March 1, 2012 at 8:36 a.m.
Breck 7, Chisago Lakes 3
This year, just like in 2010, the Wildcats were handed a tough assignment in the quarterfinals of the Class A state tournament at the Excel Center. In 2010, the sophomore-laden Wildcats were randomly drawn from the unseeded pool to face number-one ranked and top-seeded Warroad. Mighty Warroad drubbed the Wildcats 12-1, and the Wildcats ended up winning the consolation bracket.
This year, the Wildcats (who had a good case for being seeded fourth in the tournament) were randomly drawn from the unseeded pool to face number-one ranked and top-seeded Breck. This time, the senior-laden Wildcats put up a great fight against Breck, holding a 3-2 lead more than halfway through the second period. But Breck scored twice before the end of the period to take a 4-3 lead into the third period. They scored three times in the third period to pull away from the Wildcats en route to a 7-3 win. The game was played on Wednesday, February 22. The loss dropped the Wildcats into the consolation bracket.
The Wildcats surprised everyone at the Excel Center except themselves and their fans by scoring the game’s first goal. Skating on a first period power play, Miranda Beimert had the puck behind the Breck net to the left. She made a pass behind the net to Allison Borgstrom on the right. Borgstrom quickly passed the puck to Lushanko on the right edge of the crease and Lushanko jammed it inside the right post at 5:57 to put the Wildcats up 1-0. Breck’s Kate Schipper answered with two goals of her own, the second one on a power play with 43 seconds left in the period, to take a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission.
Early in the second period, the Wildcats needed to clear the puck from their zone to complete a line change. Rikki Waldoch fired a pass from deep in the zone off the left boards and the puck slid down the ice toward the net. It looked like a Breck player would get to the puck first, but Marisa Peterson was perfectly lined up with the puck as she skated into the Mustang zone. Peterson picked up the puck ten feet in front of the Mustang net and scored to tie the game 2-2 at 2:47.
A few minutes later, the Wildcats had a five-on-three for nearly 90 seconds and peppered the net with shots, but Breck goalie Taylor Neisen made several great saves to keep the game tied. The Wildcats took advantage of another power play at the 8:12 mark. Allison Ives won a faceoff in the right circle and passed the puck to Peterson. Peterson skated the puck from right to left behind the net and passed the puck to Ives sitting on the left doorstep. Ives flicked the puck into the net and the Wildcats were ahead 3-2. 30 seconds later, Schipper came down the ice on a breakaway. She faked left and got Dobosenski to move that way. She fired a shot toward the right corner, but Dobosenski made a great pad save to preserve the Wildcats’ one-goal lead.
A great individual effort by Breck’s Milica McMillen tied the game at 3-3 just two minutes later. A Katie Johnson shot that would have put the Wildcats back on top hit the crossbar not long after that. Breck’s Carly Schaeder snuck one through the five hole with just over a minute left in the period to put Breck back on top 4-3.
The Wildcats nearly tied it at 3:18 of the third period, but Neisen made a great pad save on Lushanko’s shot from the slot. After that, Breck took advantage of some high quality scoring opportunities. They slowly pulled away from the Wildcats, scoring three times in an eight minute span in the middle of the period and won the game 7-3.
Wildcat head coach Jason Mahlen said “I honestly thought we could take it when we were up 3-2. It just didn’t go our way. The play of Jamie Dobosenski early in the game helped us to take some of the early heat from them. She had a nice game for us and shouldn’t be disappointed by the final number of goals she gave up.
Allison Ives scored the goal that gave the Wildcats the 3-2 lead in the second period. She said “I was so happy I scored. They all trampled on top of me. I could not believe it.” Marisa Peterson was asked what her thoughts were before the game as the Wildcats prepared to take on the top team in the state. She said “I was thinking that, as a group of seniors we really deserved to be here. We were happy to make it and we were excited to play Breck. We knew they were a good team and that they go to the tournament every year.”
