The Pirates scored three goals in the last eight minutes, but could not deliver the equalizer.
For the second time this season, the Pirates saw a furious second-half comeback fall short. This time, against Pelican Rapids, Crookston did their best to overcome a 4-0 deficit with three goals in the final eight minutes, but simply ran out of time.
The defense of Crookston (1-5) stood their ground for the first 21 minutes before Pelican Rapids scored the game’s first goal. Three minutes later, they put in a second and then their third with four minutes to go in the first half.
Twelve minutes into half number two, the deficit for Crookston became four forcing the Pirates to play not just against Pelican Rapids, but the clock as well.
Jacob Brunelle (Jr. MF) finally put Crookston on the board in the 72nd minute with his third goal in as many games. Eric Delorme (Sr. MF) received credit for the assist.
“For 71 minutes, we kept taking shots that just weren’t dropping in,” Head Coach Don Cox said. “We weren’t pressing the net right and finishing hard enough. Then in the 72nd minute, when JB [Brunelle] got the first point, they realized that they could put the points in and started to put the hustle in that we needed to get going. Unfortunately, we were just short in terms of time.”
Noah Kiel (So. F) cut the original deficit in half three and a half minutes later scoring his third goal of the season assisted by Mason LaPlante (Sr. F).
The Pirates still needed two more goals with four minutes to play and received a gift with a penalty kick opportunity. LaPlante took the PK, sent it to the back of the net and brought Crookston within one at 4-3.
The final 1:19 ticked away and the Pirates’ came just short of knotting up the score to force overtime.
After watching his team score 13 goals in the last three matches, Cox felt a different outcome would have occurred with some additional time.
“I’m very confident that we would have not only tied it up, but would have won it,” Cox said. “Once we started scoring, [Pelican Rapids] began to breakdown their tactics, began getting more blatant with the holds and more deliberate with the trips to stall our attacks. We can’t control how the opponent plays, only how we play and we kept playing hard in spite of the delaying tactics used. My kids did a great job last night.”
Crookston hopes to continue their offensive production when they play at home on Saturday, September 15 against Bemidji. Game time is scheduled for 12 p.m.
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