Maple Grove celebrates a first period goal by Andrew Karkoc during Thursday night's 5-2 win over Rosemount. Photo by Drew Herron, Legacy Hockey
Maple Grove leaned on its senior leaders, namely its top forward trio of Lucas Busch, Luke Giuliani and David Kukkonen, to secure the latest in a string of impressive wins they combined for seven points in Thursday's 5-2 upset victory No. 7-2A Rosemount in the second round of The Premiere Holiday Classic in the Grove at the Maple Grove Community Center.
The victory was the seventh straight for the No. 12-2A Crimson (7-2-0), who shut out No. 3-2A Chanhassen on Wednesday in the tournament's opening round.
“I am proud of the team effort, we proved that we belonged," Maple Grove coach Todd Bergland said. "We have found guys that have taken that next step. Giuliani and Busch have been there before and seen state tournaments before, they have been great leaders for the younger guys on this team.”
Busch, Giuliani and Kukkonen have combined for 38 points in nine games.
"We all know each other very well," Giuliani said. "I have played with (Kukkonen) for a while, and we are always communicating on the ice.“
Giuliani and Kukkonen played their youth hockey together and watched their older brothers play in the state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in recent years.
One of the Crimson's goals this season was to go 3-0 in its holiday tournament. They are two-thirds of the way there, and loving every minute of it.
“Everyone has had a good bond, and we have chemistry going," Kukkonen said. "I think when we work hard and believe we are just a great team.”
-- Dain Solberg
Rosemount forward Luca Salak is on the move at the edge of the slot during a second-period power play for the Irish. Photo by Drew Herron, Legacy Hockey
Maple Grove started hot with a three-goal first period, and rode a frenzied defensive effort past Rosemount 5-2 Thursday evening at the Maple Grove Community Center in a second-round game of The Premiere Holiday Classic in the Grove.
Forwards David Kukkonen and Luke Giuliani each finished with a goal and an assist, and Lucas Busch added a goal and two assists as the No. 12-2A Crimson rolled past the No. 7-2A Irish to slay its second top-10 team in as many nights.
The Crimson (7-2-0), who shut out third-ranked Chanhassen 2-0 Wednesday night, has won seven straight since opening the Turkey Trot with losses Edina and Wayzata.
Ty Hansen finished with two assists for Rosemount (10-2-0), which had its 10-game win streak snapped.
Final shots were 20-19 in favor of Maple Grove.
-- Drew Herron
Rosemount's Christian Garrity and Maple Grove's Gavin Anderson battle for the puck behind the net during the second period. Photo by Drew Herron, Legacy Hockey