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April 20, 2019

Blake Lizotte’s first week in the NHL was a wild time. From warming up with some of the greats to making his debut in the LA Kings season finale, his long time dream came true. Above, he became fast friends with Kings captain Anze Kopitar (#11), who was celebrating his 1,000th game the same night Lizotte made his debut.       
Blake Lizotte’s first week in the NHL was a wild time. From warming up with some of the greats to making his debut in the LA Kings season finale, his long time dream came true. Above, he became fast friends with Kings captain Anze Kopitar (#11), who was celebrating his 1,000th game the same night Lizotte made his debut.       
From heartache to exuberance to excitement to relief, former Chisago Lakes’ hockey standout Blake Lizotte hit nearly every range on the scale of emotions over a nine-day stretch.
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Despite weather dictating location, 'Cats hammer Vikes
Chisago Lakes 11, North Branch 4
Trailing 3-2 to the Vikings, the Wildcats exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the third inning and went on to beat the Vikings 11-4  Due to field conditions and a couple of other factors, the game was played at Princeton on Tuesday, April 9.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Junker wins low-scoring duel with Pilz as CL beats NB
Chisago Lakes 2, North Branch 0
Fans of the Wildcat and Viking girls’ softball teams were treated to an early season pitcher’s duel Tuesday, April 9.  Wildcat stating pitcher Trinity Junker and Viking starting pitcher Kristi Pilz each gave up just three hits in seven innings of work.  The difference in the game was a two-run single by Wildcat Jessica Bergerson in the sixth inning to account for all of the runs as the Wildcats shut out the Vikings 2-0.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Wildcat track team fitting in meets wherever they can
The Wildcat track team participated in a four-team quadrangular at Buffalo High School Tuesday, April 9.  St Michael-Albertville easily won the event on both the boys’ and girls’ sides.  Buffalo and Rogers were the other two teams participating.  The Wildcat boys came in second place and the Wildcat girls finished third.
Thursday, April 18, 2019

Junker leads 'Cats past Bemidji
Chisago Lakes 4, Bemidji 0
Was Wildcat softball starting pitcher Trinity Junker ready for the first game of her senior season?  You be the judge.  Junker allowed just one hit and struck out 18 batters – and had two of the Wildcats’ six hits and two RBIs, for good measure – to lead her team to a 4-0 shutout of the Bemidji Lumberjacks on Friday, April 5 at Chisago Lakes High School.  It’s not a bad way to start the season, against an opponent that made it to the state tournament last year.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

CL gymnastics hands out season-ending awards
Mississippi 8—Team Academic All-Conference Award
Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Viking boys’ hockey team has come a long way in just a few short years.
Thursday, March 21, 2019

NB shows they belong among Class A elite
The North Branch Vikings boys’ hockey team made its first-ever appearance at the state high school hockey tournament last week.  The Vikings lost the opener to eventual Class 1A champion St. Cloud Cathedral 7-0, beat Minnesota River in the consolation semifinals 5-2 and lost 2-1 to Delano in the consolation championship game. 
Thursday, March 14, 2019

Boys' basketball seasons end at sections
Hibbing 66, Wildcats 62
The Wildcats ended their season with a loss to Hibbing at sections March 5.  The Wildcats’ season has been filled with highs and lows under new coach Josh Flug, who has led the team to some impressive wins over Grand Rapids, St. Croix Lutheran and two over rivals North Branch.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Nine area wrestlers to shine on the biggest stage
Both the Vikings and the Wildcats fared well at last weekend’s Section 4AA individual tourney at South St. Paul.  Nine wrestlers – five Vikings and four Wildcats – are headed to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul for this weekend’s state wrestling tournament.  Viking freshman Brandt Bombard (126) decisioned freshman Maverick Whitehorn of South St. Paul 4-2 in overtime to become section champ.  Wildcat junior Connor Bleymeyer (220) pinned junior Ryan Prisch of St Paul Humboldt-Open World Learning to win the section championship.  And, in the premier matchup of the weekend, Viking senior Brandon Swanson – ranked ninth in the state – pinned Wildcat senior Zach Carlson – ranked tenth in the state – to win the section championship.  Carlson did not have to wrestle a True Second match and will also go to state.  Finishing second  and also earning a spot in the state tournament are Vikings Josh Logan (sophomore, 132), Austin Sonnek (junior, 145) and Trevor Anderson (senior, 152), and Wildcats Andrew Novack (eighth grader, 106) and Isaiah Sistrunk (senior, 182).  And one more individual won an award – Viking assistant coach Kyle Kahl was voted the Section 4AA Assistant Coach of the Year by the head coaches in the section.
Thursday, February 28, 2019

