December 12, 2003 at 11:37 a.m.
Chisago Lakes 2
The Chisago Lakes boys hockey team had mixed emotions going into the season. On one hand. they desperately wanted to get the 2003-04 year rolling, however, on the other, with three rated teams on the schedule in the first two weeks, maybe they didn’t.
To make matters worse, the ‘Cats were also battling mother time. Six games in two weeks meant fatigue would also be an issue.
Excited to play or scared to death?
Whatever it was, the Wildcats didn’t have a choice in the matter.
Up first was ranked Hermantown, a perennial state power on the road, not the easiest draw.
Early on, Chisago Lakes was clearly out-manned, out-played, and out-gunned. The Hawks buzzed the net, scoring four goals in the first two periods. Believe it not, it could have been worse.
“Chris Waltz played really well in net,” said Ken Orwoll, Chisago Lakes boys hockey head coach. “Maybe one of those goals was on the first shot. Most of the goals were on the rebound, on their second or third shot. He kept us in the game as best he could.
“They challenge. They put pressure right away on the other teams defense,” continued Orwoll. “They put the pressure on and force turnovers. Being young back at defense, we coughed the puck up a lot. We struggled to get the puck out of our zone and they made us pay.”
Down by four heading into the third, Orwoll knew the Wildcats could only go two ways; up or down. They could either pack it in or strap down and fight back. Fortunately, they chose the latter.
Chisago Lakes charged out of the locker room a different team, closing the gap on the ice and eventually on the scoreboard. Senior Steve Pieper got things going with a third period goal. Linemates Craig Manthey and Matt Nelson each picked up an assist. Then, senior Zach Lamotte lit the lamp, pulling the Wildcats within two, 4-2. Freshman Luke Angrimson picked up his first varsity point on the play, getting credit for the assist.
“We got better as the game went on and that’s what you expect when you are so young,” remarked Orwoll. “My second line was two sophomores and a freshman and my third line was two freshman and a sophomore. We tried to tell the young kids that it was going to be fast, that they had to keep their feet moving, but you can’t show them until they actually get out there. We played a much better period in the second. The guys just started to adjust a little bit.
“In the third, we started to get out of our zone pretty well. It was fairly even,’ continued Orwoll. “We played a lot smarter. I was pleased with how they worked at the end. I’ll take a third period against a team like that anytime.”
The loss dropped the Wildcats record to 0-1 with Duluth Denfeld up next.
Chisago Lakes 2
1 2 3 F
Chisago Lakes -- -- 2 2
Chisago Lakes 3 1 1 5
1) H-#12 (#26, #3) 4:15; 2) H- #9 (#16) 7:06; 3) H- #7 (#17) 14:51.
4) H- #7 (#11, #3) 15:53.
5) CL- Pieper (Nelson, Manthey) 1:42; 6) CL- LaMotte (Angrimson) 2:47; 7) H- #3 (#8) 8:18
Chisago Lakes 5
Duluth Denfeld 4
Last Thursday, the Wildcats opened up their home schedule with Duluth Denfeld, hoping to put their 5-2 loss behind them.
Early on they did, dominating the Hunters in the first period. After a Denfeld goal opened the scoring, the Wildcats charged back with three straight tallies, taking a 3-1 lead after one.
Sophomore Lance Baumgard turned the tide, catching the puck off the boards and beating the Denfeld goalie on a breakaway, tying the game 1-1. Less than five minutes later, Craig Manthey put the Wildcats in front with his first goal of the season with the assist going to Nick Fisher. Then freshman Robert LeVasseur rounded out the scoring in the first with the first goal of his varsity career. Jimmy Bergren and Jordan Anderson picked up the assists.
“I felt we started out pretty good. We moved the puck out of the zone and we were skating pretty well. We basically controlled play the entire first period,” said Orwoll. “Up to that point, it was our best period of hockey this season. The goal by Baumgard really gave us a lift and we kept the pressure the entire period.”
