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Varsity Icecats Take Lead Into 3rd, but Fall to CLS February 14, 2010

Posted by claugh217 in Varsity.

The Varsity Icecats would have been better off skipping the second period intermission Saturday night in Crystal Lake. The Cats were on a roll, leading arguably the best team in Metro Central 3-2 at the end of two. The break gave CLS a chance to rest and regroup and they came out with a vengeance in the third, jumping all over every Cats mistake to put the game away with a four goal onslaught. It was a heartbreaker, and a lesson in why no lead is safe until the game ends, particularly against a team of Crystal Lake’s caliber. Still, there was a lot to praise.

The Icecats showed up to play, surviving an early goal against before tying it up at 7:36 when Joey VanderMey made a sweet tape to tape hail mary pass to Justin Antolec. Justin flew down the ice, faked and then buried his breakaway chance. Brad Feinman also assisted on the play. It looked like the period would end with a tie but with seconds left, CLS star forward Eric Purcell flipped a backhander just under the crossbar to take the lead. It was his second goal of the night and he was far from finished.

The second period was all about the Icecats powerplay. First it was Jeff Martin showing why he can stickhandle with the league’s best. He maneuvered himself into the slot and backhanded it over the goalie’s shoulder to tie it up. One minute later, Connor Krukowski blindly flung a rebound off Tommy Tambourine’s shot past the CLS netminder for the go ahead goal. Goalie Max Laughlin helped keep the Cats in the lead by stopping all 13 CLS shots in the second. He ended the night with 28 saves.

The third period was a disaster. It began when the Cats took a penalty at 11:19, and seconds into the powerplay Purcell walked untouched into the slot and buried a wrister top shelf for a hat trick. Purcell added his fourth goal at 5:55 when he picked up the puck at the blueline at the end of a Cats powerplay and flew down the ice for a breakaway goal. The game ended in a 6-3 loss.

The Cats did have some chances to make the game closer. A second period breakaway by Ian Donnahoo just missed the crossbar, and a third period penalty shot by high-energy freshman forward Peter Henderson was poke checked away at the last instant by the CLS goaltender. Kudos to Ian and Hendo for the hustle it took to generate these chances. Next time.

The Cats finish out the Metro Central playoffs in Barrington Monday against Cary Grove. The Cats’ Blackhawks Cup tournament begins Friday night at 8:40 at Glacier.


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