Lakeville South sophomore Tanner Ludtke celebrated one of his two goals Tuesday night in the Cougars' 4-3 victory over Maple Grove. Photo by Loren Nelson, SportsEngine
Tanner Ludtke’s repeated run-ins with Kyle Kukkonen on Tuesday night weren’t particularly amicable. Kukkonen, Maple Grove’s Mr. Everything, snapped Ludtke’s stick in half with a second-period slash, then drilled the Lakeville South sophomore in the knee with a blistering shot in the closing seconds.
Ludtke, who also was bowled over by a Crimson player behind the play in the third period (no penalty was called), overcame all the unwanted attention and related bumps and bruises by scoring twice in the Cougars’ 4-3 triumph in the much-hyped battle of late-season unbeatens at the Maple Grove Community Center.
For Ludtke, a victory never hurt so good.
“They’ve got tons of skill guys, so it was a lot of fun,” he said about the Crimson (15-1-0), ranked No. 1 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll. “I think emotionally it ranked pretty high compared to any game I’ve played in, it kind of had a Tourney-like feeling.”
Maple Grove's Kyle Kukkonen, left, works past Ashton Dahms of Lakeville South during Tuesday's game at the Maple Grove Community Center. Photo by Loren Nelson, SportsEngine
Sophomore forward Tanner Ludtke scored twice as Lakeville South topped Maple Grove 4-3 on Tuesday night at the Maple Grove Community Center in a rare late-season matchup of unbeaten teams.
The Cougars (14-0-1) entered the matchup ranked No. 3 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll. The loss was the first of the season for No. 1-2A Maple Grove (15-1-1).
Ludtke’s two goals came at the beginning of a four-goal spurt for the Cougars (14-0-1), who erased a 1-0 first-period deficit and, by the end of the flurry, led 4-1 with 5:14 left in the second.
Maple Grove rallied with goals by Chris Kernan and Henry Nelson in the final 4:20 of the second period to close to within 4-3. Josh Giuliani opend the scoring for the Crimson, who had outscored their opponents 126-23 entering Tuesday’s game.
Ben Portner and Cam Boche added goals for Lakeville South, which had outscored its opponents 87-14.
Maple Grove goaltender Jack Wieneke finished with 19 saves while Lakeville South’s Ethan Dahlmeir had 24, including 11 in the third period.
Maple Grove beat Lakeville South 5-2 on Dec. 28 in a holiday tournament in St. Louis Park in the teams’ lone regular season meeting last season. They were scheduled to play twice this season but both games were cancelled when schedules were trimmed from 25 to 18 games because of COVID-19-related restrictions. The game was made possible because of recent cancellations on both teams' schedules.
The MN Hockey Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.