Hopkins 4, Chisago Lakes 0 The Wildcat boys’ hockey team began the season under new head coach Paul Gibson at last weekend’s holiday tournament at Bielenberg Sports Center in Woodbury. In the opening game, against Hopkins Friday November 23, the Wildcats had trouble getting the offense going. Hopkins took a 2-0 lead after one and eventually shut out the ‘Cats 4-0. “I felt like we would stack up against Hopkins favorably,” said Gibson. “But the kids had first game jitters and as a team we just weren’t on at all. The effort was certainly there, but we couldn’t catch passes. We only had four or five quality scoring chances for the game and didn’t capitalize on those.” Chisago Lakes 4, Shakopee 3 (OT) Colton Reynolds scored on a slapshot in overtime to give the Wildcats a 4-3 win over Shakopee in the second game of last weekend’s tournament. The Wildcats started out slowly for the second game in a row. They took a major penalty right away in the first period and Shakopee took advantage of it, scoring twice on the long power play to go up 2-0. Shakopee scored again early in the second period to take a 3-0 lead. “We really needed to score that first goal of the season,” said Wildcat head coach Paul Gibson. “We knew that once we got that first goal, the floodgates were going to open and the puck would start going into the net.” Sure enough, the Wildcats started to play better and cut the lead to 3-2 by the end of the period.
The Wildcats killed-off a penalty to begin the third period and then put pressure on in the Shakopee zone. The Wildcats scored the tying goal with nine minutes left in the game. In the overtime, sophomore Zach Lambrecht passed the puck to senior Colton Reynolds at the left point. Reynolds ripped a slapshot over the goalie’s left shoulder into the upper right corner of the net to give the Wildcats their first victory. Gibson said, “We were the only Class A team in the tournament. For us to come out of it with a win against a Class AA team is pretty impressive. Our guys struggled at first, but once they figured out the pace they had to play at and started to win battles in the corners, it made a big difference.” As for coming back from a three-goal deficit, Gibson said, “That’s the benefit of never giving up. In the locker room between the second and third period, we told the players ‘we’ve got control of the game, we have the momentum’. And we came out with a victory that was sweet for everybody.” Gibson talked about a few players who stood out against Shakopee. He said, “In this game, Trevor Lushanko and Bradee Thompson showed the willingness and the ability to drive to the net offensively and created a lot of scoring opportunities for us. “Defensively, Dan Sargeant played a very solid game. He did a nice job covering for some of the young guys.” The Wildcats play at Pine City tomorrow night at 7 p.m. They play on Saturday, against Hibbing at 5 p.m. at Chisago Lakes Arena.