Panthers close regular season with section losses to Thief River Falls, East Grand Forks
A pair of home losses to Section 8A rivals prevented the Park Rapids-Menahga-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team from earning a home game for the playoffs.
The Panthers ended the regular season with a 3-1 loss to Thief River Falls Thursday night and a 5-1 loss to East Grand Forks Friday night at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena.
Park Rapids, which ended the regular season with a 9-14-2 record, received the No. 5 seed for the Section 8A playoffs and will play at No. 4 Thief River Falls (10-13-1) Thursday night at 7. The winner of that game plays at No. 1 Warroad (22-1-1) next Monday night at 6. Warroad is the top-rated team in the latest state Class A poll.
Crookston (16-8) received the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. No. 3 East Grand Forks (15-9-1) will play No. 6 Lake of the Woods (6-16-1) in Thursday night's other first-round game. The winner of that game plays Crookston next Monday night at 8:15 at Warroad. The Section 8A title game is set for Feb. 18 at Warroad.
In the loss to TRF, Maddy Aandal had two goals and an assist as the Prowlers prevailed over the Panthers for the third time this season.
Allie Bade set up McKenna Brand with 5:51 to play to account for the Panthers' only goal.
Jessica Gapinski made 24 saves for the Panthers, who lost to TRF 3-2 and 4-1 in their other meetings this season.
Leah Jensen's hat trick helped East Grand Forks end the regular season with a win.
Ashley Thelen's goal midway through the first period gave the Panthers a 1-1 tie. Leeza Tostenson assisted on that goal.
Jensen's second goal of the game gave the Green Wave a 2-1 lead after the second period before a three-goal third period sealed the win. Jensen completed her hat trick with 5:27 to play to end the scoring.
Gapinski finished with 32 saves for the Panthers, who dropped a 4-1 decision to EGF earlier in the season.
TRF 3, Park Rapids 1
FIRST PERIOD: No scoring. Penalties: None.
SECOND PERIOD: 1, TRF, Solheim (Aandal), 8:28. 2, TRF, Norlen (Aandal, Lindquist), 1:00. Penalties: TRF1, Park Rapids 1.
THIRD PERIOD: 1, Park Rapids, Brand (Bade), 5:51. 3, TRF, Aandal (unassisted), 1:03. Penalties: TRF 0, Park Rapids 1.
GOALIE SAVES: TRF (Koop) 4-10-8-22. Park Rapids (Gapinski) 6-12-6-24.
EGF 5, Park Rapids 1
FIRST PERIOD: 1, EGF, Jensen (Grassel), 14:33. 1, Park Rapids, Thelen (Tostenson), 9:45.
SECOND PERIOD: 2, EGF, Jensen (unassisted), 5:27.
THIRD PERIOD: 3, EGF, Konze (unassisted), 15:28. 4, EGF, Pische (Gregoire), 14:11. 5, EGF, Jensen (unassisted), 5:27.
GOALIE SAVES: EGF (Twite) 10-8-7-25. Park Rapids (Gapinski) 11-12-9-32.