March 4, 2004 at 1:18 p.m.
Chisago Lakes 0 (OT)
Exactly a week after celebrating an overtime win, the Wildcats were introduced to the other side of it.
What comes around goes around. The Wildcats were just hoping it didn’t go around that quick.
And what a bad time for it. Playing Lakeville, the number nine team in class “AA” even through three periods of play in the first round of the class “AA” state tournament, the Panthers Molly McDonald stuffed in her own rebound 3:15 in to overtime, giving Lakeville the 1-0 win.
The game’s two biggest players were the goalies. Both stood strong in the net from beginning to end, stopping everything that came at them. In the first, Jackie Weiden got most of the work, stopping all seven Lakeville shots, keeping the game scoreless after one.
In the second, the ‘Cats charged back, controlling the play, but still no goals. Standing between the pipes for Lakeville, on her head at times, was all-metro goaltender Christine Seiler. Despite outshooting Lakeville 9-3 in the second, Seiler stoned the Wildcats, keeping the game tied 0-0 after two.
“They were a little more dominate in the first and we outplayed them in the second. It was an up and down game,” mentioned Al Magnuson, Chisago Lakes girls head hockey coach. “Jackie just played awesome. She played with a lot of confidence, she played just super. She made some really big saves to keep us in the game. It was just a great performance.”
Weiden would continue her dominance in the third. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Seiler was just as good as both goalies continued to steal the show. Seiler’s biggest stop came late in the third, stopping Nicole Grossmann on a breakaway, keeping Chisago off the board and forcing overtime.
“We had our chances,” said Magnuson. “We had our chances big time. We hit the cross bar, we had an open break with three minutes left by Grossmann and their goalie got a piece of it. It was just a battle.”
An exciting battle that had just gotten more exciting. Awaiting overtime, both teams gathered at their benches, preparing a game plan for the final push. On the Chisago bench, the message was simple.
“Don’t make any mistakes,” replied Magnuson. “Get the puck down in their zone, clear our zone, even take it off the glass if everything is covered. Just stay away from mistakes, that’s what we were telling them.”
After playing mistake-free hockey through the first three minutes of overtime, everything changed in an instant. On a delayed penalty, Lakeville’s Molly McDonald skated up the ice and unloaded a shot. Weiden made the initial save but McDonald followed her shot, stuffing the puck in the net for the overtime win. Fifty four minutes of solid hockey defined by one single moment. It’s not fair.
“The girls were really hurt,” remarked Magnuson. “We brought them back to the hotel, brought them all into one room, and told them not to hang their head. They had accomplished so much, they weren’t even supposed to be there. They played a great game against one of the best teams in the state. They had nothing to be ashamed of.”
The loss dropped the Wildcats into the consolation bracket, pairing them with Anoka.
Chisago Lakes 0 (OT)
1 2 3 OT F
Lakeville -- -- -- 1 1
Chisago Lakes -- -- -- -- 0
1) LK- McDonald (unassisted) 3:15
Chisago Lakes 1
Skating into last Friday’s consolation bracket at Mariucci Arena, the Wildcats were fighting the inevitable.
Everything was going against them.
First of all, their game with Lakeville ended the night before at 11 p.m., meaning the ‘Cats didn’t even get back to their hotel room until midnight. It’s anybody’s guess when they finally got to sleep.
Second, their Friday game with Anoka was slated to start at 12:20 p.m., meaning the Wildcats had to be back to the rink roughly 12 hours after they stepped off of it.
Third, with fatigue already an issue, Friday’s game was played at Mariucci Arena, an arena with an Olympic size sheet of ice, much larger than Ridder Arena’s playing surface, which meant more ground to cover with already tired legs.
Fourth, throw in Thursday overtime loss to Lakeville, a game where the emotional toll on the team was enormous. Did they have anything left in the tank? Not much.
Anoka, who lost to the eventual state champ Elk River in the first round, took some time to get going. Scoreless midway through the first, the Tornadoes were given a quick burst of momentum. Working on the power play, Anoka’s Cassie Leblanc stuffed in a rebound in front, putting the Tornadoes in front 1-0.
Less than one minute later, Anoka struck again, this time with an even strength goal from Michelle Lorch, followed by an Erin Seman slapshot from the slot at the 13:18 mark. All of a sudden, the Tornadoes had blown out to a 3-0 lead.
“I could tell that they were flat,” remarked Magnuson. “We had a lot of shots in front of their net but we just didn’t put them in the net. It was probably a combination of things. They (Anoka) have been playing quality teams game in and game out all season we haven’t played that type of schedule. I think the girls had some trouble adjusting early, it plays into it.”
Finally, with 1:12 left to play in the first, after 70 minutes and three seconds of scoreless hockey, the Wildcats got their first, and only goal of the state tournament. After a shot by Lexy Parentau, Nicole Grossmann chipped in the rebound on the weak side, trimming the Anoka lead back to two, 3-1.
“We scored that goal and the girls really got pumped up,” commented Magnuson. “We could skate with them, we just needed to put the puck in the net. After we got one back, I thought that was going to open it up a little bit but we just couldn’t finish.”
The Tornadoes threw the knock-out blow in the second. Nineteen seconds after a Chisago penalty, Leblanc netted her second goal of the game, increasing Anoka’s lead to 4-1 after two. The Tornadoes added a fifth and final goal in the third, completing a 5-1 win. The loss ended the Wildcats season at 22-7-0 overall.
“Every girl walking out of that locker room walked out with a feeling of accomplishment that they made it to state. The girls are looking to get back there. We’re already planning for next year, it’s just a matter of how bad they want it and how hard they’re going to work to get there,” said Magnuson. “For these girls, to do what they did was something that maybe some of them had in the back of their head for next year. I don’t think they thought they could make that step until next season, but during the season, they started to realize how good they were, they realized that they could accomplish their dreams.”
With next season roughly nine months away, that’s a lot of time for more dreams to become reality.
Chisago Lakes 1
1 2 3 F
Anoka 3 1 1 5
Chisago Lakes 1 -- -- 1
1) AN- C. Leblanc (B. Leblanc, Guganski) (pp) 8:43; 2) AN- Lorch (unassisted) 9:41; 3) AN- Seman (Rolfe) 13:18; 4) CL- Grossmann (L. Medellin, Parentau) 15:48.
5) AN- C. Leblanc (Seman, B. Leblanc) (pp) 12:54.
6) AN- Buganski (Seman) 7:46.
Chisago Lakes defenseman Kelly Magnuson was named All-State Honorable Mention. The senior was recognized at an awards banquet last Sunday put on by Lets Play Hockey Magazine.