Crookston boys’ hockey improved slightly on its most recent showings, but it wasn’t enough for the Pirates to avoid losing to Fargo North and Eveleth-Gilbert at the Ralph Engelstad Invitational in Thief River Falls on Friday and Saturday.

    Crookston lost to Fargo North 4-2, and Eveleth-Gilbert, 3-1, falling to 0-10 on the season.

    The Pirates, coming off shutout losses to East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls, looked to right the ship in the holiday tournament. Instead, they dropped two games in which they outshot their opponents and stayed competitive until the end.

    Fargo North opened the scoring on Friday, before Alex Longoria (Fr., F) answered back towards the end of the first period. The Spartans scored twice in the second before Jack Doda (Fr., F) gave Crookston life with a third-period tally.

    However, Fargo North slammed the door shut with a goal coming with less than two minutes to go.

    The Pirates scored first against Eveleth-Gilbert, taking their first lead since Dec. 3 against Warroad on a power-play goal by Jack Doda. But Eveleth-Gilbert scored twice in the second and once in the third to doom Crookston to the defeat.

    Crookston’s situation isn’t entirely unfamiliar, as it has become notorious for slow starts in recent history. Just last year, the Pirates sat at just 2-8-1 at this juncture.

    Nevertheless, Crookston will enter the new year winless for the first time in well over a decade.

    UP NEXT: The Pirates will take on Detroit Lakes on Friday, Jan. 3 in Detroit Lakes. The Lakers ended Crookston’s season in last year’s Section 8AA playoffs and are off to a 4-7-2 start this year.