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Maple Grove Voice

Maple Grove Girls Hockey Headed to State Tournament

Feb 13, 2016 12:43AM ● By Doug Erlien
The Maple Grove Crimson girls hockey team is headed to the Xcel Energy Center and the state hockey tournament for the first time in school history after defeating Centennial in the Section 5AA championship game 4-1 Friday Feb. 12. Junior forward Taylor Wente scored a hat trick in the win that saw the Crimson come from behind in a dominating three-goal second period.

“It’s unbelievable,” Wente said. “It’s such a great opportunity.”

It was Wente that provided the spark in the second period after Centennial had scored a first period goal to take a 1-0 lead. The Minnesota commit evened the game at 3:36 on the power play. She scored a little more than a minute later with her team short-handed. The Crimson added another power play goal on a penalty that Wente drew late in the period.

“Taylor is an incredible hockey player,” Head Coach Amber Hegland said. “She’s one that we look to and the girls look to and she did a really good job of taking control.”

Senior Lauren Kaufman scored for Maple Grove with less than a minute remaining in the period giving the Crimson a 3-1 lead heading into the final period.

Junior goaltender Coco Francis made 25 saves for the Crimson. None were bigger than the
 mid-way point of the third period when she stopped a point blank Centennial shot that could have made the contest a one goal game.

“My team was working hard in front of me,” Francis said. “We knew this was our time to shine so we just had to shut them down.”

Wente capped the scoring for Maple Grove with an empty net goal, sending the Crimson to the state tournament for the first time in school history.

“The entire season has been about them being a team,” Hegland said. “Tackling obstacles and celebrating together and never making it about one person or one event. To get to this point and to play the game they did today and to beat a very talented Centennial team.”

 Trek To The X:

The Crimson advanced to the state tournament for the first time in school history. They will be joined by Hill-Murray, Eden Prairie, Edina, Lakeville South, Eastview, Forest Lake and Sartell/Sauk Rapids. The Crimson will find out their first round opponent over the weekend.

The quarterfinals will be played Thursday, Feb. 18 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. 

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