February 20, 2004 at 9:48 a.m.
Section 7AA first round-
Chisago Lakes 7
St. Francis 0
Al Magnuson didn’t try to hide the Wildcats game-plan last Thursday when the Chisago Lakes girls hockey team faced off with St. Francis/NB in the first round of the section 7AA tournament. Looking for some scoring, Magnuson and company were determined to win the game in the first period and add the finishing touches after that. The game-plan worked to perfection.
Skating just seven forwards for the first period and a half, the Wildcats got three goals in the first and three more in the second en route to a 7-0 win, leaving little doubt that they were back on track.
“We went out the way we said we would. We played our top seven girls, played two lines for a period and a half and scored six goals,” remarked Al Magnuson, Chisago Lakes head girls hockey coach. “Everything was right where we wanted it to be. The girls were having fun out there again. The puck started bouncing into the net and once that happened, their confidence began to rise.”
Nicole Grossmann is a good example of that. The teams leading scorer managed just one goal last week, reflecting the entire team’s struggles when it came to scoring a goal. Last Thursday, Grossmann got back on track with back-to-back tallies in the first, putting the Wildcats in front 2-0. Morgan Baumgard also lit the lamp in the first, giving the ‘Cats a three goal cushion after one period of play.
Thirty seconds into the second, the Chisago lead grew to four after Rhiannon Sauter notched her first goal of the postseason. From there, Grossmann added her third goal of the game 13 minutes later followed by Anne Fredrickson’s first score of the game, pushing the lead to 6-0 after two.
Chisago put a final exclamation point on their first round win with one more goal in the third from who else, Grossmann, her fourth of the game. Grossmann finished the game with four points while Amanda Rammer picked up two assists. Fredrickson, Sauter, Baumgard, Lexy Parenteau, Kelly Magnuson, and Lexi Medellin each picked up one point.
“Nicole had just a fantastic drive that night, she was all over the place,” smiled Magnuson. “I don’t know if it was the new line combinations or what, but she was awesome, she just played great. Really, all of the girls played well. We wanted to score some goals and get some momentum back on our side and we did that.”
Jackie Weiden got the win for Chisago in the pipes, picking up the shutout by stopping five shots. The win moved the Wildcats into the section semifinals and a match-up with Duluth Denfeld.
Chisago Lakes 7
St. Francis/NB 0
1 2 3 F
St. Francis/NB -- -- -- 0
Chisago Lakes 3 3 1 7
1) CL- Grossmann (unassisted) :49; 2) CL- Grossmann (Rammer) 11:44; 3) CL- Baumgard (Parenteau) 14:25.
4) CL- Sauter (L. Medellin) :30; 5) CL- Grossmann (unassisted) 13:26; 6) CL- Fredrickson (Rammer) 14:34.
7) CL- Grossmann (Magnuson) 9:18.
Section 7AA Semifinals-
Chisago Lakes 3
Duluth Denfeld 2
The Wildcats knew Duluth Denfeld well, very well. They had just seen the Hunters a month earlier, defeating them 3-1 on the road. The ‘Cats were hoping it wasn’t going to be that close again.
The drama actually started before the opening face-off. Duluth East had just upset Cloquet-Esko-Carlton moments before, eliminating the number one seed from the tournament. Sensing the upset, the Wildcats had gathered along the boards to watch the game. The emotions were running high, maybe too high.
“I had to send them back to the locker room because they were getting into that game too much,” remembered Magnuson. “They were thinking too much about what was happening in that game and not on their own game.”
East went onto win, giving the Wildcats the title as the “new” favorite to advance to the state tournament. Still, they had to get past Denfeld first.
Chisago pounced on Denfeld in the first but only had one goal to show for it. Anne Fredrickson opened the scoring on the power play with less than three minutes left in the first. Fredrickson’s second goal of the playoffs came on the power play with the assists going to Amanda Rammer and Cassi Lukas. The score gave the ‘Cats a one goal cushion heading into the second.
In the second, the Wildcats increased their lead to 2-0 before giving it right back. Nicole Grossmann’s fifth goal of the playoffs upped the Chisago lead to two just 58 seconds into the second. However, Denfeld would make their move 12 minutes later. After a Wildcats penalty had just expired, the Hunters made it 2-1 on a goal by Gina Dodge. Just seven seconds later, Dodge struck gold again, tying the score with her second tally of the game. All of sudden the game was tied 2-2.
“It was way closer than I thought it was going to be,” said Magnuson. “We jumped on them quick, then they scored after a power play, we couldn’t get it out of our zone. Then they scored again. I think it surprised the girls a little bit. We had outplayed them the whole game and here they were tied 2-2 with one period left.”
One period left for a berth in the section championship game.
Tied 2-2 in the third, the Wildcats continued to apply the pressure, but Denfeld stood strong. On the other side of the ice, Wildcat goalie Jackie Weiden was doing the same thing.
“We stormed out in the third but we couldn’t buy a goal,” commented Magnuson. “Jackie kept us in it. Midway through the third, they came back on a two on one and Jackie made a fantastic save to keep the game tied. She didn’t have to make a lot of saves in the game, but the ones she did make were huge.”
Huge indeed considering it bought just enough time for the Chisago offense to score the game winner. With time winding down in the third, Cassi Lukas snuck into the slot and whistled the game-winner into the net. Fredrickson and Lexi Medellin picked up the assists.
“She had that shot the entire game but she kept missing the net or the puck would deflect off something,” mentioned Magnuson. “Wouldn’t you know it, when the game is on the line, she comes through and puts it in.”
Timing is everything. Chisago Lakes had two section losses this season, one to Cloquet while the other came against Duluth East. Cloquet is out, East is next. The Greyhounds defeated the Wildcats 1-0 back on February 3, despite being outshot 31-14.
“We have to have the advantage,” remarked Magnuson. “They (East) know they got lucky beating us the first time. We outplayed them, but we have to prove it on the ice. We’re going to go right after them and hopefully put it out of reach early. The girls are ready for this game. They know state is within their reach, now all they need to do is go after it.”
Tonight’s (February 19) game will be played in Duluth, face-off is set for 7 p.m.
Chisago Lakes 3
Duluth Denfeld 2
1 2 3 F
Chisago Lakes 1 1 1 3
Duluth Denfeld 1 1 -- 2
1) CL- Fredrickson (Rammer, Lukas) (pp) 14:51.
2) CL- Grossmann (L. Medellin) :58; 3) DD- #14 (#9, #5) 12:28; 4) DD- #14 (unassisted) 12:35.
5) CL- Lukas (L. Medellin, Fredrickson) 14:12.