Kylee Meier scored two goals in the win.
With one game to play before Christmas break, the Crookston Pirates girls’ hockey team took the ice in search of their second win. After a defensive battle and an early deficit, the Pirates mounted a come-from-behind win to earn the victory over Devils Lake behind two goals from sophomore forward Kylee Meier.
The Pirates came out firing in the first period outshooting Devils Lake 11-3, but could not put a number on the board despite two power plays. In the second period, not only did Devils Lake begin to control the puck more thoroughly, but Crookston was the recipient of some bad luck.
It started with freshman forward Cat Tiedemann breaking away from the pack, but missing the shot just to the right of the pipe. The Pirates killed a power play, their second of the night, but Devils Lake managed two score three minutes later with 9:15 to play in the second period. Crookston still led in shots on goal 14-8, but found themselves trailing 1-0.
Another chance arose for the Pirates when freshman forward MacKenze Epema sent a pass to Tiedemann setting up a 1-on-1 with the goalie and once again, the shot sailed wide right.
At 5:44 remaining in the period, Crookston was awarded a power play and finally capitalized on the opportunities. During the 5-on-4, eighth grade forward Kendall Berquist took a shot that snuck just inside the pipe for the equalizer.
The scoreboard showed one minute until the second intermission and the Pirates kept the pressure in the attacking zone. Meier received a pass right in front of the net and fired to the goal where the Devils Lake goalkeeper bobbled the puck that eventually sailed over her head and past the line giving Crookston the 2-1 lead heading into the third period.
“We realized we weren’t going to get one through this goalie on the ice,” Head Coach Jaclyn Martin said. “We knew we had to go upstairs so we talked about shooting high. Both goals in the second period were off the ice.”
Once the third period began, Devils Lake’s experienced a close call as one of their shots banged off the right pipe. The Pirates then killed their fourth power play of the night with 12 minutes to play. Three of the penalties were charged to Meier, but she made up for time in the box with a game-sealing goal with under a minute to play. Tiedemann flew down the ice with a 1-on-1 chance, forced the goalie out of the crease where Meier was awaiting the rebound and put the puck in for her second goal of the game and third of the season.
“I didn’t think either of us were going to score,” Meier said. “I thought the puck was going to go out. Then Cat fell and I saw the goalie fall and the puck was just lying there so I hit it in and did a little flop into the net with it.”
Martin saw the goal as a huge boost for the team.
“With 35 seconds left, we needed that,” Martin said. “I was thinking we were going to be looking at a 6-on-5 soon, but they never took the time out. Then Kylee put it in with 35 seconds to go and that was a big weight lifted off our shoulders.”
Crookston moves to 2-9 on the season and will have time to get ready for when they next play on Wednesday, December 27 against Jamestown at home. Start time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
“We’re going to work on some things like quick feet and zone coverage and take that into Wednesday,” Martin said. “Jamestown is going to be a team similar to [Devils Lake] and we just have to remember to keep battling and continue to play our game. We’re getting better and hopefully after Christmas, that can continue to grow.”