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Panthers return to win column by defeating Northern Lakes

For only the second time this season, the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team had more shots on goal than the opposition during a Mid-State Conference game at Breezy Point Tuesday night.

That discrepancy in shots sparked the Panthers to a 5-3 win over Northern Lakes that snapped a five-game losing streak.

Northern Lakes opened the game with a 16-10 advantage in shots in the first period, but the game was tied at 1-1 as Josh Baker's goal 2:41 into the game was offset by a goal by Northern Lakes' Garrett Westlund at the 11:39 mark. Wyatt Halvorson assisted on Baker's goal.

Park Rapids controlled the second period as an 18-7 advantage in shots helped produce three goals. Bjorn Jorgenson set up Baker 1:10 into the period before Shea Alto's goal a minute later gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead. Carter Opheim assisted on Alto's goal. After Zech Trenkenschu scored a power-play goal at the 14:33 mark, Opheim's shorthanded goal at the 14:42 mark gave Park Rapids a 4-2 edge entering the final period.

Halvorson's goal 23 seconds into the third period pushed the lead to 5-2 before Dylan Messenbrink scored at the 2:27 mark to conclude the scoring.

Goalie Austin Jerger made 26 saves as the Panthers improved to 2-2 in the conference and 3-5 overall. Northern Lakes fell to 2-2 in conference games and 2-6 overall.

Park Rapids 1 3 1...5

Northern Lakes 1 1 1...3

FIRST PERIOD: 1, Park Rapids, Baker (Halvorson), 2:41. 1, Northern Lakes, Westlund (Donovan), 11:39.

SECOND PERIOD: 2, Park Rapids, Baker (Jorgenson), 1:10. 3, Park Rapids, Alto (Opheim), 2:10. 2, Northern Lakes, Trenkenschu (Mesenbrink, Couture), 12:33. 4, Park Rapids, Opheim, 14:42.

THIRD PERIOD: 5, Park Rapids, Halvorson, :23. 3, Northern Lakes, Mesenbrink (Myhre, Westlund), 2:27.

GOALIE SAVES: Park Rapids (Jerger) 15-6-5--26. Northern Lakes (Fink) 9-15-11--35.

Pirates catch break

Crookston caught a break in rallying for a 6-3 win over the Panthers at the Crookston Sports Center on Dec. 19.

Park Rapids held a 2-1 lead midway through the second period when a check into the boards caused a pane of plexiglass to shatter. A 30-minute delay followed and the Pirates tied the game right after play resumed before scoring four unanswered goals in the third period for the win in this battle of Section 8A rivals.

Despite being outplayed in the first period, the Panthers held a 2-0 lead on Brett Pinoniemi's goal at the 5:06 mark and Halvorson's goal at the 8:02 mark. Park Rapids was given a five-minute power play one minute into the game, but couldn't take advantage. After the Panthers were whistled for a penalty to negate the power play, Pinoniemi opened the scoring on a slap shot during 4-on-4 play as Nolan Pederson and Micah Link received assists. Jorgenson set up Halvorson's goal almost three minutes later as the Panthers led 2-0 despite being outshot 12-8 in the opening period.

Brock Heppner scored off a rebound at the 6:21 mark of the second period as Crookston cut the gap to 2-1. The broken plexiglass forced a delay with 7:13 to play in that period. When the break was over, it took Heppner only :05 to tie the game at the 9:52 mark. The Pirates' momentum was short-lived as Park Rapids reclaimed the lead on Thomas Melvin's goal at the 11:11 mark. Pinoniemi and Christoffer Madsen received assists on that goal as the Panthers carried a 3-2 lead into the final period. Crookston held a 19-6 edge in shots in that period.

Crookston controlled the final period by scoring four times and holding a 12-7 advantage in shots. Ben Andringa's power-play goal at the 9:46 mark tied the game at 3-3 before Ethan Magsam scored the game-winner on a breakaway at the 10:13 mark. Magsam followed with another goal with 3:52 remaining before Andrew Dragseth concluded the scoring with 1:11 to go.

Jerger finished with 37 saves as the Panthers fell to 1-4 against section teams. Crookston improved to 2-1 in the section and 4-3 overall.

Park Rapids 2 1 0...3

Crookston 0 2 4...6

FIRST PERIOD: 1, Park Rapids, Pinoniemi (Pederson, M. Link), 5:06. 2, Park Rapids, Halvorson (Jorgenson), 8:02. Penalties: Park Rapids 2, Crookston 2.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, Crookston, Heppner (Anderson, Andringa), 6:21. 2, Crookston, Heppner (Andringa), 9:52. 3, Park Rapids, Melvin (Pinoniemi, Madsen), 11:11. Penalties: Park Rapids 2, Crookston 1.

THIRD PERIOD: 3, Crookston, Andringa (Doda, Heppner), 9:41. 4, Crookston, Magsam, 10:13. 5, Crookston, Magsam (Delorme), 13:08. 6, Crookston, Dragseth (Trostad, Delorme), 15:49. Penalties: Park Rapids 1, Crookston 1.

GOALIE SAVES: Park Rapids (Jerger) 12-17-8--37. Crookston (Salentine) 6-5-7--18.