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May 26, 2019

4/26/2019 10:28:00 AM
Wildcats drop opener in low scoring affair

Hermantown-Proctor 7, Chisago Lakes 2
“It wasn’t the start we were looking for in our season,” Head Coach Mark Nordby noted after his team’s season opening loss last week. “It seemed we were nervous and just couldn’t get into the flow of the game which is a credit to Hermantown but also some self-inflicted wounds that we’ll need to clean up to get wins.”

 In the first quarter, CL had some good looks at the goal and took five shots, but they just couldn’t find the back of the net.

Hermantown opened up the scoring with five minutes left in the first quarter.  “We had taken a penalty and they scored on a man-up situation,” Nordby explained. “It kind of went that way for much of the game.  We were a bit undisciplined at times and had six penalties in the first quarter alone and nine total penalties.   At one point we had three players serving penalties and only three players on defense.”  

The defense played their hearts out on these man-down stretches but it was a bit too much and Hermantown had their second goal with 3:38 remaining in the first quarter.  Finally, at 3:20 Jackson Philips had a great dodge from in back of the net, came around the right side of the crease, and beat his defender and goalie for the first goal of the 2019 regular season.  

“We had a nice clear through motion by Jackson Nelson which brought a defender with and Philips took care of the rest,” Nordby described.

 In the second quarter, Hermantown added another goal with five and a half minutes  to go while another CL player served a penalty, stretching Hermantown’s lead to 3-1.  

CL had 12 shots in the quarter but could not convert any of them.  “It just seemed our shot placement was nearly always the same from the top down and right at the goalie,” Nordby said.  “We’ll continue working on different types of shots with our middies and attack to be able to change angles and looks for the goalie.”

 In the third quarter, it was pretty much back and forth until Hermantown scored with 4:34 left in the quarter on a fluke shot.  CL goalie Brooks Stangl had the initial block but the ball shot up in the air with a lot of spin, hit the ground right in front of the goal and rolled into the goal, putting Hermantown up 4-1.

In the closing quarter, Jackson Philips put in his second goal of the night on a failed clear by Hermantown.  “It’s great to have a long pass to a wide open player and then finish with a goal,” Nordby said after the game.  

At that point, the ‘Cats were only down by two goals with 7:12 left to go.  There was plenty of time to get some more goals, but Hermantown scored another goal which got CL a bit panicked. “wW started taking a lot of shots from outside.  There was a disallowed goal which later the ref admitted was a goal but at the time, he made the call and it wasn’t reversed,” Nordby noted. “It did not cost us the game as we had many penalties and areas we could had made better choices.  But, it’s tough when the guys were fighting hard to get back game and turn things around.  Hermantown picked up two more goals to end the game 7-2.

“Along with two goals by Philips, another bright spot was the play of Carson Erickson at faceoff.  Carson took 11 faceoffs and won all 11.  As I said in the preseason sports edition, Carson is a faceoff freak, or something like that.   Also, our defense played tough for long stretches of penalty minutes.   It’s not easy doing that but we practice a lot man-down situations and how to play a tough zone during this time.

“As I told the guys on the bus, losing is tough and the only thing we can do is look to see what went well and keep doing them and fix the things that didn’t go well.  We’re young and have a lot of last year’s JV team playing varsity so it will come.  Once we take care of the ball, eliminate bad penalties and work on ball movement, the wins will start coming.”

The ‘Cats bounced back for a commanding 13-3 win over St. Cloud Tech on Monday, April 22. Look for a full write up in next week’s Chisago County Press.

The Wildcats have dates with Rocori, Delano, Big Lake and St. Michael-Albertville over the next week, so their slate will be full of challenges.

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