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Panthers' offense explodes in win over Red Lake Falls

Led by a season-high 62 shots on goal, the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team snapped a six-game winless streak with a decisive 9-1 Section 8A victory at Red Lake Falls Saturday afternoon.

The Panthers set the tone for the game in the first period by firing 31 shots on net while holding Red Lake Falls to only three shots.

Brett Pinoniemi's power-play goal 2:40 into the game gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead before Red Lake Falls tied it on a goal by Hunter Schmitz at the 6:12 mark. Three goals in a span of 2:40 gave Park Rapids a 4-1 advantage. Nolan Pederson scored on an assist by Brody Hagen at the 12:15 mark and Cameron Hoyt followed with a goal at the 13:53 mark on assists by Shea Alto and Carter Opheim. Thomas Melvin made it 4-1 at the 14:55 mark as Micah Link and Bjorn Jorgenson had assists.

The Panthers continued to control the game in the second period as a 16-3 advantage in shots led to two more goals. Jorgenson scored at the 5:05 mark and Hoyt followed with another tally at the 14:19 mark for a 6-1 lead. Opheim and Link had assists on Hoyt's second goal of the game.

Goals by Alto at the 1:15 mark, Cody Sagen at the 5:28 mark and Josh Kuhlman at the 14:48 mark concluded the scoring as Park Rapids held a 15-3 advantage in shots in the final period. Christoffer Madsen and Sagen had assists on Kuhlman's goal.

Park Rapids finished with a 62-9 advantage in shots as goalie Austin Jerger needed to make only eight saves. The Panthers tied their season high for goals in a game to improve to 2-6-1 in section play and 4-10-1 overall. Park Rapids' previous high for shots on goal in a game this season was 40 while the nine shots allowed were a season low.

Red Lake Falls extended its winless streak to 11 games in a row in falling to 1-4 in section games and 1-10-1 overall.

"This was a good win for the team. It was fun to see some guys who don't score often put the puck in the net. We had eight different goal scorers, so it was nice to get scoring up and down the lineup," said Park Rapids head coach Derek Ricke. "The boys really enjoyed that one. It was good for the guys to get some confidence and hopefully that will pay dividends. I've been pretty happy with the way we've been playing lately. I thought we deserved to win four of our last five games, but we only came away with one in the win column. We've had a good stretch of hockey and we're playing more consistently. We're heading in the right direction and hopefully that will continue."

Park Rapids 4 2 3...9

Red Lake Falls 1 0 0...1

FIRST PERIOD: 1, Park Rapids, Pinoniemi, 2:40. 2, Red Lake Falls, Schmitz (Wilson, Landman), 6:12. 2, Park Rapids, Pederson (Hagen), 12:15. 3, Park Rapids, Hoyt (Alto, Opheim), 13:53. 4, Park Rapids, Melvin (M. Link, Jorgenson), 14:55. Penalties: Park Rapids 1, RLF 2.

SECOND PERIOD: 5, Park Rapids, Jorgenson 5:05. 6, Park Rapids, Hoyt (Opheim, M. Link), 14:19. Penalties: Park Rapids 1, RLF 0.

THIRD PERIOD: 7, Park Rapids, Alto, 1:15. 8, Park Rapids, Sagen, 5:28. 9, Park Rapids, Kuhlman (Madsen, Sagen), 14:48. Penalties: Park Rapids 1, RLF 2.

GOALIE SAVES: Park Rapids (Jerger) 2-3-3--8. Red Lake Falls (Larson) 27-14-12--53.