When the dust settled on last year’s double-overtime state Class 2A title game, Maple Grove knew it wouldn’t have to wait long to try and avenge yet another state tournament disappointment.
The lineup was full of returning talent. The players had high school and youth hockey state tournament experience. The motivation was at an all-time high.
The revenge tour was on for Maple Grove, but it didn’t come without some trepidation.
Superstar Landen Gunderson opted to play junior hockey, forgoing his senior season. Losses to section rivals Champlin Park and Rogers late in the season cast doubts on the Crimson from so-called experts.
But Maple Grove (22-5-1) rallied, found a new set of stars and eliminated both Champlin Park and Rogers in the Section 5AA playoffs to earn a return trip to St. Paul with one last box to check.