4/9/2021 12:23:00 PM Chisago Lakes' tourney run ends at the hands of Gentry Academy
Gentry Academy 6, Chisago Lakes 0 In the state tournament Class A semifinal game last Thursday, April 1, the fourth-seeded Wildcat girls’ hockey team took on the top-seeded Gentry Academy Stars for the second time this season. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the results were similar to their earlier 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Stars. The Stars scored three goals in the first period, withstood an inspired Wildcat performance in the second period and scored three goals in the last few minutes of the game to win 6-0 and stop the Wildcats one game short of the state championship game. The game was played at the Xcel Energy Center in St, Paul.
The Wildcats put themselves in a hole right off the bat. A Wildcat player attempted to make an ill-advised cross ice pass outside her own blue line just ten seconds after the opening faceoff. Gentry’s Cara Sajevic intercepted the pass, skated in a few strides and beat screened Wildcat goalie Anna Hanson inside the left post to give the Stars a 1-0 lead just 15 seconds into the game. Just over five minutes into the game, Gentry’s Riley Reeves cam out of the penalty box and immediately received a pass from a teammate. No one was within 30 feet of her as she skated in alone on Hanson. She put a couple of moves on Hanson, but Hanson stayed on her feet, made the save and froze the puck to keep the score at 1-0. The Stars added power play goals by Jenessa Gazdik and Maddie Geer at 12:34 and 16:06 to increase their lead to 3-0. The Stars outshot the Wildcats 17-3 in the first period.
A more confident Wildcat squad came out for the second period. With the Wildcats skating on the power play early in the period, Jenna Lawry carried the puck from left to right behind the Gentry net. She curled around to the lower edge of the right circle and fired. The goalie made the initial save, and, as the puck lay in the crease, it appeared to be Kayla Bluhm who knocked in the rebound to cut the Gentry lead to 3-1. But there was a review, and the goal was disallowed due to goaltender interference by the Wildcats. A couple of minutes later, the Wildcats appeared to score again as a rebound appeared to get inside the right post and over the goal line before a Stars defender swept the puck out of the net with her stick. But play went on and there was no review. The video replay person at the Xcel must have thought it was a goal because he or she showed it six to eight times throughout the rest of the period. As the period continued to unfold, the Wildcats nearly took advantage of more scoring opportunities, and hit a couple of pipes. With about three minutes to go in the period. Lawry caught a puck that appeared headed for an icing call against the Wildcats and she and Burgen headed into the Star zone 2-on-0. Burgen shot the puck right into the belly of Gentry goalie Rylee Bartizal, and Bartizal dropped and froze the puck to thwart the Wildcat scoring opportunity. Hanson made a great save on a shot that appeared headed for the inside of the right post with less than a minute to go in the period to keep the score at 3-0. Although the Wildcats outshot Gentry just 15-13 for the period, they had the better scoring opportunities, and the bad luck bug would not let them convert any of them.
With about five minutes to go in the third period, Lawry took a shot from the high slot and beat the Bartizal, but the puck banged off the right post, keeping the Wildcats off the scoreboard. When the Stars took a penalty with 3:40 left in the game, the Wildcats took their timeout. Needing three goals just to tie the game, they pulled Hanson for an extra attacker. Right after the ensuing faceoff in the left circle in the Gentry zone, Lawry was tripped, and the puck slid away from her. There was no penalty call. The Stars’ Angelina Ruiz picked up the puck, skated down the ice and shot the puck into the empty net just eight seconds into the power play to make it 4-0. Gentry’s Rachel Agerter added another shorthanded goal just over a minute later. With a minute left in the game, Lawry was pulled down from behind in the Wildcat zone, but no penalty was called. Sajevic scored her second goal of the game just a few seconds later to make the final score 6-0.
Special teams had a lot to do with the outcome of the game. Gentry scored on two of three power play opportunities and killed off all seven Wildcat power plays.
Wildcat head coach Dave Burgen said “In the first period, you could tell we were nervous. I was really proud of how we responded and how well we played in the second period. We just didn’t get any bounces. We all knew Gentry had a heck of a hockey team, with solid players throughout a deep lineup, and we were going to have to play a near perfect game to beat them.”
Burgen reflected on what turned out to be the best season in Wildcat girls’ hockey history. ““We finished 19-3, we set a lot of program records and just had a great season. As a coaching staff, we are so incredibly proud of these girls. We made a great run for the championship. We turned a lot of heads in the hockey world. And the support we got from the Chisago Lakes communities was great.”
Hockey Hullaballoo Gentry lost 3-2 in two overtimes to the Proctor/Hermantown Mirage in the state championship game last Saturday at the Xcel. Proctor/Hermantown finished the season with an undefeated record of 21-0-0. Wildcat head coach Dave Burgen has been named the Section 5A Coach of the Year.