Hockey beats Crookston to advance to semifinals

Kaitlin Mahr

The Vikings had a successful opening playoff series this weekend against the Golden Eagles of UM-Crookston.
The first period Friday night started out well enough for the Vikes, who received no penalties and got the first tick on the scoreboard with a goal by Kalle Larsson.
It was good to see captain Josh Peterson on the ice again this weekend after a healthy scratch last game at MSOE.
Freshman Marc Howe lit the lamp early in the second period. Nick Jennette, with assists from Howe and Aaron LaFave, converted a power play putting the score at 3-0.
Another goal from Howe capped the period and the Vikes took a commanding 4-1 lead into the second intermission.
LU’s confidence grew when senior Evan Thornton rippled the net, making the score 5-1 with six minutes to play in the third period.
Fans, however, started to get a little nervous as Crookston picked up steam and had a beautiful snipe 10 feet in from the blue line.
They continued to roll, picking up one more goal on a power play.
Down 5-3, the Golden Eagles emptied their net in hopes of catching the Vikes. Defense was strong however, and Crookston was unable to find the goals they needed.
After the offense’s disappointing show last weekend, they drastically redeemed themselves this series.
Howe said, “The past couple of weeks we got away from playing what Coach calls ‘the Lawrence way,’ and this weekend we got back to that.”
Tighter passing made moving the puck much easier this weekend. Of course, there were a few misses that had the crowd groaning in frustration. Sometimes the boys just can’t find the hole.
The puck dropped Saturday afternoon to the same fast-paced, energetic atmosphere as Friday night.
Crookston wasn’t going to give up easily this weekend. They roared back in the second game with a goal just one minute into the first period.
The teams were even until the beginning of the second when Howe was able to convert during the power play, evening up the score 1-1.
A tied third period is what hockey fans dream of, and this didn’t disappoint. Crookston pulled ahead of the Vikes early in the third.
It looked like a mini-game was going to have to be played to determine the split series, but LU regrouped in a timeout and Billy Siers was able to get one past the Crookston goalie.
Overtime baby! Cue “There Goes My Hero”!
Lawrence counted on their strong defensive players to hold off the Golden Eagles. Crookston emptied their net, putting six shooters right in front of Lawrence’s net.
The boys kept it together for what seemed like an eternity, as the fans counted down the remaining seconds of the five-minute overtime, and LU held on for the tie.
The three points in the weekend advances LU to the second round the tournament.
Hopefully our boys will be able to hold it together against the conference’s defending champions, MSOE. Coach Szkodzinski believes we have a good chance to advance to the championship game.
“We have played MSOE tight in the games where we decided to stick with our plan. When we try to ‘run ‘n’ gun,'” he says, “we tend to get the short end of the stick. Our game is about consistent hard work and a disciplined system. If we stick to those ideas, I like our chances on Saturday morning.