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TRF shuts out Panthers in 8A quarterfinals

     Thief River Falls took advantage of power-play opportunities to eliminate the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team from the Section 8A playoffs with a 5-0 quarterfinal victory Thursday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

     The No. 3-seeded Prowlers went 3-for-4 with a man advantage and held a 42-12 advantage in shots on goal to advance to the section semifinals.

     Landon Sanders’ power-play goal at the 11:52 mark of the first period gave Thief River Falls a 1-0 lead. The Prowlers held a 19-4 advantage in shots in the opening period.

     Goals by Zeb Nelson at the 3:58 mark and Adam Pancoast at the 7:30 mark of the second period pushed the Prowlers’ advantage to 3-0.

     Power-play goals by Ian Lund at the 5:19 mark and Sanders at the 12:49 mark concluded the scoring. Goalie Tanner Holmes recorded his fifth shutout of the season as the Prowlers improved to 15-10-1.

     The Panthers, who entered as the No. 6 seed, failed to score on two power-play chances in the first period and two power-play opportunities in the second period. Park Rapids was shut out for the fourth time this season. Goalie Cody Brumbaugh finished with 37 saves as the Panthers ended the season with a 16-7-3 record.

     Thief River Falls (which is rated No. 11 in the latest state Class A poll) has won the last 10 games against the Panthers, including a 3-1 victory during the regular season. The Prowlers have outscored Park Rapids 57-9 in the last 10 games. Thief River Falls has ousted the Panthers from the section playoffs three times in the last four years. The Prowlers outshot the Panthers 30-9 in a 5-0 section semifinal victory in 2012 and 43-9 in a 10-1 quarterfinal victory in 2011. The Panthers’ last win over Thief River Falls was a 4-0 victory in January 2008.

Park Rapids                0    0      0…0

Thief River Falls           1    2      2….5

FIRST PERIOD: 1, Thief River Falls, Sanders (Bergland), 11:52. Penalties: Park Rapids 1, Thief River Falls 0.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, Thief River Falls, Nelson (Ose, Huot), 3:58. 3, Thief River Falls, Pancoast (Nelson, Huot), 7:30.  Penalties: Park Rapids 1, Thief River Falls 2.

THIRD PERIOD: 4, Thief River Falls, Lund (Johnson), 5:19. 5, Thief River Falls, Sanders (Bergland), 12:49. Penalties: Park Rapids 2, Thief River Falls 0.

GOALIE SAVES: Park Rapids (Brumbaugh) 18-8-11-37. Thief River Falls (Holmes) 4-4-4-12.