2/16/2017 2:23:00 PM Princeton storms back to end Wildcats' season in overtime
Princeton 4, Chisago Lakes 3 (2 O.T.) The Wildcat girls’ hockey team certainly went out with a bang this season. In the Section 5A quarterfinals, the sixth-seeded Wildcats took third-seeded Princeton to two overtimes before the Tigers scored to beat the Wildcats 4-3. The game was played a Parade Ice Garden in Minneapolis last Thursday, February 9. The loss ended the season for the Wildcats (7-19-0). Princeton (19-8-0) is ranked fifth in the state in the QRF rankings. They went on to play Breck in the section semifinals on Valentine’s Day and lost 2-1 to end their season.
The Wildcats got on the board first in this one. With the Wildcats skating on the power play seven minutes into the first period, the Tigers tried to get the puck out of the zone up the right sideboards. The puck squirted loose to Sarah Sargeant, who fired through a screen and into the back of the net to give the Wildcats the early lead. About four minutes later, Morgan Huberty had the puck in the center just inside the Tiger blue line. She passed the puck over to Ellie Kimlinger at the right point. Kimlinger took a snapshot towards the net. The puck appeared to change direction a bit before it dove under the crossbar and into the back of the net to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
Princeton got one back at 6:27 of the second period to pull within one. But the Wildcats answered almost exactly five minutes later. Madison Lundeen won a faceoff in the Tiger zone and tapped it back to Kya Linnell at the right point. Linnell slid to the middle and sent a wrister toward the middle of the net. Calle Bye, standing out front, redirected the puck into the bottom right corner of the net. The Wildcats led 3-1 heading into the third period. Princeton scored the only two goals of the third period and the game headed to overtime.
Wildcat goalie Anna Kittleson made a save in the first overtime that made sure the game went to a second overtime. Wildcat head coach Dave Burgen said “On the first one, Anna was sprawled on the ice on her chest. A Tiger player fired a shot and somehow Anna threw her body up and snatched the puck out of the air and the whole crowd went crazy.” Early in the second overtime, Kittleson made a save near the right post that left the whole left side of the net open. A Tiger player shot the rebound toward the open left side for what looked like a sure goal. But Kittleson slid across and kicked the puck out with her toe to keep the game tied at 3-3. Four minutes into the second overtime, the Tigers brought the puck into the zone two-on-two and the Wildcats had it well covered. But Princeton’s Maggie Petersen was able to slide the puck to the right to Madisen Petersen, who redirected it into the top of the net to give the Tigers a 4-3 win and end the Wildcats’ season.
“Here’s the thing,” said Burgen. “We should have won this game. We had a 2-0 lead in the first period and led 3-1 going into the third. In overtime, we had a number of opportunities to finish the game, including a couple of breakaways and a couple of two-on-ones. We couldn’t quite get it done. But it was one of the most exciting games I have ever been a part of. The best part of it was that our girls left the rink with their heads high and the bus ride home was one of most positive bus rides all year. We left it all on the ice that night.”
The Tigers outshot the Wildcats 56-31 for the game. Wildcat goalie Anna Kittleson played what was perhaps the best game of her career, stopping 52 of the 56 shots she faced. Burgen said “Anna played with confidence and she played up to her abilities and gave us a chance to win this game. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”