It took 79 minutes to turn frustration to elation as the No. 5 Detroit Lakes boys soccer team scored in the final minute of regulation to eliminate No. 8 Crookston Tuesday night at Rotary Soccer Park.
Senior Kobe Braukmann lined up a free kick from midfield that found junior Landon Mackner in the box. Mackner headed the ball over Kaleb Thingelstad, the charging Pirates keeper, and into the net with exactly one minute to play in regulation.
“It was huge,” said Mackner. “I just jumped in as soon as he kicked it so I could get in a little ahead of everyone.”
Braukmann and Louis Terlau had a number of free kick opportunities in both halves but just couldn’t get a shot to hit the net or a pass to find a teammate until the final minute.
Minutes before the game-winner, Braukmann had an opportunity that sailed right into Thingelstad’s hands. Having another chance from downtown was just what the doctor ordered.
“I definitely wanted the kick to be outside the 18 (yard box),” Braukmann said.
Upon leaving his foot, the senior midfielders knew the ball was destined for the back of the net.
“I knew it right away,” he said. “I saw the goalie coming out and it was a perfect touch by Landon.”
The Lakers had plenty of good scoring opportunities in the second half.
Captain Thomas Fritz sent an excellent cross to Austin Miler for a header that missed in the 50th minute.
Six minutes later, Josh Brahmer was clobbered by Crookston’s Isaiah Barlow that set up a freebie for Terlau at the corner of the box but his shot sailed over the net.
Fritz was fouled just outside the box and Braukmann had a shot from 20-feet. He bent the ball looking for right post but just sailed wide.
Mackner in tight but was denied by Thingelstad in the 66th minute and Miller sent a turnaround shot that Thingelstad had to tip just above the crossbar to keep the game tied.
All the changes and nothing to show for it was building inside the Lakers on the pitch and the bench.
“I was getting really mad and I’m sure all my teammates were too,” said Mackner.
DL had eight quality chances in the first half, as well.
“We weren’t finishing our shots for sure, but we had possession basically the whole game,” said Braukmann. “It was fun.”
Terlau created DL’s best chance of the first half dribbling from his defensive position through multiple Pirates and across midfield just missing at the low far post in the 31st minute.
Fritz was the team’s captain in the absence of Garrett Bakken and Ben Heimark.
Heimark has been out all year after being injured in late August at Bemidji. Bakken missed the playoff game with a hamstring suffered in the final regular season game and is questionable for games this week. Tyler Wirtz also missed Tuesday night under concussion protocol.
“Hopefully, we get Garrett back and win that game so we can get Tyler back,” Mackner said.
Alec Kulasingham made nine saves coming out to challenge the Pirates on the rare Crookston scoring chance. Thingelstad stopped 21 Laker shots.
Detroit Lakes (6-8) will play at No. 4 East Grand Forks (6-6-2) Thursday, Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. The teams met twice, but only finished one game due to weather, a 1-0 Laker victory at home.
The Lakers are 5-5 in the last 10 games; the Green Wave are 5-4-1.
Three of the DL's six victories were against Crookston.