Catherine Tiedemann and Samantha Sanders each scored a goal in the loss.
Crookston and Park Rapids remained deadlocked at 2-2 heading into the final period, but two goals in the third period sealed the 4-2 win for the Panthers.
“All in all, we played very well,” Head Coach Jaclyn Martin said. “A couple of minor errors cost us a couple of goals, but that’s a part of learning and getting better.”
Each team scored a goal in the first two periods. The Panthers took the lead with the game’s first goal late in the first period. Less than a minute later and with 50 seconds to play in the period, freshman forward Catherine Tiedemann delivered the equalizer heading into the first intermission. The goal served as Tiedemann’s team-leading seventh. Freshman defender MacKenze Epema earned the assist.
“[It] was a great play that started off of a face-off,” Martin said. “[Aleah] Bienek won the draw forward in our end. Mac picked it up and knocked it past their D and it was a 2-on-1. Mac led the defense to her and Cat was then wide open. She slid it over and Catherine went high glove side. She got her head up and looked. It was a great pass and perfect shot.”
Crookston took the lead with 7:23 remaining on a goal by eighth grade forward Samantha Sanders, her second of the year. Sophomore forward Maddi Salentine received credit for the assist, her first of the year.
“Samantha did an excellent job of having patience with the puck,”Martin said. “She took it behind their net and saw the goal was stuck on the other side. She did a quick wrap and buried it to bring us up 2-1.”
The Pirates held their lead for about three minutes before Park Rapids tied the game. The Panthers outshot Crookston 33-24 up to this point, but the Pirates still went into the second intermission in a 2-2 tie.
Park Rapids broke the tie with a power play goal about halfway through the third period with two no-calls in the process.
“It actually should’ve been an offsides call and when that wasn’t a call, there was an interference in the slot right before they scored,” Martin said. “So to me, if you’re not calling that obvious two foot offsides, then call the interference. That was beyond frustrating. Nothing really we could do about that one.”
Another goal by the Panthers with an empty net and under two minutes to play iced the victory for Park Rapids and dropped Crookston’s record to 3-16.
“We probably shouldn’t have pulled so soon, but the puck stopped in their end and we had an offensive face-off,” Martin said. “Somehow they got it and instead of icing, went basically face-off dot in their end to past our goal line. That was a killer. We had worked so hard and knew this was a beatable team so to have a couple of goals against us we really couldn’t do anything about is a little irritating.”
The Panthers outshot the Pirates 54-32 and senior goaltender Brelee Jobe stopped 50 shots to exceed 800 saves on the year and notch her fifth game in which she recorded at least 50 saves.
Crookston returns home to play Bemidji on Thursday, January 18 at 7 p.m.