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Jon Richards (22) unleashes a shot on Crookston goalie Ian Johnson Tuesday evening. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham

Boys Hockey: Lakers take section points on buzzer beater

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When Detroit Lakes’ junior winger Ryan DeConcini saw the loose puck fluttering in front of Crookston goalie Ian Johnson late in the third period, there was only one thing on his mind – chip it back into the goal.

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DeConcini didn’t know exactly how much time was left in the tie game, just that he knew it was getting very close to the buzzer.

Good thing, too, because he didn’t have many ticks left — .7 to be exact — to bury the puck, which resulted in a thrilling 5-4 victory over the Pirates.

“I knew it was getting close, but I didn’t know it was getting that close,” DeConcini said of his winning goal. “I just saw the puck go off (Johnson’s) shoulder and saw it just lying there and chipped it in.”

The goal with just .7 of a second left in regulation saved DL from going to an extra period, but more importantly rang up a Section 8-1A victory, as well as putting the Lakers back in the rhythm they gathered from going 3-0 in the Eveleth Holiday Tournament in late December.

“It’s a huge win because it’s a section win,” said DL head coach Chris Denardo. “We just wanted to get the boys dialed in, keep them calm and focused. It paid off.”

There probably was some anxiety building for the Lakers in the third period, after seeing a 3-0 lead erased by the Pirates (4-11-2), as Crookston tied the game on a pair of senior forward Brady Heppner’s goals.

Momentum was on Crookston’s side if the game was going to head to the extra period, but DeConcini made sure that wouldn’t happen.

DL leading scorer sophomore center Jon Richards (35 points) started the scoring with a power play goal 11:54 into the first period, on the assist by senior winger Wilson Lysford.

Richards also had an assist on each of DeConcini’s two goals in the third period, with Lysford notching a nice rebound goal in the second period to make the score 2-0.

Senior forward Taylor Johnson put DL up 3-0 on a breakaway goal, in which he was able to sneak the puck underneath Ian Johnson’s outreached stick.

With Crookston employing a more physical style of play, the speed of the Lakers was key to creating shots in the open ice, as well putting more quality shots on net, despite being outshot 31-28.

“Their defense was bigger, but slower, so it was easier to get around them with our speed,” Richards said. “This is a big win, especially after last Saturday and being off for that long. We need something like this to get back into it.”

Laker junior goalie MacKenzie Steele finished with 27 saves, while not giving up many rebounds to the Pirates.

“Mac did a better job tonight sealing off the angles, he challenged the puck more, too,” Denardo said.

After the polar vortex forced several days of inactivity for the Lakers, they came out against visiting Fort Frances, Ontario, with some dusty skates.

It showed, as the Canadian squad launched  a four-goal first period, en route to a 9-2 victory.

Steele and sophomore Austin Fritz each saw action in the net, with nine and 16 saves, respectively.

“Penalty trouble kicked our butts against Fort Frances,” Denardo said.

“Having two weeks off hurt us.”

DL had goals by Jonathan Hallisey and Taylor Johnson, both on power plays, while Fort Frances had six power play goals.

The Lakers, now 7-5-1, will take a road trip north and face International Falls Friday and Kittson Central Saturday for another important section matchup, starting at 7:15 p.m.            

Crookston at Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, Jan. 14

Pirates    0 2 2 – 4

Lakers    1 2 2 – 5

1st Period -- Scoring: DTRTLK - Richards Goal (power play) (Lysford) 11:54. Penalties: Salentiny, CRKSTN (Slashing, Minor, 2 min) 10:44; Heppner, CRKSTN (Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Minor, 2 min) 17:00. Goalie Changes: None

2nd Period -- Scoring: DTRTLK - Lysford Goal (power play) (Richards, Herrmann) 1:03; DTRTLK - Johnson Goal (even strength) 1:43; CRKSTN - Bjorgo Goal (power play) (St. Michel) 6:26; CRKSTN - Heppner Goal (even strength) (Salentiny, St. Michel) 15:21. Penalties: Bremseth, DTRTLK (Interference, Minor, 2 min) 4:17; Herrmann, DTRTLK (Elbowing, Minor, 2 min) 8:11; Boomgarden, DTRTLK (Interference, Minor, 2 min) 12:57. Goalie Changes: None

3rd Period -- Scoring: CRKSTN - Heppner Goal (short handed) 10:20; DTRTLK - Deconcini Goal (even strength) (Richards) 11:20; CRKSTN - Heppner Goal (even strength) (St. Michel) 13:04; DTRTLK - Deconcini Goal (even strength) (Richards, Lysford) 16:59. Penalties: Bjorgo, CRKSTN (Slashing, Minor, 2 min) 10:02; Herrmann, DTRTLK (Cross-Checking, Minor, 2 min) 10:57. Goalie Changes: None

Shots on goal – DL 10 8 10 – 28…Crk 7 12 12 – 31

Saves – DL (MacKenzie Steele) 27…Crk (Ian Johnson) 23

Fort Frances (Ontario) at Detroit Lakes, Saturday, Jan. 11

Ft. Frances    4 2 3 – 9

Lakers           0 1 1 – 2           

1st Period -- Scoring: FTFRAN - McDowall Goal (power play) (VanUden) 1:50; FTFRAN - Taylor Goal (even strength) (Brown) 6:39; FTFRAN - Kitt Goal (even strength) (Prydi) 11:24; FTFRAN - Cheetham Goal (even strength) (Kitt) 14:29. Penalties: None. Goalie Changes: None

2nd Period -- Scoring: FTFRAN - Kitt Goal (power play) (Webb) 3:06; DTRTLK - Hallisey Goal (power play) (Herrmann, Steele) 13:47; FTFRAN - Webb Goal (power play) (Brown) 16:40. Penalties: None. Goalie Changes: Fritz, DTRTLK 0:00

3rd Period -- Scoring: FTFRAN - McDowall Goal (power play) 1:13; FTFRAN - VanUden Goal (power play) 3:12; FTFRAN - Webb Goal (power play) (VanUden) 9:13; DTRTLK - Johnson Goal (power play) (Bremseth) 13:25. Penalties: None. Goalie Changes: None

Shots on goal: DL 7 9 12 – 28…FF 13 12 9 – 34

Saves – DL (Austin Fritz) 16 (MacKenzie Steele) 9…FF (Jonah Johnson) 26

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Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN. 
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