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Centennial defeats Maple Grove to avenge last season's disappointment

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune, 03/01/18, 9:00PM CST


The Cougars' 6-4 victory puts them back in the Class 2A state tournament for the first time since 2014.

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•rtsong-taatarii@startribune.com

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 Crimson.

Same Aldrich Arena.

Same trip to state on the line.

Different outcome.

First report

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.

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