skip navigation

Run-n-gun championship games a rarity

By Loren Nelson, 03/16/22, 6:45PM CDT


Combined 11-goals in Class 2A title game sets record, other firsts and oddities from this year's Tourney

Maple Grove's Josh Giuliani scored eight goals in the Class 2A tournament, the most since Duluth East's Dave Spehar had nine in 1995. Photo by Drew Herron

As Saturday's state Class 2A championship game headed to overtime with the score tied at 5-5, a conversation late in the regular season with Wayzata coach Pat O’Leary about the importance of a full team commitment to defense — especially in the playoffs — popped into mind.


Because O’Leary, when asked about the idea of playing a run-n-gun style in which a team simply tries to outscore its opponents 7-6 or 6-5 said: “I don’t remember many state championship games being won 7-6.”

He’s right. Before Saturday night the highest combined goal total in championship games in single class, Tier I or Class 2A history was 10, a number reached four times:

  • 2014: Edina beat Lakeville North 8-2
  • 2004: Academy of Holy Angels beat Moorhead 6-4
  • 1964: International Falls beat St. Paul Johnson 7-3
  • 1948: Eveleth beat Warroad 8-2

The record in all classes for most goals in a single game is 13 and belongs to the 1996 state Class 1A title game in which Warroad beat Red Wing 10-3.

Other state tournament records, firsts or oddities:


All three Class 2A games (championship, third place, consolation championship) were extended to at least one overtime Saturday, the first time that’s happened in state tournament history in any format (one class, Tier I and II, Class 1A and 2A).

Saturday’s Class 2A games

  • Championship: Andover 6, Maple Grove 5 (2 OT)
  • Third place: Hill-Murray 3, Prior Lake 2 (OT)
  • Consolation championship: Edina 3, Moorhead 2 (OT)
The Team IN Black

Andover was the visiting, or lower-seeded, team in all three of its victories. The Huskies defeated the No. 4, 1 and 3 seeds to win the championship.

The same scenario played out in Class 2A in 2017 when No. 5 seed Grand Rapids beat No. 4 seed Maple Grove 6-4, No. 1 seed Eden Prairie 3-2 and No. 3 seed Moorhead 6-3 in the championship. 

Benilde-St. Margaret’s won the state title in 2012 as the No. 5 seed, but, after beating No. 4 seed Edina 3-2 in a quarterfinal, knocked out two unseeded teams in Lakeville South (10-1) and Hill-Murray (5-1).

Centennial was the visitor in all three games in 2004 — three years before teams were seeded — when it famously won all three of its games by shutout.

G-8: Giuliani Takes Flight

Josh Giuliani’s eight goals in the tournament puts the Maple Grove senior in some legendary company. Giuliani’s total matched that of Benilde-St. Margaret’s Grant Besse in 2012 and Duluth East’s Dave Spehar in 1996 — the most since Spehar scored nine goals in the 1995 tourney.

Eveleth’s John Mayasich owns the record for most goals in a tournament with 15, set in 1951.


Mahtomedi is one-for-one in championship game appearances, having won the 2020 state Class 1A title in its only trip to big game.

Getting past the semifinals is the tricky part for the Zephyrs, and their 5-4 overtime loss to Warroad in a Class 1A semifinal Friday served as a sad and familiar refrain for Mahtomedi fans.

The Zephyrs are 1-6 in state semifinals, with five of the losses coming in overtime. Three of those overtime losses have come against Warroad.

Latest News

  • Big hair, big hearts

  • By Loren Nelson 09/08/2022, 12:30pm CDT
  • Eveleth's mop-topped Elliott Van Orsdel, Hermantown's Pat Andrews were perfect fits for Hockeyland film
  • Read More
  • State of Puckstoppers

  • By Loren Nelson 07/31/2022, 8:45pm CDT
  • Wayzata's Will Ingemann, Warroad's Hampton Slukynsky representing U.S. on international stage
  • Read More

Tourney Time Teasers

  • O What a Relief

  • By David La Vaque 06/09/2020, 5:45pm CDT
  • Hill-Murray's Seamus Regan delighted father, brother by accomplishing what they couldn't
  • Read More
  • Danger Zone

  • By Loren Nelson 03/04/2020, 2:30pm CST
  • Goalies were once allowed to skate to opposite end — and did so at their own peril
  • Read More
  • The Heartbreak Kid

  • By David La Vaque 01/24/2020, 10:30am CST
  • Rob McClanahan and undefeated Mounds View dealt bitter state quarterfinal loss in 1976 by Steve Christoff and Richfield
  • Read More

The Full Nelson

  • Now You See It ...

  • By Loren Nelson 01/04/2022, 12:30pm CST
  • Houdini-like move by Andover's Cayden Casey joins list of greatest goals-gone-viral scored in recent history
  • Read More
  • The Real Hockeytown

  • By Loren Nelson 11/22/2021, 10:30pm CST
  • Season Primer: When Warroad plays, it's always a primetime event, especially in the Warriors' home town
  • Read More
  • Drama Kings

  • By Loren Nelson 11/18/2021, 12:45pm CST
  • Season Primer: The high school futures of Prior Lake stars Will Schumacher and Alex Bump were in doubt much of this fall
  • Read More
  • Law Aching

  • By Loren Nelson 03/24/2021, 1:00am CDT
  • Andover defenseman Kyle Law takes a beating in his two-way, high-danger role
  • Read More
  • Showtime Raiders

  • By Loren Nelson 03/20/2021, 3:30am CDT
  • Freewheeling Cretin-Derham Hall has top-seed credentials, plenty of doubters
  • Read More