Ben Knaak cuts across the neutral zone looking for the puck. Photo by Kirsten Thompson
By CHUCK FITZER
St. Francis 6, Chisago Lakes 1 St. Francis blew open a close game with four goals in the third period, including two shorthanded ones, as the Fighting Saints beat the Wildcat boys’ hockey team 6-1 Thursday, January 24 at Chisago Lakes Arena. The Wildcats also lost to the Saints earlier this season, 5-1 in a game played at the East Bethel arena.
Things looked good early for the Wildcats. Louis Kastenbauer scored just 55 seconds into the game, assisted by Jacob Breyfogle, to put the Wildcats up 1-0. St. Francis took a five minute boarding penalty with over six minutes left in the period, but the Wildcats didn’t capitalize on it and led 1-0 after one. The Wildcats killed off a five-minute boarding penalty of their own starting at the five minute mark of the second period. But just a few seconds after the penalty expired, an on-ice incident resulted in two players for each team getting two-minute minors for roughing.
The Saints scored an even strength goal less than 30 seconds after the players headed for the penalty box and added another with just over a minute left in the period to lead 2-1 going into the second intermission. St. Francis stretched their lead to two with a goal just 34 seconds into the third period. In a two minute span starting about nine minutes into the period, two Wildcats and two Saints received two minute penalties and a Saints player received a five minute penalty for boarding.
It didn’t seem to faze the Saints, as they scored two shorthanded goals during that same two minutes, and added another goal a minute later with the teams skating four-on-four to give the Saints a 6-1 lead and put the game out of reach. Wildcat head coach Paul Gibson said, "This was a flashback of our first meeting. Most coaching handbooks would say to keep your players’ emotions in check. But the reality is this team thrives on positive emotions, as they have shown with their numerous come from behind victories. I think we got caught up in negative emotions in this game. The frustration showed and when that happens, it’s hard to regain composure and perform at an optimal level."
The Wildcats (12-7-1 overall, 4-3-0 and in fourth place in the North Suburban Conference) host the Irondale Knights on Friday, Feb. 1 at Chisago Lakes Arena at 7 p.m. The Wildcats shut out conference opponent Irondale 4-0 at the Schwan Super Rink exactly four weeks ago.