February 21, 2018 02:53 PM
The twelve seniors on this year's Centennial girls hockey team had come close, but had never been able to get over the hump of making it to the State Tournament. This year, guided by a pair of superstar Ms. Hockey Finalists, the Cougars have snapped a decade-long drought and will play as the #2 seed in the Class AA Girls State Hockey Tournament in St Paul this week.
Click the video box on this page to see extended interviews with Centennial players Anneke Linser and Gabbie Hughes as they prepare for the program's first State Tournament in a decade
After falling to Maple Grove in the Section Semifinal and Section Final the last two seasons and Blaine in the Section Final in 2014-15, Centennial blanked Blaine 3-0 in this year's 5AA title game.
All three goals in the Final came off the sticks of the Cougars pair of Ms. Hockey Finalists. Gabbie Hughes set Anneke Linser up for the first goal against Blaine. Linser returned the favor on the first of Hughes' two goals that sent the Cougars to State.
Hughes, who was just named Metro Player of the Year, heads to State having scored 40 goals and 34 assists this season. Linser has piled up 26 goals and 38 assists (Source: FollowThePuck.com).
They are the first teammates to be named Ms. Hockey Finalists since Roseville's Hanna Brodt and Lee Stecklein in 2012.
Their pairing won't end after this year's run at the State Tournament. Linser and Hughes will skate as teammates at Minnesota-Duluth in college.
Linser had initially committed to Ohio State, but withdrew her commitment when Buckeyes coach Jenny Potter was dismissed.
Hughes was set to play at North Dakota, but shifted to Duluth when the Fighting Hakws discontinues their program.
Centennial is the 2-seed in this year's Class AA Girls State Hockey Tournament. They open the Tourney on Thursday morning against Lakeville South at 11 a.m. at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Updated: February 21, 2018 02:53 PM
Created: February 20, 2018 11:52 AM
Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company