Sixteen seconds into the second, the Wildcats struck again with a Fisher goal, catapulting the ‘Cats in front 4-1. However, 33 minutes and 44 seconds remained, plenty of time for the game to turn. And it did.
Quiet in the first, the Wildcats suddenly became more physical, and in turn, the referees became more active. It started harmlessly enough. A Carl Hoffman hooking call gave Denfeld the power play; 1:20 later, they scored making it 4-2.
The Hunters kept the pressure on. Denfeld turned to their defensemen, blistering one shot on net after another. Meanwhile, the ‘Cats struggled to get the puck out of their zone, leading to another penalty late in the second, resulting in another power play goal. The score was quickly 4-3 after two.
“We started to get penalties right away, and then after that, we really had a hard time,” commented Orwoll. “They put some pressure on. I think we panicked. At the end of the period we started to get some momentum back, but that second period was rough.”
Aimed at sparking the team, Orwoll pulled Rose after the second and inserted Waltz between the pipes in the third. The senior had a rude welcoming.
Still down 4-3, Denfeld tied the game 4-4 six minutes into the third on an unassisted goal by Hunter senior Brandon Owen. It was a game again.
Like in the game versus Hermantown two nights earlier, the young Wildcat squad had two ways to go- up or down. Versus the Hawks, the ‘Cats chose to fight. Versus Denfeld, they chose to win.
Less than three minutes later, a penalty once again turned the tide of the game. However, this time, it was a Denfeld penalty leading to a Chisago Lakes power play.
Thirteen seconds into the man advantage, Pieper skated through the left circle and unloaded a shot while falling to the ice. The wrister beat Willie Winklesky-Greene upper shelf, putting the Wildcats back in front 5-4. Hoffman picked up the lone assist on Pieper’s second goal of the season.
The two teams played even the rest of the way. Denfeld pulled their goalie with more than a minute to play to get an extra skater but Waltz and the Chisago Lakes defense kept them off the board, completing a solid, yet ugly 5-4 win.
“It wasn’t pretty,” remarked Orwoll. “But, a win is a win. I thought the third period was pretty even. The flow still wasn’t there, we struggled getting things going offensively, but we did enough to win and that’s what counts.”
Pieper and Manthey each finished the game with a goal and two assists. Nick Fisher chipped in with a goal and an assist. In goal, Rose made 15 saves on 18 shots while Waltz stopped six of the seven shots he faced.
The win evened the Wildcats record at 1-1 on the season.
Chisago Lakes 5
Duluth Denfeld 4
1 2 3 F
Duluth Denfeld 1 2 1 4
Chisago Lakes 3 1 1 5
1) DD- Johnson (unassisted) 3:04; 2) CL- Baumgard (Pieper, Manthey) 6:47; 3) CL- Manthey (Fisher) 11:10; 4) CL- LeVasseur (Anderson, J. Bergren) 14:49
5) CL- Fisher (Manthey, Pieper) :16; 6) DD- Antilla (Johnson) (pp) 2:49; 7) DD- Halvorson (Ridgewell) (pp) 16:54.
8) DD- Owen (unassisted) 6:33; 9) CL- Pieper (Hoffman) (pp) 9:14.
Chisago Lakes 6
Minnehaha Acad. 3
Although Orwoll and his team were happy with a win last Thursday, they knew they had to be better the next night.
Last Friday, less than 24 hours after facing Duluth Denfeld, the Wildcats hit the ice again, this time against 20-ranked Minnehaha Academy on the road.
In order to hit the Redhawks with everything they had right away, the ‘Cats changed things up on offense before the game.
“Chris (Chris Slettom, Chisago Lakes assistant coach) and I wrote down lines after Denfeld and we basically came up with the same thing,” remarked Orwoll. “We needed to get some scoring and consistency up front.”
The return of juniors Jake Miles and Josh Angrimson helped matters. Miles and Angrimson who normally are paired together, were split up to give the ‘Cats a jump.
