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home : sports : sports
March 23, 2023

1/27/2023 12:13:00 PM
Wildcats win back-to-back contests against Pine City as season winds down

Chisago Lakes 3, Pine City 2
In the first game of back-to-back clashes between the Wildcat girls’ hockey team and the Pine City Dragons, Wildcat Brooke Klemz scored twice to lead the her team to a 3-2 win over the Dragons.  The game was played Tuesday, January 17 at the Pine City Civic Center.

Klemz got the Wildcats on the board first with an unassisted goal at 4:22 of the second period.  The Dragons scored twice in the first seven minutes of the third period, including a power play goal, to take a 2-1 lead.  Klemz tied it up at 10:34 of the period, assisted by Laine DeVries.  And just 54 seconds later, Alyson Vogelsang scored the game winner, with Lauren Schmidt picking up the assist.  The Wildcats dominated the game, outshooting the Dragons 33-18, including a 19-5 shot advantage in the second period.    
Chisago Lakes 6, Pine City 1
The next night, the teams moved to Chisago Lakes Arena, and the Wildcats found it a bit easier to get pucks into the back of the net.  They scored three times in the first period and went on to beat Pine City 6-1.  Brooke Klemz scored two goals for the second game in a row, and assisted on two others.  The Wildcats outshot the Dragons 45-17.
Lexi Smothers opened the scoring less than five minutes into the first period, assisted by Allie Smothers and Joee Westland.  Ella Perreault tallied a power play goal at 10:35 of the period, with assists going to Klemz and Laine DeVries.  And almost exactly two minutes later, Klemz found the back of the net, assisted by Allie Smothers, to stretch the Wildcat lead to 3-0.
 Alyson Vogelsang scored early in the third period, assisted by Klemz, to make it 4-0.  Pine City’s Malia Mikyska spoiled goalie Evi Reedy’s shutout bid with a goal midway through the period.  Nora DeVries added a goal midway through the third period.  Freshman Naomi Eaton picked up her first career point with an assist on DeVries’ goal.  And Klemz scored the game’s final goal with less than a minute to go, assisted by Nora DeVries, to make it 6-1.
Wildcat head coach Hannah Vitelli said “Their goalie played well in the first game, but with all the shots she saw she was probably exhausted by the second game.  Our lines are solidifying well. We did a good job moving the puck and getting it to the front of the net in this one.”
Minneapolis 5, Chisago Lakes 3
The Wildcats showed some fatigue playing their third game in three nights during finals week, and fell 5-3 to the Minneapolis Novas Thursday, January 19 at Parade Ice Garden in Minneapolis.  Celia Midtbo had a hat trick for the Novas, who outshot the Wildcats 39-34 for the game.

Midtbo scored an unassisted goal with less than two minutes to go in the first period to put Minneapolis up 1-0.  Laine DeVries tied it up for the Wildcats just over two minutes into the second period, assisted by Lexi Smothers.  But the Novas respond with three straight goals, including two by Midtbo, to lead 4-1 after two periods.  Midtbo’s second goal of the period came as the Wildcats were attempting to ice the puck on a power play.  The puck hit one of the posts that hold in the glass and, instead of continuing down the ice, the puck ricocheted to the front of the net, where a wide open Midtbo buried it.

 The Wildcats showed some life in the third period.  Laine DeVries scored at 6:51, assisted by Lauren Schmidt and Alyson Vogelsang, to cut the Nova lead to 4-2.  And Perreault put one in the back of the net at 10:55, with the assist going to Nora DeVries, to pull the Wildcats within one.  But two-and-a-half minutes later, Midtbo assisted on a goal by Grace Ann Goodale to give Minneapolis some breathing room at 5-3.  The Wildcats pulled goalie Breanna Ritter with just over a minute to go in the game, but the Novas held them off for the win.

The game featured 15 penalties between the two teams, and the Wildcats were zero for eight on the power play.  Was it a chippy game or were the refs just penalty-happy?  “It was a little of both,” said Wildcat head coach Hannah Vitelli.  “We play a tough style of hockey and sometimes a lot of penalties are going to get called.  We need to learn when to scale back and play a little bit smarter.  And we really didn’t have the luck of the bounce in this one.  We had the weird bounce on their power play goal, and we hit three pipes.  We came out flat, playing our third game in three days, but we found some energy and outplayed them in the third period.  Unfortunately, it was not enough to win the game.”

“As we head towards the playoffs, we have nailed down our top two lines, knowing who is on them and where they are playing.  Brooke Klemz really stood out this week, playing with the Smothers sisters.  They grind it out, move the puck really well and get pucks to the net.  Alyson Vogelsang, Ella Perreault and Lauren Schmidt also move the puck around well and are fun to watch.  Ella doesn’t look like a first-year player.  She is our leading scorer and has been unbelievable for us.  We set our top two lines in stone as of Tuesday night and that’s the point you want to be at this time of year.  Nora DeVries and Laine DeVries have been playing great shutdown defense and jumping up into the play when the opportunities present themselves.”
Vitelli continued “Our tough schedule shows the girls the level they need to play at to be successful.  I love seeing the improvement from the beginning of the year until now.  Our goal was to have set lines by our twentieth game, and that’s where we are at.  If we need to clean up one thing, it’s our power play.  We hold out team to a high standard of accountability on and off the ice.  We have a great team culture, and everyone on the team has a GPA over 3.2.  We are playing high-level hockey, so I like our chances when playoffs begin in a couple of weeks.  I can’t wait to see how it goes.”
Hockey Hullaballoo
The Wildcats (11-10-0) have just four games left in the regular season.  They will head to Paynesville this evening to take on the River Lakes Stars at Koronis Civic Arena at 7:15 p.m.  Tomorrow night, they will return home to Chisago Lakes Arena to play the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Lumberjacks at 7 p.m.  And on Tuesday, January 31, they will welcome Two Rivers/St. Paul Riveters to Lindstrom for the Wildcats’ final home game of the season, starting at 7 p.m.

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