Maple Grove at Blaine
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 10
Two of the favorites in Class 2A, Section 5 get together Saturday night when Maple Grove (5-6-0) visits No. 9-2A Blaine (6-5-0). Both have some impressive victories on their schedules, but also some head-scratching losses that have kept them hovering around .500. Whichever can win this battle and get momentum into the new year will be in good position come seeding time.
The Bengals have already beaten two-time section champion Centennial and have looked terrific in beating No. 4-2A Hill-Murray and No. 7-2A Eden Prairie, but Blaine has also lost to the Crimson once this season, a 5-4 overtime defeat on Dec. 6 in Maple Grove. In that game, the Bengals took a 4-2 lead early in the third period on a goal from junior Riley Tufte (7-8-15), but couldn’t hold off the Crimson.
Josh Passolt (11-15-26) tied the game midway through the third and Sam Huff (3-10-13) ended it with an overtime winner. Passolt has been hotter than his team, which is 5-2-0 since an 0-4-0 start. The senior sniper leads the team in goals and points and recently tallied five goals in a 14-1 rout of Champlin Park on Jan. 3.