Highlights for Crookston boys' hockey this season have been few and far between — but at least for the last week, things have been looking up.
The Pirates beat Lake of the Woods, 4-1, on Friday at the Crookston Sports Center, starting out in dominating fashion before hanging on against a late Bear rally.
Crookston improved to 3-19 on the season, and 3-9 in Section 8AA, building off of a 7-2 win against Park Rapids last Friday and starting its first winning streak of the season.
The Pirates came out strong on offense, using the speed of their forwards to start breakaways, which in turn drew multiple penalties. They couldn't break through on either of these, but remained aggressive and made it pay off 11 minutes into the game, when Noah Kiel (Jr., F) wristed a shot past the Bears' goalie off a faceoff win by Ben Andringa (Sr., F).
Four minutes later, Jack Doda (Fr., F) won the puck after a Lake of the Woods (6-16, 4-8) turnover and put home a textbook finish with no one but the goalie to beat. Crookston went into the first period up 2-0 after Doda's goal, which came while shorthanded.
The Pirates continued attacking for much of the second period, surviving a few disjointed efforts by the Bears to maintain control of the game. With 4:08 to go, Andringa rung a shot off the post, and in the ensuing struggle for the puck in the slot, Doda found Quinn Westlake (Sr., F) who chipped it home.
Lake of the Woods attacked desperately throughout the third period, greatly oushooting the Pirates, and scored a shorthanded goal with 10:30 to play. But Crookston stayed the course on defense, and eventually forced the Bears to go empty-net. Leyton Salentine then put the dagger in, scoring on the empty net with 37.2 seconds to go.
Noah Dragseth (Jr., G) made 23 saves for Crookston. The Pirates outshot the Bears 14-2 in the first period, 19-6 in the second and 41-24 for the game.
UP NEXT: Crookston is back on the ice on Saturday at 3 p.m. against International Falls (12-10-1) in a non-section game.
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