Crookston boys' hockey fell 7-0 at No. 5 East Grand Forks on Tuesday in a Section 8A game played in East Grand Forks.
The Pirates fell to 1-18 overall and 1-8 in section play, while the Green Wave improved to 13-3-2 and 5-1, respectively.
Crookston and East Grand Forks met in Crookston on Dec. 10, that game resulting in a 7-0 Green Wave blowout. Somehow, the Pirates were stacked even further against the wall on Tuesday, due to injuries to Ben Andringa (Sr., F) and Kaleb Thingelstad (Jr., F) having thinned their lineup.
“To have a similar sort of result given the circumstances, I'm extremely proud of this group of young men," said Crookston head coach Josh Hardy.
The Pirates knew coming in that they wouldn't be able to go toe-to-toe with East Grand Forks talent-wise, so they tasked themselves at first with weathering the storm and trying to bury chances on breakaways or counterattacks when they got them.
"We had a couple opportunities to scores on breakaways and odd man rushes and change the complexion of the game," Hardy said of the first period. "But their goalie made some great saves when he was tested."
The Green Wave opened the scoring nine minutes into the game, when Jaksen Panzer beat Carter Nelson (Jr., G). Panzer scored seven minutes later, and EGF took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Two goals by Brody Schultz doubled the Green Wave's lead in the second period. The third period was Trey Ausmus' time to shine — Ausmus scored three goals in the period for a hat trick and equaling the score of the last meeting.
East Grand Forks fired 59 shots on goal, to just six for Crookston — a perfect snapshot of the dominance the Green Wave displayed on Tuesday. Despite that, Hardy pointed to the bigger picture instead.
"This group has seen adversity every step of the way this season and I've been incredibly proud of how they've responded," he said. "It's easy to quit, but this group continues to show up every day and work hard to improve without complaint. That says a lot about not only who they are and their character, but what sort of success they are going to have in the future."
UP NEXT: Crookston is on the road on Thursday, Jan. 30 to play Thief River Falls. The Prowlers, who at 11-8-1 overall and 4-3 section are third in Section 8A, beat the Pirates 5-0 in Crookston on Dec. 19.
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