Sophomore Tara Johanning scored the game-winning goal 5:18 into overtime to lift Park Rapids Area to a 5-4 win over Crookston in the first round of the 2015 Thief River Falls Holiday Hockey Classic Friday.
Crookston wasted no time getting on the board as the Pirates scored just 30 seconds in to take the 1-0 lead.
The Panthers got the equalizer when junior Brooke Jerger scored unassisted. Her second goal of the season made it 1-1.
The team’s went to the locker room tied up at 1-1 with Crookston leading in shots on goal, 12-6.
The Pirates came out firing in the second period, putting 18 shots on net, but couldn’t capitalize on the chances as Panthers' goaltender Julia Smith kept them off the scoreboard.
Park Rapids Area took advantage of a power play opportunity when Lexi Hinckley-Smith scored her team-leading fifth goal of the season, assisted by Johanning, to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead. Later in the period, Taylor Sagen scored from a sharp angle, with the assist going to Jerger, to push the lead to 3-1.
Crookston outshot the Panthers 18-10 in the period, but trailed 3-1 at the second intermission.
In the third period, things started to tilt in favor of the Pirates. Crookston’s Annie Hajostek rifled a laser of a wrist shot from the left slot to cut it to 3-2.
The momentum that Crookston grabbed from that goal dissipated quickly as Park Rapids Area scored 38 seconds later on an unassisted goal by Serena Aletto to push the lead to 4-2.
Hajostek struck again for the Pirates, this time on the power play, to make it a one-goal game with four minutes to go. Macy Strem lit the lamp for the second time in the game with 1:07 to play, tying the score at 4-4.
The score stayed tied at the end of regulation, so the team’s switched sides and went into an eight minute overtime. Crookston and Park Rapids Area traded chances in the extra session before the Panthers' Johanning got to a loose puck and shot it into the net for the game-winner.
Brelee Jobe made 18 saves for the Pirates in her first varsity start, Smith turned away an impressive 39 shots for the Panthers.
Crookston falls to 0-5 on the season and will take on the West Fargo Packers on Saturday morning at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Park Rapids Area improves to 3-4 with the win and will face Thief River Falls in their second game of the Thief River Falls Holiday Hockey Classic.