“You got two guys who haven’t played this season, they’ve got some extra jump in their legs, and it’s our third game in four days,” remarked Orwoll. “We wanted to split them up to give us an extra burst on offense and it worked. We thought Miles who is a gutsy-hard working player would work well with Manthey and Nelson. Same thing with our second line. Angrimson has got great speed and control of the puck, LeVasseur will go into the corners and dig it out, and Pieper is an opportunist. If he gets a shot, he’ll make you pay.”
The change worked wonders. Chisago Lakes scored six goals, all coming from their top two lines en route to a 6-3 win.
While the coaches came up with an answer to one question, because it was the ‘Cats third game in four days and their second in as many days, they were still extremely concerned about fatigue.
It played a large role in the game early as Minnehaha Academy controlled the first. The Redhawks outshot the ‘Cats 10-4 in the first, leading to a 1-0 lead after one.
“I was really worried about running out of gas,” said Orwoll. “With 17 minute periods and with so many games, we were tired. In the first period, we just didn’t come out to play, it was all Minnehaha. Waltz did a great job keeping us in the game.”
The Wildcats answered in the second. The Miles-Manthey-Nelson line made their presence known 14 seconds into the period, tying the game 1-1. After Minnehaha re-took the lead 2-1, they struck again, with Manthey notching the goal, tying the game 2-2 after two. Mark Emery picked up the lone assist.
Less than five minutes into the third, the Redhawks took the lead again, marking the third time in the game they had been in front. It would also be their last.
This time, the Wildcats second line did the damage, or parts of it anyway. With Minnehaha on the power play, Manthey took the puck and sent a long pass to Pieper, springing him free on the breakaway. The opportunist he is, Pieper stuffed the puck into the net, tying the game again, this time 3-3.
Four minutes later, Chisago Lakes finally took the lead, again thanks to their special teams, again thanks to Manthey.
The senior tallied his second goal of the game on the power play at the 9:50 mark of the third, catapulting the Wildcats in front 4-3. He wasn’t done and neither was his line. Less than three minutes later, Manthey found Miles for his second goal of the game, an even strength goal, putting the ‘Cats in front 5-3. Manthey finished the scoring with an empty net minutes later, completing the hat trick and the 6-3 Chisago Lakes win.
“We started finding each other. The guys started working much better together out there, we were really working the puck out of our zone,” replied Orwoll. “Our transition game really improved. We used our speed. They were pressing a little bit late, trying to crash the net, and all we did was pop the puck back out and beat them to it.”
Manthey finished the game with five points (three goals, two assists) while Miles added two, both on goal. In all, seven Wildcats registered points.
“Manthey has four goals and five assists through nine games, that’s not too shabby,” smiled Orwoll. “He’s really come to play this year. He’s a guy that can take advantage of some things. Everybody gets chances but not everyone makes the most of them. Right now, he’s doing that. Plus, the rest of the guys are there to help him out. Right now, we have a nice balanced attack on offense.”
Chris Waltz picked up his second win of the season in net, saving 25 of 28 shots.
The win pushed the Wildcats to 2-1 on the season with three more games upcoming, including another state ranked team in Orono on Friday. Things are looking good but they are about to get tougher.
“I scouted Orono and they are really tough, we’re going to have to be at our best to beat them,” remarked Orwoll. “But, playing the way we have lately, some confidence is bound to roll over. We still have a lot of things to work on. Our special teams need work and our face-offs are pathetic. We’re happy right now but we need to keep on getting better.”
Chisago Lakes 6
Minnehaha Acad. 3
1 2 3 F
Chisago Lakes -- 2 4 6
Minnehaha Acad. 1 1 1 3
1) MA- Kohs (Laulainen, Moje) (pp) 9:23
2) CL- Miles (Fisher, Nelson) :14; 3) MA- Moje (Laulainen, McGuire) (pp) 8:04; 4) CL- Manthey (Emery) 11:05.
5) MA- Kohls (unassisted) 4:46; 6) CL- Pieper (Manthey) (sh) 5:44; 7) CL- Manthey (Angrimson) (pp) 9:50; 8) CL- Miles (Manthey) 12:34; 9) CL- Manthey (unassisted) (en) 15:37.