Crookston women’s hockey scores late to beat West Fargo United
The hockey gods are nothing but a fickle bunch.
With two and a half minutes remaining in Crookston’s game against West Fargo United on Thursday night, second-year defender Jenna Seaver managed a pass from Nora Peterson, right in the middle of the attacking zone, and let a shot fly away. as her momentum carried her to the right.
The puck didn’t seem to hit a lot, if at all. There wasn’t a lot of traffic in front of the net. All things considered, it wasn’t the fastest, hardest, or sharpest shot West Fargo goalkeeper Madelyn Buchert had seen that night.
But as he headed for the net, he deflected a West Fargo defender. Then he did what none of the Pirates’ previous 16 shots in the third period had done.
Seaver’s goal, the third of his college career, pushed Crookston over the finish line after a frustrating near-crash marathon, giving him a 3-2 victory over West Fargo United on Thursday at Crookston Sports Center.
It was a game that featured all the attributes of the Pirates season so far. They went home deep in the offensive zone and never stopped shooting, only to be denied, again and again, on the scoreboard and subsequently in the win column. For 48 minutes, the contest looked to be at home with Crookston’s previous losses to Thief River Falls, East Grand Forks and Fargo North-South.
Then Seaver found gold and the Pirates sighed in relief.
“You play well, you do a lot of things right, but you don’t always see it,” said Crookston coach Tim Moe. “You don’t sometimes believe it, that you are really doing these things right when you are not being rewarded with victories.”
The Pirates (2-4) scored halfway through the first period. First-year forward Reese Swanson picked up where she left off against Fargo North-South, scoring her second career goal and second in as many games. But West Fargo was more efficient with their time zone and led 2-1 after the first 17 minutes thanks to two shots from outside the crease that beat sophomore Kailee Magsam.
“She might want to get them back,” Moe said. “We’ll have to go take a look at the tape and see what happened.”
Moe thought the second half, however, was West Fargo’s best. United took eight shots on goal – more than half of their shots for the entire game – and “really pushed us”. For the 17 minutes in the middle, it was Crookston who had to resist the pressure.
The turning point came with 1:47 to go in the period. Senior forward Nora Peterson, the Pirates’ top scorer, scored the tying goal with assists from Catherine Tiedemann (Sr., F) and Brekken Tull (Fr., F).
“I think that propelled us into the third,” Moe said. “Hockey is a swing game. Once that started, at the start of that third period, we cheated before and everyone just wanted to keep going.
Moe likes to remind his team that the best defense is a solid offense, and during the third period the Pirates’ defense in the attacking zone was overwhelming. Most of the time, they had the puck on their clubs. If they didn’t, they were skating at full speed trying to get it back. Their check-forwards dominance in the final period limited West Fargo (3-7-1) to a single shot on goal.
All the while, Buchert was standing on her head – she would finish the game with 40 saves. But the five players in front of her had little left and Crookston felt blood in the water.
“They were tired,” Seaver said. “We were just outdoing them and overworking them.”
West Fargo received a penalty – its eventual death knell – with three and a half minutes to go. The Pirates immediately fired several shots on goal, but Buchert deflected them all.
Then Peterson won a draw and transferred the puck to Seaver, who had already unleashed a solid shot in the power play.
Why not try another one?
“(Buchert) just got bombed for 13, 14 minutes straight, and then we get a top-down shot,” Moe said. “… I think that was the culmination of a lot of the good things we’ve done.”
Moe spent much of the fledgling season reminding his players of their talent, even when the only stat that matters didn’t show it. Thursday evening, he did not have to add this warning.
“(The coaches) were proud of us,” Seaver said. “We worked hard for it. We deserved it.”
Even the hockey gods agreed.
FOLLOWING: The Pirates are hosting East Grand Forks for the second time this season on Tuesday, February 2 (7:30 p.m.). The Green Wave is 1-4 this season, having lost four straight games since their 2-0 win over Crookston on January 15.
THE SCORE OF THE BOX
West Fargo United 2-0-0—0
- 8:27 first period (Crookston): Reese Swanson (Jenna Seaver)
- 6h00 first period (WFU): Morgan Bents (Mia Gervais)
- 1:31 first period (WFU): Trissa Olafson (Mia Gervais)
- 1:47 second period (Crookston): Nora Peterson (Catherine Tiedemann, Brekken Tull)
- 2:30 third period (Crookston): Jenna Seaver (Nora Peterson) power play
- Crookston: Kailee Magsam 12 saves on 14 shots
- West Fargo United: Madelyn Buchert 40 saves on 43 shots
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