Centennial at Maple Grove
7:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 18
Centennial (3-2-0) and Maple Grove (3-4-0) came into the season with high hopes for reaching the state tournament out of Class 2A, Section 5.
The Cougars are the two-time defending section champions, while Maple Grove returned an experienced lineup looking to end Centennials' run and get back to the 'X' for the first time since 2012. But both teams have struggled early in the in the season and dropped out of the top-20 rankings, making this an important game to jumpstart the season.
Maple Grove lost its first four games, allowing an unwieldy 27 goals in those games. The Crimson have tightened up in a subsequent three-game winning streak, outscoring the opposition 16-5. That’s the type of production expected of the Crimson, who have juggled goaltenders Cal McKenney (2-2-0, 4.36, .852) and Brady Goodman (1-2-0, 4.70, .860).
Centennial has already lost a one-goal game to Class 2A, Section 5 rival Blaine and edged Northwest Suburban Conference foes Andover, Anoka and Osseo by a combined four goals. The Cougars have yet to crank their offense into high gear, as only Lucas Kranz (4-0-4) has more than two goals and just four players have scored more than once.