This time, overtime wasn't beneficial for the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team.
The Panthers went into overtime four times during the regular season, winning the last three of those games. One of those games was a 5-4 victory over Red Lake Falls in which the Panthers held a commanding 49-15 advantage in shots on goal.
Those two teams met again to open the Section 8A playoffs Feb. 19 at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena. In addition to the overtime victory on Jan. 12, the Panthers edged Red Lake Falls 4-3 on Feb. 5 by scoring twice in the third period. Those two wins gave Park Rapids the No. 8 seed in the section and a home playoff game against the No. 9-seeded Eagles.
Park Rapids head coach Derek Ricke expected another close battle in this play-in game. The Panthers were in position to advance to the section quarterfinals before Logan Klipping scored with 1:52 to play in regulation to force overtime. After a scoreless first overtime, the Eagles escaped with the win on Zak Kennett's shorthanded goal at the 5:51 mark of the second overtime as RLF advanced despite being outshot 51-33.
Despite being outshot 13-4 in the first period, Red Lake Falls held a 1-0 lead on John LaCoursiere's goal at the 5:09 mark.
The Panthers continued to create scoring chances in the second period and finally capitalized on Cody Sagen's goal at the 7:03 mark and Cameron Hoyt's goal at the 12:58 mark. Carter Opheim and Alec Nordin assisted on Sagen's goal while Jack Slagle set up Hoyt's goal as the Panthers carried a 2-1 lead into the final period. Park Rapids held a 16-6 advantage in shots in that period.
Klipping's goal at the 15:08 mark of the third period tied the game and forced overtime.
Park Rapids fired nine shots on goal in the first overtime and held a 4-1 edge in shots in the second overtime before Kennett's game-winner while RLF was a man short ended the Panthers' season.
Goalie Brendan Kruchowski finished with 20 saves as the Panthers closed the season with a 6-19 record. Goalie Andrew Larson made 49 saves as the Eagles carried a 6-12 record into a quarterfinal game against No. 1 East Grand Forks.
In the other play-in game on Feb. 19, No. 7 Kittson Central eliminated No. 10 Bagley/Fosston 7-2. Kittson Central advanced to face No. 2 Thief River Falls in a quarterfinal game.
Red Lake Falls 1 0 1 0 1...3
Park Rapids 0 2 0 0 0...2
FIRST PERIOD: 1, Red Lake Falls, LaCoursiere (Pahlen), 5:09. Penalties: None.
SECOND PERIOD: 1, Park Rapids, Sagen (Car. Opheim, Nordin), 7:03. 2, Park Rapids, Hoyt (Slagle), 12:58. Penalties: None.
THIRD PERIOD: 2, Red Lake Falls, L. Klipping (Kennett), 15:08. Penalties: Red Lake Falls 3, Park Rapids 5.
FIRST OVERTIME: No scoring. Penalties: None.
SECOND OVERTIME: 3, Red Lake Falls, Kennett, 5:51. Penalties: Red Lake Falls 1, Park Rapids 0.
GOALIE SAVES: Red Lake Falls (Larson) 13-14-9-9-4--49. Park Rapids (Kruchowski) 3-6-6-4-1--20.