Playing in the same section as two teams in the Top 5 in Minnesota state Class A, Thief River Falls' record can be misleading.
The Prowlers lost twice in overtime to No. 3 Warroad.
On Tuesday night at the East Grand Forks Civic Center, Thief River Falls again fell just short of one of the top two powers in Section 8A while still showcasing it could be a scary team in the nearing postseason play.
Brody Schultz scored twice, including an empty-net goal with a minute to play, to lead No. 5 East Grand Forks to a 3-1 win over Thief River Falls.
"The thing about Thief River is they play their best hockey at the end of the year," EGF coach Tyler Palmiscno said. "We saw a better team here than a month ago, and they'll continue to get better."
Thief River Falls dropped to 13-10-1, while EGF improved to 17-4-2. The Green Wave, who won for the ninth time in their last 10 games, wrap up the regular season Saturday by hosting a 3:15 p.m. game against No. 1 St. Cloud Cathedral, which is 20-2-1.
Despite outshooting the Prowlers 16-6 in the first period, the Wave didn't get on the scoreboard until the second when Nathaniel Emery scored at 4:58. Emery scored his seventh goal of the year and his fifth in the last four games.
After a long offensive cycle, Schultz pushed the lead to 2-0 with his first of the game at 15:57 of the second when a turnover deep in the TRF zone went to the slot for Schultz with space.
Schultz played the final two periods on EGF's top line, as the Wave shuffled their groups. EGF's Mason Poolman, who usually plays on the top line, sat out the game with a day-to-day injury.
TRF goalie Noah Rupprecht made 36 saves. He leads the state with seven shutouts on the season.
"He's a good goaltender, and it took a lot for us to get two on him," Palmiscno said. "I thought we played hard. I thought we were on pucks, especially early in the game. They play really well defensively. They made it hard to get to the inner rink. At times we did that, and at times we didn't."
After generating few offensive opportunities through the first two and a half periods, the Prowlers made a push in the third and cut the Green Wave lead to one on a Brockston Masseth goal at 12:52 of the third.
The Prowlers pulled their goalie with 80 seconds left but Schultz scored his second of the game into an empty net with a minute left in the game.
"I don't think that was our best game by any means but credit them," TRF coach Tim Bergland said. "They came out hard and took it to us."
The Prowlers end the regular season Thursday at Bemidji.
"Hopefully, we can figure that out," Bergland said of what it'll take to beat Warroad or EGF in the section tournament. "We have a week to figure that out before playoffs start, and I hope we can be in the mix and see what happens."
EGF Senior High 3,
Thief River Falls 1
Second period -- 1. EGF, Nathaniel Emery (Brandon Anderson, Landon Parker) 4:58; 2. EGF, Brody Schultz (Emery) 15:57
Third period -- 3. TRF, Brockston Masseth (Nick Biermaier) 12:52; 4. EGF, Schultz (Emery) 16:00
Goalie saves -- TRF: Noah Rupprecht 16-9-11 -- 36; EGF: Austin Cooley 6-1-6 -- 13