When Centennial senior captain Hans Gorowsky woke up the day of the Cougars Section 5AA semifinal matchup with Maple Grove, it wasn't starting out to be one of those good days.
"I kind of had the chills going and i threw up a bit this morning, so it was a battle through school," he said.
In No. 2-seeded Centennial's 4-1 victory against No. 3-seeded Maple Grove on Wednesday, Feb. 27 Gorowsky scored three goals and vaulted the Cougars to the Section 5AA championship game where they will play Champlin Park on Friday, March 1 at the State Fair Coliseum.
"He played really well for us tonight," Cougars coach Ritch Meene said. "He is our leader and one of our best offensive players.
"I heard he wasn't feeling good this morning, so I wondered how he would feel."
"Once I got on the ice I didn't even feel sick anymore," Gorowsky said.
If there was anyway Gorowsky could find a way he would play, he would.
Nothing would hold him back from giving his team a shot at the Section 5AA championship game.
The Cougars have not been to the state tournament since 2004, where they won the title and did not allow a single goal in the three games at the Xcel Energy Center. Theywill have an opportunity to get their with a victory over the Rebels on Friday night..
"He wasn't going to miss this one," Cougars goalie Patrick Munson. "It didn't matter how sick he was, he was going to play no matter what.
"You saw how good he was tonight. A hat trick? I don't think we could ask for more."
Gorowsky scored the first two goals for Centennial and capped off the hat trick with a shorthanded, empty net goal on a shot from the Cougars zone.
As the unquestioned leader for the Cougars, Gorowsky led them to the Section 5AA championship game.
"In big games your biggest stars need to shine their brightest," Menne said. "Our big star came through big time for us."
"I was a little nervous coming in, but as the game went on I started to feel pretty good and when that first shot went in I had a feeling it was going to be a good night," Gorowsky said. "We need to keep it going against Champlin Park."
Centennial played Champlin Park twice this season in Northwest Suburban Conference play. The Cougars won the first meeting 3-2 and tied 3-3 later in the year.
"We've had some tough battles with them, so we will not look past them at all, no matter what their seed is," Menne said. "You start to get yourself in trouble if you do that and we are fully aware at what Champlin Park can do."
Hans Gorowsky scored three goals to lead No. 2-seeded Centennial to a 4-1 victory against No. 3-seeded Maple Grove in the Section 5AA semifinals on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at the State Fair Coliseum.
Gorowsky scored the first two goals for the Cougars and completed the hat trick with an empty net, shorthanded tally on a shot from Centennial's own faceoff circle.
Cougars goalie Patrick Munson made 27 saves and faced a total of 14 shots in the third period alone.
The lone goal he allowed was with 3 minutes, 45 seconds left in the third period when Maple Grove's Joe Fanta was able to find the back of the net after a scrum of players collected in front of Munson.
Jordan Pitlick also scored for the Cougars. His goal in the third period gave Centennial a 3-0 lead.
The Crimson, who won the Section 5AA title last season, finish with a 15-12-0 record.
Centennial advances to the Section 5AA title game against No. 4-seeded Champlin Park. The Rebels upset top seed Blaine in the earlier semifinal matchup.
The Cougars and Rebels will square off on Friday, March 1 at the State Fair Coliseum.
1. Hans Gorowsky, Centennial
Cougars coach Ritch Menne said that big players are supposed to come through on the biggest stage and the senior captain did just that. Gorowsky scored three goals in the Cougars 4-1 victory, despite being under the weather for most of the day. He pulled through in a big way for the Cougars
2. Patrick Munson, Centennial
Munson may have quietly had one of the better seasons of any goalie in the state, but he put on a clinic against rival Maple Grove. He made 27 saves and did not give up many rebounds for the Crimson to pounce on. In the final period he faced 14 shots and turned aside 13.
3. Jordan Pitlick, Centennial
The Crimson were stating to find their groove late in the second period and it carried over into the third. Pitlick put an end to a potential comeback when he scored in the third period to extend the Cougars lead to 3-0. Maple Grove cut the lead to 3-1 late in the third period, so the senior's tally ended up providing some relief in what could have been a white-knuckler.