The Crookston Pirate girls' hockey team opened its season Saturday, falling 6-2 to White Bear Lake, a Class AA team that improved to 3-1 on the season.
Pirate senior forward Lizzy Awender scored two unassisted goals, both in the second period, but White Bear Lake limited Crookston's chances and outshot the Pirates 29-19.
"Even though it was a 6-2 loss I think we can take a lot of positives away from our first game," said Pirate co-head coach Jeff Perreault. "We established a forecheck against a quality opponent and at times sustained offensive zone pressure. With that pressure we had some very good scoring opportunities such as the one-timer attempt from Rachel Kanten and the nice shot and rebound try by Brooke Schmitz and Amber Trostad."
The Bears took a 4-0 lead into the first intermission on goals by Jeanette Bealke, a power play goal with 11:40 left in the first period, Emma Statt (5:26), Ashley Healy (2:21) and Kelly Lanigan (:08).
"Putting White Bear on the power play really seemed to change the momentum we had going in the first," coach Perreault said. "They scored and then added three more goals. We as coaches just didn't feel like it was a 4-0 game because we were doing a lot of things well.
Awender cut the deficit in half in the second period with a goal 47 seconds into the middle frame and another with 4:03 remaining.
"It would be easy to roll over after a 4-0 start but the girls remained positive in the locker room and came out and played a very nice second period out scoring White Bear 2-0!" Perreault said. "Lizzy Awender scored twice on similar plays. Her line was putting on pressure with the forecheck that caused turnovers and Lizzy put both pucks low short side."
White Bear Lake held Crookston to just five shots in the third period as Lanigan made it 5-2 with 11:08 left to play and Sarah Moy capped the scoring with 30 seconds left.
Pirate freshman goaltender Lexie Cormican recorded 23 saves, while White Bear Lakes' netminder, Mae Moris had 17 saves.
"White Bear Lake broke down our d-zone coverage a couple of times and they were a bit stronger on the puck at times," Perreault explained. "The nice thing we were seeing each and every girl attempting to block shots and did get quite a few. A couple of penalties in the third hurt our chances of making a comeback but overall the coaching staff was pleased with our effort and attitude."
Crookston will host Section 8A rival Thief River Falls today with the puck set to drop at 7:30 p.m.