Andrew Stuart (2) celebrates Centennial's first goal scored past Maple Grove goaltender Ethan Haider in the Class 2A, Section 5 final Thursday. Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii•firstname.lastname@example.org
Seeing their one-goal lead disappear early in the third period forced Centennial hockey players to call upon a year’s worth of motivation.
The Cougars fell to Maple Grove last season in the Class 2A, Section 5 finals and vowed to make things right if given the chance. And they did.
Same Aldrich Arena.
Same trip to state on the line.
Centennial entered the Class 2A, Section 5 championship on Thursday having not allowed a goal in 14 consecutive periods.
An early Maple Grove lead didn’t faze the Cougars. They simply revved up the offense for a 6-4 victory.
Centennial clinched its first state tournament appearance since 2014, avenging last season’s section final loss to the Crimson in the process.
No. 12 Centennial (19-6-3) entered the third period ahead 3-2. Maple Grove’s Tyler Kostelecky tied the game with his second goal of the contest.
But the Cougars responded early and often. Will Francis restored a 4-3 lead less than one minute later. And goals scored just 38 seconds apart from Hayden Brickner and Lucas McGregor made it 6-3.
Check back later for more on the game.