By Bob San
Maple Grove defeated Andover and Champlin Park in boys’ hockey action last week to extend its winning streak to six games.
Dave Corazalla and Nate Erickson (short-handed) each scored a goal. Sam Valerius had two assists and Calvin McKenney made 28 saves in the 2-1 over Andover Jan. 10.
Erickson added two goals and Corazalla and Josh Augustine each scored once and Valerius assisted on two goals to lead MG to a 4-2 win over Champlin Park Jan. 12. John Danielson made 26 saves for the win.
The Crimson improved to 7-2 in the conference, just behind leaders Centennial and Blaine.
Maple Grove has a solid first line in Josh Passolt, Erickson and Valerius but because of injuries and illnesses, many players have been playing and contributing.
“Everyone is chipping in all the time and it’s different kids every night,” Maple Grove Gary Stefano said. “We feel pretty good about ourselves and we have been staying out of the penalty box too. We had some penalty problems that killed us earlier in the year.”
The Crimson got off to a slow start with a young new team and a brutal schedule. But they did not lose faith and now are benefiting from playing those tough early season foes.
“We feel you want to have a chance at the end and we feel we are progressing,” Stefano said. “One thing about this team is earlier in the season when we lost some games the kids never got down. They were so positive. Yes we had a brutal schedule, probably the toughest schedule of any team. The kids knew that too and now they have some confidence. There is no doubt that the tough early schedule helped develop us this time of the year.”
Maple Grove visits Blaine Thursday, Jan. 17. It will be the teams’ first meeting since Maple Grove routed Blaine in last year’s section championship game.
Contact Bob San at email@example.com