Orono 4, Chisago Lakes 3 The Wildcat girls’ hockey team dominated the Orono Spartans in the season opener, outshooting them 48-22. But a couple of bad line changes and a penalty shot helped the Spartans build a 4-0 lead early in the second period. The Wildcats rallied, but their comeback attempt fell just short as they lost 4-3. The game was played Tuesday, November 13 at Orono Ice Arena.
During a Wildcat line change in the first period, the Spartans stopped a dump attempt in the neutral zone, fired it back up the boards and scored on a breakaway to lead 1-0 at almost exactly the eleven-minute mark. Just over a minute later, the Wildcats were changing a couple of players and, during a changeover, neither the players coming off of the ice nor the players who just came on are allowed to play the puck. The puck happened to slide through that group into the Wildcat zone, leading to an easy rebound goal and a 2-0 lead for Orono.
The Spartans scored two goals just 14 seconds apart in the second period. An Orono player heading toward the net was hooked from behind but still got a shot away, which generally means that there’s a penalty, but no penalty shot. But the referees saw it differently and the Spartans buried the penalty shot to go up 3-0 at the 5:30 mark. Just 14 seconds later, a Wildcat defenseman was tied up with an Orono forward in the defensive zone near the dot in the right circle. The Spartan player flipped the puck toward the net and another player tipped it out of the air at shoulder level and it went past Wildcat senior goalie Megan Lerfald to make the score 4-0. The Wildcats called a timeout to regroup.
The timeout appeared to work. Just over 30 seconds later, backchecking junior Claire DeVries knocked the puck off a Spartan forward’s stick and got it to freshman Danielle Burgen. Burgen drove the right side of the wall and, as she started to go around the net, backhanded a pass to sophomore Jenna Lawry out front. Lawry beat the goalie with a quick shot to the blocker side and the Wildcats were finally on the board. Midway through the third period, freshman Kayla Bluhm scored her first varsity goal on a breakaway, assisted by Burgen, to cut the Orono lead to 4-2. The Wildcats pulled the goalie late in the period. With just seconds to go in the game, Lawry came across the Spartan blue line and banged a shot off of a defenseman’s shin pads. The puck bounced right on DeVries’ stick. The goalie stopped her quick shot, but Burgen buried the rebound back door to cut the Spartan lead to 4-3. Unfortunately, there were only 10 seconds left in the game, so it was too little, too late and the Wildcats went down to defeat.
“Clearly we were the better team,” said Wildcat head coach Dave Burgen. “We outplayed, out-possessed and outshot them, but they came out ahead on the scoreboard. This game already has serious section implications. We thought by beating them in the first game of the season we would have a leg up on them for the number two seed, but now we will have to rely on other section teams to beat them.”
Hastings 4, Chisago Lakes 2 In the home opener against the Hastings Raiders, it looked like the Wildcats were going to go into the third period trailing just 2-1. But the Raiders scored the backbreaker with one second left in the second period and went on to beat the Wildcats 4-2. Hannah Hubbart had a hat trick for Hastings. The game was at the CL Arena Saturday, Nov. 17.
Hastings scored the only goal of the first period on a narrow-angled shot by Hubbart from the corner that somehow went through the five-hole to give them a 1-0 lead. The opening faceoff of the second period was a stalemate. Jenna Lawry picked up the puck from between Claire DeVries’ skates, skated into the zone on the right, cut left and beat the goalie down low to tie the game at 1-1 just nine seconds into the period. But the Raiders answered just to minutes later. During a scrum out in front of the Wildcat net, the puck slid inside the right post and into the back of the net to give Hastings a 2-1 lead.
With just seconds left in the second period, there was a faceoff deep in the Wildcat zone. A Hastings player picked up the puck, skated across the slot and shot. The rebound went right to a wide open Hubbart on the left-hand side of the net and she slammed it home to complete her hat trick with one second left in the period to put the Raiders up 3-1. The Raiders scored again early in the third period to go up 4-1. The Wildcats answered midway through the period. Lawry came out of the left corner with the puck and passed it over to DeVries, who went high to beat the goalie and cut the lead to 4-2. But the Raiders shut down the Wildcats the rest of the way to come away with the win.
Wildcat head coach Dave Burgen said “I told the girls that hard work beats talent every time when talent doesn’t work as hard. Hastings was fast, physical and outworked us. That’s the bottom line. Our penalty kill is at one hundred percent so far this year. We just need to start playing better five-on-five.”
Hockey Hullaballoo The Wildcats had two players commit to Division 1 college programs over the summer. Sophomore Jenna Lawry will play at UMD and freshman Danielle Burgen will go to Minnesota State in Mankato.
The Wildcats (0-2) will take on Cambridge-Isanti/Mora/Pine City at Isanti Ice Arena Tuesday, November 27 at 7 p.m.