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Hannah Erickson picked up a loose puck at center ice, skated in and fired a shot past the Brown University goaltender to give Union College a 3-1 lead late in the second period on Saturday, Dec. 6, in Schenectady, N.Y. It was an important goal for the Dutchwomen because they held on for a 3-2 victory - their first Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference win in six ECAC games this season. It was also a big milestone for Erickson, a Crosslake resident and a 2014 Pequot Lakes High School graduate.
The Pine River-Backus Tigers lost to Parkers Prairie 74-54 in a non-conference boys' basketball game on Thursday, Dec. 4. The Tigers, 1-2 overall, were scheduled to play Walker-Hackensack-Akeley in their Northland Conference opener on Tuesday, Dec. 9, and then host Northome-Kelliher on Friday, Dec. 12. "We lost to a very good basketball team, which shot extremely well from the floor," PR-B coach John Riewer said of the Panthers, who shot 54 percent from the field. "We played without Konrad Bueckers (illness), plus Henry Krecklau unfortunately got in early foul trouble.
Pine River-Backus' Henry Krecklau poured in 20 points, but the TIgers were still edged by the Pillager Huskies 65-61 in overtime in a non-conference boys' basketball game on Tuesday, Nov. 25. The game was tied at 25-25 at the half and then 57-57 at the end of regulation time before the Huskies enjoyed an 8-4 scoring edge in the overtime. Pillager enjoyed a 42-33 edge in total rebounds, including a 24-7 edge on the offensive boards.
There's only a handful of Pequot Lakes and Pine RIver-Backus graduates currently playing basketball at the collegiate level. So, the past two weeks have been special as three of those graduates were Athletes of the Week while a fourth player was nominated for the honor at their respective colleges. Athletes of the week included: Mattie Lueck at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph and Tatum Sheley at Bemidji State University, both athletes of the week for Nov. 17-23: and Kurtis Moody at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, an athlete of the week for Nov. 23-30.
Sophie Rausch's third-period goal lifted Fergus Falls past the Northern Lakes Lightning 4-3 in non-conference girls' hockey action on Monday, Dec. 1, at Breezy Point Arena. Northern Lakes had rallied earlier in the third period with a pair of goals to tie it 3-3, but Rausch's goal at 11:24 of the period proved to be the winner. The Lightning scored first as Sydney Tietz found the back of the net midway through the session, but the Otters tied it later in the period. Fergus Falls scored twice in the middle session for a 3-1 lead going into the third period.
My column is normally about the accomplishments of current and past area athletes and their coaches. But this is Thanksgiving week, and an ideal time to think about the many reasons to give thanks. First, I'm thankful for the relationship of family and friends. Secondly, I'm thankful for the many memorable experiences over 31 years as a journalist in the lakes area. I will never forget the talented area high school athletes who dominated the sports that I've covered over the past three decades - like Dina Kangas, Sandy Smith, Clayton Foster, Savannah Stone and Vanessa Lane to name a few.
Nick Olson and Jake Hyytinen each had six points to lead the Northern Lakes Lightning to a 10-1 win over the Breckenridge/Wahpeton Blades in the season opener on Friday, Nov. 21. Olson finished with two assists, and also had four consecutive goals in the third period. Hyytinen contributed a goal and five assists for the Lightning, who led 2-0 after the first period and 4-1 after two periods. It was the most goals scored by the Lightning since defeating Moose Lakes Area 12-6 on Jan.
A familiar face takes over as new Pine River-Backus boys' basketball coach when the TIgers open the season at Pillager on Tuesday, Nov. 25. John Riewer may have a new title as varsity head coach for the PR-B boys, but he's no stranger to Tiger athletics as the current head girls' cross country coach and a former girls' basketball C-team and junior varsity coach. "I'm very excited about this opportunity," said Riewer, an elementary teacher at PR-B since 2008.
Mariah Reed and Carly Fyle netted goals for Northern Lakes in its 3-2 Mid-State Conference loss to the Park Rapids Panthers in the Lightning's home opener on Thursday, Nov. 14, at Breezy Point Arena. Northern Lakes, 0-2 overall, is scheduled to play at Princeton at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20. "Although we started the season with two losses, we are getting our line combinations figured out," said Lightning coach Kristen Harsha.
Before we close the book on the fall sports season, it's only fitting to cover a major change in tradition for high school football starting in 2015. The Minnesota State High School League's board of directors earlier this year approved a regular season switch next season from the traditional conference format to a plan with 18 geographical districts around the state, which are composed for between 12 to 28 teams. The change to districts was proposed to help schools with the task of scheduling since some MSHSL team have had struggled filling an eight-game schedule.