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'It's our job to go deep in the playoffs': No. 3-seed Maple Grove fends off Edina

Crimson set to make first semifinal appearance

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Maple Grove forward Finn Brink (27) flips in a backhand goal over Edina goaltender Robbie Clarkowski (1) during the first period Thursday, March 10, 2022, in the State Hockey Tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

ST. PAUL — It’s not that Maple Grove has never played on Friday of the Minnesota State Boys Hockey Tournament.

The difference is that in years past the Crimson was relegated to a half-full arena to play in the consolation bracket, but come Friday night, Maple Grove will skate under the bright lights.

“I feel like from squirts to high school, we set a good example for the young kids coming up,” said senior captain Parker Wente.

“It’s our job to go deep in the playoffs. We’re a team that’s kind of been overlooked the past couple years. It’s our time now.”

Joshua Giuliani finished with two goals and two assists in Maple Grove’s 5-2 win over unseeded Edina in the quarterfinals Thursday afternoon at the Xcel Energy Center.


The No. 3 Crimson will face unseeded Prior Lake in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday night. It will be Maple Grove’s first appearance in the semifinals.

Hats off to our coaches, our community and our kids that have changed the culture. It starts with that. We have a lot of good people behind the wagon right now.
Todd Bergland, Maple Grove coach

Maple Grove had made three previous state tournament appearances with losses to Hill-Murray (5-2) in 2012, Grand Rapids (6-4) in 2017 and Blake (7-5) in 2020 with one victory in four total consolation games.

But the Crimson is now on the right side of the bracket and after beating Edina, some of the players and their coach credited the program’s culture.

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Maple Grove forward Blake Steenerson (18) celebrates his goal against Edina during the third period Thursday, March 10, 2022, in the State Hockey Tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

“Hats off to our coaches, our community and our kids that have changed the culture,” Maple Grove coach Todd Bergland said. “It starts with that. We have a lot of good people behind the wagon right now.”

The Crimson’s Finn Brink traded goals with Edina’s Eddie Revenig in the first period, but Landon Gunderson broke the tie 4:50 into the second on a sharp wrist shot from the right circle.

Giuliani added another goal with 1:04 left in the second period in which he walked down the slot and took a pass from Brink from behind the net.

Blake Steenerson gave the Crimson a little more insurance when he pickpocketed Edina’s Jimmy Clark in the neutral zone and fired a wrister past Edina goalie Robbie Clarkowski 3:48 into the third period.

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“I tried to get my stick in the way of Clark’s path to our zone,” Steenerson said. “I got the puck and there was an open spot up top, that’s where coach told us to shoot and it went in.”


Wyatt Wurst gave the Hornets life when he scored with 7:15 remaining. Clarkowski made 24 saves.

“You can’t give the kids from Maple Grove opportunities,” Edina coach Curt Giles said. “They’re good players. They can shoot the puck.”

Toby Hopp finished with 29 saves for Maple Grove and his teammates know he’ll have his hands full with Prior Lake and Mr. Hockey finalist Alex Bump (who has nine goals the last two games) in the semifinals.

“It was cool to see but we try to stick to our own game plan,” Brink said. “We try not to think too much about [Prior Lake’s] game, but it was definitely cool to see and we’ll have to shut it down if we want to win.”

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