December 2, 2004 at 7:50 a.m.
St. Francis 1
The Chisago Lakes Wildcats opened their season with an impressive 5-1 win over the St. Francis Fighting Saints on Tuesday, November 23 at East Bethel Ice Arena.
The Wildcats dominated play in the opening period. Just over three minutes into the game, Lance Baumgard swept in alone on the Saints’ goalie. The Saint goalie stopped Baumgard’s initial shot and Terry Bergren’s rebound attempt. But the third time was the charm as Jimmy Lorr whacked the second rebound into the net for the Wildcats’ first goal of the season to make the game 1-0.
A power play goal near the end of the first period doubled the Wildcat lead. Josh Angrimson passed the puck over to Baumgard in the right circle. Baumgard took advantage of a clear path to the goalie, walked in and fired the puck from point blank range into the upper right corner of the net to give the Wildcats a two-goal lead.
The Saints came on strong after the first intermission. Just over a minute into the second period, the Wildcat defense failed to clear the puck out of the zone. The Saint defenseman passed the puck from the left point into the left corner. Two passes later, the Saint center fired the puck past Wildcat goalie Ben Thorson, pulling the Saints to within one.
The Saints continued to press hard for the tying goal. But they stopped their own momentum by taking a five-minute roughing penalty midway through the second period. And the Wildcats took advantage of the long power play. Bob LeVasseur took the puck deep into the Saint zone and pushed it back to defenseman CJ Hoffman at the right point. Hoffman unleashed a slapshot that Scott Liebsch tipped in for a 3-1 Wildcat lead.
The Wildcats went to work right away again in the third period. Baumgard picked up the puck from Aaron Slagle near his own blue line and sped down the ice through the Saint defense, scoring his second goal of the game to put the Wildcats up 4-1.
LeVasseur rounded out the scoring at 11:29 of the third period. Just as Scott Liebsch brought the puck over the Saints’ blue line, he was knocked off his feet by a hard check. The puck sprang loose. LeVasseur picked it up and went in alone on the Saints’ goalie. He put the puck away for his second goal of the game and made the final score 5-1.
The game was a little rough, featuring a total of 19 penalties between the two teams. Both teams, in fact, successfully killed off two-man short situations in the third period.
“We came out and played a good first period,” said Corey McKinnon after picking up his first win as boys head hockey coach. “But our guys felt a little too good about the way things were going and had the play taken to them in the second period. Once we got back to the team concept in the third period, everything was fine.”
Wildcat goalie Ben Thorson stopped 31 of 32 Saints shots in the game.
“Ben did a nice job for us in the nets. The only goal he let in was a result of a breakdown in coverage,” remarked McKinnon. “I didn’t really feel there was a first, second or third line out there tonight. All three lines gave us solid play. The sophomore line of Bob LeVasseur, Scott Liebsch and Ross Jones gave St. Francis all they could handle. They played very well together.
“Our kids were well-rested in the third period and it showed,” continued McKinnon. “We didn’t lose our legs. We came away from the game feeling really good about our potential. And a win on the road is always a good win.”
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