January 16, 2004 at 12:51 p.m.
St. Michael-Alb. 0
It could have been a disaster....could have.
Last Friday night versus St. Michael-Albertville, the Chisago Lakes boys hockey team was thrown one curveball after another, still, when the ‘Cats left the arena, they walked out with a 4-0 win.
What happened? Where do we begin? Penalties, power plays and injuries, that’s what.
For starters, Chisago Lakes was whistled for 13 penalties to the Knights five, resulting in 11 power plays for St. Michael while the Wildcats enjoyed just three! However, the ‘Cats never skipped a beat, killing all 11 and even adding a shorthanded goal for good measure.
That tally came in the first to open the scoring. Late in the first period with Chisago shorthanded, senior Steve Pieper notched his 15 goal of the season, putting the ‘Cats in front 1-0 after one. The Wildcats skated into the locker room at the end of the first with the lead and with a 12-2 advantage in shots despite giving the Knights three power plays.
“Our penalty kill was great. The kids really hung in there and kept going to the net,” said Ken Orwoll, Chisago Lakes boys hockey head coach. “I don’t think they got more than one shot on the power play, we just really went after them. They were just ready to play, they really wanted that game. I thought the kids would get down after all of the penalties but they didn’t, they bounced back and played great.”
In the second, the ‘Cats penalty minutes began to grow and so did their lead. Pieper pushed the Wildcat lead to 2-0 45 seconds into the second with his second goal of the game. The tally was Pieper’s 16 of the season through just 11 games, however, just a few minutes later, the senior was sent to the training room with a separated shoulder. Early diagnosis...out 3-4 weeks.
“I thought, oh crap,” remembered Orwoll. “Okay, now what can go wrong? Once Pieper went down, we really needed to stay out of the box. We had a few guys with some fresh legs because of all of the penalties so we needed them to step up.”
Senior co-captain, Craig Manthey, filled the scoring void late in the second with an even-strength goal, jumping the Wildcats in front 3-0. Through it all, through all of the penalties (10 through two periods), through all of the power plays (STMA was on their eighth heading into the third), through the injuries, Chisago Lakes still had a 3-0 lead.
“The kids felt that they controlled the game, they were pretty confident with where they stood,” remarked Orwoll. “They just wanted to keep the pressure on. We were definitely controlling the game, no problem. We kept putting ourselves in a hole with the penalties, Waltz (Chris) hadn’t really been tested in net, he didn’t have to make any real big saves, but he was playing solid. We just wanted to keep on getting better with Princeton coming up.”
They did get better. The Wildcats even got a rare power play in the third, only their second to that point, scoring on a Nick Fisher bullet, making it 4-0. Even with two more penalty kills late, the Wildcats held, wrapping up their second conference win of the season and their seventh overall.
“They (STMA) didn’t have too may quality shots, and even when they did, Waltz was there to stop them,” commented Orwoll. “We were just ready to play and we wanted it. They were playing hard, playing the way you’re supposed to play. The penalties were out of control, normally I don’t complain about the refereeing, but that was ridiculous. But the kids didn’t get down and kept working. It was a good win for us, especially considering all we went through to get it.”
Next up for the Wildcats, two more games this week including a road battle with conference favorite Princeton. Chisago Lakes plays at home on Saturday in a non-conference game against St. Paul Academy.
Chisago Lakes 4
1 2 3 F
Chisago Lakes 1 2 1 4
STMA -- -- -- 0
1) CL- Pieper (unassisted) (sh) 14:44
2) CL- Pieper (Nelson) 16:15; 3) CL- Manthey (Nelson) 2:03.
4) Fisher (Manthey, Baumgard) (pp) 8:07.
Note: The Chisago Lakes Hockey Association A-Mites will be playing between the first and second
periods of the Chisago Lakes-St. Paul Acad. varsity hockey game on Saturday, January 17.