North Branch 5, Mora/Milaca 1
Playmaker Cody Croal had three assists and five different players scored goals as the second-seeded Viking boys’ hockey team beat the seventh-seeded Mora/Milaca Mustangs 5-1 in a Section 5A quarterfinal matchup last Thursday, February 21 at Chisago Lakes Arena.  The win sent the Vikings to a semifinal matchup at home against the third-seeded Princeton Tigers last Saturday.  The loss ended the season for the Mustangs.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Williams earns top five finish at state meet in uneven bars
Coming into the season, Chisago Lakes senior Aliah Williams had her sights set on repeating as a Class A state champion.
Thursday, February 28, 2019

Fish closes her career with 15th place finish on beam
Angie Fish had a very nice close to her career at the 2019 MSHSL state gymnastics meet at the University of Minnesota on Saturday, February 23.
Thursday, February 28, 2019

Opdahl and Nord back at state, joined by Clarin
Jimmy Nord and Storm Opdahl will be returning to the state meet this weekend at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
Thursday, February 28, 2019

Chisago Lakes 83, St. Francis 64
The Wildcats showed their improvement last week when they dominated St. Francis on Friday, February 22 83-64. The win came just a month after they lost to the Saints 56-54 on the road.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Williams heading back to state, NB's Fish to join her
Despite knocking most of their routines out of the park and scoring a far and away season high mark, the Chisago Lakes gymnastics team didn’t even sniff a state tournament berth because they are in the most stacked section in the state.
Friday, February 22, 2019

Wildcats finish season sweep of Vikings in basketball
In a choppy game that saw nearly 30 fouls called on each team, Chisago Lakes finished their season sweep of North Branch in boys basketball, winning 72-57 on Tuesday, February 12.
Friday, February 22, 2019

Chisago Lakes runs through North Branch with ease
The North Branch girls basketball team was looking for a measure of revenge as they traveled to Chisago Lakes on Tuesday, February 12, but they left disappointed. The ‘Cats secured a 69-56 win to finish the season sweep of the Vikings.
Friday, February 22, 2019

All CL skiers have clean runs at state tournament
Chisago Lakes was hoping for some clean runs from their three competitors to see where they’d stand against the state’s elite, and the Wildcats didn’t disappoint on Wednesday, February 13.
Friday, February 22, 2019

NB wins two blowouts ahead of sectional play
North Branch 7, Dodge County 0
Joey Kerchner had two goals and three assists and goalie Jake Turek stopped all 16 shots he faced to lead the Vikings to a 7-0 win over the Dodge County Wildcats last Friday, February 15 at Dodge County Ice Arena.  The Vikings scored their seven goals on just 23 shots.  It’s was Turek’s third shutout of the season.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Wildcats KO'd by Mahtomedi after beating Highland Park
Wrestling Notes
The Section 4AA individual championships will be held this Friday and Saturday at South St. Paul High School.  See the section tournament preview in this week’s version of the Press for an in-depth look at the section tournament prospects for Wildcat wrestlers.

Friday, February 22, 2019

North Branch wallops third seeded Como in first round

Section 4AA Team Tournament
North Brach 60, St. Paul Como Park 18
Seeding teams at the high school level – or at any level, for that matter – for postseason play is, to say the least, an inexact science.  Case in point:  The Vikings were seeded sixth in last Saturday’s Section 4AA team championship tournament, held at Mahtomedi High School.  The St. Paul Como Park Cougars were seeded third.  The teams met in the quarterfinals and it wasn’t even close.  The Vikings crushed the much higher seeded Cougars 60-18, earning a trip to the semifinals to face the top team in Section 4AA, the Mahtomedi Zephyrs.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Girls hockey season ends at the hands of Mpls.
Minneapolis 5, Chisago Lakes 3
The Wildcat girls’ hockey team was one win away from reaching their main goal this season – to get a shot at Breck in the Section 5A championship game.  But in the section semifinal game on Tuesday, February 12, the Wildcats ran into a hot goalie and lost to the Minneapolis Novas 5-3.  The Wildcat season ended one game short of their goal.  The game was played at Parade Ice Garden in Minneapolis.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Janzig, Cartier and Mower to represent Chisago Lakes at state
Both Chisago Lakes alpine ski teams ran into the buzzsaw that is this year’s Stillwater squad.
Thursday, February 14, 2019

