BEMIDJI - Crookston (2-11-1) rattled off 27 shots on net, earned four power plays, but could not find the back of the net in a 4-0 loss to the Bemidji Lumberjacks.
“I thought the way we continued to battle was good,” Head Coach Josh Hardy said. “I was a little disappointed we couldn’t find the back of the net like we did this past weekend. We played a little harder style of hockey to play against. This past weekend, I thought we were a little easy to play against. I thought we were better in the neutral zone and the offensive zone tonight.”
Bemidji (6-8) scored in the first three minutes with a goal from Bjorn Jorgenson (Sr. F), assisted by Wyatt Halvorson (Jr. F) and Andrew Dondelinger (Sr. F).
The Lumberjacks then doubled their lead with 1:03 to play in the opening period when Dondlinger scored. Halvorson earned his second assist on the goal.
“Bemidji is a big AA school and they got out to a 2-0 lead there in the first period,” Hardy said. “No real great scoring chances for either team, but they were able to take advantage of the ones they had. There were some defensive miscues on our part that led to both of those goals.”
The second period featured the most shots on goal of any other period at 31, but neither team could beat the opposing goalie. The Pirates’ best chance for a goal came during a power play when the puck slid across the ice, but Chase Mock (Jr. F) dove to knock the puck away.
Jack Ricord (Sr. G) played between the pipes for Crookston and saved 32 shots. Broc Waldhausen (Sr. G) played a perfect game in net for Bemidji and stopped 27.
“We were down 2-0, but I didn’t think we were playing that poorly,” Hardy said. “I thought we outplayed them pretty much all the way through the second. If the game goes 2-1, we feel better about ourselves, but I’m still pretty pleased with the way we played.”
Penalties played a role in the final period with both sides serving five minute majors for checking from behind.
The Lumberjacks benefited from both, scored on a power play 5:57 into the frame and again with seven minutes left for a shorthand goal and a 4-0 lead.
“Noah Kiel took a five minute major which was questionable,” Hardy said. “That kind of disrupts our rhythm. We killed off 90 percent of it, but they scored in the final minute to make it 3-0. Then the refs made it even more questionable with a five minute major call on [Bemidji] to kind of even things up. We just couldn’t find the back of the net, they created a turnover and scored one and that was kind of the end of the game.”
The Pirates mustered only four shots on net in the third period and fell 4-0, their fourth straight loss.
Crookston came into the game without a shutout loss on their resume, but five in which they scored just once. The Pirates possess one win in 13 games when their opponent scores at least three goals.
The Pirates will get a chance to end their losing streak when they host Park Rapids on Thursday, January 10 at 7 p.m. In their other meeting this season, Crookston beat the Panthers 5-3.
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