Jake Horton of Benilde-St. Margaret's (16) fires a shot through traffic at Maple Grove goaltender Kyle Koop. Photo by Adam Crane
Like a fishing boat captain assessing a bank of storm clouds, Kyle Koop knew full well what was coming.
Maple Grove goaltender Kyle Koop gets in position to make the save as Grant Besse of Benilde-St. Margaret's, middle, and Maple Grove's Drew Aspinwall battle for the puck. Photo by Adam Crane
Of course, Koop does much more than that. Against the Red Knights, he used his well-positioned big body to make the initial save but relied on his agility and hand-eye coordination to make sure the rebound opportunities were limited.
Maple Grove senior Tony Paulson scored twice against Benilde-St. Margaret's. Photo by Adam Crane
Late in the third period, as his team’s three-goal lead was in danger of disappearing, Maple Grove forward Tony Paulson found a small opening and fired.
Maple Grove took full advantage of Benilde-St. Margaret’s depleted defensive corps, beating the host Red Knights 5-3 and winning the Sports Authorith Holiday Hockey Classic on Friday at the St. Louis Park Rec Center.
Maple Grove players hoist the trophy that goes with winning the Sports Authority Holiday Hockey Classic in St. Louis Park. Photo by Adam Crane
1. Tony Paulson, Maple Grove
The senior forward sealed the game, and the tournament championship, for Maple Grove with his third-period snipe of goaltender Justin Quale. The goal which came with 2:01 left to play deflated the Red Knights. Paulson finished with two goals and an assist, giving him four goals in two games against the Red Knights. He is now tied for fourth on the Crimson in points.
2. Kyle Koop, Maple Grove
Although he allowed two goals in the third period, Koop made some magnificent saves in the final minutes. He did a nice job of rebound control and held on for dear life when Benilde-St. Margaret’s constantly buzzed the net in the third period. He ended the night with 34 saves, including 18 in the final period.
3. Christian Horn, Benilde-St. Margaret’s
Horn ignited the crowd and his team with a third period-goal that made the score 4-3. The senior forward went crashing into the net, deflecting the puck in and sliding face-first into the twine. He also had two assists and now has 27 points (9 goals, 18 assists) to lead the Red Knights.
-- Walker Orenstein, MN Hockey Hub staff