After a Green Wave goal tied the game in the final minute, Ethan Magsam scored in the first minute of overtime to give Crookston the 2-1 win.
The Crookston Pirates did everything they could to win in regulation against rival East Grand Forks. A first period goal by sophomore forward Joey Doda made the difference all the way to the final minute. The Green Wave tied the score at 1-1 and sent the game into overtime.
The mystery of whether or not the Pirates (11-9) could regroup and beat East Side for the first time in seven years did not last long. Senior forward Ethan Magsam took a shot while falling, it beat the Green Wave goalie and the Pirates rushed the ice to celebrate the 2-1 win, something no one on that team and many teams before them ever experienced. Oddly enough, the last win against East Grand Forks came in overtime by a score of 3-2.
“It’s been a long time coming and that was a big win for us,” Head Coach Josh Hardy said.“They scored one on us late there, but this team doesn’t quit and they came out and Ethan Magsam probably scored the biggest goal in his career.”
The overtime win is Crookston’s second win in extra time with their first coming back on December 5 against Warroad.
The goals gave Doda his eighth of the season and Magsam his ninth.
Senior goaltender Cade Salentine played his best game of the season stopping 34 shots as the Pirates were outshot 34-13. In the last four games, Salentine only surrendered two goals. The solid streak for Salentine brought up his save percentage to above 90.
“Cade Salentine played the game of his life and held us in there,” Hardy said. “He was on his game tonight. He’s a senior feeling the end coming and he wanted it badly tonight.”
Crookston’s first goal came in the first period with just under eight minutes to play. Nobody picked up Doda as the puck popped out to him. With senior defenseman Drew Dragseth screening, Doda converted far side for the unassisted goal.
From that point on, Crookston’s defense held off the Green Wave.
“We really weathered the storm,” Hardy said. “We were able to clear pucks when we needed to and played pretty solid defensively.”
The Pirates possessed scoring chances throughout the final two periods. With three minutes to play, a penalty gave Crookston a power play and a Pirate penalty soon after created a 4-on-4 situation.
Just when it appeared as if Crookston would earn their third shutout in four games, East Side found the back of the net with less than a minute to play.
In an attempt to regroup and avoid another season sweep at the hands of the Green Wave, Hardy pulled his team aside and instilled confidence back into his players.
“They came back to the bench and I told the guys, ‘let’s have this one be a happy memory,’” Hardy said. They got a big time goal. Those are tough because you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach. We gave such a valiant effort and they got a big one there. But the boys came back and we talked about how we aren’t done yet.”
In the first minute of overtime, junior defenseman Logan Wardner passed the puck to Magsam who was tripped, slid on his front and sent the puck in for Crookston’s 11th win.
“Logan Wardner did a heck of a job carrying the puck and giving it to Magsam,” Hardy said. “It was kind of in front of him and he got taken down and was able to knock it into the net. It was just one of those crazy plays.”
With five games to play in the regular season, the Pirates will attempt to build their resume for a top spot in the Section 8A Tournament. Wins against Warroad, Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks have helped in their quest to make a deep playoff run. But Hardy and his team do not feel fully content with regular season wins.
“We’re happy with that, but we’re not done yet,” Hardy said. “We’re a team that wants to leave a legacy and do something big here. I think there’s big things on the horizon for this team.”
Crookston will go for the season sweep against Thief River Falls on Thursday, February 1 on the road at 7:30 p.m. When they last met, the Pirates defeated the Prowelers 4-2.