Grace Koshney saved 36 shots for Crookston.

    Crookston only took three shots on goal, Fergus Falls capitalized on two power plays and the Otters handed the Pirates their third shutout loss of the season with a 6-0 final.

    Grace Koshney (So. G) was under fire all game for the Pirates (2-7-1) and totaled 36 saves.

    “They’re bigger, faster and stronger than us,” Head Coach Tim Moe said. “We had some more zone time than what the shots showed. We could get in their zone, we did some stuff, but [Fergus Falls] is so strong physically that we just couldn’t get to the net.”

    Once the puck dropped, Fergus Falls maintained possession for the majority of the half. The constant pressure in the Pirates’ zone resulted in a 1-0 lead 51 seconds into the game.

    Crookston received a chance to equalize the score when they went 5-on-4 with 13:19 to play in the first period, but the Pirates only mustered one shot in the two-minute span. At one point, the puck sat in the crease, but no Crookston player was in the vicinity.

    Fergus Falls capitalized on their first power play opportunity with less than five minutes to go and enjoyed a 2-0 advantage. After one period, the Otters outshot the Pirates 15-1.

    The Otters added on to their lead with a score 6:31 into the second period and three minutes later, made it a 4-0 game after sending a deflected shot to the back of the net.

    With just over two minutes to play in the period, Fergus Falls earned their second power play and made it 2-for-2 on 5-on-4 chances for a 5-0 lead.

    “When your top four are better than our top five, they’re going to score some power play goals,” Moe said. “We got to learn not to take penalties. We only took two penalties, but you put [Nora] Peterson and Tiedemann in the penalty box, that’s a big part of the penalty kill.”

    Fergus Falls forced a running clock six minutes into the third period with their sixth goal of the contest. With 7:37 remaining, Cat Tiedemann (So. F) drew a checking penalty, but the Pirates did not record a single shot on goal and Crookston let a second Fergus Falls penalty go unpunished.

    The Pirates put one final shot on net in the remaining time, but the Otters closed out the 6-0 win outshooting Crookston 42-3.

    Although the Pirates own a record of 2-7-1, they have statistically improved from their performance at this point last year. After 10 games in the 2017-2018 season, Crookston sat at 1-9 and suffered seven shutouts. This year’s 23 goals through 10 games trump their nine a season ago and, defensively, their goals allowed dropped from 70 to 45.

    “Even though we’re still young, we’ve got a year of experience with all those kids who played last year,” Moe said. “I don’t look too much at wins and losses, but I look at shots on net. Tonight, we only gave up 42 shots on net. Last year, I’d have to go back and look, but I bet you they put 60 or 70 on us. We’re playing better defensively, we’re understanding concepts better and I think our compete level is higher.”

    Crookston will now travel to East Grand Forks on Tuesday, December 18 for the second matchup against the Green Wave this season. In the season-opener EGF won 9-0. The puck drops at 7 p.m.

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For feedback or questions, contact the Times at (218) 281-2730, Nolan Beilstein at (940) 372-8175 or by email at nbeilstein@crookstontimes.com.