2/25/2022 11:17:00 AM CL falls short in section finals
South St. Paul 4, Chisago Lakes 2 The fourth-seeded Wildcats never really got their prolific offense in gear all night in the section championship game against the second-seeded South St. Paul Packers. But they were still in the game until the Packers scored a shorthanded goal with four-and-a-half minutes to go in the third period to make the score 4-2. South St. Paul hung on for the 4-2 win, advancing to the state tournament and denying the Wildcats their second straight trip to the Excel Center. The game was played last Thursday, February 17 at Doug Woog Arena in South St. Paul.
The Packers opened the scoring at 5:04 of the first period. Lilie Ramirez skated into the Wildcat zone unchallenged and unleashed a shot from the left point. The puck went past Wildcat goalie Brianna Ritter into the upper right corner of the net to give South St. Paul a 1-0 lead. With just over a minute left in the period, Dani Brunette had the puck at the right point as the Wildcats looked to start a play. She lifted a beautiful shot that went under the crossbar inside the left post to tie the game at 1-1. Laine DeVries and Nora DeVries were credited with assists on the play. Packer goalie Delaney Norman looked surprised by the goal, but she appeared to have been screened.
Ritter made a couple of nice saves on a two-on-one six minutes into the second period to keep the score at 1-1. At 10:21 of the period, a Wildcat defenseman skated the puck out in front of her own net and had it stolen off her stick. A couple of seconds later, a wide-open Ashley Jerikovsky scored from right in front of the net to put South St. Paul up 2-1. At 13:45 of the second period, it looked like the Packers scored to build the lead to 3-1. Ritter gloved a shot from just inside the blue line, but the puck trickled out of her glove and rolled into the net. The referees, however, quickly waved of the goal for offsides, and the score stayed at 2-1. The Wildcats had the puck in front of the Packer net for the last 20 seconds of the period but were not able to get off a shot.
The backbreaker came just 21 seconds into the third period. The Wildcats had trouble clearing the puck out of their zone, and after a nice pass across to the right circle, Sarah Wincensten sent a shot a couple of feet off the ice inside the right post to stretch the Packer lead to 3-1. Ritter stopped two more breakaways a couple of minutes later to keep the Wildcats in the game. The Wildcats had plenty of opportunities to put some offense together in the third period, as the Packers were called for three penalties. But their next goal came between power plays. At 7:46, Nora DeVries skated the puck around the back of the net from left to right while a line change was going on. She dropped a pass to Kaitlyn Hanson near the right point. Hanson sent a pass to Dani Burgen at the right half wall. Burgen wristed a shot into the upper right corner of the net to cut the South St. Paul lead to 3-2. But while skating on a power play, the Wildcats gave away the puck in their own zone and Eve Beck scored at 12:33 to make the score 4-2. When the Wildcats took a penalty at 14:16 of the period, it sealed their fate. They did pull Ritter for an extra skater after a timeout and getting control of the puck, but they didn’t get off any significant shots the rest of the way, and went down to defeat, ending their season a game short of the state tournament spotlight.