Despite progress, Wildcats beaten by Rogers and Monti
The Wildcats have been slowly improving their score all year, and after a small set back against Monticello on Tuesday, February 5 in which they scored 136.525, Chisago Lakes put one of their highest scores of the year together on the very next night against Rogers, despite losing 139.10-137.10.
Thursday, February 14, 2019

Selbitschka named Coach of the Year
North Branch Area High School (NBAHS) varsity volleyball coach Mike Selbitschka has been named Class AA's Head Coach of the Year by the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association. Selbitschka and his squad won the Class AA state girls’ championship in November, defeating Marshall High School in five sets.
Thursday, February 14, 2019

NB survives shootout with Princeton
North Branch 6, Princeton 5 (O.T.)
The game between the Vikings boys’ hockey team and the Princeton Tigers last Saturday at Chisago Lakes Arena was crazy – including a hat trick by Joey Kirchner, five straight goals by the Vikings, three straight goals by Princeton in the third period – including the game-tying goal with 11 seconds left – and an overtime goal by Cody Croal to give the Vikings a 6-5 win,  The win over a section team may have helped the Vikings get closer to the number two seed for the upcoming Section 5A playoffs.  The game was a lot of fun.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

CL wins one section game before falling
Simley 2, Chisago Lakes 1
In their final tune-up before the section playoffs, the Wildcats stuck close to the Simley Spartans despite being outshot 44-23.  But the Spartans scored a power play goal in the first period and a shorthanded goal in the third period to build a 2-0 lead.  The Wildcats pulled their goalie late in the third period.  With just a few seconds left on the clock, senior Molly Hill fired a shot that was tipped by a Simley forward.  Standing at the backside post, Megan Bye knocked the puck out of the air and into the net with one second left on the clock to spoil the shutout.  Hill’s assist was her first varsity point.  Laine DeVries picked up the other assist.  Perhaps most encouraging with the playoffs beginning the next night, Wildcat goalie Megan Lerfald stopped 42 of the 44 shots she faced.  Senior goalie Haley Ries made a rare start for the Spartans, on Senior Night, and came within one second of a shutout as she stopped 22 of the 23 shots she faced.  The game was played Tuesday, February 5 at Veteran’s Arena in Inver grove Heights.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

