Maple Grove overpowers Rogers in Section 5AA championship
The Crimson are headed back to the state tournament after winning their third consecutive section title.
ELK RIVER, Minn. — Maple Grove is headed back to the state tournament for the third year in a row after defeating Rogers 4-2 on Thursday, March 3 in the Minnesota boys Section 5AA championship game.
The Crimson went into the section finale game ranked fifth in the state and slotted as the No. 2-seed in 5AA while Rogers was unranked and would take the No. 1-seed. The two teams had previously met up back in January and Rogers won by a tight score of 5-4.
The first period of play was strong for both teams but Maple Grove would take the 1-0 lead late in the period after Finn Brink would light the lamp for the Crimson.
Rogers took a penalty with less than a minute left in the first, so Maple Grove could end up starting the second period on the power play. That's how it played out. Senior Joshua Giuliani of the Crimson found the back of the net right as the penalty was drawing to an end to increase the lead to 2-0.
Things then were quiet for most of the second period until the final minutes started to tick away. Rogers put themselves on the scoreboard with a power play goal of their own from Sam Ranallo. Unfortunately for the Royals, Maple Grove would respond only 40 seconds later when Landen Gunderson would regain the two-goal lead with a goal.
Maple Grove lead 3-1 after two periods of play despite being outshot by Rogers. Final shots on goal for the game were in favor of the Royals, 33-31.
Hogan Sinjem of Rogers scored quickly in the third but again Maple Grove answered with another goal, this time from Bennett Glad.
Maple Grove had eight different players find the score sheet, proving the depth of their roster. Landen Gunderson and Joshua Giuliani tied for the team lead in points with two apiece.
Goaltender Toby Hopp was a critical part of the win for the Crimson, stopping 31 of 33 shots on goal for a save percentage of .939.
With the win, Maple Grove wins its third consecutive section title and will be headed back to the Xcel Energy Center for the state tournament. The Crimson await their opponent for a March 10 matchup in the state quarterfinals until seedings are determined this weekend.
Maple Grove wins Section 5AA, advances to state tournament therinklive hockey maplegrove crimson rogers♬ original sound - The Rink Live