by Jason Olson
Blaine hockey fans might want to skip straight over this result.
Maple Grove, the top-seed in Section 5AA, thoroughly dispatched No. 2 seed Blaine 15-1 in a debacle of a boys’ hockey game played at the Warner Coliseum on the State Fairgrounds March 2.
After three straight losses to the Bengals, Maple Grove earned a place in its first state tournament.
The Bengals came into the section final after outscoring Coon Rapids and Anoka 10-5 in the section opener and semifinal.
The game got off to a horrible start for Blaine fans as standout junior Michael Brodzinski took a checking from behind major penalty (five minutes down a player and another 10 minutes in the penalty box) 19 seconds into the game.
Maple Grove jumped on the opportunity with three goals within 2:50 of the man-advantage to lead 3-0 with 13:41 left in the period. It only got worse from there for the Bengals, who trailed 4-0 after the penalty expired and 6-0 after the first period.
Maple Grove added seven more goals in the second period and two more in the third period.
Blaine’s Ian Scheid made it 7-1 at 2:04 of the second period, 41 seconds after the Crimson scored on a power play. The Crimson made it 8-1 33 seconds later.
Maple Grove’s Shane Wolden and Spencer Bell each had six points and 10 skaters collected two or more points. Jordan Gross had five points (four assists) and Sam Velerius had four points (three assists).
Blaine senior goalie Nick Malvin made 24 saves before being pulled with 9:17 remaining in favor of James Simmer, who stopped five of the eight shots he faced.
This year marked a remarkable stretch for Bengals hockey as they had won the section six consecutive years and made 10 state appearances since 1992.
The Crimson doubled-up Blaine during both regular season meetings of the Northwest Suburban Conference powers, 6-3 on Dec. 8 and 4-2 on Jan. 26.