cougars

The Cougars and their coaches happily assembled for a section championship team photo.

The Centennial Cougars upset Maple Grove 4-1 in the Section 5AA championship game on Saturday in Maple Grove, advancing to the state tournament. 

The Cougars had lost to Maple Grove 5-0 and 5-2 in conference play but stymied the host Crimson in the biggest game of the year, getting their four goals on just 15 shots while goalie Kaitlin Groess stopped 24 of 25 shots. 

“It was a great game! We got a couple good bounces early and got out to a 3-1 lead,” coach Sean Molin said. “Our goaltender, Kaitlin Groess played a very strong game as well.”

The Cougars led 2-1 after one period on goals by Megan Goudreu and Lauren O’Hara, while Stella Retruym scored for Maple Grove. Goodreau pounced on a rebound and shot into an open net. O’Hara, also on a rebound, chipped the puck over the goalie’s glove.

The Cougars pulled away on Callie Cody’s goal with 12 seconds left in the second period and on O’Hara’s empty-netter with 22 seconds left in the third. 

The Cougars (16-5) now enter the state Class 2A tournament, making the program’s fourth state trip. Maple Grove finished 15-5.

Goodreau leads the Cougars in scoring with 26 goals and 15 assists. O’Hara is next with 17 and 20.

The state tournament opens Saturday at Xcel Energy Center with Centennial facing No. 2 seeded Edina (19-0) in the opener at 11 a.m. 

Other pairings are Alexandria (14-4-2) vs. No. 3 Minnetonka (15-3-3) at 1 p.m., Farmington vs. No. 1 Andover (20-0) at 6 p.m., and No. 5 Eastview (11-8-1) vs. No. 4 Shakopee (19-2-1) at 8 p.m.

Semifinals will be held at 6 and 8 p.m. Thursday, April 1, and finals Saturday, April 3 at 1 p.m.

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