State Boys Hockey: Maple Grove beats Edina 5-2 in Class 2A quarterfinals
In four previous state tournament appearances, the Maple Grove boys hockey team has not assembled a championship ending. The No. 3-seeded Crimson are in the state tournament for the fifth time, and third in a row, and that quest remains alive following a 5-2 victory over unseeded Edina in the Class AA quarterfinals of the Minnesota State High School League’s Boys Hockey State Tournament on Thursday, March 10, 2022 at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul.
Senior right wing Joshua Guiliani scored two goals and assisted on two others to help send the Crimson (22-6-1) into Friday’s big-school semifinals against unseeded Prior Lake, which upset No. 2 Cretin-Derham Hall earlier in the day.
Giuliani capped his day with an empty-net goal with 40 seconds remaining in regulation to eliminate Edina (20-9-0) from adding to its rich tradition of state tournament success.
The Hornets had closed to within 4-2 with 7:15 left in regulation when senior defenseman Wyatt Wurst scored on an even-strength goal. But the Hornets, who will now play Cretin-Derham Hall in the consolation semifinals on Friday at 3M Arena at Mariucci, could not close the gap anymore.
Maple Grove pushed its lead to 5-2 early in the third period on a goal from junior forward Blake Steenerson. He engineered the play when he deflected the puck off an opponent’s stick at the blueline. He gathered in the puck and skated in a few strides before sending a sizzling wrist shot past Edina junior goalie Robbie Clarkowski.
The Crimson built a two-goal advantage at the second intermission with two goals in the second period. Junior center Landon Gunderson snapped a 1-all tie with just under five minutes elapsed in the second period and his linemate, Giuliani, added another with just barely more than a minute left. Junior Finn Brink, their left wing, assisted on both goals.
Maple Grove’s victory avenges a 6-5 overtime loss to Edina on Nov. 26 in the season opener.