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November 18, 2018

1/12/2018 2:52:00 PM
North Branch hangs up seven amid turmoil for Chisago Lakes

North Branch 7, Chisago Lakes 3
The anticipation was building for the season’s first boys’ hockey matchup between the Vikings and Wildcats last Saturday afternoon.  But the Wildcats were thrown for a loop when head coach Paul Gibson resigned on Friday.  The Vikings, experiencing the best season in team history, came on strong and scored five goals in the first period before the Wildcats knew what hit them.  The Wildcats recovered and played a lot better over the next two periods, but the five-goal deficit was a hill too high to climb.  The Vikings won 7-3 to raise their record to 11-3-0 on the season.  The loss dropped the Wildcats to 4-10-2.

The turmoil for the Wildcats wasn’t limited to Gibson’s resignation.  Three assistants had left the program in recent days.  The sole remaining assistant, Cale Arhart, will take over as interim head coach sometime in the next few days when he receives his coaching certification.  On Saturday, former Wildcat girls’ head coach Jason Mahlen filled in as head coach.

Seven different players scored goals for the Vikings in this one.  

Alec Hink got things started with a power play goal at 2:10 of the first period, assisted by Cody Croal and Jared Schmitt, to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead.  In the middle of the period, the Vikings essentially put the game away with four goals in two minutes.  Skating shorthanded, Jacob Richards hit Croal with a breakaway pass and Croal went in and shelved it to give the Vikings a 2-0 lead.  Brady Meyer scored on a breakaway at 9:07.  Down 3-0, the Wildcats took a timeout to regroup.  It didn’t have an immediate effect, as Cody Moline scored at 9:26, assisted by Richards, to push the Viking lead to four goals.  And Nick Jensen finished off the flurry with a goal at 10:33, assisted by Meyer.  Jackson Waltman got the Wildcats on the board with four minutes remaining in the period, assisted by Jace Meierhoff, to cut the Viking lead to 5-1.

The Wildcats cut the lead to 5-2 on Ben Johnson’s goal just three minutes into the second period.  Jonny Bodell assisted.  But Matt Courtright answered for the Vikings just a minute later, assisted by Moline, to stretch the lead back to four.  Waltman scored on a rebound for his second goal of the game for the Wildcats, again assisted by Jace Meierhoff, at 4:37 of the third period to cut the lead to 6-3.  The Wildcats had the momentum, but couldn’t get any more into the net.  Jacob Richards scored for the Vikings, assisted by Moline, with exactly five minutes to go in the game to make the final score 7-3 in favor of the Vikings.

The Vikings outshot the Wildcats 34-20 for the game, including 17-6 in the first period.  Brooks Stangl came into goal to relieve Jesse Carlson in the first period and helped to stabilize things for the Wildcats, stopping 19 of the 21 shots he faced.  Trevor Mellen stopped 17 of the 20 shots he saw to pick up the win for the Vikings.

Princeton 5, Chisago Lakes 1
Sometimes a goalie can make all the difference in the world.

The Wildcats played the Princeton Tigers three times in 13 days – twice in the regular season and once in the Schwan’s Cup holiday tournament.  The Wildcats won the first game 6-4, scoring six times against Tiger goalie Ryce Thiel even as the Tigers outshot the Wildcats 34-23.  But Hunter Burian replaced Thiel in the last two contests and Burian has come up big against the Wildcats.  As reported last week, Burian shut out the Wildcats 6-0 on December 27, despite the Wildcats having a 27-25 edge in shots.  And on Tuesday, January 2, Burian allowed just one goal on 28 shots to lead the Tigers to a 5-1 win over the Wildcats.  The Tigers had a 33-28 edge in shots.  The game was played at the Princeton Ice Arena.

Five different players scored for the Tigers, including two in the first period and three in the second period.  Jonny Bodell scored an unassisted goal for the Wildcats with just under three minutes left in the third period to spoil Burian’s second straight shutout over the Wildcats.

North Branch 8, Legacy Christian Academy 0
Brady Meyer had two goals and four assists as the Vikings crushed the Legacy Christian Academy Lions Thursday, January 4 at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine.  The Vikings controlled play from start to finish. They outshot the Lions 58-11 for the game.  And they didn’t let up at the end, outshooting the Lions 21-1 in the third period when the clock was in running time due to the Vikings’ six-goal lead.

Cody Moline scored twice and had two assists.  Nick Jensen had two goals and Jacob Richards had a goal and an assist.  Senior Wyatt Garin scored the first goal of his career.  Cody Croal had two assists and Matt Courtright and Dawson Johnson each picked up an assist.  Goalie Jake Turek stopped all 11 shots he faced to earn the shutout.

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