January 29, 2004 at 1:30 p.m.
Becker-Big Lake 4
Considering all that's gone lately, the Chisago Lakes boys hockey team would’ve been happy with a win against anybody, even Becker-Big Lake, a fairly new program who is still searching for their first win of the year.
Normally, a win over the Eagles is expected, but with all of the controversy on and off the ice, who was to know?
“Talking to the kids, they just wanted to play hockey,” said Ken Orwoll, Chisago Lakes boys hockey head coach. “They were having more fun in the locker room and on the ice than I’ve seen them have all year.”
That attitude translated on the ice as the Wildcats skated hard and fast in the first, striking for four goals. Carl Hoffman opened up the flurry with a slapshot, beating Eagles goalie Nathan Oliver for a 1-0 lead. However, two defensive breakdowns lead to back-to-back Becker-Big Lake goals, both on breakaways, putting the Eagles in front 2-1 seven minutes into the game.
Chisago Lakes answered back with three straight scores of their own, two coming from the ‘Cats second line, putting the Wildcats in front 4-2. The Eagles scored on another defensive breakdown with three seconds to play in the first, trimming the Chisago lead to one, 4-3. Despite the score, everything was going to plan, maybe even better than expected.
“Being up 4-3 wasn’t really a concern with how we were playing,” replied Orwoll. “We dominated them all period and they scored three goals on three shots. We knew that wasn’t going to happen. We just wanted to keep playing team hockey, that’s what got us in the lead in the first place.”
Team hockey is a good way to describe it. After scoring four goals in the first, all by different players, the Wildcats added four more in the second to take an 8-4 lead through two periods of play. Jake Miles added his second goal of the game while Lance Baumgard, Nick Fisher, and Bob LeVasseur each added their first. Through two periods, the Wildcats had eight goals, seven different goal scorers and nine different players with a point. Total team hockey.
“It was nice to win it in grand style,” smiled Orwoll. “The younger guys played so well. It was actually our best game of the season in terms of working together. They were flying. They were moving the puck well, playing smart, and finding the open man. It was really fun to watch.”
Chisago Lakes used the last 17 minutes of the game to finish off their masterpiece with three more goals. After Baumgard tallied his second, Miles completed the hat trick just over a minute later, jumping the ‘Cats in front 10-4. Fisher scored his second goal of the game moments later, putting a final exclamation point on the 11-4 win.
Fisher finished the game with five points while Baumgard and Miles each added four. Matt Nelson, Zach LaMotte, and Josh Angrimson picked up three points. The line of Angrimson-LaMotte-Miles combined for 10 points in the game.
“They played awesome. They really moved the puck around and found the open man. Most of all, all three of those guys were unselfish. They all played a great team game,” remarked Orwoll. “Everybody played unselfish. The assists were racking up right and left out there, we had a bunch of kids stacking up points. It was just a great team win.”
The victory was the Wildcats ninth of the season with Mora on the way.
Chisago Lakes 11
Becker-Big Lake 4
1 2 3 F
Becker-Big Lake 3 1 --- 4
Chisago Lakes 4 4 3 11
1) CL- Hoffman (unassisted) 1:58; 2) BBL- #2 (#4, #29) 2:50; 3) BBL- #2 (#4) 6:45; 4) CL- J. Angrimson (Miles, LaMotte); 5) CL- Miles (LaMotte, Baumgard); 6) CL- Liebsch (Bergren, Hoffman) 11:40; 7) BBL- #4 (#9, #16) 16:57.
8) CL- Miles (J. Angrimson, LaMotte) 5:03; 9) CL- Baumgard (Fisher, Nelson) 6:31; 10) BBL- #21 (#15) 9:16; 11) CL- Fisher (Liebsch); 12) CL- LeVasseur (Fisher, Nelson) 15:00.
13) CL- Baumgard (Fisher) :49; 14) CL- Miles (Hoffman, J. Angrimson) 2:00; 15) CL- Nelson (Baumgard, Fisher) 6:00
Chisago Lakes 1
“At the time, we were pretty fired up to play Mora.”
That’s what Ken Orwoll said about his team after their 11-4 win over Becker-Big Lake. As it turned out, they were maybe too fired up to face the Mustangs who were tied with the Wildcats for second place in the conference heading into the game.
Last Thursday, things turned ugly in the first as the ‘Cats were hit by four first period penalties, putting Mora in the drivers seat right from start, allowing them to drive away with a 4-1 win.
Of the four first period penalties, only one resulted in a goal for Mora. Leading 1-0, the Mustangs jumped in front 2-0 late in the first, taking a 2-0 lead into the locker room. However, for Orwoll and his team, it wasn’t about the goals, it was about the flow of the game- a flow that Mora was able to control.
“We didn’t play well in the first. We had some penalty troubles,” said Orwoll. “When you’re shorthanded eight of the first 17 minutes, you can’t get into a rhythm, especially on offense.”
If you want proof, all you need to do is look at the shots after the first period. Mora held that advantage, outshooting Chisago 14-3.
To reverse their fortunes, the Wildcats knew that they had to play an error free second, and for the most part, they did. Jake Miles scored his fourth goal in his last two games midway through the second, pulling the Wildcats within one, 2-1.
“It was a beautiful setup by Angrimson (Josh). He flew down the ice and Miles just went to the net and Angrimson found him in front,” remembered Orwoll. “That goal was big. The second period was very intense and we did a better job of staying out of the box. I thought we outplayed them in the second.”
Still, the ‘Cats trailed by one. The game came down to 17 minutes, 17 minutes that Mora wanted and wanted bad. Playing with the cushion of a one goal lead, the Mustangs saved their best for last. Just under two minutes into the third period, the Mustangs increased their lead to 3-1 with an even strength goal. They didn’t let down. The rest of the way, Mora sent everything they had at Wildcat goalie Chris Waltz, adding another score late to finish Chisago off. When the third was over, the Mustangs had outshot the Wildcats 20-6 in the period, en route to a 4-1 win.
For Orwoll, no finger pointing, no excuses. Simply put, Mora was just played better.
“Chris (Waltz) played really solid in nets. He did his job by keeping us in there as long as he could,” said Orwoll. “It just seemed like they could smell the win and they wanted it. It certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort on our part. They were on our guys tight, they did a great job tying people up in front, and they picked up the extra man really well. They switched their forecheck in the third, played more of a dump and chase. They just had the puck throughout the entire period and you can’t score if you don’t have the puck. You have to give Mora credit, they played really well.”
With the win, Mora moved moved to 4-1 in the Rum River while Chisago Lakes is at 3-2. That means with only four league games remaining, there is absolutely no room for error.
“You just hope you can stay one game back until the next time you play them and then you can even it up,” commented Orwoll. “From here on out, every game is a must win without a doubt.”
Now 9-6 overall, the Wildcats have Pine City, St. Michael-Albertville and Princeton up next, in that order. As for Mora, Chisago Lakes next faces the Mustangs February 19, their last game of the regular season.
Chisago Lakes 1
1 2 3 F
Chisago Lakes -- 1 -- 1
Mora 2 -- 2 4
1) M- #15 (#8) 7:33; 2) M- #21 (#12, #11) (pp) 3:17.
3) CL- Miles (J. Angrimson, Hoffman) 9:52.
4) M- #15 (#3) 15:27; 5) M- #12 (#11) 1:48.