The Centennial boys’ hockey team made its first Class 2A state tournament appearance in nine years, hoping to reprise the championship run of its predecessor.
The Cougars fell short, losing 2-1 in overtime to Wayzata in the quarterfinals and falling 3-2 against Eastview in the consolation round. Goaltender Patrick Munson, forward Andrew Bertrand and coach Ritch Menne reflected on different aspects of the Wayzata loss.
Getting to the Xcel Energy Center, Munson said, was an “amazing experience.”
The Cougars, despite the unfamiliar stage, found their game early on against Wayzata.
Bertrand helped Centennial draw first blood, assisting on Adam Anderson’s goal less than one minute into the second period.
The Cougars appeared to have built a two-goal lead when a puck trickled past Wayzata goaltender Aaron Dingmann before he reached back with his glove.
Officials did not rule a goal on the ice, however, and replays were inconclusive.
“I haven’t seen it, but I have heard it was awfully close,” Menne said. “We dealt with it. We moved on. It really didn’t bother us.”
The Cougars busied themselves with other duties, namely blocking shots.
“Our guys, they sold out the whole entire game,” Menne said. “Our guy charted about 26 blocked shots, which is fantastic.”
The defensive effort helped the Cougars’ 1-0 lead hold until 75 seconds remaining in regulation. Wayzata’s tying goal forced overtime, but the Cougars were not sulking.
“We just had to go out there and finish what we started,” Bertrand said. “We let them get back into it. The boys just wanted to come back and get it right back.”
Halfway through overtime, Centennial’s dream died on a Wayzata goal by Chase Heising.
“They got the right bounce at the right time,” Munson said. “They made a nice play in the overtime. Obviously I wish I would have gloved it.”
St. Anthony victory in the bank
No. 7 seed St. Anthony Village scored a big upset in Class 3A, Section 3 boys’ basketball tournament play, knocking out No. 2 seed Columbia Heights 58-57 in the quarterfinals last week.
Noah Bluth banked in a 21-footer from the right wing with 1.3 seconds left. Columbia Heights missed a desperation attempt at the buzzer.