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August 15, 2018

9/14/2017 2:31:00 PM
CL tramples Saints, but let a late lead slip away against Forest Lake

Chisago Lakes 4, St. Francis 1
The Wildcats came out firing in the first half against St. Francis, and it paid off quickly with a goal four minutes in from Nils Gulbranson, that was assisted by Jacob Werner.

The first 10 minutes of the game were an absolute onslaught for the ‘Cats, as they had chance after chance and dominated possession.

But, it almost came too easy, and the boys started to relax a little and get a little fancy, Head Coach Mark Leigh said. “I’ve been doing this long enough and you can always tell when the other team is going to score if you don’t change something,” he added. And our attitudes didn’t change, and St. Francis scored on a scramble in front of Chisago Lakes net.

That tied the game at 1-1, which is where it stood at halftime. “We as coaches gave them a talk at halftime and let them know they can’t play like that in the second half,” Leigh said. “We were the better team on the field, but I could tell we stopped playing hard.”

The Wildcats took heed of Leigh’s advice and dominated the second half from start to finish. Jamie Mower, a sophomore, scored his first career varsity goal at the 55 minute mark to give the Wildcats back the lead. They had multiple other opportunities throughout the half, but didn’t make good on another one until the 88th minute.

Drew Hanson, a junior, scored his first career varsity goal on a beautiful assist from Gulbranson.

Just a minute later, as the clock ticked down, there was chaos in front of the St. Francis net as the ball bounced multiple times to different players, but was never cleared until it landed at Hanson’s feet and he quickly scored his second career goal with just one second remaining in the game.

“Drew is always ready to do the dirty work. His goals may not be the fanciest, but they are the result of him working hard, crashing the net and cleaning up,” Leigh said.

Chisago Lakes 2, Forest Lake 2
The Wildcats had a bit of a letdown against the Forest Lake Rangers in their next game. “We had opportunities to win the game and we just didn’t capitalize on them,” Leigh explained.

The biggest wasted opportunity came early in the second half when Gulbranson earned a penalty kick. Typically, he wouldn’t take the penalty shot, but Leigh had him line up for the shot and he just got underneath the ball and sailed it over the crossbar, missing on a golden opportunity.

The bigger punch in the gut came just minutes later when the Wildcats committed a foul of their own in the box, and the referees awarded Forest Lake a penalty kick, which they converted on. “It was a two goal swing in a matter of minutes, and that was tough to handle,” Leigh said.

But, six minutes later, Gulbranson made up for his miss with a pretty goal from in close, and not long after that, Bryce Burds buried a header from a cross, and the ‘Cats seemed to regain control after the penalty kick fiasco.

For the rest of the game, Chisago Lakes seemed to lock down the Forest Lake offense pretty well, limiting their chances, but alls it took was one. A ball squeezed free towards Reece Lawlor in net, and he decided to be aggressive and charge it, but the Forest Lake forward beat him to the ball and chipped it over him for the equalizer. “Just a tough play to make either way,” Leigh said after the match. It was a bit of a breakdown, but that’s the nature of high school kids.”

The Wildcats will now move into the meat of their Mississippi 8 schedule and Leigh is looking forward it. “We play so many Class AA teams in our conference, and it really helps us in the rankings and to prepare for sections,” he said. “We aren’t focused as much on the conference as we are on the postseason that awaits.”

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