State Boys Hockey: Andover claims first title in 6-5 2OT thriller vs Maple Grove
“Classic” is often an overused word in athletics, but it truly fits here.
Senior forward Logan Gravink put himself in Andover High School lore forever scoring a Championship-winning goal nine minutes into the second overtime, giving the 5th-seeded Huskies a stirring, heart-pounding 6-5 victory over 3-seed Maple Grove in the Class AA title game.
Gravink ended the marathon game after senior defenseman Weston Knox’ initial shot deflected between the circles and caromed to Gravnik, whose successful one-timer set off a frenzied celebration.
It is the first state championship for Andover (25-5-1), which was making its third tournament trip in a row. Maple Grove (23-7-1), like Andover, was also making its first appearance in a championship game.
Two weeks ago, Andover’s girls hockey team captured the Class AA championship. They join Edina in 2019 as the only schools to sweep the boys and girls state hockey titles in the same season.
Before the awards ceremony began, many Andover players skated over to Maple Grove’s side of the ice and provided words and long embraces.
The Northwest Suburban Conference rivals split their two previous meetings this season. On Dec. 16, Andover recorded a 5-3 victory during conference play, and on Feb. 12, Maple Grove earned a 4-1 win.
It’s the second straight season the Class AA championship needed extra time to determine a winner. In 2021, Eden Prairie defeated Lakeville South 2-1 in single overtime.
Andover climbed into a 5-all tie with 1:50 remaining in regulation on an even-strength goal by junior Gavyn Thoreson. With the Huskies applying offensive pressure in earnest, Thoreson flipped a shot from the right circle that bounced through traffic and made its ways past Maple Grove senior goalie Toby Hopp.
Maple Grove climbed on top for a 5-4 advantage with 6:06 remaining in regulation on a one-time slapper by senior forward Chayton Fischer following a back-angled feed from Giuliani.
Two goals in snappy fashion created another deadlock, this time at 4-all.
Andover broke the tie on a goal by junior forward Cayden Casey on an outstanding individual effort, 5:24 into the third period. But less than a minute later, Maple Grove forged another tie when Giuliani completed his hat trick.
Giuliani’s hat trick in the Championship game came on the heels of his hat trick against Prior Lake in the Semifinals, and a two-goal game against Edina in the Quarterfinals. He finished with eight goals in the three games of the 2022 tournament.
Maple Grove appeared to take a 4-2 lead with 7:14 remaining in the second period on a goal by junior forward Finn Brink, which would have been his second of the game. Giuliani started the crazy play when he fired a short-range shot from just in front of the goal. The puck deflected upward over Andover senior goalie Austin Brauns and to Brink, who was converging from the other side. Brink used his glove to play the puck downward and then took a whack at it for a goal. The goal, however, was disallowed after review because the puck had already cleared the goal line when Brink made contact. Therefore, it was with his glove, not his stick when the last time the puck had been legally touched.
Instead of a two-goal deficit, the momentum swing allowed Andover to climb into a 3-all tie with 4:13 left in the second period. Andover senior defenseman Weston Knox created the deadlock after cruising down the slot and firing in a centering feed.
The championship game began with a rousing start and didn’t slow down until the horn sounded the end of the first 17 minutes of play. Five goals were scored in the first period with Maple Gove holding the 3-2 edge.
Andover had closed to that margin when senior forward Jacob Pierson scored on a shot from the lower left circle with 3.5 seconds left in the period. His whistling shot found an opening over the left shoulder of Maple Grove senior goalie Toby Hopp. The goal had to have been an inspirational one for the Huskies because just 14 seconds earlier, they were staring at a 3-1 deficit.
Maple Grove built its second two-goal lead when senior forward Joshua Giuliani scored the second of two first period goals. He was the beneficiary of a brilliant between-the-legs pass from teammate Landen Gunderson, a junior forward. Near the far wall and his back to the open ice, Gunderson slid a pass in front to Giuliani who was alone in the slot for a long, open look at the goal.
Midway through the first period, the Huskies had pulled to within 2-1 when junior forward Cayden Casey scored on a short-range one-timert. Junior forward Gavyn Thoreson started the play by streaking down the right side and sliding a pass to Casey, who backhanded the shot past Hopp. The play was reviewed for offside, but upheld.
The Crimson wasted little time in starting the eventful period when junior forward Finn Brink scored just 12 seconds into the game. About 4 ½ minutes later, the Crimson doubled their lead on Giuliani’s first goal.
Material from the Minnesota State High School League was used in this report