|2/19/2021 12:03:00 PM|
'Cats ascend to #1 in the Class A puck
Number One Ranking
For the first time in school history, the Wildcat girls’ hockey team is ranked number one in the state. The Class A coaches’ poll moved the Wildcats from the number two spot past Warroad into the top spot. Warroad (8-1-0) suffered its first loss of the season to Gentry Academy, 3-1, on February 5. The Wildcats earned the top spot with victories over the teams currently ranked fifth, seventh and eighth on the Class A poll – Breck, South St. Paul and Orono. Breck was ranked number one when the Wildcats knocked them off in the season opener.
So, what does being ranked number one mean? “I talked to some of the players about it,” said Wildcat head coach Dave Burgen, “and they are super excited. The biggest thing is that you feel respected by the hockey world. And that’s cool. The tough part is that now you have a target on your back and you have to keep winning.” A Star Tribune reporter is doing a feature article on the Wildcats, so be on the lookout for that one. Apparently, he is trying to find an angle for the article. How about this – the Wildcats are doing all of this with mostly home-grown talent, which is not common among the top teams in the state.
Chisago Lakes 8, Pine City 0
The Wildcats scored five goals in the first period on their way to an 8-0 shutout win over the Pine City Dragons Tuesday, February 9 at Chisago Lakes Arena. Dani Burgen notched her third hat trick of the season and Jenna Lawry had two goals and two assists. Aly Vogelsang scored her first career goal, and Molly Eickman and Sydney Kerkow each had their first career assists. Dani Brunette and Dylan Grilz also put the puck in the net for the Wildcats, and Kayla Bluhm, Brunette and Grilz each picked up an assist. The Wildcats outshot Pine City 53-15 for the game and Wildcat goalie Anna Hanson stopped all 15 shots she faced to pick up her first shutout of the season.
Chisago Lakes 9, Princeton 1
Dani Burgen scored her second straight had trick – and fourth of the season – as the Wildcats crushed the Princeton Tigers 9-1 Friday, February 12 at Chisago Lakes Arena. For the second game in a row, the Wildcats scored five times in the first period. Freshman Breanna Ritter, making her first start in goal, nearly had a clean sheet. A power play goal with seven minutes left in the game spoiled the shutout. The Wildcats outshot the Tigers 65-9, and Ritter stopped eight of the nine shots she faced to pick up the win.
It was a night of firsts for the Ritter family as Breanna’s sister, sophomore Tianna Ritter, scored her first career goal. Allay Heinen and Makenna Olson each had their first career assist. Nora DeVries had two goals, and Jenna Lawry had a goal and two assists. Dani Brunette pick up a goal and an assist, and Kayla Bluhm assisted on two goals. Syd Boyle scored the other goal for the Wildcats, and Burgen, Laine DeVries, Grace DeVries and Dylan Grilz each had an assist.
On a team that is hitting on all cylinders, Dani Burgen is seemingly scoring at will. Dave Burgen said “In the past, Dani has been more of a setup player. Scoring goals comes from confidence in her shot and from her teammates giving her phenomenal passes. Adding another Division One player, Dani Brunette, to our top line, opens up more opportunities for the two Danis and Jenna Lawry. Teams don’t have to just worry about two players. They need to worry about all three players on the top line. Our second line is also producing some goals. Nora DeVries, as an eighth grader, is improving at a rapid pace and has a very bright future ahead of her.”
So, did the Wildcats needlessly pour it on against their two recent overmatched opponents? “Not at all,” said Burgen. “While we go with mostly two lines in many of our games, games against some opponents give us the opportunity to give our third and fourth lines some solid playing time. Against Pine City and Princeton, our third and fourth lines probably had more shifts in the later periods than our top two lines.”
Dani Burgen and Jenna Lawry are both in the top ten in the state in goals and total points. Burgen, Lawry and Dani Brunette have combined for 33 goals and 35 assists in nine games so far this season.
The Wildcats will take on the Holy Angels Stars (4-3-0) tonight at 7 p.m. at Richfield Ice Arena.