Maple Grove returns to State Boys Hockey Tourney w/ shutout of Centennial

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Henry Nelson and Chris Kernan scored twice and goalie Jack Wieneke backstopped a shutout as Maple Grove won their way back to the State Boys Hockey Tournament with a definitive 7-0 shutout of Centennial in the Section 5AA Championship.

53-seconds into the game, Class AA’s 2nd-ranked team had all the offense they’d need. Nelson opened the scoring in the first minute, and the Crimson never looked back.

Click the video box on this page to watch KSTP Sports’ extended highlights of the Section 5AA Championship between Maple Grove and Centennial

Chris Kernan and Sam Jacobs also added first period goals, while Centennial failed to cash in on several prime scoring chances.

From there, Maple Grove took the game over. On one end, Wieneke turned aside all 21 Centennial shots. On the other, the high-powered Crimson offense continued to do what its done all season long.

Nelson’s second of the game made it 4-0 early in the second before members of Maple Grove’s lethal top line added their line’s third goal of the game.

Shorthanded, Kyle Kukkonen and Jacobs spun a Centennial turnover into a 2-on-0 break. They exchanged several quick back-and-forth passes between the blue line and the goal – allowing Kukkonen a virtual layup for a 5-0 lead after two.

Ethan Elias scored in the first minute of the third before Kernan’s second – and the top line’s fourth of the game – closed out the scoring.

Centennial goalie Leo Troje made sixteen saves.

It’s the fifteenth time in their 21 games this season Maple Grove has scored 7 or more goals in a game – but the 7-goal tally actually drops their season-long average to 8.81 goals per game.

In the five games Maple Grove has played since #1-ranked Lakeville South handed them their only loss of the season back on March 3rd, the Crimson have outscored opponents 56-2 – 34-1 in the three Section Tournament games.

Maple Grove returns to the Boys State Hockey Tournament for a second straight season. It’s the program’s fourth overall appearance (2012, 2017, 2020).

The tournament will be seeded on Friday morning, and Class AA play begins with Wednesday’s State Quarterfinals at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Click here to read more about the 2021 State Hockey Tournament on KSTP Sports’ State Tourney Central homepage