Kittson Central’s 6-5 win last Saturday afternoon cost the Park Rapids-Menahga boys hockey team a chance to claim one of the top four seeds for the Section 8A tournament.
Craig Lindegard scored four goals as Kittson Central closed out the regular season with a key win at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena.
That loss, coupled with a 2-1 loss to Lake of the Woods late in the season, dropped the Panthers to the No. 6 spot for the section tournament. Park Rapids (16-7-2) will play No. 3 East Grand Forks (11-13-1) in a section quarterfinal game Friday night at 8:15 at East Grand Forks.
The section tournament begins Tuesday night with No. 7 Crookston (7-15-3) hosting No. 10 Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (0-22) and No. 8 Red Lake Falls (8-14) hosting No. 9 Bagley/Fosston (8-14).
East Grand Forks will host the rest of the tournament, beginning with two quarterfinal games Thursday night. No. 1 Warroad (21-4) plays either Red Lake Falls or Bagley/Fosston at 6. No. 4 Kittson Central (16-8) plays No. 5 Lake of the Woods (12-12-1) at 8:15. The winners of those quarterfinal games meet in the semifinals next Saturday night at 7.
On Friday night, No. 2 Thief River Falls (16-7-1) plays either Crookston or W-H-A at 6 followed by the Park Rapids vs. East Grand Forks game. The winners of those two quarterfinal games play in the semifinals on March 1 at 7 p.m.
East Grand Forks will host the section championship game March 4 at 7 p.m.
In the regular-season finale, the Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Sam Coborn’s goal at the 6:45 mark of the first period and Tucker Coborn’s goal at the 3:06 mark of the second period. Ben Sitz assisted on Sam Coborn’s goal while Levi Erickson and Kevin McMorrow had assists on Tucker Coborn’s goal.
Kittson Central scored five unanswered goals to claim a 5-2 lead.
Lindegard scored twice in a span of 1:06 to tie the game before back-to-back goals by Jeff Bergh gave Kittson Central a 4-2 lead entering the final period.
Lindegard completed his hat trick 3:16 into the third period to give Kittson Central a 5-2 advantage.
The Panthers, who finished with a 19-10 edge in shots in the final period, mounted a comeback on Tucker Coborn’s goal at the 8:14 mark and McMorrow’s goal at the 10:04 mark. Jared Naeve set up both goals while Sam Coborn had an assist on McMorrow’s goal.
Lindegard scored what proved to be the game-winner at the 11:46 mark.
Sam Coborn set up Ian Johnson for the game’s final goal with 1:06 to play.
Goalie Alex Chaput made 36 saves as Kittson Central avenged a 5-0 loss to the Panthers earlier in the season to improve to 9-4 against section opponents.
Ryan O’Mara made 26 saves for the Panthers, who fell to 7-4-2 against section foes.
FIRST PERIOD: 1, Park Rapids, S. Coborn (Sitz), 6:45. Penalties: Kittson Central 1, Park Rapids 2.
SECOND PERIOD: 2, Park Rapids, T. Coborn (Erickson, McMorrow), 3:06. 1, Kittson Central, Lindegard (Bergh, Montoya), 5:48. 2, Kittson Central, Lindegard (Montoya), 6:54. 3, Kittson Central, Bergh (unassisted), 11:36. 4, Kittson Central, Bergh (Hultgren), 14:54. Penalties: Kittson Central 2, Park Rapids 2.
THIRD PERIOD: 5, Kittson Central, Lindegard (Dahl), 3:16. 3, Park Rapids, T. Coborn (Naeve), 8:14. 4, Park Rapids, McMorrow (Naeve, S. Coborn), 10:04. 6, Kittson Central, Lindegard (Bergh), 11:46. 5, Park Rapids, Johnson (S. Coborn), 15:54. Penalties: Kittson Central 1, Park Rapids 3.
GOALIE SAVES: Kittson Central (Chaput) 8-12-16–36. Park Rapids (O’Mara) 9-9-8–26.