The line of Laura Monson, Ives and Peterson didn’t do a lot of scoring during the season, but they scored two of the Wildcats’ three goals in this one. Monson said “I knew it was our time to contribute. Great job, ladies.” Breck coach Chris Peterson had some nice things to say about the Wildcats. And he didn’t just say them in front of the media. After everyone else had left the media room after the game, I heard him talking to a friend of his and he continued to praise the Wildcat coaches and players and stated how they made Breck work very hard for the win.
Chisago Lakes 5, Hutchinson 2
The day after a great performance against the top team in the state, the Wildcats faced Hutchinson in the consolation semifinals. Miranda Beimert scored the first two goals of the game and Megan Lushanko assisted on both of Beimert’s goals and scored the last two goals of the game as the Wildcats beat Hutchinson 5-2. The Tigers actually outshot the Wildcats 30-27 for the game, but goalie Jamie Dobosenski and the Wildcat defense helped keep the Tigers at bay. The game was played at Ridder Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
Just over four minutes into the first period, Lushanko passed the puck to Beimert at the left point. Beimert sent a snapshot through traffic and into the net to put the Wildcats up 1-0. Allison Borgstrom also picked up an assist on the play. Just over two minutes later, Beimert scored a nearly identical goal from the same spot, again assisted by Lushanko, to increase the Wildcat lead to 2-0. The Tigers scored a rebound goal late in the period to cut the Wildcat lead to 2-1.
At 6:48 of the second period, Ashlee Ricci carried the puck into the Tiger zone to the right point. She passed the puck to Laura Monson in the middle of the slot. Monson took a quick shot. A Hutchinson player got her stick in front of it, but her stick was angled and served as a launching pad. The puck popped up in the air, over the goalie’s shoulder and into the net. It looked like she never saw it. Hutchinson scored a power play goal a couple of minutes later to pull back within one goal at the end of two periods.
Lushanko gave the Wildcats a little cushion on an unassisted goal a minute into the third period. She carried the puck from the right corner in the Tiger zone to an open spot near the top of the right circle. She sniped the puck into the upper right corner to increase the Wildcat lead to 4-2. The game’s final goal, which came midway through the third period, was worthy of SportsCenter. Lushanko carried the puck into the zone on a breakaway down the left side. She skated by a Tiger defender through the left circle. As she crossed left to right in front of the net, she was hooked. Somehow she managed to keep her stick on the puck as she was falling to the ice. She slid the puck into the net from point blank range for her second unassisted goal of the period and provided the Wildcats with their final margin of victory.
Chisago Lakes 4, New Ulm 0
The score may not show it, but the Wildcats completely dominated the New Ulm Eagles in the consolation finals on Saturday, February 25 at Ridder Arena. The Wildcats outshot the Eagles 33-12 and Katie Johnson scored her only two goals of the tournament as the Wildcats shut out New Ulm 4-0 to claim the 2012 Class A state consolation championship.
Laura Monson scored the game’s first goal at 4:34 of the second period, assisted by Marisa Peterson and Ashlee Ricci, to put the Wildcats up 1-0. With the Wildcats skating shorthanded later in the period, Monson and Peterson did some ferocious forechecking that kept the puck at the Eagle end of the ice for nearly a minute. The Wildcats switched penalty killers and took advantage of their hard work. Katie Johnson picked up a loose puck in the Eagle zone and scored a few seconds into her shift to push the Wildcat lead to 2-0.
At 2:25 of the third period, Ashlee Ricci scored a strange goal. From center ice, she skated the puck toward the New Ulm Blue line and dumped it into the zone for a line change. The goalie never saw the puck as it sailed over her left shoulder and into the upper right corner of the net for the third Wildcat goal of the game. “I did intend to flip the puck toward the upper right corner,” said Ricci, “but I didn’t expect it to actually go in!” Johnson scored the game’s final goal at 9:44 of the third period, assisted by linemates Allison Borgstrom and Megan Lushanko, to put the Wildcats up 4-0. A few minutes later, the game ended. The Wildcats had won their second consolation championship in three years and the high school careers of an accomplished group of twelve seniors were over.
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