twitter.com/MGCrimsonhockey With the 2020-21 season still months out, it’s time to take a look at teams from all over the State of Hockey and examine what happened this past season and what’s ahead. The next team we’re breaking down is…
With the 2020-21 season still months out, it’s time to take a look at teams from all over the State of Hockey and examine what happened this past season and what’s ahead. The next team we’re breaking down is Maple Grove.
How last season went
Maple Grove had one thing on their minds last season: Revenge. After losing in the section finals two years in a row, it was clear that this team was just inches away from making a trip to the State Tournament. The Crimson proved they were once again the real deal, starting the season on a six-game win streak, outscoring their opponents 33-12 in that stretch. With a very tough schedule, Maple Grove managed to finish with an impressive 17-7 record, good for 3rd in the Northwest Suburban Conference.
Entering Section 5AA playoffs, they were given the #2 seed and made quick work of Spring Lake Park and Centennial high school, defeating both teams by a combined score of 13-1. Finally came the real test, a talented Blaine team who was ranked #1 and had won the last three matchups versus Maple Grove. This time would be different, however, as starting goaltender for the Crimson, Jack Wieneke, stood on his head and stopped all 45 shots to help shutout the Bengals 3-0 and secure a trip to the Xcel Energy Center.
Maple Grove was given the #7 seed in the tournament, which meant facing Blake, who they had beat 5-4 in overtime back in February. In arguably the best game of the tournament, in which the score was tied on four separate instances, the Crimson fell 5-7 to the Blake Bears. Their season didn’t end there, as Maple Grove entered the consolation bracket and got back to their defensive ways, with a 3-0 shutout against Lakeville South. Lastly came a Consolation Championship game against Andover, who was the #1 seed originally and had won both previous meetings 4-0 against Maple Grove. This trend continued, and the Crimson would end their season with a 1-4 loss to the Huskies.
Who’s back and who’s gone
What’s scary for the rest of Section 5AA, is that Maple Grove is only graduating five seniors. Of those five, Tyler Oakland and Parker Slotsve will be missed the most. Oakland (15G, 13A) was third on the team in scoring and Slotsve split time in net, finishing with an impressive 11-3 record, 1.68 GAA and .921 SV% this season.
Even scarier is that the Crimson are returning virtually everyone else. Henry Nelson (Notre Dame 2021-2022 commit) is returning with his D-partner Cal Thomas, the two combined for 28 goals and 45 assists from the blue line. Top-scoring forward Sam Jacobs (15G 18A) is also back for his senior year, as well as goaltender Jack Wieneke who had a tough game vs Blake in the tournament but was otherwise dominant in playoffs.
What to expect next season
Maple Grove is absolutely in the driver’s seat to win Section 5AA again. They are returning their top 3 scorers as well as a starting goalie who has a lot of playoff experience. As long as they can stay healthy, look for the Crimson to be skating on a professional sheet of ice once again in 2021.