The rivalry between Park Rapids-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley and Detroit Lakes has been intense over the years, and in the regular-season finale Feb. 12 in Park Rapids, it was even more so.
There were 53 penalty minutes, with the Lakers sitting in the box for 31 of them. But the Panthers were only 1-6 on the power play while the visitors went 3-7 on their way to a 6-1 win.
Jack Slagle scored the only goal for the Panthers on a 5-on-3 power play 12:26 into the third period. Brett Pinoniemi and Joshua Crandall assisted on the goal.
The Lakers jumped out to a commanding lead by scoring four times in the first period, including once on the power play. Their first goal came just 26 seconds into the game. They scored again three minutes later, once more four minutes after that and their final goal with about two minutes remaining in the first.
The Panthers’ defense only allowed one goal in the second period, and that came with 38 seconds left on the power play.
About two minutes after the Panthers scored, the Lakers got their final goal on the power play.
All six goals were scored by different players, with Alex Bren assisting on two.
Brendan Kruchowski finished with 28 saves, while Blake Itzen got the win by stopping 14 shots.
Detroit Lakes finishes the regular season 15-5-2 and wins the Mid-State Conference with a 6-0-1 mark. The Panthers finish fourth at 1-7 and 6-18 overall.
The Section 8A Tournament kicks off this week with No. 8 seed Panthers hosting No. 9 Red Lake Falls, who they just beat 4-3 back on Feb. 5. The winner advances to the next round.