by Bob San
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
After completing a rugged regular season schedule, the Maple Grove girls’ hockey team dives right into the toughest section in the state.
The Crimson are seeded seventh in Section 6AA and open against No. 2 Benilde St. Margaret Saturday, Feb. 9, at 6:45 p.m. at Parade Arena. Minnetonka is the top seed, followed by Benilde, Hopkins, Buffalo, Wayzata, Armstrong, Maple Grove and North Metro.
“Our section will be the toughest in the state,” Crimson assistant coach Joey Olson said. “Six of the eight teams in the section are ranked in the top 20 teams in the state.”
Benilde is ranked second in the state, Tonka third, Buffalo fifth, Hopkins ninth, Wayzata 12th and Armstrong 17th. The Crimson are battle-tested and showed during the regular season that they can hold their own against higher-ranked opponents. They beat Armstrong and North Metro twice and lost to Wayzata 1-0 and to Buffalo 4-2.
Maple Grove ended the regular season on a high note when they beat Armstrong 5-3 last Saturday on Senior Night. The Crimson honored seniors Maddi Woo, Rebecca Cohn, and Lexy McGauvran then went on to score an impressive win.
The Crimson finished 13-10-2 overall and a record of 10-7-2 in Northwest Suburban Conference play, good for fifth place.
“We have been happy with the team’s play this season,” Olson said. “With each game played we have continued to learn and progress as a team.”
Woo leads the team with 19 goals and 15 assists, followed by Katie Josephson with nine goals and 10 assists, Summer Thibodeau with 11 goals and seven assists, Abby Larson with nine goals and six assists and Paige Naasko with six goals and six assists. Goalie Breana Blesi is 11-8-2 with a 2.19 goals against average and had four shutouts.
The Crimson are hoping for a good run in the section. The section semifinals are Feb. 13 and the championship game is Feb. 15 at Parade.
Contact Bob San at [email protected]