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Glienke's hat trick sparks Wildcats win over Burnsville

By Justin Magill, MN Hockey Hub staff, 01/14/12, 12:20PM CST

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Eagan's Zach Glienke scores three goals to give the Wildcats a dominationg win against the Blaze

For Eagan's Zach Glienke, it was only a matter of time before he would be pumping in goals to give one of the state's top teams another scoring threat.

He chose a good time to come out, recording a hat trick in an 8-2 rout against South Suburban Conference rival, Burnsville.

When the Blaze took an early 1-0 lead, Glienke scored his first of the game when his wrist shot beat Chris Mallon to his stick side.

Just 11 seconds later, Glienke gave the Wildcats the lead with his second goal.

He concluded the hat trick, displaying nice hands for a player of his tall stature, maneuvering around Blaze defensemen and wrapping a shot around Nick Anderson, who replaced Mallon in the third.

"It feels good to help my team out like that," Glienke said. "I just try to do whatever I can to help our team win and to get three goals, it is something special."

Now with nine goals on the season and five in the last four games, Grienke has played with more confidence of late and now, the puck is finding the back of the net.

"Right now, things are going really well for him," Eagan coach Mike Taylor said. "He has had his chances all season and now he is putting them away.

"It is confidence and right now he has it."

Similar to many of the Wildcat players, Glienke has size in his favor and he also not the stereotypical big-man that will just stand in front of the net.

He can snipe wrist shots from the circles and as he showed in his third goal, he can use his advantage of his reach and soft hands to stick-handle around his opposition to get chances as well.

"You can see that he has some nice hands for a big guy," Taylor said. "He can be successful anywhere on the ice and tonight he did that and was probably his best game of the year and that was not only because he score three goals.

"He came up big for us and we need him to continue to do so."

In his junior season, Glienke already has a special memory to take with him.

Not often to players get the chance to even get the quality shots that he did in a rivalry game, let alone score on them.

Take into consideration the difficulty Eagan has had winning at Burnsville, Glienke's feat was that much more impressive.

"This is something that I will never forget," he said. "It's special to do this and in a game where you are playing a good team. I will always remember this game."

With the schedule that Eagan will have in the second half of the season, it will need players like Glienke to step up like he did in the big games.

A confidence-booster game like he had against the Blaze is something that he can use to help his team.

"Before I just couldn't get them in how I wanted to, but now I am getting the bounces," Glienke said. "I just have to keep working hard in practice and be ready in the games because if I do, I will get more chances to do more like I did today."

Scoring at Will

When Eagan scored, it scored often.

In the first period, the Wildcats scored three goals in a 1 minute, 50 second span to make a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead.

"I have never seen anything like that before," Taylor said. "Not to that degree.

"I have seen maybe two goals, but not three in such a short period of time."

Glienke scored two of his three goals 11 seconds apart and Michael Zajac put away his 16th of the season to conclude the scoring barrage Eagan put on.

"It was pretty special to see," Glienke said. "I have never been in a game where that happened.

"We have guys that can do it though."

Even more impressive, Eagan did it again in the second period when it scored three goals in a 1 minute, 41 second span.

Eric Peterson scored his first goal of the season with 2 minutes, 14 seconds left in the period.

Nick Kuchera scored to make the score 5-2 and just 12 seconds later, Cullen Wilcox tallied his seventh goal of the year and the Wildcats took a 6-2 lead into the third period.

"Both teams had chances, but they put theirs away," Blaze coach Janne Kivihalme said. "We know what kind of team they are, but we just had some breakdowns on defense and they capitalized."

Scoring as much as Eagan did against the Blaze, especially at the Burnsville Ice Center is a feat in its own.

The last time Eagan beat the Blaze in Burnsville was on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2005.

"It was important to do this because they play so well at home and we have not had a lot of success here," Taylor said. "They have a good team and Janne does an unbelievable job in getting them ready for big games like this, so for us to come in here and play like we did, we're pretty happy."

Game Recap

Eagan's Zach Glienke scored three goals and recorded an assist as the No. 4-ranked Wildcats cruised to an 8-2 win against No. 9 Burnsville on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Burnsville Ice Center.

In a matchup between the top two teams in the South Suburban Conference leaders, Eagan put on a scoring display to beat its rival on the road.

Burnsville scored first as Cory Chapman put away a power play goal early in the first period.

Glienke tied the score 7 minutes, 30 seconds in and gave the Wildcats the lead just 11 seconds later.

Less than two minutes later, Michael Zajac scored his 16th goal of the season to give Eagan a 3-1 lead.

In the second period, Mason Wyman put the Blaze within a goal, scoring a power play goal just 45 seconds in.

However, Eagan went on another scoring run as Eric Peterson, Nick Kuchera and Cullen Wilcox scored 1 minute, 41 seconds apart late in the second period and the Wildcats took a 6-2 lead to the third.

Glienke scored his third for the hat trick near the midway point of the third and Cody Mason concluded the scoring with just over three minutes to go in the game.

Eagan improves to 12-2-0 on the season and a perfect 8-0-0 in conference play.

It will head back home and play Prior Lake on Thursday, Jan. 19.

Burnsville drops to 9-6-1 overall and lose its first conference game of the season, now holding a 6-1-1 record in the South Suburban.

The Blaze will stay at home for their next game to host Lakeville South on Thursday, Jan. 19.

1. Zach Glienke, Eagan
An easy choice for the first star as he scored three goals for the hat trick and recorded an assist for a four-point night. His two goals in the first were 11 seconds apart and got the Wildcats out of an early 1-0 hole. His third goals was a beauty, stick-handling around Blaze players and sliding a shot into the net.

2. Nick Kuchera, Eagan
A three-point game, with a goal and two assists, Kuchera was all over the ice for the WIldcats and gave the Blaze defensemen fits all day. He used his speed to separate and get quality shots on goal. He also drew players to him and was able to dish to his teammates as well.

3. Will Merchant, Eagan
Merchant had two assists and a lot of chances to put another dent in the goal column for Eagan. He was a key figure on the point for the power play and similar to Nick Kuchera, used his exceptional speed to carry the puck in the zone and create offensive chances for the Wildcats.

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Moorhead's Jack Stetz (21) throws his arms up as he and his teammates celebrated the win. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com