Update: Maple Grove Girls Hockey Advances to State Championship Game
Feb 19, 2016 05:38AM
● By Doug Erlien
Maple Grove's win over Lakeville South Feb. 18.
Maple Grove 4 Lakeville South 1 [13 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
11 p.m. Feb. 19 - The Maple Grove Senior High Maple Grove Girls Hockey team is heading to the Class AA State Championship after a 1-0 win Saturday, Feb. 19 over #1 seed Hill-Murray in the semifinal game.
Crimson Taylor Wente scored the only goal of the game to send the Maple Grove the championship game - the first in the school's history.
Maple Grove will match up against Eden Prairie 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Xcel Energy Center.
A full game recap available on the Minnesota State High School League website here.
5:30 a.m. Feb. 19 - The Maple Grove Crimson girls hockey team made the trek to the Xcel Energy Center for the first time in program history.
They skated away with an impressive 4-1 win over Lakeville South Feb. 18 - paving the way for another two games in downtown St. Paul.
“I think all season long, we’ve been tested with some adversity and we played a tough schedule. That made them understand that we’re going to need to play 51 minutes,” Crimson coach Amber Hegland said. “We made a couple of adjustments that allowed our players to get some opportunities that seemed to pay off for us.”
It appeared early that Lakeville South might take advantage of the Crimson inexperience on the big stage. The Cougars scored first on a shot that rode up Crimson goaltender Coco Francis’ stick and found the back of the net for the 1-0 lead. Lakeville South continued to pressure and had several scoring chances before Lauren Kaufman took over scoring the first Maple Grove goal at 15:40 of the first period on a wrap around.
The second period went scoreless with the Cougars killing off a 5-on-3 Crimson power play. Both teams had six penalty minutes in the period but neither team was able to capitalize.
“It was a back and forth game,” Lakeville South Head Coach Mark Johnson said. “It was really strongly played by both teams. Give them credit, they played really strong.”
Junior Taylor Wente gave the Crimson the lead early in the final period. Kaufman scored twice more in the third period including an empty net goal to close the scoring. The senior has had a knack for putting the puck in the net over the past eight games scoring 12 goals over that span including four in three postseason games.
“Some of the parents on our team say I play better around my birthday,” Kaufman said. “It was my birthday on Tuesday so I think that might have been a factor.”
Junior goaltender Coco Francis was near perfect in net stopping 31 shots in the win. Making a huge save mid-way through the third period with her Crimson clinging to a one goal lead at 2-1.
With the win, the Crimson advance to the semifinals against top ranked Hill-Murray, Friday, Feb. 19 at Xcel Energy Center at 8 p.m.
“We are looking forward to playing Hill,” Hegland said. “We’re happy to be able to play them again. We played them earlier in the season and we ended up on the short side of the stick and we’re looking forward to the rematch.”
First Period- Lakeville South – Halle Gill (Kyah Orr) 4:53
First Period- Maple Grove – Lauren Kaufman (Maia Martinez, Taylor Wente) 15:40
Third Period- Maple Grove – Taylor Wente (Lauren Kaufman, Maia Martinez) 2:08
Third Period- Maple Grove – Lauren Kaufman (Sydnee Hanson, Maia Martinez) 11:42
Third Period- Maple Grove – Lauren Kaufman (Claire McLean, Maia Martinez) 16:20