February 17, 2011 at 9:13 a.m.

CL claims first victim of sections, onto finals

CL claims first victim of sections, onto finals
CL claims first victim of sections, onto finals

Freshman Allison Borgstrom scored her second goal of the game a minute into overtime to give the top-seeded Wildcats a thrilling 3-2 win over the International Falls Broncos in the Section 7A semifinals at Cloquet on Tuesday, February 15. The win sends the Wildcats to tomorrow night's section championship game against second- seeded Eveleth-Gilbert at 7 p.m. Eveleth beat third seeded Moose Lake 5-3 to earn the right to face the Wildcats. The game will be a rematch of last year's section championship game, won 10-1 by the Wildcats. The Wildcats beat Eveleth 5-1 earlier this season.

The Wildcats came out flat in the first period, perhaps showing some rust from a 10-day layoff. Even though the Wildcats outshot the Broncos 10-6 in the first period, the Broncos dominated play. They scored the first goal of the game midway through the period. Later, the Wildcats took advantage of one of the few power plays in the game. From the top of the slot, Katie Johnson put a pass on the stick of Megan Lushanko in the lower right circle. Lushanko backhanded a shot toward the net. The puck rebounded out to Ashlee Ricci standing on the doorstep, and Ricci put it past the goalie to tie the game at 1-1.

With just under three minutes remaining in the period, the Wildcats took a shot that was blocked right at the right point in the Bronco zone. The puck bounced straight out toward the red line with a Bronco player in hot pursuit. She picked up the puck several strides ahead of the Wildcat defenders and took it all alone straight toward the net down the left side. She put the puck past Wildcat goalie Jamie Dobosenski to put the Broncos back up 2-1.

The Wildcats regrouped after the first period and dominated the rest of the game, though goals were at a premium. Borgstrom scored the only goal of the period late in the period. She stole the puck in the left side of the Bronco zone. She went around the defense across the bottom of the slot and backhanded it into the lower right hand corner to tie the game at 2-2 and send the Wildcat crowd and bench into a frenzy.

Despite dominating the third period, the Wildcats couldn't convert on numerous scoring opportunities. Perhaps the best opportunity came from the stick of Borgstrom. With 1:15 remaining in the third period, Borgstrom fired a shot from the right edge of the middle of the slot. The puck hit the inside of the left post and rebounded out harmlessly. It looked like it may have crossed the goal line and bounced back out, but the referees had a good view of it and signaled 'no goal.' Borgstrom said "When that shot hit the pipe, I was actually trying to get the puck on net to get a rebound for Katie Johnson. Then I saw that it had a chance to go in. When it hit the pipe, it was devastating."

On Borgstrom's winning goal in overtime, she went into the right corner and fought hard for the puck. She moved it behind the net and then skated the puck to the right side of the crease. The goalie tried to knock it off her stick. Borgstrom kept control of the puck and flipped a backhand shot between the goalie's leg and the right post to send the Wildcats into tomorrow night's championship game. Johnson was credited with an assist on the play. "That was probably the biggest goal I've ever scored," said Borgstrom. "It was do or die in overtime."

"We came into the game wanting to be confident on the ice," Borgstrom continues. "They came at us with a lot of heart and aggressiveness and I don't think we were ready for it at first. We were all really nervous and needed to get rid of the jitters in the first period. For the next couple of days, we plan to work real hard on the stuff we struggled with in this game. We will be more mentally prepared Friday. We will go into Friday's game with a lot of heart and wanting it more than the other team."

Wildcat head coach Jason Mahlen had similar comments. He said "I was worried that the ten day layoff would hurt us. We came out slow in the first period and they got a couple of goals. We carried play in the second and third periods, but hit three pipes and just couldn't put the puck in the net. It looked like their game plan was to stop Megan Lushanko from scoring, and they did a pretty effective job keeping her to the outside. We needed someone else to step up and it was nice to see Allie get a couple of goals and win the game for us. Our third line of Rehanna Duncan, Delaney Doriott and Anna Petersen played well tonight. They allowed our top two lines to take a breather now and then."


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