State Boys Hockey: Maple Grove beats Prior Lake 6-2 to advance to Class 2A title game
Maple Grove left little doubt of its state championship aspirations with a dominant 6-2 victory over Prior Lake in the Class AA semifinals of the Minnesota State High School League’s Boys Hockey State Tournament on Friday, March 11, 2022, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Senior forward Joshua Guilliani had three goals while junior center Landen Gunderson added a goal and two assists to send the Crimson (23-6-1) into the Class AA championship game on Saturday against the winner of the second semifinal between top-seeded Hill-Murray and No. 5 Andover. Maple Grove knows both of those possible championship game opponents from matchups earlier this season.
Maple Grove’s last loss was a 3-0 setback to Hill-Murray in the regular-season finale on Feb. 16. During the Northwest Suburban Conference schedule, the Crimson split two games, losing 5-3 on Dec. 16 and then winning 4-1 on Feb. 12.
Maple Grove, making its fifth state tournament appearance and third consecutive trip, wasted little time in racing past the Lakers (19-11-0). Guilliani posted the Crimson to a two-goal lead midway through the first period before Prior Lake halved the deficit on an even-strength goal from senior forward Justin Kingery. But Maple Grove answered on a short-handed goal by junior forward Finn Brink that pushed the Crimson lead to 3-1 with 47 seconds remaining in the first period.
Another three-goal outburst in the second period put more separation and a four-goal lead by Maple Grove going into the second intermission. Guillani completed his hat trick with an easy stuff shot on a rebound to complete a successful power play.
Senior left wing Alex Bump, who had five goals in Prior Lake’s quarterfinal victory over Cretin-Derham Hall, had the Lakers’ other goal.
Senior goalie Toby Hopp recorded the victory for the Crimson with 20 saves.