Girls Hockey: Centennial Narrowly Defeats Blaine in Section Semifinal Game

Bengals Lose by One in Hard Fought Game


Photo Credits to Chris Long (@Chrislongkstp)

Jon Ababiy, Sports Editor


Games between rivals Centennial and Blaine always prove to be intense, and Tuesday’s game was no exception. The game’s momentum swung back and forth. It all came down to Centennial’s goal with three minutes left in the game, solidifying the score at 2-3.

Centennial Cougar junior Gabby Hughes was a force to be reckoned with for the Blaine Bengals. Her quick skating and soft hands helped her set up and score goals for the Cougars. She led led 2A with 43 goals this season, and lit the lamp once Tuesday night.

The Bengals started the first period with high pressure on the Cougars. They got a chance to score when they were given a powerplay a minute in, but their shots from the point couldn’t get through.

The Cougars and Bengals traded powerplays for the rest of the first period, with neither team actually scoring. Centennial’s defense came up big with its ability to block shots, and Blaine’s offense was skilled in its passes.

With 15 seconds left to play in the first period, a Bengal player was called to the box for interference. The period ended uneventfully, but when the powerplay continued at beginning of the second period, Hughes slid the puck under Bengal goalie Jaela O’Brien’s pad to put the Cougars on the board first.

Bengal Paige Beebe responded three minutes later, after she sped past the Centennial defenders, and connected a pass to the stick of  the waiting Ramsey Parent, who then chipped the puck into the net, to tie the game at one. The Bengals controlled the puck, and were granted a powerplay, but could not put a point on the board.

The Bengals had numerous powerplay chances in the second period; they passed and took shots, but the Centennial defense was always ready. The Cougars came close to taking the lead again when Hughes stole the puck and almost scored shorthandedly. Following the pattern of the first half, both teams kept their intensity and played physical.

The Cougars took the lead with only 20 seconds remaining in the second period, stifling the Bengal’s momentum.

The third period started with the Bengals trying to claw back the lead. The third and fourth line started to get some more shifts, as the Bengals tried everything they could do to tie the game.

At the 12:20 mark, the Bengals were given a powerplay. They made use of their opportunity: 4o seconds into the powerplay, Bengal junior Kenzie Wylie finessed the puck past the Centennial goalie, tying the game at 2.

What was already a tight game, became much tighter. Either team could land the season ending blow on their opponent in the next 12 minutes.

Blaine had numerous chances to seal the deal, but every shot seemed to go just over or make a last second detour from the net. The Cougars were drawing on reserves, and the Bengals couldn’t finish their chances and keep disciplined.

And that’s what cost them.

With 5 minutes left to play, the Bengals sent a player to the penalty box. The spent Bengals originally looked to have killed the powerplay, but a Centennial player ended the Bengal’s season with a shot from past the circle just as the penalty expired.

Blaine had a passionate last second push to tie the game, and unfortunately, the Cougars killed it with a few well placed puck dumps.

The game ended with a 3-2 final score that does not reveal the true closeness of the game. The Cougars and Bengals fought very hard, and in the end, the Cougars had more points on the board.

After making the State Tourney last year, the Bengals had an excellent 21-4 regular season record this season. Although they did not make the Tourney, the Bengals had a great season nonetheless.

6 Players ended the season with 20 points or more: Paige Beebe, Gabby Rosenthal, Ramsey Parent, Courtney Moser, Emily Brown, Kenzie Wylie. There were only three seniors on the team this year, so another 20 win season next year is not unlikely. In short, the Bengals are a young team with a lot of potential. The sky is the limit for the Bengals. See you next year!