|3/19/2021 2:37:00 PM|
Girls hockey earns top seed
Chisago Lakes 5, Northern Tier 2
Wildcat senior Jenna Lawry scored four goals to lead the Wildcats to a 5-2 win over the Northern Tier Stars Thursday, March 11 at Isanti Ice Arena. It was Lawry’s third hat trick of the season. The Wildcats bombed the Stars’ net with shots, outshooting Northern Tier 60-26 for the game.
Lawry scored the game’s first goal at 9:31 of the first period, assisted by Dani Burgen. The Stars scored with just 20 seconds left in the first period to tie the game at 1-1. Laine DeVries scored a power play goal at 9:28 of the second period to give the Wildcats a lead they would never relinquish. Syd Boyle got the assist. Lawry scored a shorthanded goal with 1:35 left in the period, assisted by Dani Brunette, to put the Wildcats up 3-1. It was the Wildcats’ sixth shorthanded goal of the season. But The Stars scored on the same power play just 16 seconds later to cut the Wildcat lead to 3-2. Lawry scored an unassisted goal three minutes into the third period to earn her hat trick. She scored again a couple of minutes later, assisted by Burgen, to put the game out of reach as the Wildcats continued to pound the Northern Tier net with shots throughout the third period.
Chisago Lakes 6, Pine City 1
Dani Burgen and Jenna Lawry had four points each as the Wildcats ended their regular season by extinguishing the Pine City Dragons 6-1 Saturday, March 13 at the Pine City Civic Center. The Wildcats put the game away in the second period when they scored four goals on 22 shots, overwhelming the Pine City defensive effort.
Jenna Lawry scored the only goal in the first period, assisted by Dani Burgen, to put the Wildcats up 1-0. The Wildcats scored three times in the first six minutes of the second period. Burgen scored two goals a minute apart, including a power play goal. Lawry assisted on both goals. Laine DeVries then scored, assisted by Nora DeVries and Syd Boyle. Dani Brunette made the score 5-0 with a goal later in the period, with assists going to Lawry and Burgen. Kayla Bluhm scored the Wildcats’ final regular season goal of 2021 on a power play midway through the third period, assisted by Nora DeVries and Syd Kerkow. Pine City scored a power play goal with three minutes to go to make the final score 6-1. Starting goalie Anna Hanson stopped all ten shots she faced in the first two period. Freshman Breanna Ritter, making just her third appearance of the season, stopped seven of the eight shots she faced in the third period.
Goalie Anna Hanson is tied for fifth in the state with 15 wins. Jenna Lawry is tied for ninth in the state with 26 goals, Lawry is all alone in ninth place in total points with 48, followed closely by Dani Burgen, who is tied for tenth with 46 points.
The Wildcats were undefeated in Mississippi 8 Conference play at 6-0-0 for the second consecutive season, winning the conference title outright for the second year in a row. The Wildcats didn’t even win a conference game until Burgen’s third year as head coach, so the improvement over the past five years is stunning in its scope.
The Wildcats, ranked fourth in the state in Class A, snagged the number one seed in a section tournament for the first time in school history, as expected. The Minneapolis Novas (10-4-3) were seeded second, the ninth ranked Orono Spartans (12-5-1) were seeded third and the Breck Mustangs, who have won the last three Class A state tournaments, were seeded fourth.
In the seven-team Section 5A tournament, the Wildcats received an opening round bye. The other three top seeds won their quarterfinal matchups this past Tuesday night. Tonight’s semifinal matchups have Breck traveling to Chisago Lakes Arena to play the Wildcats at 6 p.m. Minneapolis will “host” Orono at Orono High School at 5 p.m. The game is being played at Orono because Minneapolis’ home arena, the Parade Ice Garden in Minneapolis, is not available. The winners of the two semifinal games will play for the section championship at the higher seeds’ home arena, with game time to be determined.
Breck’s strange season had a big impact on the section tournament seeding. The Mustangs ranked number one in the state in preseason polls. The Wildcats upset Breck 3-2 in the season opener. The Mustangs were 6-3-0 after nine games when head coach Steve Persian and his four top assistants suddenly resigned. No reason has been given for the resignation, although there has been much speculation. After the coaching change, the Mustangs lost eight straight games to finish the regular season 6-11-0, dropping them well out of the top ten. But they showed the huge gap between the top four teams in the section and the rest of the section when they dominated fifth-seeded Holy Angels from start to finish Tuesday night, winning 5-1.
Now that the section semifinals are set up, Wildcat head coach Dave Burgen is not worried about the seeding process. He said “I would rather play Breck now than in the section final. We already played them once and beat them once. I would rather play this emotional, high intensity game first. The girls are fired up, the coaches are pumped up. If we beat Breck, it could take us all the way to the state final. We will not have an emotional letdown like we had when we played Blake after beating Breck.
“Every day at practice now is like a game. We do our pregame warmup and practice high tempo game situations with some wrinkles thrown in, in order to be prepared for anything. We will work to shut Breck down and play our game. It will come down to who wants it more. We have seven seniors, so right now we are playing for them. For some of them, their hockey careers will be over after their final game this season and we want them to keep playing as long as possible this year. Win or lose, they will leave everything out on the ice and be proud of the effort they gave. As coaches, we will be proud of them, too.”