Doda Scores Hat Trick in Pirates' First Win
The Crookston Pirates boys’ hockey team is showing major improvement, as they picked up their first win against Park Rapids Area and lost a close game to Thief River Falls (TRF).
Two players were key to the Pirates’ success: Jack Doda and Alexander Longoria. Doda scored five goals in two games, three of them short-handed, and Longoria returned after an injury, scoring three goals with two assists.
“There was a little confidence with us getting Alex Longoria back in the lineup,” head coach Joshua Hardy said. “He’s a game-changer for us.”
In the 3-6 loss to TRF, the Prowlers got off to a quick start, scoring their first goal 1:32 into the game. Despite a penalty each later in the period, neither team was able to score more in the first.
The second period started out rough for the Pirates, as Hardy was charged with a bench minor for arguing a non-call. Doda came through, though, scoring an unassisted goal. Four minutes later, Crookston hit the replay button, getting a penalty and subsequent short-handed goal from Doda.
“We talk about momentum, and all of a sudden, some good things start to happen for us,” Hardy said. “We took a penalty early in the second, and Jack bailed me out with a short-handed goal. We get another penalty, and Jack gets another short-handed goal. I think we started playing more physical at the end of the first period into the beginning of the second and that made a big difference for us.”
Within the same penalty, however, TRF tied it up with a power-play goal from Jaxon Brouse, his second of the night. They added one more goal as the second period was winding down to take a 3-2 lead into the third.
The Prowlers padded their lead to 5-2 after goals at the 7:21 and 11:14 marks. Despite the deficit, Hardy continued to push his team from the bench, shouting not to give up.
“We want to be a team that plays 51 minutes,” Hardy said. “It doesn't matter if we are up 6-3, down 6-3, down 10-0 or whatever. I was proud of the no-quit there at the end of the game.”
The mentality paid off, as Longoria cut the Prowler lead to 5-3 with assists from Doda and Carter Trudeau. Down two, Crookston pulled goaltender Jaren Bailey to get the extra skater. The Prowlers got the puck out of the zone, however, and found the back of the empty net.
Bailey had a record night in goal with 50 saves. In comparison to the Pirates’ last meeting with Thief River Falls, which resulted in a 1-10 loss, the team showed much improvement.
“I felt like we’ve made some big-time strides in the last couple of weeks here, getting comfortable in our skin,” Hardy said. “Between the second and third period, I didn’t even have to say anything. They knew what was going on and didn’t need my direction. As a coach, that’s nice to see. We’re growing, maturing and starting to gel as a team. I’m excited for the second half.”
In the game against TRF, Crookston fed off the momentum from their first victory of the season the night before against Park Rapids Area. The first and third periods were a wash, as it all came down to the second period where the Pirates scored four goals.
“We got behind the snowball instead of in front of it, and we built on that momentum,” Hardy said of the win. “We need those positive things to happen for us early in the game, and they did. We got things rolling and never looked back.”
The Panthers got on the board first, but Jackson Reese scored his first varsity goal to knot it at 1. Blaine Andringa and Longoria were credited with the assists.
Crookston continued their scoring run in the second period. Doda connected with Trudeau at the 1:15 mark, while Longoria got assists from Doda and Andringa at 2:41.
Kadin Edwards went to the penalty box for cross-checking in the second, giving Park Rapids an opportunity to kill Crookston’s run, but Doda scored a short-handed goal instead. With the period winding down, Doda picked up another, unassisted goal for a hat trick.
The Panthers were able to muster one goal in the second with 22 seconds left.
The two teams exchanged goals in the third, as Longoria’s goal was followed by a goal from Park Rapids’ Nash Mitchell on a power play. Trudeau scored his first goal of the season, which was erased with a goal from Jaxon Lund. The final period didn’t matter, though, as the Pirates came away with their first win of the season 7-4.
Bailey saw 33 shots on goal, saving 29 of them for a .879 save percentage for his first win.
The Pirates’ record now stands at 1-9-1. They look to continue their upward trend at Bemidji on Tuesday.