Maple Grove boys hockey looked to end the month in style last week with three games in three days. The Crimson hosted Osseo, Grand Rapids and Centennial Jan. 26-28, soundly defeating the first two opponents but losing to Centennial in overtime.
It was all Maple Grove on Thursday as the Crimson and Osseo Orioles faced off in a rivalry matchup at the Maple Grove Community Center. While the energy was high throughout the game from both teams, Maple Grove went on to win 8-0.
Finn Brink, Jacob Sinclair and Joey Imgrund all found early goals in the game amid a two-minute spree in the first period. Brink’s goal was flicked cleverly into the far corner of the net, while Sinclair and Imgrund both sent ranged strikes of the puck through crowds and past the goaltender.
Leading 3-0 by the first break, Maple Grove looked alive and focused once play resumed, though by then they were facing a resurgent period from the visiting Orioles.
Brink reopened the scoring on a power play, followed by goals from Ty Patefield and Jay Ellingson in the 10th and 12th minutes. Maple Grove showed a more patient approach in the second period, staging a considerable siege before Brink got his second goal.
Bek Picconatto found an early goal in the third period before a late second goal from Patefield capped the scoring for both sides.
Maple Grove boys hockey head coach Todd Bergland explained that the Crimson had needed to improve several keys to their game after a difficult string of recent results.
“The thing we have been really preaching over the last couple of weeks now, especially after that Champlin loss, is our back pressure,” he said. “We’ve been undisciplined in our structure coming back into the defensive zone. ... We really tried to work on that this week and button that up.”
Bergland noted that while Maple Grove got a big win, Osseo presented a genuine challenge to the Crimson, one that required Maple Grove’s high intensity start.
“That was the message before this game – we’ve got to start fast. Osseo is a much better [improved] team; they’re really well coached, they’re disciplined. We knew that if we didn’t start fast and allowed them to take the momentum, the game would turn in their favor fast,” Berglund said.
The attacking intensity remained right at home in the Maple Grove Community Center as the Crimson hosted Grand Rapids the following Friday in an 8-1 win.
The game started slowly for Maple Grove, which found just one goal, late in the first period, as Ellingson continued a strong offensive week.
Leading 1-0 into the second period, Maple Grove then found its scoring skates with a flurry of goals. Lucas Busch started things off in the second minute, followed by Jack Kernan in the sixth minute.
Lucas Margenau added a goal in the eighth minute, but was answered immediately by a Grand Rapids goal.
Busch scored two more, split by a goal from Riley Bot. Brink capped off a wild period of goals with one of his own. Three successful power plays contributed to the barrage of scoring.
The Crimson concluded their trio of games with a 6-7 overtime loss to Centennial. The goalscoring did not dry up for Maple Grove on Saturday, but the tone of their final game departed from that of the previous two.
Centennial opened the scoring in the 10th minute, but quickly fell behind after Maple Grove scored two goals, first from Luke Giuliani and then Brink on a power play.
Leading 2-1 at the first break after a tense first period in which the two teams had 36 shots on goal, Maple Grove had momentum to skate on. That momentum came to fruition as Patefield scored the opening goal of the second period to make it 3-1.
A trio of Centennial goals then came flying in from the seventh to 14th minutes, flipping the tally to 3-4. Ellingson got Maple Grove back in it at the end of the period to make it 4-4.
The third period did not ease up and Centennial scored twice to retake the lead before Maple Grove tied it up at 6-6 through Margenau and Busch.
Centennial earned the last laugh with a fourth-minute goal in overtime, securing the win.
Maple Grove plays two conference games this week, hosting Totino-Grace Thursday, Feb. 2, before traveling to Rogers Friday, Feb. 3.
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