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March 1, 2021

1/22/2021 1:16:00 PM
Chisago Lakes beats top-ranked Breck to set the tone for season

Chisago Lakes 3, Breck 2
The fifth-ranked Wildcat girls hockey team opened the season with a bang, as Jenna Lawry scored a hat trick to lead the Wildcats to a 3-2 win over the top-ranked Breck Mustangs – winners of the past three Class A state tournaments –  on Thursday, January 14 at Anderson Ice Arena.  Wildcat goalie Anna Hanson, in perhaps the finest performance of her career, stopped 31 of the 33 shots she faced from one of the most potent scoring lineups in Minnesota.

Lawry stunned the crowd – okay, there wasn’t really a crowd – just over a minute into the game.  She picked up a pass from Dani Burgen, blew down the left side of the ice, split two defenders just past the blue line in the Breck zone and scored from the doorstep to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.  Dylan Grilz had the second assist.  Breck woke up after that and responded with some pressure in the Wildcats’ end, but Hanson and the defense shut the door as the teams settled into a tight battle.  The teams each had a power play in the first period.  The Wildcats got off a couple of nice shots on their power play and prevented Breck from getting too comfortable on their power play.  It looked like the Wildcats were going to go into the first intermission up 1-0, but the Mustangs scored with 12.8 seconds left in the period to tie the score at 1-1.

The Mustangs clinked a shot off the pipe about two minutes into the second period, and Burgen flipped a close-in shot attempt just high about a minute later.  Just past the midway point of the period, the Mustangs scored a power play goal to go up 2-1.  About a minute later, Hanson made a nice save and the Wildcats quickly broke out of the zone and headed up ice.  The Breck goalie saved a shot by Nora DeVries, but Lawry was there to put away the rebound and tied the game at 2-2.

The winning goal, scored with 2:20 remaining in regulation, was a thing of beauty – but it didn’t start out that way.  As Breck broke out of the Wildcat zone, Lawry got knocked down just outside the Mustang blue line on the left side.  It took her several seconds to gather herself.  By then, Burgen had gotten a hold of the puck and was racing down the right side.  She and Lawry ended up in a two-on-one.  Burgen drove to the right side of the net, drawing the defenseman to her.  She slid the puck over to Lawry at the left side of the net a few feet out and Lawry one-timed it home to put the Wildcats up 3-2.  Laine DeVries also had an assist on Lawry’s go-ahead goal.

Breck took a timeout with just over 50 seconds left in the game.  They had not yet pulled their goalie.  The timeout benefitted the Wildcats.  The Wildcats had only been running two lines throughout the game and were running on fumes at the very end.  So, having a minute to take a breather gave them the rest they needed to thwart Breck’s late attempt to tie the game.

Wildcat head coach Dave Burgen was understandably proud of his team after the big win and was especially pleased with the poise they showed at the end of the game.  He said “Breck’s last shot on goal came with 4:19 left in the game.  We just didn’t let anything get to the net.   We changed up our forecheck in last two minutes, and dumped pucks deep in their zone to keep their goalie in the net.  We had three blocked shots in last 30 seconds.  We’ve homed in on systems over last few years and are happy that the kids are buying in and executing like we draw things up.”

To put the win in perspective, the last time another Class A team beat Breck was Warroad two years ago.  Before that, Blake beat Breck a couple of time when Blake – who are apparently not trophy hunters – was still in Class A.  Those are the only two Class A team that had beaten the Mustangs since 2014 – until this year’s season opener.

Hockey Hullaballoo
The Wildcats (1-1) will play at Simley tomorrow night at 7 p.m.  They will host the Princeton Tigers in the home opener Monday, January 25 at 7 p.m. at Chisago Lakes High School.

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