Lake of the Woods defeated Crookston 4-3 in a game with playoff home ice implications.
BAUDETTE - Crookston led 3-1 to start the final period but allowed three unanswered goals to Lake of the Woods and fell short 4-3 in a pivotal Section 8A matchup.
The Pirates entered the contest one game behind the Bears in the section standings. A win would create a favorable chance to host a game in the section tournament while a loss would nearly eliminate such an opportunity.
With the loss, Crookston drops to 6-15-1, 4-8 Section 8A while Lake of the Woods improves to 9-14, 6-6 Section 8A.
Tucker Ferrier (So. F), Reece Chorney (Sr. F) and Jack Wood (8th Grade F) each tallied scores for the Bears with Chorney doing so twice. On Crookston's side, Ben Andringa (Jr. F) scored two times, and Logan Wardner (Sr. D) found the back of the net.
Chorney provided a pair of goals, but Aidan Tom (Jr. G) kept Lake of the Woods in the game with 40 saves. Jack Ricord (Sr. G) stopped 24 shots for the Pirates.
Six minutes into the opening period, Tucker Ferrier's score made it a 1-0 game in favor of the Bears. Connor Ivall (So. F) and Lara Wood (Sr. F) took credit for the assists.
It took Crookston only 66 seconds to respond as Andringa equalized the game at 1-1. Wardner awarded the Pirates their first lead 1:23 later with his first goal of the season, assisted by Sam Overgaard (Sr. F).
Neither team provided offense for the majority of the second period. Finally, with 2:33 to play in the frame, Andringa beat Tom for his second score of the evening and his 14th of the season. Jack Doda (8th Grade F) and Wardner assisted on the play, and Crookston led 3-1.
"We were able to capitalize on a few opportunities," Hardy said. "We carried play for the most part, but when you give a team like Lake of the Woods, who works hard and competes and really executes a game plan, they're going to make you pay."
Although the Pirates seized momentum near the end of the period, an interference call on Jake Anderson (Sr. D) with 20 seconds to play proved costly following the second intermission. Crookston killed off 1:55 of the power play, but Chorney used the final five seconds to cut the deficit in half at 3-2. Gunner Ferrier (Sr. D) and Tom earned the assists.
"It was more of an effort mistake," Hardy said on the power play goal. "We just didn't put enough effort in, and they were able to get a nice shot on net and score."
Just over three minutes later, Chorney tied the game 3-3, assisted by Jackson Arpin (Sr. F). Then, with 9:19 to play in the game, Wood gave the Bears their first lead since the opening period, assisted by Arpin and Gunner Ferrier.
Hardy pointed out the missing attention to detail that allowed Lake of the Woods to tie the game.
"It was a lack of awareness," Hardy said. "We're on a power play, we're dominating, they get out of the box, we don't recognize it, [Chorney] stands there for a while, we still don't recognize it, they throw the puck up to him and he scores on a breakaway. It's hard to come back from a goal like that."
The Pirates could not beat Tom the rest of the way, and Lake of the Woods held on to snag a 4-3 win.
Crookston will be back in action on Saturday, February 9 when they take on International Falls on the road at 3 p.m.
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