Pirates Earn Season Sweep of Prowlers with 4-2 Victory
The Crookston Pirates girls’ hockey team defeated section rival Thief River Falls 4-2 to earn the series sweep on Monday, January 10.
After a rough stretch of games—tying with Bemidji and losing to East Grand Forks and Roseau—the girls needed a game like this to set them back on track, head coach Emily Meyer said.
“It was really great to see us all come together and Pirate hockey again,” Meyer said. “We really needed that confidence boost. It took every single line and every single defense to come out on top.”
The Pirates got out to an early lead, as Aleah Bienek scored three minutes into the period with an assist from Reese Swanson. The last time Crookston scored in the first period was against Bemidji back in December, but some positional changes lead to success.
“It was a good momentum boost,” Swanson said. “We haven’t done that in the past how many games, so it was good to get that rolling. It was good be back on a line with Aleah [Bienek] and Addie [Fee]. We have a lot of chemistry coming from last year.”
The Prowlers sent two players to the penalty box in the first period, and the Pirates were able to capitalize on the second. Swanson and Morgan Nelson connected for Swanson’s team-leading seventh goal of the season.
Nelson got her own goal to begin the second period with an assist from Ashlyn Bailey. Crookston ran into some trouble, though, as Jenna Seaver and Bailey went to the penalty box, giving Thief River Falls a 5-on-3 advantage for 21 seconds.
The Pirates were able to kill the first penalty but couldn’t muster through the second, as the Prowlers scored to make it a 3-1 game in favor of Crookston.
With everything on the line in the third, the game got a bit chippy, as the Prowlers sent two skaters to the penalty box 17 seconds apart.
“We know Thief River Falls is going to be chippy,” Meyer said. “That’s kind of the rivalry that we have. The girls are really good about controlling themselves and not retaliating. It was good to see that we stayed out of the penalty box and let them take the penalties.”
Although they had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:43, the Pirates were unable to score. Instead, the Prowlers found the back of the net, as goaltender Kailee Magsam was already stretched out in one direction and TRF’s Mandi Coltom wristed it to the other.
Gunning for the win, the Prowlers pulled their goalie, increasing traffic in front of the net for Magsam, who made several key saves to keep the Pirates’ lead intact.
“Kailee really shined today,” Meyer said. “That’s what we’ve been looking for her to do, and she stood tall and was a brick wall. It was good that Kailee was back there and able to make those saves for us.”
Crookston was able to get the puck out of the zone, and Brekken Tull put the game away with an empty netter.
Magsam picked up her third win of the season with 22 saves and just two goals.
With the win, the Pirates earn the season sweep, as they defeated Thief River Falls in their season opener 7-1.
“It’ really great because it’s what we needed, Swanson said of the sweep. “We haven’t done that in how many years? It’s good to beat turf in any aspect.”
The Pirates move to 7-5-1 on the year with two more games this week. They play Jamestown in Mayville on Friday and are back home against Northern Lakes on Saturday.