Crookston girls' hockey fell to East Grand Forks, 5-1, on Tuesday at the Crookston Sports Center.

The Pirates fell to 5-7 on the season, and the Green Wave improved to 6-4.

East Grand Forks has won 17 straight games against Crookston.

"We went out and competed, and it was basically a tie game for over half of it," said Crookston head coach Tim Moe. "Disappointed with the outcome, but we did some positive things."

The Pirates came in shorthanded without Aleah Bienek (So., F), who had a fever of 102 degrees and missed the game.

"The kids who had to step up into the lineup, they went out and competed," Moe said. "But you take out Aleah Bienek, who's a leader, who's a dynamic player, that's gonna hurt you."

Bienek's illness started a chain reaction for Crookston, starting with Kendall Bergquist (So., F), who moved up to center the Pirates' second line.

"She did a good job there," Moe said. "But then that makes our third line where we're scrambling to find kids. ... I think depth-wise, it hurt us the most."

After a scoreless first period, East Grand Forks' Kate Johnson broke the dam with a power-play goal eight minutes into the second.

Crookston answered on a power-play of its own three minutes later. The Pirates forced a turnover near the boards, and Nora Peterson (Jr., F) slotted it home to tie it at one off assists by Raina Satrom (8, F) and Kenzie Epema (Jr., D).

"We knew that we could come back," Epema said. "It's just one goal. We just needed to keep our heads high."

Johnson scored less than a minute later, however, after the Green Wave threatened constantly deep in the Crookston zone, putting a number of shots straight on goal.

Johnson finished off a breakaway with 14 minutes to play to seal her hat trick and put East Grand Forks up 3-1.

The Green Wave all but closed the game out on Kylie Strauss' goal with seven minutes to play.

With 30.5 seconds remaining, Johnson tipped in a rebound to score her fourth goal of the game.

East Grand Forks outshot Crookston, 44-19.

"I thought we had a lot of chances, I thought we had a lot of zone time," Moe said. "The difference for us is, when we get zone time we usually get one shot and then we're done. They get the puck out and when they were down in our zone, they would get a shot on net ... and we can't clear the puck so you get scrambles where they get four, five shots on net at a time."

Tuesday's contest was nevertheless a giant improvement for the Pirates, after they fell to the Green Wave in their season opener, 8-0, in East Grand Forks.

"We can still keep our heads high, we can still compete," Epema said. "It didn't show in the scoreline tonight, but we know we can compete with them."

Added Peterson: "We've learned that we can stick with any team if we play our hardest."

UP NEXT: Crookston is home against International Falls on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m.

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