Pirates beat Lake of the Woods, 4-2, for first win of season
Winless no longer.
The Crookston boys' hockey team fought through adversity to pick up its first win of the 2021 season, beating Lake of the Woods, 4-2, Friday night in Baudette.
In a battle of two Section 8A teams searching for their first win, the Pirates (1-5, 1-2) struck first. Nine minutes into the game, Nathan Kelly (So.) played the puck to the front of the net for Blaine Andringa (Jr.), who slotted it home for his first career goal.
"Couldn't believe that was Blaine's first goal," said Crookston coach Josh Hardy. "He's played a ton of minutes for us the last two years, so I was very excited to see him get one. Nathan Kelly made a great play to set him up."
The Bears (0-5) answered back with a goal by Stephen Harris, but the Pirates retook the lead going into intermission when Jack Doda (So.) scored off a feed from Kaleb Thingelstad.
The second period, however, didn't go quite the way Crookston wanted it to. Not only did Lake of the Woods' Evan Paschke tie the game at 2-2, but the Pirates lost senior Noah Kiel to a game misconduct penalty for boarding.
Since there was no junior varsity game, Hardy was already planning on getting more time for Thor Harbott (So.) and Ashton Shockman (Fr.), but Kiel's absence made it even more urgent. Hardy called on Harbott and Shockman extensively, and the two youngsters rose to the challenge — in fact, Hardy called Harbott "arguably our most valuable player."
"He was fantastic," Hardy said. "Works hard in both directions, and is just so smart out there."
Doda, who scored his first two goals of the season in Tuesday's 7-2 loss at Mayville-Portland-CG, gave Crookston a 3-2 lead two minutes into the third period off an assist from Alex Longoria (So., F).
"Big-time players show up when you need them the most," Hardy said. "Jack got it done for us tonight."
But Doda's goal wasn't the biggest play of the game. That was Thingelstad, who had a crucial blocked shot late to set himself up for a game-clinching empty net goal with four seconds left.
Noah Dragseth (Sr., G) stopped 42 shots to pick up the win. It was the second straight game with 40 saves for Dragseth, who stopped 41 shots against Grafton-Park River last Saturday.
Hardy was proud of the way the Pirates battled, especially after losing Kiel, and hopes that players like Harbott and Shockman will gain more confidence after getting their feet wet Friday night.
"Says a lot about this group of boys and how they are willing to keep working no matter what adversity they face," Hardy said.
UP NEXT: Crookston hosts Kittson County Central on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. The Pirates and Bearcats played a wild game in Hallock in Crookston's season opener on Jan. 19, with KCC winning 7-5 after Crookston cut a 5-0 lead to 6-5.
Lake of the Woods 1-1-0—2
- 7:34 first period (Crookston): Blaine Andringa (Nathan Kelly)
- 3:49 first period (LOW): Stephen Harris (Gabriel Krause)
- 2:47 first period (Crookston): Jack Doda (Kaleb Thingelstad)
- 7:47 second period (LOW): Evan Paschke
- 15:16 third period (Crookston): Jack Doda (Alex Longoria)
- 0:04 third period (Crookston): Kaleb Thingelstad (Jack Doda) empty net
- Crookston: Noah Dragseth 42 saves on 44 shots
- Lake of the Woods: Riley Stromlund 32 saves on 35 shots
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