Panthers close regular season with three wins
The Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team will carry momentum into the Section 8A playoffs after closing the regular season on a four-game winning streak.
The Panthers improved to 12-12-1 on the season with a 4-1 win over Fargo North last Tuesday night, an 11-3 win at Lake of the Woods Thursday night and a 2-0 win over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Wadena-Deer Creek in a make-up game Friday night.
Park Rapids will open the section playoffs as the No. 4 seed and will host No. 5 Crookston Thursday night at 7 at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena. The Panthers went 1-0-1 against Crookston during the regular season with a 1-1 tie at Thief River Falls and a 2- 0 win at home.
The winner of that game plays No. 1 Thief River Falls (23-1) at Warroad Monday night at 6.
The other section quarterfinal game Thursday night has No. 3 Warroad (14-9-1) hosting No. 6 Lake of the Woods (1-21). The winner of that game plays No. 2 East Grand Forks (22-2-1) Monday night at 8:15 at Warroad. The championship game is Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at Warroad.
Thief River Falls is the top-rated Class A team while East Grand Forks is rated No. 2. Warroad is rated No. 7.
Panthers defeat Fargo North
Four different players scored goals in leading the Panthers pasts Fargo North.
After Betsy Pladson opened the scoring for Fargo North at the 10:26 mark of the first period, the Panthers scored the next four goals to pull off the win.
Lauren Naeve and Emma Gribbin assisted on a power-play goal by Mady Vaudrin at the 13:09 mark as the Panthers tied the game.
Goals by Brooke Jerger and Julia Renner in the second period gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead. Christina Smith assisted on Jerger’s goal at the 8:40 mark while Gribbin and Abby Fischer had assists on Renner’s goal at the 12:00 mark.
Fischer and Vaudrin set up Kendra Dresow at the 8:09 mark of the third period to conclude the scoring.
Goalie Julia Smith made 24 saves for the win as the Spartans fell to 5-11 on the season.
Park Rapids 1 2 1…4
Fargo North 1 0 0…1
FIRST PERIOD: 1, North, Pladson (Erickson, Volk), 10:26. 1, Park Rapids, M. Vaudrin (Naeve, Gribbin), 13:09.
SECOND PERIOD: 2, Park Rapids, Br. Jerger (Smith), 8:40. 3, Park Rapids, Renner (Gribbin, Fischer), 12:00.
THIRD PERIOD: 4, Park Rapids, Dresow (Fischer, M. Vaudrin), 8:09.
GOALIE SAVES: Park Rapids (Smith) 14-6-4-24. North (Sivertson) 7-12-8-27.
Panthers rout Lake of the Woods
Jessie O’Hern’s two goals and three assists and Alex Pederson’s two goals and two assists led the Panthers past Lake of the Woods.
O’Hern and Renner set up Pederson at the 15:58 mark, Bailee Jerger assisted on a goal by Brooke Jerger at the 13:21 mark, and Taylor Sagen and Lexi Hinkley-Smith had assists on a goal by Josey Umthun at the 10:51 mark as the Panthers led 3-0 after the first period.
Naeve scored off an assist from O’Hern at the 12:00 mark before O’Hern scored on assists from Pederson and Ally Vaudrin at the 11:44 mark. After LOW scored the next two goals, Naeve set up O’Hern at the 3:31 mark and Christina Smith set up Bailee Jerger with :03 remaining to give the Panthers a 7-2 lead after the second period.
Pederson and O’Hern assisted on a goal by Renner at the 15:56 mark, Mady Vaudrin scored at the 3:55 mark, Christina Smith and Naeve assisted on a goal by Bailee Jerger at the 1:48 mark, and Paige Myhre assisted on a goal by Pederson at the 1:07 mark to conclude the scoring for the Panthers, who defeated LOW 8-0 earlier in the season.
Johnson made 21 saves as the Panthers improved to 3-6-1 against section teams. LOW fell to 0-3 against section opponents.
Park Rapids 3 4 4…11
Lake of Woods 0 2 1…3
FIRST PERIOD: 1, Park Rapids, Pederson (O’Hern, Renner), 15:58. 2, Park Rapids, Br. Jerger (Ba. Jerger), 13:21. 3, Park Rapids, Umthun (Sagen, Hinkley-Smith), 10:51. Penalties: Park Rapids 2, LOW 1.
SECOND PERIOD: 4, Park Rapids Naeve (O’Hern), 12:00. 5, Park Rapids, O’Hern (Pederson, A. Vaudrin), 11:44. 1, LOW, Achen (Ecklund), 9:43. 2, LOW, Shaw (Ecklund), 7:44. 6, Park Rapids, O’Hern (Naeve), 3:31. 7, Park Rapids, Ba. Jerger (Smith), :03. Penalties: Park Rapids 3, LOW 2.
THIRD PERIOD: 8, Park Rapids, Renner (Pederson, O’Hern), 15:56. 3, LOW, Achen (Shaw), 8:30. 9, Park Rapids, M. Vaudrin, 3:55. 10, Park Rapids, Ba. Jerger (Smith, Naeve), 1:48. 11, Park Rapids, Pederson (Myhre), 1:07. Penalties: Park Rapids 1, LOW 1.
GOALIE SAVES: Park Rapids (Johnson) 6-10-5-21. LOW (Davidson) 7-15-9-31.
Panthers shut out Blue Devils
Pederson scored twice and Johnson made 17 saves for her sixth shutout of the season as Park Rapids blanked the Blue Devils at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena.
Naeve assisted on Pederson’s first goal with 1:43 to play in the first period while Tayah Otterness and Renner set up Pederson’s second goal with 10:05 to play in the game as the Panthers ended the regular season with a .500 record.
LPGE/WDC, which lost to the Panthers 4-1 earlier in the season, fell to 8-15-1.
LPGE/WDC 0 0 0…0
Park Rapids 1 0 1…2
FIRST PERIOD: 1, Park Rapids, Pederson (Naeve), 1:43. Penalties: LPGE/WDC 1, Park Rapids 0.
SECOND PERIOD: No scoring. Penalties: LPGE/WDC 1, Park Rapids 1.
THIRD PERIOD: 2, Park Rapids, Pederson (Otterness, Renner), 10:05. Penalties: LPGE/WDC 3, Park Rapids 0.
GOALIE SAVES: LPGE/WDC (Hanson) 10-9-14-33. Park Rapids (Johnson) 7-5-5-17.