Eric Delorme and Brandon Boetcher each scored twice, but the Pirates fell short 5-4.
After an exciting defeat of East Grand Forks days before, the Crookston Pirates hoped to carry the momentum into Thief River Falls. The Pirates doubled their offensive efforts from the game against the Green Wave, but the defense could not hold off the Prowlers as Crookston fell 5-4.
“Thief River Falls came ready to play tonight and we just didn’t have the legs to compete with them,” Head Coach Josh Hardy said. “They outworked us in every aspect of the game and deserved to win. I was proud of the way we clawed back into the game, but it wasn’t enough.”
Thief River Falls found the back of the net first with a goal four minutes into the first period and continued to put pressure on senior goaltender Cade Salentine who ended the game with 39 saves, five more than the game against EFG.
Junior forward Eric Delorme continued his offensive surge this season with two goals on the night. The first one, unassisted and short-handed, tied the game at 1-1 and his second, assisted by senior defensemen Drew Dragseth and Ben Trostad, gave Crookston the lead three minutes into the second frame. The goals gave Delorme 16 and 17 on the year which leads the team.
The Prowlers controlled the play from that point on in the second period scoring back-to-back goals in a span of two minutes.
Down 3-2, senior Brandon Boetcher got in on the scoring with his first of the night unassisted to tie the game.
The momentum quickly swung back to the Prowlers, however, as Thief River Falls regained the lead with 34 seconds to play in the period.
The third period offered an abundant amount of neutral zone anddefensive play. Finally with just over two minutes to play, Boetcher took a pass from Delorme and buried it past the Prowler goalie to tie the game for the third time, this time at 4-4.
Less than a minute later, the Prowlers prevented overtime and sent in their fifth goal. Crookston could not equalize the score with a pulled goalie and lost 5-4.
“[We] have to be better,” Hardy said. “It’s a tough spot coming off an emotionally draining and grueling game against EGF, but this time of year, you have to be able to play on a quick turnaround with the Section quarters and semis within three days of each other too.”
The Pirates were unable to complete the season sweep of Thief River Falls and dropped to 11-10. With the loss, Crookston split series with East Grand Forks, Warroad and Thief River Falls.
Four games remain in the regular season. Crookston earns a week of rest before welcoming Lake of the Woods on Friday, February 9 at 6 p.m.