March 9, 2017 at 3:53 p.m.
With the score tied 1-1 early in the second period, the Monticello Moose scored a shorthanded goal to take a 2-1 lead over the Chisago Lakes Wildcats at the Section 5A championship game for boys’ hockey. The Moose added another goal less than two minutes later and held on for a 3-1 win over the Wildcats. The loss ended the season for the Wildcats. Monticello is participating in this week’s state tournament. The section championship game was played last Thursday, March 2 at Elk River High School before a standing room only crowd of over 1,000 people.
Early in the first period, a Wildcat defenseman gambled and tried to poke check the puck off the stick of a Moose forward who was rushing the puck out of the Wildcat zone at the right point.
He missed the check, leading to a 2-on-1 for Monticello. The Moose converted their opportunity and led 1-0 just 2:59 into the game. The Wildcats answered five and a half minutes later. They did a great job forechecking and held the puck in the zone at the line. Nick Pautz got off a shot from the left circle. Moose goalie Tyler Klatt made the initial save, but the puck rebounded about ten feet out, to the right of the net – right where Mason Hill was standing, all by himself. Hill took a second to pick his spot and Klatt never had a chance as Hill rifled the puck past him and into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1. Pautz and Thomas Overgaard picked up assists on the play. With just over a minute to go in the first period, Wildcat goalie Jesse Carlson made a nice save on a shot from the left circle and then slid across to save the rebound attempt, keeping the scored knotted at 1-1 going into the first intermission.
The Moose picked up a tripping penalty at 1:18 of the second period. Near the end of the ensuing power play, the Moose iced the puck and a Wildcat defenseman went behind his net to pick up the puck as the Wildcats made a line change. But a Mooseforward stole the puck from the Wildcat defenseman and passed it to teammate Nick Zwack standing wide open a few feet in front of the Wildcat net as the rest of the Wildcats raced to get back into the play. Zwack flipped the puck past Carlson for his second goal of the game and the Moose led 2-1 at the three-minute mark of the period.
Less than two minutes later, a Monticello player ripped a high snapshot from near the right point in the Wildcat zone. The puck looked like it was tipped out front and darted under the crossbar and into the back of the net to put the Moose up 3-1.
At 10:59 of the second period, Wildcat forward Cooper Hoheisel got a two minute penalty for tripping. But he was also awarded a ten minute misconduct by the angry-looking referee. The Wildcats killed off the two-minute penalty, but were without the services of one of their top players for the rest of the second period and for the first six minutes of the third period. And the Wildcat comeback attempt took a blow when Brandon Caudill took a tripping penalty with 3:49 left in the game. The Wildcats were able to pull Carlson after Caudill got out of the box, but the Moose held them off to earn the trip to state.
The Moose outshot the Wildcats 31-20 for the games. Carlson played another good game and stopped 28 shots. Moose goalie Tyler Klatt made 19 saves.
This was the third section championship game for the Wildcats in the last four seasons. They went to the state tournament in 2014, losing 5-2 to New Prague in the first round.