Cody Brumbaugh (35) of Park Rapids made 26 saves on 27 shots Thursday night in a victory over Detroit Lakes. Photos by Tim Kolehmainen
Park Rapids players celebrate Sam Coborn's short-handed goal late in the first period.
Park Rapids Area coach Pete Stahnke normally decks out his lines in different colored jerseys during practices. Each line is represented by a shade of practice jersey, which also signifies their assignment. When the Panthers took to the ice this week, though, one color was off limits.
Frank Moren (3) assisted on Cory Odland's third-period goal that gave Park Rapids a 3-0 lead.
Park Rapids enters the Section 8A playoffs on a six-game winning streak, which coincided with the move of big forward Ian Johnson back to defense. He’s been an anchor on the blue line according to coach Pete Stahnke -- and a big reason why the Panthers are on a roll.
“It was for the better of the team and it’s worked out good,” said Johnson, who assisted on both first period goals Thursday night.
The Panthers received the No. 5 seed in the upcoming playoffs and will play No. 4 Crookston, a team they lost to twice during the regular season.
Detroit Lakes is also in the Section 8A playoffs after playing in 6A the previous two years. The Lakers picked up the No. 6 seed and must travel to No. 3 Warroad, which hosts all section quarterfinals, semifinals and finals this year.
“They’re gritty, like we are,” said Lakers’ coach Chris Denardo. “I think it’s a good matchup for us, although I’m a little concerned about playing up on their home turf on that big rink.”
Sam Coborn scored the shorthanded game-winner as Park Rapids Area claimed the Mid-State Conference title with a 3-1 victory at Detroit Lakes Thursday, Feb. 16. His goal with 2 minutes, 58 seconds left in the first period gave the Panthers (13-12-0) the outright crown.
With Park Rapids already ahead 1-0 on a Jamie Stewart goal, Coborn ragged the puck to center ice while killing a penalty late in the opening period. He stopped at the blue line and appeared ready to dump the puck. Instead, the senior captain spun away from the Detroit Lakes' defenseman, bolted to the high slot and ripped a shot past Lakers' goaltender MacKenzie Steele.
Cory Odland also scored for the Panthers, while forward-turned-defenseman Ian Johnson added two assists. Sophomore goaltender Cody Brumbaugh made 26 saves on 27 shots, but his biggest save of the night came just minutes after a disallowed Detroit Lakes goal in the second period, when he stoned Alex Mason on a point-blank attempt.
Detroit Lakes (10-15-0) trailed 3-0 into the third period, but rallied with a goal from Austin Rusness 5 minutes, 58 seconds into the frame. Rusness tapped in the goal to complete a great passing play from Mason. The Lakers outshot Park Rapids in each of the final two periods, but could get no closer.
Steele had 21 saves for the Lakers, sitting out the final 43 seconds for an extra attacker.
1. Ian Johnson, Park Rapids
Johnson, who began the year as a top forward for Park Rapids, was shifted back to the blue line a few games back -- and the results have been outstanding. The big junior picked up two assists in the first period as the Panthers raced to a 2-0 lead. He gives Park Rapids a physical presence on the blue line but also has the ability to rush the puck.
2. Sam Coborn, Park Rapids
Coborn continued to add to his school record career point total, scoring the game-winner on a short-handed rush. The shifty senior lulled the Detroit Lakes defense as he pushed the puck up ice, stopped at the blue line and appeared ready to dump the puck. Instead, he reversed direction and got to full speed in two steps, creating enough space to rip in the game-winner with 2 minutes, 58 seconds left in the first.
3. Cody Brumbaugh, Park Rapids
The sophomore goaltender stopped 26 of 27 shots, including 21 over the final two periods as Detroit Lakes attempted to rally. He was tested during a 12-1/2 minute span of the second when the Panthers were shorthanded for nine minutes -- including a five-minute major. His toe save on Detroit Lakes' leading scorer Alex Mason kept the Lakers at bay.