Eric Delorme tied the game at 1-1 in the second period, but East Grand Forks scored five unanswered goals to defeat Crookston.
WARROAD - The East Grand Forks Green Wave controlled the puck for the majority of the contest and defeated the Crookston Pirates 6-1 in the Section 8A Semifinals.
The Pirates could only muster nine shots to the Green Wave’s 35 and struggled in power plays allowing three power plays and one shorthand goal. The lone Crookston goal came from junior forward Eric Delorme who scored his team-leading 26th goal of the season on a power play.
“It just felt like we were a step behind all night,” Head Coach Josh Hardy said. “We just didn’t quite have it tonight and East Side was a determined bunch. They won battles all over the ice and we put ourselves behind the eight ball with our penalties and when we do that, we’re in trouble.”
It did not take long for the Green Wave to gain an advantage. Five minutes into the game, EGF scored their first goal on a power play with nine seconds remaining in the 5-on-4.
The Pirates prevented any further damage in the opening period and did not record their first shot on goal until 7:31 to play in the frame.
With 31 seconds to play, the Pirates earned their first power play which carried into the second period. Crookston could not take advantage, but another penalty by the Green Wave to open the second period opened the door for Delorme’s goal to tie the game. Sophomore defenseman Leyton Salentine and senior forward Ethan Magsam received credit for the assist.
“We said we needed to get a puck on net and bury a rebound,” Hardy said. “It’s not going to be a pretty goal. It’s going to be a goal up front and Eric did a good job getting in there. Leyton made a nice shot and Eric was able to bang it home.”
Four minutes after the goal, Crookston committed back-to-back penalties. They killed the first power play, but allowed their second power play goal of the night during the second of the two 5-on-4s.
EGF tacked on two more goals in the second period with one coming with 16 seconds to play.
“Most of them were power play goals late in the power play and that hurts,” Hardy said. “Credit to East Side. Their power play was clicking and they were finding guys back door. We just didn’t have an answer for them.”
East Grand Forks added an insurance goal four minutes into the final period and tallied one more during a Pirate power play for a 6-1 lead, the eventual final.
The loss to EGF eliminated Crookston from the section semifinals for the second straight year.
The Pirates ended a season in which they beat East Grand Forks, Thief River Falls and Warroad and finished with a record of 15-12.
“Obviously we’re not happy with how the season ended, but we had a heck of a season,” Hardy said. “We talk about leaving a legacy and this group of seniors really did that. They set the standard for this group and did a good job of making sure we bring it every night.”