Crookston rally ends DL girls' season

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Junior goalie Leah Honer played nearly every minute of the season in net as she and the Detroit Lakes girls hockey team saw their season end 3-2 at Crookston in the Section 8A quarterfinals Thursday, Feb. 6. Robert Williams / Tribune

No. 5 Detroit Lakes got off to a great start and a 2-0 lead but were undone by No. 4 Crookston 3-2 in the Section 8A girls hockey quarterfinal at the Crookston Sports Center Thursday, Feb. 6.

“Nothing but praise for those girls,” DL head coach Scott Piepkorn said. “It’s the end of the year for them but they finally got it. They learned some life lessons today. We lost this year, but the ones coming back will be stronger next year for this day.”

Sara Freeman won an offensive draw and fed the puck to Hadlee Justesen for a 1-0 Laker lead five minutes into the first period. Justesen beat Pirates’ goalie Grace Koshney top shelf to give DL momentum on the road.

Three minutes later, Ella Hess skated through neutral ice and into the zone scoring unassisted on a rebound of her own low shot past Koshney for a 2-0 lead.

Crookston’s Nora Peterson one-timed the first of three unanswered Pirate goals on a three-on-one rush at 11:28 of the period but DL held a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.


That lead lasted all of 98 seconds of the second period when Kylee Meier scored with a little luck. Meier threw the puck at the net and it ricocheted off the skate of DL’s Adisyn Strand and into the net past DL goalie Leah Honer to tie the game.

Back-to-back Laker penalties gave Crookston two power play chances to take the lead midway through the second period.

Crookston’s Mackenze Epema set up Aleah Bienek early into the Pirates’ second power play in front of Honer. Bienek beat Honer five-hole with a slap shot for the game-winner.

The two second period calls were the only DL penalties in the game.

Crookston dominated play in the second outshooting the Lakers 13-3.

The Pirates committed three penalties in the final 18 minutes of the game, including giving DL a power play with 3:29 left in regulation.

Madison Olson had the best chance in the final 30 seconds of the power play putting a shot on Koshney creating a loose puck in the crease that slid wide of the net.

Piepkorn pulled Honer for the extra attacker with a minute to go to no avail.


The game was the last for seniors Sara Freeman, leading scorer Madyson Melgard and Payton Schiltz.

“They’re all quality kids and they give it their all - all of the time,” said Piepkorn. “It’s hard to see them leave.”

Honer made 32 saves completing a season where the Laker junior goalie played nearly every minute in net.

“She’ll be a senior next year and will come back stronger than ever,” said Piepkorn.

Crookston improved to 12-13 and earned a date with No. 2A and top-seeded Warroad (19-4-2) Saturday, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. in Thief River Falls. The victory was the first Crookston playoff win in five years.

Detroit Lakes’ season ends with a record of 4-20.

Crookston 3, Detroit Lakes 2

DL 2 0 0 - 2


CR 1 2 0 - 3

D - Hadlee Justesen (even strength) (Sara Freeman)

D - Ella Hess (even strength)

C - Nora Peterson (Raina Satrom, Rylee Solheim)

C - Kylee Meier

C - Aleah Bienek (power play) (Mackenze Epema)

Saves: DL - Honer 32; CR - Koshney 20.


Robert Williams has been a sports editor for Forum Communications in Perham and Detroit Lakes since 2011.
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