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Panthers end regular season with loss to Lakers, drop to No. 6 seed in section

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     A 3-0 loss to Detroit Lakes in the regular-season finale Tuesday night at Detroit Lakes dropped the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team to the No. 6 spot for the Section 8A tournament.

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     Park Rapids, which fell to 16-6-3 on the season, travels to No. 3 Thief River Falls (14-10) for a quarterfinal game Thursday night at 7. Thief River Falls defeated the Panthers 3-1 during the regular season.

     The section tournament begins Tuesday night with No. 7 Crookston (6-14-4) hosting No. 10 Bagley/Fosston (2-19) and No. 8 Red Lake Falls (10-10-4) hosting No. 9 Lake of the Woods (5-17-3). Crookston received the No. 7 seed instead of the No. 6 seed in a vote by the section coaches despite a 3-3 tie and 3-2 overtime win over the Panthers.

     No. 1 East Grand Forks (22-2-1) plays either Lake of the Woods or Red Lake Falls while No. 2 Warroad (20-4-1) hosts either Crookston or Bagley/Fosston Thursday night in the quarterfinals. No. 4 Kittson Central (16-5-2) hosts No. 5 Detroit Lakes (15-7-1) in the other quarterfinal game Thursday night.

     East Grand Forks is rated No. 1, Warroad is rated No. 3 and Thief River Falls is rated No. 11 in the latest state Class A poll.

     Thief River Falls will host the section semifinals next Saturday night and the section championship game on Feb. 27.

     Entering the regular-season finale, the Panthers had a chance to move up in the section standings and claim the Mid-State Conference title outright with an undefeated record. But Detroit Lakes used a 39-19 advantage in shots on goal to avenge a 4-3 loss to the Panthers early in the season and share the conference title with a 7-1 record.

     Jon Richards scored 3:30 into the game and Ryan Deconcini scored with 21 seconds left to give the Lakers a 2-0 lead after the first period. Detroit Lakes held a 13-5 edge in shots in the opening period.

     The Panthers failed to capitalize on a 5-minute power play during a scoreless second period and couldn’t score on another 5-minute power play in the third period. Richards sealed the win at the 7:42 mark as the Lakers outshot Park Rapids 15-5 in the final period.

     Park Rapids goalie Cody Brumbaugh made 36 saves as the Panthers were shut out for only the third time this season. The loss dropped Park Rapids to 7-5-2 against section teams.

     MacKenzie Steele made 19 saves for his fifth shutout of the season as the Lakers improved to 5-3 against section opponents.

Park Rapids                0    0      0…0

Detroit Lakes              2    0      1….3

FIRST PERIOD: 1, Detroit Lakes, Richards (Deconcini, Lysford), 3:30. 2, Detroit Lakes, Deconcini (Richards, Lysford), 16:39. Penalties: Park Rapids 0, Detroit Lakes 1.

SECOND PERIOD: No scoring. Penalties: Park Rapids 3, Detroit Lakes 1.

THIRD PERIOD: 3, Detroit Lakes, Richards (Herrmann, Deconcini), 7:42. Penalties: Park Rapids 2, Detroit Lakes 1.

GOALIE SAVES: Park Rapids (Brumbaugh) 11-11-14-36. Detroit Lakes (Steele) 5-9-5-19.

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