September 24, 2009 at 8:27 a.m.

'Cats drop two key NSC games

'Cats drop two key NSC games
'Cats drop two key NSC games

Fridley 3, Chisago Lakes 1

Less than a minute after David Rau's goal tied the game late in the first half, Fridley responded with what can be best described as a "pinball" goal to take a 2-1 lead. The Tigers also added a goal on a penalty kick in the second half. The Wildcats had numerous scoring chances, but couldn't put anything away as they lost 3-1 to the Tigers last Tuesday, September 15 at Fridley.

The Wildcats gave up a goal early in the first half as the outside defender let a Fridley forward get inside of him into the box. Help was late in coming, and the Fridley player just poked it by goalkeeper Kyle Buchanan.

Late in the first half, Dominic Novak took a free kick from near midfield. Rau brought the ball down in the Fridley 18 yard box, got behind the defense and scored to tie the game at 1-1. But Fridley got the ball back into the Wildcat box almost right away. The ball bounced all over the place. It hit several players, the post and the crossbar. It looked like the Wildcats had a chance to clear it about four times, but couldn't get it out of the box. Eventually, the ball lay in front of the goal and a Fridley player ripped it into the back of the net to give the Tigers a 2-1 halftime lead. Wildcat head coach Mark Leigh said "It's too bad they scored a sloppy goal like that after we had worked so hard to tie it up."

Fridley added an insurance goal after one of the Wildcats knocked down a Tiger player in the box and converted the penalty kick. It was a frustrating loss for the Wildcats, who failed to convert on three breakaways and were called for offsides several times when they had good scoring opportunities.

Irondale 2, Chisago Lakes 1

Irondale scored two minutes into overtime to break a 1-1 tie and came away with a 2-1 win over the Wildcats last Thursday, September 17 at Irondale.

The Knights' first goal was a virtual carbon copy of the first goal the Wildcats allowed against Fridley. A Wildcat outside defender let a player get inside of him into the box, help was late in coming and the Irondale player nudged it over the goal line with his toe to give his team the lead.

The Wildcats ties it early in the second half. A ball was sent across the front of the Irondale net from right to left. Ben Stanghelle, playing despite a sore groin, put the ball in with his left foot to make it 1-1. Once again, numerous Wildcat scoring chances fizzled due to offsides, allowing Irondale the opportunity to win the game in overtime.

The Wildcats (4-5 overall, 1-3 conference) held a team meeting last week to talk about teamwork issues. "We've made some changes," said Wildcat head coach Mark Leigh. "Hopefully, the group of hardworking, talented kids we have will start to play together better on the field."

After hosting top-ranked Totino Grace this past Tuesday, the Wildcats head to Columbia Heights to take on the Hylanders tonight at 5 p.m. This Saturday, they'll return home to play local rival Cambridge-Isanti at 11 a.m. And the Wildcats will remain at home to play conference foe Robbinsdale Cooper next Tuesday, September 29 at 7 p.m.


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