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home : sports : sports
July 3, 2022

5/27/2022 12:02:00 PM
Wildcats narrowly lose heated affair with fifth-ranked Buffalo

The Wildcat boys lacrosse team had a busy week with three games played in four days. Chisago Lakes started their week with a road trip to Sartell/Sauk Rapids to take on the Storm'n Sabres and then two home games against Buffalo and Rocori.

Chisago Lakes 13  Sartell/Sauk Rapids 4
The Wildcats got on the board first with a left side dodge and a shot from Hunter Haus to put them up 1-0.

The Sabres followed a few minutes later with a goal after a deflected ball was picked up and put past ‘Cats goalie Brett Zaruba.  “The Sabres played a strong first quarter against us. They came out in a zone defense which we haven't seen much of this season,” Head Coach Mark Nordby said. Chisago put in one more for first quarter goal by Henry Reedy and assisted by Bergquist.

In the second quarter the Wildcats figured out some offensive tactics to break the zone and put up four goals by Bergquist, senior Ryan Leibel, and two by Reedy. The ‘Cats then lead 6-3 going into halftime.

The CL defense tightened up to blank the Sabres in the third quarter while also putting up four more goals. “We discussed some changes to our defense and communicating more,” Nordby noted. “The guys responded coming out of halftime by shutting down Sartell’s offense and putting in four more big goals.”

Buffalo 9, Chisago Lakes 8
In a highly anticipated matchup, the Wildcats hosted the fifth ranked and undefeated Bison of Buffalo, who brought a potent offense led by Layne Kology, the leading scorer in the state. 

“We knew this was going to be tough. Buffalo has some quality wins on the season with a stifling defense and an offense that has easily put up double digits on every team they've faced,” Nordby said.

The ‘Cats got on the scoreboard first on a goal by junior Ari Phillips into a wide open net after a failed clear by the Bison's goalie and an errant pass that was picked off. Nordby said that was a great heads-up play by Phillips. 

Chisago Lakes put in another goal off a dodge by senior Nick Helland and lefty shot after getting a great pick by teammate Dylan Dassner to put the Cats up 2-0.  Buffalo's offense came back and put one in to make it 2-1 after the first quarter.

Buffalo's offensive power turned on in the second quarter as they put in three more goals while their defense kept the ‘Cats scoreless. “We didn't have many answers for either end of the field at that time,” Nordby said. “Buffalo's aggressive defense was the toughest we've faced and their scorers started to come alive.”

In the third quarter, the scoring continued for the Bison but this time, the Wildcats were able to get a couple of goals past the Bison goalie.

Bergquist had a great sweeping dodge from the right side to get one back.  In almost the same motion and place on the field, Henry Reedy found the back of the net as well, but going into the fourth quarter, the Cats trailed Buffalo 7-4.

After another goal by the Bison early in the fourth quarter, Chisago Lakes trailed by four points. “We could have folded at this point and just accepted the loss,” Nordby said. “But, that's not the mentality of this team. This team is never out of a game and always believes in each other to come back.”

Lefty shooter, Max Olson started chipping away at the lead with identical shots and goals from the left side and then a dodge from behind to get a hat trick in the fourth quarter alone.  “Max just has a way of finding the net with his speed and shot placement,” Nordby said of the attacker. 

Chisago Lakes’ final goal came on another failed clear by the Buffalo goalie. Senior Jake Willman caused a turnover by the goalie and the ball squirted over, deflected off Phillips and right back to Willman, who zipped it past a stunned goalie.

“We definitely had all the momentum the last few minutes of the game. The guys just would not quit,” Nordby said proudly.

In the end, the Bison ended up one point more than the ‘Cats, though. “We hate to lose, but the belief in each other and grit these guys showed was tremendous,” Nordby noted. “Our game elevated in many ways tonight and also we learned more of what it'll take to beat the best.”

Chisago Lakes 21,  Rocori 0
The ‘Cats took on the Spartans of Rocori in a Thursday night matchup after the tough Buffalo contest.

Multiple players scored and Chisago's defense recorded their first shutout of the season in a one-sided affair.  “It was about as opposite of a game from two nights ago that we could have,” Nordby said. 

After the game, the Wildcats honored the seniors and their parents with a short ceremony.

 “This is a great group of seniors who have given a lot and been part of building Chisago Lakes into a great program,” Nordby said.

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