'Cats split two ahead of season finale
Monticello 5, Chisago Lakes 2
Monticello built a three-goal lead through the first two periods and traded goals with the Wildcats in the third period, beating the Wildcats 5-2 last Saturday, February 9 at Moose Sherritt Arena in Monticello.  The game featured 18 penalties, including 11 on the Zephyrs and seven on the Wildcats.  The Wildcats inability to cash in on power plays – they went one-for-ten with a man advantage – contributed significantly to the loss.  In the second period alone, there were ten penalties.  Only about five minutes of the 17-minute period were skated at full strength for both teams.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Wrestling teams prep for sections
Irondale Quadrangular
The Wildcats finished up the regular season schedule with a trip to Mounds View on Tuesday, February 5 and took on the home team and the Mounds View Mustangs.  The Wildcats lost to Mounds View 70-6.  Against Irondale, the Wildcats led 33-12 in contested weight.  The won six of eight matches, including five by pin.  Unfortunately, the six forfeits counted, and Irondale won 48-33.  So, despite a lineup with quite a number of holes in it, the Wildcats were competitive at the weights they filled.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Chisago Lakes holds on to beat Rogers, happily says farewell to St. Michael
St. Michael-Albertville 73, Chisago Lakes 30
The Wildcats played what they hope is their last game against St. Michael-Albertville last week, losing 73-30.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Chisago Lakes earns state berth in dance
As one of the top three finalists in sectional 2AA dance team competition-- Chisago Lakes is going to the state meet, happening at Target Center Feb. 15 and 16.   Pictured above:  dance team members gather with their award, at the end of last weekend’s competition.  The win was even sweeter because the girls were in front of a home crowd as Chisago Lakes High School hosted the 2AA sectionals, February 2, welcoming 12 other high schools on the roster.  Benilde St. Margaret’s, Hermantown-Proctor and Totino Grace were the other top finishers overall in jazz and kick categories.   See page 11 for more details and additional photos from Saturday’s sections meet.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Chisago Lakes evens season series at one with 4-3 win
Chisago Lakes 4, North Branch 3
Jackson Waltman scored his second goal of the game with 45.7 seconds left in the third period to give the Wildcat boys’ hockey team a 4-3 win over the Vikings last Saturday night at Chisago Lakes Arena.  The game lived up to the pregame hype.  The Vikings came out slow and the Wildcats built a 3-1 lead.  It looked like they were going come away with the win.  The Vikings came alive late in the third period and, helped out by a late power play, scored twice in a 16 second span with less than three minutes to go to tie the game at 3-3.  But Waltman’s goal won it for the Wildcats.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Three 'Cat skiers heading to state
From left to right, Sophie Janzig, Jamie Mower and Megan Cartier all earned their spot in the state tournament next week with impressive section runs on Tuesday, February 5 at Giants Ridge. The girls team finished third in sections and the boys fifth. The state meet is at Giants Ridge on Wednesday, February 13.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Carlson wins M8C heavyweight crown
Mississippi 8 Conference Tournament
Zach Carlson pinned both of his opponents to claim the 285-pound championship at the Mississippi 8 Conference Championship, held Friday, January 25 at Cambridge-Isanti High School.  Connor Bleymeyer (220) finished third to join Carlson as an All-Conference performer.  Isaiah Sistrunk (170) came in fifth to earn All-Conference Honorable Mention.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Monticello 64, North Branch 20
North Branch had one of the most disappointing offensive performances in recent memory, scoring just 20 points against Monticello on Friday, February 1.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

North Branch chops down Pine City
North Branch Quadrangular
The Viking wrestling team hosted a quadrangular last Saturday, February 2 at North Branch High School.  The Vikings lost 42-34 to Boyceville, Wisc.; they lost 54-27 to Grand Rapids; and they beat Pine City-Hinckley-Finlayson 45-9. Ashton LaBelle, (120), Brandt Bombard (126) and Brandon Swanson (285) all went 3-0 for the day.  Swanson’s three wins were particularly impressive.  He needed just a total of 2:16 to pin all three opponents, including a 17-second pin over Josh Marzofka or Boyceville.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

CL heads into sections seeded third
Chisago Lake 4, Totino Grace 1
On Senior Night, sophomore Jenna Lawry and freshman Danielle Burgen had two goals and two assists apiece to lead the Wildcat girls’ hockey team to a 4-1 win over the Totino Grace Eagles Thursday, January 24 at Chisago Lakes Arena.  The Wildcats dominated the Eagles, outshooting them 34-17 for the game.  Wildcat goalie Megan Lerfald stopped 16 of the seventeen shots she faced.  “We are peaking at the right time,” said Wildcat head coach Dave Burgen.  “And the coachability, effort and attitude from the players is outstanding.”

Thursday, February 7, 2019

After frigid temps delay Rogers game, Vikings fall to Monticello
Monticello 63, North Branch 47
The extreme colds caused North Branch to miss a scheduled date with Rogers last week, leaving them a bit rusty before hosting Monticello on Friday, February 1.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Both ski teams capture NWSC championships
The girls alpine ski team has had troubles with Centennial all year. The Cougars  always seemed to be just a hair faster than the Wildcats, and it led to many second place finishes for Chisago Lakes.
Thursday, January 31, 2019

Vikes stay tight in losses to elite competition
Superior (Wisc.) 4, North Branch 3 (O.T.)
Tucker Sachs scored late in the third period against the Superior Spartans Tuesday, January 22 to tie the game at 3-3 and send it into overtime, but the Spartans scored in overtime to win 4-3.  Sachs was involved in all three Viking goals, with two goals and an assist.  The game was played at Wessman Arena in Superior, Wisc.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

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