Girls hockey: First-period flurry sends Maple Grove past Northfield in consolation semis

By Nick Gerhardt

Northfield’s state tournament run came to a close Friday in a 7-2 loss to Maple Grove at TRIA Rink in St. Paul in the Class 2A consolation bracket. 

The No. 10-ranked Crimson (21-8-1) pounced on the No. 8-ranked Raiders (27-3) with a five-goal first period to propel it to a victory. 

The scoring started early for Maple Grove with Kelsey Olson sending a shot to the back of the net just 31 seconds into the game. Olson finished with three goals while Cate Fischer, Bella Shipley and Grace Erickson added goals in the first period. Maple Grove outshot Northfield 13-5 in the first period.

The Crimson appeared in the consolation semifinals following a 2-1 loss in the quarterfinals to top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Minnetonka. 

The Raiders rallied in the second period to get a goal back when senior defender Grace McCoshen scored shorthanded to cut the deficit to 5-1. Senior winger Emerson Garlie assisted on the goal. Northfield outshot Maple Grove 13-7 in the second period. 

In the third period Northfield got a 5-on-3 power play for 10 seconds. Raiders head coach Paige Haley decided to pull goalie Macy Mueller for a 6-on-4 advantage. It almost paid off as senior center Ayla Puppe hit the pipe with a shot. Instead a turnover led to an empty net shorthanded goal by Lauren Lubow for a 6-1 lead. 

Senior winger Izzy Stephes scored on a rebound from a shot from Puppe on the power play to make it 6-2. But Olson responded with her third goal 17 seconds later to make it 7-2.

Penalties plagued the game as teams combined for 18 of them. Northfield accounted for 10 of them and Maple Grove scored on two of them. The Raiders went 1-for-8 on their power-play opportunities. Northfield had to kill off three 5-on-3 power plays, including one in the third period that saw the top defensive pairing of McCoshen and sophomore defender Mia Miller serving penalties. 

The Raiders set a new school record for wins in a season with 27 and claimed a Big 9 Conference title for the first time since the 2020-21 season. This year’s team appeared in the state tournament for the fourth time in school history. Junior goaltender Macy Mueller set a new Minnesota State High School League record for wins in a season with 27. 

Northfield will graduate seven seniors from the team. Puppe, who will play with the University of Minnesota, leaves with every school record for scoring. Her linemates Emerson Garlie and Izzy Stephes will also graduate. Defender Grace McCoshen will graduate and head to Ohio State University to play next year. The team also graduates Abbi Sparks, Annaliese Walker and Rita Langford.