October 8, 2009 at 8:57 a.m.

Wildcats wind down season with a flurry of good games

Wildcats wind down season with a flurry of good games
Wildcats wind down season with a flurry of good games

Chisago Lakes 3, Robbinsdale Cooper 1

The Wildcats (8-7-0 overall, 3-5-0 conference), who seem to be rounding into shape for the upcoming section tournament, got goals from three different players to beat an improved Robbinsdale Cooper Hawks team 3-1 last Tuesday, September 29 at Chisago Lakes.

Cameron Bouwens scored the Wildcats' first goal, with an assist from David Rau. Later, Bouwens launched a corner kick into the middle of the Hawk box, and Dominic Novak scored after a mad scramble for the ball. Chris Thompson scored the Wildcats' third goal on a nearly identical play, and the Wildcats led 3-0. Goalkeeper Kyle Buchanan was denied his fifth shutout of the season when the Hawks scored with just a couple of minutes remaining to make the final score 3-1 in favor of the Wildcats.

"We had to work hard for this win," said Wildcat head coach Mark Leigh. "Cooper has improved a lot this year. They moved the ball quite well and generated some scoring chances. They could easily have won more games this season."

St. Francis 2, Chisago Lakes 1

The Wildcats expected to easily handle a weak St. Francis (3-9-2 overall, 1-6-1 conference) team when they played them last Thursday, October 1 at St. Francis. But injuries and illnesses caused defender Shawn Gustafson and leading scorer Cameron Bouwens to miss the game, leaving the Wildcats with just three subs. The wind and the rain caused terrible field positions, and by the end of the game a wet, tired group of Wildcats found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-1 score.

The Wildcats had the wind at their back in the first half, but managed just one goal. The Wildcats put a long pass into the box, and David Rau deflected it into the net for a 1-0 Wildcat lead. The Wildcats had 8-10 other good scoring chances, but either missed the net, shot the ball into the goalkeeper or never even got off a shot.

In the second half, the rain really made the field start to deteriorate. About 20 minutes into the half, the Fighting Saints took a 40 yard free kick that appeared headed just under the crossbar. Wildcat goalkeeper Kyle Buchanan leaped and tried to punch the ball over the top of the net, but instead punched the ball into the crossbar, and it dropped over the goal line to tie the game at 1-1. The score remained tied till there were 3 minutes remaining in the game. St. Francis crossed the ball into the box to a player standing there wide open. He took a couple of steps toward Buchanan, and when Buchanan committed the St. Francis player put the ball past him into the corner to give the Fighting Saint the lead and, 3 minutes later, the win.

"When your leading scorer is out of the lineup," said Wildcat head coach Mark Leigh, "somebody needs to step up to score. We have several players who have that ability, but we just weren't able to put much in the net today. And the terrible field conditions tended to be kind of an equalizer, negating our speed advantage."

Chisago Lakes 4, Forest Lake 2

Cameron Bouwens scored two goals in the first 6 minutes of the game against Forest Lake and later added an assist as the Wildcats beat the Rangers 4-2 last Saturday, October 3 at Chisago Lakes.

Joey Cartier assisted on Bouwens' first goal. On the second goal, Dominic Novak took a long free kick and a well-positioned Bouwens headed it into the far corner of the net. The Wildcats increased their lead to 3-0 30 seconds before halftime. Tyler Kari took a pass from David Rau, moved into the box and drilled it just inside the near post.

The Rangers climbed back into the game by taking advantage of some Wildcat defensive mistakes. Just a few minutes after the Rangers scored to cut the Wildcat lead to 3-1, a Wildcat defender was called for a hand ball in the box. Forest Lake converted the penalty kick to cut the lead to 3-2. But within 5 minutes, the Wildcats had pushed their lead back up to 2. Cameron Bouwens took a nice shot that hit the post. The ball rebounded out front and Tyler Kari put it away to make the final score Chisago Lakes 4, Forest Lake 2.

This week's Wildcat schedule will help to toughen them up for the playoffs. They were scheduled to play the always-tough St. Louis Park Orioles at home Tuesday, October 6. They'll host second place Benilde-St. Margaret's tonight at 7:00 p.m. The Wildcats will then head out on the road to finish off the regular season, playing at St. Thomas Academy this Saturday at 11 a.m. Section playoffs begin next Wednesday, October 14. See next week's Press for a wrap-up of this week's games and a preview of the section tournament.

Chisago Lakes junior goalkeeper Kyle Buchanon goes airborne to make a save last week during Chisago Lakes 2-1 week.

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