Despite plenty of chances, Pirates shut out by East Grand Forks, 2-0
For a while, it seemed like it could be the night.
The Crookston girls' hockey team came in to Friday's game against East Grand Forks having not beaten their rivals since 2013. It would have been hard to ascertain this trend, though, from a first period in which the Pirates, for lack of a better term, dominated.
Crookston outshot the Green Wave 8-2, constantly getting the puck into dangerous areas. And 13 minutes in, when Nora Peterson (Sr., F) redirected freshman defenseman Morgan Nelson's shot into the net, the Pirates were rewarded on the scoreboard.
Until they weren't. The goal was called off, as Peterson was ruled to have used an illegal high stick to deflect it past Ashley Corbett. Ultimately, it would prove to be a summation of Crookston's night.
Corbett pitched a 20-save shutout and East Grand Forks scored twice against the run of play, defeating the Pirates 2-0 Friday night at the Crookston Sports Center to extend its winning streak against Crookston to 18 games.
"We did a lot of really good things," said Pirates coach Tim Moe. "... We're close. We just have to figure out how to win."
Moe's sentiment was similar to the one he expressed Thursday night after Crookston's 3-1 loss to Thief River Falls. And in many ways, Friday's game was similar. Both were mostly defensive struggles; both teams feeling each other out early in the season.
But Moe thought that the Pirates (0-2) having already played a game, while the Green Wave were beginning their season Friday, made a difference in his team playing with more rhythm early: at one point, the shots-on-goal disparity was 15-4, Crookston. Throughout much of the late first period and early second, Corbett (who finished with 20 saves) was essentially EGF's entire team.
Then, out of nowhere, came East Grand Forks' CJ Mack with the game's first goal: a snipe past sophomore goaltender Kailee Magsam four minutes into the second period.
"We understood that we were doing a lot of good things," Moe said. "And all of a sudden, we leave a very good hockey player with the puck and time to shoot it. She made a great shot on Kailee. That's gonna happen in hockey. You just gotta respond."
Crookston did indeed respond, continuing to put pressure on the Green Wave in the offensive zone. Notably, Peterson had a golden opportunity right in front of the net, but slid too far to her right trying to beat Corbett and couldn't get a shot off.
But while Crookston ended up winning the shots-on-goal battle, 20-12, Moe thought his team could have won it by a lot more. While East Grand Forks was able to keep much of the action outside, the Pirates often tried to get too "cute," trying to beat defenders by skating past them instead of shooting from farther out and going for rebounds.
"We just have to keep working and make the kids understand that it's oftentimes better to take a shot that might not be in the exact best place," Moe said. "That's part of the process to get a rebound, get a tip, get a screen that actually gives you a better opportunity than trying to make that last move around the last defender."
Kara Ellis scored with five minutes remaining off assists from Kendra Emery and Aleah Oshie, delivering a big blow to Crookston's hopes. A late Green Wave penalty gave the Pirates some of that hope back, as Moe pulled Magsam to create a 6-on-4 advantage.
Crookston couldn't get a shot off, though, and the game ended quietly.
"Just have to keep plugging away, come back on Monday and prepare again," Moe said. "... We're getting in the right positions, it's just being able to finish."
UP NEXT: Crookston will return to the ice Tuesday, Jan. 19, when it takes on International Falls at home. The Broncos are coming off an 0-20-1 season, and lost to North Shore in their season opener Friday night.
Last season, the Pirates beat the Broncos twice: a 6-1 win in Crookston, and a 4-2 win in International Falls.
East Grand Forks 0-1-1—2
- 12:42 second period (EGF): CJ Mack
- 5:04 third period (EGF): Kara Ellis (Kendra Emery, Aleah Oshie)
- Crookston: Kailee Magsam 12 saves on 14 shots
- East Grand Forks: Ashley Corbett 20 saves on 20 shots
The Times welcomes your feedback. You can send any comments or questions to our office at (218) 281-2730 or sports editor Jacob Shames at email@example.com.
Follow along on Twitter @crookstonsports and @Jacob_Shames for all the latest stories and live game updates.