2/9/2018 3:27:00 PM Vikings find a way to beat Wildcats in a much tighter affair
Sudden-death overtime goals are generally exhilarating for the winners and crushing for the losers, especially in a big game or in a rivalry game. But the end to the Vikings’ 2-1 overtime boys’ hockey win over the Wildcats at Chisago Lakes Arena last Saturday, February 3 was almost anticlimactic. 55 seconds into overtime, after a Viking shot from the right point and some chaos in front of the net, the referee blew the whistle when he couldn’t see the puck. A Wildcat player had his glove covering the puck deep in the crease. “The referee said he was going to call a penalty shot,” said Viking head coach Matt Cottingham, “but he noticed both the glove and the puck were over the goal line. So, he correctly called it a goal and the game was over.” Brady Meyer, who was the last Viking player to touch the puck after getting his stick on the rebound, was awarded the goal. Zach Larson, who took the shot from the point that eventually led to the goal, received an assist.
In their previous meeting this year, the Vikings blew out the Wildcats 7-3 a couple of days after the Wildcat coaching change. The Wildcats (6-14-3 overall, 2-5-2 since the coaching change) have been playing better hockey recently, even though their record doesn’t show it. “They played much better in this one,” said Cottingham. “Also, we didn’t have the jump we usually do. But it’s encouraging that we didn’t play our best game and we held them to only one goal. And both teams’ goalies played really well.”
The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Thomas Overgaard with just over one minute left in the first period, with an assist going to Jackson Waltman. The score stayed that way until almost exactly the halfway point of the third period. The Vikings’ Cody Moline and Jacob Richards came into the Wildcat zone on a two-on-one. Moline, carrying the puck, looked over at Richards and the Wildcat defenseman drifted off in that direction. Moline cut to the middle and shot. As Wildcat goalie Brooks Stangl dropped down, the puck went underneath his arm and into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1 and eventually send the game into overtime.
The Wildcats outshot the Vikings 41-27 for the game. Viking goalie Trevor Mellen stopped 40 of the 41 shots he faced and the Wildcats’ Stangl made 25 saves on 27 shots.
North Branch 5, Mora/Milaca 1 Goaltending made a big difference when the Vikings (17-5-0) traveled to Mora to face the Mora/Milaca Mustangs on Thursday, February 1. The Vikings outshot the Mustangs 46-40. Mora goalie Nick Madison didn’t play badly, stopping 41 of the 46 shots he faced. But Viking goalie Jake Turek played very well, stopping 39 of 40 shots. Usual suspects Brady Meyer and Cody Moline scored two goals each as the Vikings beat the Mustangs 5-1. Viking head coach Matt Cottingham said “Jake would be the starter on any other team in our section. And he’s only a sophomore. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be best goalie in our section next year.”
Meyer scored unassisted goals in the first and second periods – one at even strength and one on a power player – to give the Vikings a 2-0 lead. Mora scored late in the second period to cut the Viking lead to 2-1. But it was all Vikings in the third period. Moline scored at 5:44, assisted by Alec Hink, to push the Viking lead back to two goals. Hink then scored a goal at the midpoint of the period to make the score 4-1. Jacobs Richards and Moline had the assists. And with 29 seconds remaining, Moline scored his second goal of the game, assisted by Hink and Zach Larson, to make the final score 5-1.
St. Michael-Albertville 8, Chisago Lakes 0 Buffalo 6, Chisago Lakes 0 The Wildcats struggled against two of the bigger schools in the Mississippi 8 Conference. At Chisago Lakes Arena on Tuesday, January 30, the Bison outshot the Wildcats 48-10 and outscored them 8-0. The Wildcats played better at Buffalo this past Monday night. The Bison outshot the Wildcats 34-21 for the game. Buffalo goalie Nathan Mueller stopped all 21 Wildcat shots and the Bison scored three times in each of the first two periods to shut out the Wildcats 6-0. Hockey Hullaballoo Vikings Cody Moline and Brady Meyer have 27 goals each, tied for eleventh in that state. Moline’s 55 total points put him in fifth place in the state. Meyer is just one point behind, at 54, and is tied for sixth.
The Vikings have won five games in a row. As the regular season starts to wind down, they will play their final two regular season home game this weekend. Tomorrow night, they will host Dodge County at Chisago Lakes Arena at 7 p.m. And at home on Saturday, they will welcome the Princeton Tigers to Lindstrom for a 5 p.m. game. A win over section and conference foe Princeton could help to keep the Vikings ahead of Pine City and Princeton in the race for the number two seed in the upcoming section playoffs.
The Wildcats will finish out their regular season with two home games. They will welcome the Cambridge-Isanti Bluejackets to Chisago Lakes Arena tonight at 7 p.m. On Saturday, they will take on the number one seed in the section, the Monticello Mustangs, in a 2 p.m. matinee.
Section playoffs start Tuesday, February 20. We will have a preview of those playoff’s in next week’s Press.