The Pirates scored twice in the final 1:34, but eventually lost in overtime to the Rams 4-3.
Crookston and Roseau combined for four power play goals, two from each side, but the final one served as the overtime game-winner for the Rams as they escaped the Pirates by a score of 4-3.
Three different Pirates (8-16-1, 5-8 Section 8A) found the back of the net in this road matchup with Class AA Roseau (18-4-2, 8-2 Section 8AA), and all came in the final period. Brock Heppner (Sr. G) put Crookston on the board, Quinn Westlake (Jr. F) made it a one-goal game and Jack Doda (8th Grade F) tied it with 31 seconds to go in regulation.
The Rams' goal-scorers came in the form of Hunter McFarlane (Sr. D), Josh Olson (Sr. D), Paul Huglen (So. F) and Aaron Huglen (Sr. C). Aaron Huglen's won the game with 4:04 remaining in overtime.
Jack Ricord (Sr. G) saved a season-high 42 shots for Crookston, and Roseau's Oliver Lee (Sr. G) stopped 13.
"[Ricord] really took a step tonight and really kept us in there," Pirates Head Coach Josh Hardy said. "He made the initial save, and we were able to clear any rebounds he had. Jack was really good tonight."
In this final game of the regular season, the Pirates took part in their fifth overtime competition of the year. They own a record of 1-3-1 in such games. Crookston is 1-2 in overtime games away from home.
If the Pirates are searching for encouraging thoughts following the defeat, it might ease their minds to know the top three seeds in Section 8A, East Grand Forks, Thief River Falls and Warroad each lost to the Rams. In six games against those three teams, Roseau went 4-0-2. The ties came against Warroad and Thief River Falls.
"We did a nice job of limiting grade-A scoring opportunities for them and clearing pucks," Hardy said. "We were just hanging on, staying in there, not giving up a ton. Get a late power play, find a way to score and, all of a sudden, we've got some momentum. Things kind of went a little crazy from there."
The Rams jumped on the Pirates early with goals from McFarlane, assisted by Aaron Huglen and Taylor Jacobson (Sr. D), and Olson, assisted by Jordan Moser (Sr. F) and Jarrett Nelson (Jr. F).
Neither team beat the opposing goalie in the second frame, and Roseau carried a 2-0 lead into the second intermission.
With 5:19 to play in the game, Joe Doda (Jr. F) and Jake Anderson (Sr. D) set up Heppner for his 12th score of the year, a power play goal to cut the deficit in half. Doda went behind the net, pulled the goalie with him and threw it back out front where Heppner scored five-hole. However, exactly one minute later, Paul Huglen's power play goal allowed Roseau to regain their two-goal lead, 3-1. Aaron Huglen and Gavin Gunderson (Fr. F) assisted.
In desperate need of hope, the Rams committed an interference penalty away from the play, and Westlake made things interesting with his fifth goal of the season at 1:34 to go. Ben Andringa (Jr. F) and Jack Doda took credit for the assists.
"We have our two power play units, the blue unit got the first one and the gold came up clutch on the second one," Hardy said. "Jack Doda made a nice pass to Andringa, Andringa shoots and Quinn Westlake's there to bang home the rebound."
The Pirates pulled Ricord for an extra skater and as the clock showed 31 seconds left, Jack Doda, the youngest player on the varsity squad, tied the game 3-3 with help from Andringa and Eric Delorme (Sr. F).
Hardy spoke on Doda's impact, and the sixth goal in his inaugural varsity hockey season.
"Big-time play there by an eighth grader," Hardy said. "Our idea of bringing him up was we knew he'd be able to compete at this level. Obviously, there's some growing pains to start but scoring a big-time goal against the No. 2 seed in AA, that says a lot right there."
In overtime, Roseau used their second power play score to deliver the walk-off goal by Aaron Huglen, assisted by Gunderson.
Considering the opponent and the players they carry, Hardy did not dwell too much on his team's inability to kill power plays late.
"Roseau's power play is clicking at 31 percent on the year which is pretty impressive considering their schedule," Hardy said. "They're anchored by a Division I player, Aaron Huglen, and his brother, Paul, who will shortly commit to Division I, I assume. You put skilled players like that out there a man up and they're going to find ways to score."
Crookston's attention now turns to the Section 8A Tournament. As a four seed, they will face No. 5 Detroit Lakes in the quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive year. Round one went to Detroit Lakes in double overtime, and Crookston won the previous two in single overtime. The puck drops in Crookston on Thursday, February 21 at 7 p.m.
Follow live game updates for Pirates and Golden Eagles on Twitter: @CroxTimesSports or Snapchat: crookstontimes1.
For feedback or questions, contact the Times at (218) 281-2730, Nolan Beilstein at (940) 372-8175 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.