took over the rest of the third period. From the boards senior Brady Heppner hit junior Tanner Geatz with a pass to the slot and Geatz buried a power-play goal with 7:52 left in the period. It was Geatz's second goal in two nights.
Heppner scored the tying goal with 2:16 remaining in regulation with Larson rushing up the boards, passing to junior Chandler St. Michel, who found Heppner open in the slot and he buried it for his 16th goal of the season. The Pirates looked to be in position to snap a four-game losing skid.
The Pirates had one shot in the overtime, but South/Shanley ended the game at the 2:35 mark of the extra frame when Johanneson got his second goal of the night.
Sophomore Ian Johnson was solid in net for the Pirates, stopping 33 shots, including 15 in the third period. Bret Kostka had 21 saves in goal for South/Shanley.
Crookston falls to 4-10-2 on the season and has lost five straight. The Pirates travel to Detroit Lakes Tuesday for a Section 8A matchup with the 6-5-1 Lakers.