Couture's hat trick powers Lightning past Panthers

Northern Lakes jumped out to an 8-0 lead in a 10-1 victory over the Park Rapids-Menahga-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team.


Kyler Couture tallied a hat trick during a five-goal second period that powered Northern Lakes to a 10-1 Mid-State Conference victory over the Park Rapids-Menahga-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team at Walker on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Hunter Nybakken and Caiden Kjelstrom contributed two goals and two assists each as the Lightning finished with a 42-18 advantage in shots on goal to sweep the season series. Northern Lakes shut out the Panthers 10-0 in the season opener.

Nybakken opened the scoring just 22 seconds into the game and followed with a power-play goal at the 15:46 mark to give Northern Lakes a 2-0 lead after the first period. The Lightning held a 14-10 edge in shots on goal in the opening period.

Couture scored goals at the 5:22, 9:12 and 16:59 marks of the second period as Northern Lakes extended its lead to 7-0. Kjelstrom scored at the 4:06 mark and Carter Holtziecer scored at the 14:02 mark as the Lightning held an 18-5 advantage in shots in that period.

Kjelstrom’s power-play goal 1:10 into the third period made it 8-0 before Josh Crandall assisted on a goal by Jaxson Lund at the 5:13 mark to make it 8-1. Goals by Colton Craig at the 6:20 mark and Robert Stephens with 1:00 to play concluded the scoring.


Park Rapids goalie Sawyer Torkelson made 25 saves over the first two periods while Collin Hoyt took over in the third period and made seven saves as the Panthers fell to 2-4 in conference games and 4-7 overall.

Northern Lakes, which was rated No. 10 in this week’s state Class A poll, improved to 7-0 in the conference and 11-1 overall.

Northern Lakes 2 5 3...10
Park Rapids 0 0 1...1
FIRST PERIOD: 1, Northern Lakes, Nybakken (Ehnstrom), :22. 2, Northern Lakes, Nybakken (Couture, Seeling), 15:46. Penalties: Northern Lakes 2, Park Rapids 2.
SECOND PERIOD: 3, Northern Lakes, Kjelstrom (Ehnstrom), 4:06. 4, Northern Lakes, Couture (Seeling), 5:22. 5, Northern Lakes, Couture (Miller, Villarreal), 9:12. 6, Northern Lakes, Holtziecer (Stephens), 14:02. 7, Northern Lakes, Couture (Nybakken, Larsen), 16:59. Penalties: Northern Lakes 3, Park Rapids 4.
THIRD PERIOD: 8, Northern Lakes, Kjelstrom, 1:10. 1, Park Rapids, Lund (Crandall), 5:13. 9, Northern Lakes, Craig (Nybakken, Kjelstrom), 6:20. 10, Northern Lakes, Stephens (Kjelstrom), 16:00. Penalties: Northern Lakes 0, Park Rapids 2.
GOALIE SAVES: Northern Lakes (Smythe) 10-5-2--17. Park Rapids (Torkelson) 12-13-x--25; (Hoyt) x-x-7--7.
Related Topics: BOYS HOCKEY
1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
What To Read Next
The Detroit Lakes-based collective also includes players from Frazee-Vergas, Perham, New York Mills and Park Rapids.
Warm temperatures and partial sun greeted 33 drivers, crews and riders for the opening day. Plus, a huge gathering of fans looked on in the special area created for fans’ viewing pleasure.
If accepted, the school would join Barnesville, Breckenridge, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Hawley, Frazee, Pelican Rapids and Perham in 2024-25.