Andover's Jamie Nelson (10) put a shot on the Maple Grove goal late in overtime. Nelson had a goal and two assists in a 4-4 tie at Andover. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
After a three-goal first period Tuesday, Andover was anxious for more action. With more than three minutes before the beginning of the second period, the Huskies were back on the ice at the Andover Community Center, ready to expand their two-goal lead over Maple Grove.
By the start of the third period, Andover wasn’t in too much of a hurry to return to the ice. The Huskies went scoreless and gave up three goals to the Crimson in the second period to trail by one.
In the end, Andover rallied in the third to tie the game and force overtime, where neither team scored, ending this back-and-forth affair as a 4-4 tie -- an outcome that that could be impactful as these teams continue to fight in the ultra-competitive Northwest Suburban Conference North Division.
The Huskies, ranked No. 9 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll, came out like a team ready to prove themselves against their division foes.
Andover’s top line took over the game in the first when freshman forward Peyton Hemp scored first, then assisted on sophomore forward Jamie Nelson’s goal later in the period to make it 2-0.
These young forwards, along with senior forward Claire Butorac, have been the spark plug for the Huskies (10-5-1, 6-3-1) this season. The trio has combined for 38 goals this season.
“We play so well together, it makes it fun to come out every day,” Butorac said. “There’s just such a good chemistry there. It’s been fun to see it click this season.”
After the strong opening period from Andover, Maple Grove (11-4-3, 5-3-2) asserted itself in the second. The Crimson rally began with a goal late in the period from senior forward Katie Dencke, who pounced on a loose puck in front of the net.
“That goal really did help our energy,” Maple Grove senior forward Maia Martinez said. “We knew we could get back in it as long as we got aggressive.”
Martinez continued the charge for the No. 7-2A Crimson. She scored at the 10-minute mark to cut the deficit to 3-2. Four minutes later, the senior had tallied two more goals for the natural hat trick, giving Maple Grove a 4-3 lead.
“(Martinez) just has such a knack for the net,” Crimson coach Amber Hegland said. “But what was great to me was seeing her linemates get involved. All three of the goals she scored came from a great team effort.”
Martinez echoed her coach's sentiment and gave her teammates credit.
“It was all about our team’s passing and the odd-man rushes,” she said. “We worked hard and got to the open spaces.”
With Maple Grove buzzing after two periods, the Huskies found themselves needing to get back into the game.
“Our coaches talked a lot about expecting more from us,” Butorac said. “We had to start moving our feet and playing with more pride.”
Butorac followed her coaches’ advice throughout the third period. She was rewarded late in the period as she got the equalizer right in front of the Crimson net.
“I knew I had to bury that chance,” Butorac said. “I had missed quite a few earlier. It was getting down to the end and we needed something.”
Both Butorac and Martinez have been tasked with wearing a ‘C’ for two of the state’s top programs that play in one of the state’s toughest leagues, and their leadership is crucial for teams filled with young players. There are a combined 29 players who are sophomores or younger on the rosters.
“It’s a good sign for us. It makes practicing super fun,” Andover head coach Melissa Volk said. “Everyone wants to get better and see their teammates get better.”
With this wild night ending in a tie, the Huskies remained ahead of Maple Grove by a point in the division standings. Both teams are battling to move up as Centennial and Blaine hold down the top two spots.
“It’s been so much fun growing up in this conference,” Butorac said. “We’re playing with everyone in the state having their eyes on us. You grow so much going up against this competition every night.”
Senior Claire Butorac (19) jostled for position with freshman Lauren Stenslie. Butorac had the game-tying goal late in the third period and added two assists in Andover's 4-4 tie with Maple Grove. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
After giving up a three-goal lead, Andover scored a late third-period goal to secure a 4-4 tie with Maple Grove in a Northwest Suburban Conference North Division matchup on Tuesday at Andover Community Center.
The Huskies (10-5-1, 6-3-1) got off to a strong start in the opening frame thanks to its top line of freshman Peyton Hemp, sophomore Jamie Nelson and senior Claire Butorac. Hemp scored first on a pass from Butorac, then Nelson made it 2-0 later in the period, helped by Hemp and Butorac.
Before the period was over, junior forward Paige Anderson would make it 3-0 for Andover, ranked No. 9 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll.
For the No. 7-2A Crimson, senior Katie Denecke led the comeback in the first by pouncing on a loose puck in front of the net.
In the second period, Maple Grove (11-4-3, 5-3-2) would erase the deficit thanks to senior forward Maia Martinez. Martinez scored all three of the Crimson’s second-period goals in four minutes and one second.
Her third and eventual game-leading goal came off a face-off where she blasted the puck past Huskies' sophomore goaltender Amanda Pelkey.
Late in the third, Butorac became the hero for Andover. She tipped in a shot in front of the net to tie the game at four. Both teams would go scoreless in the extra frame, and each team put two shots on net.
Maple Grove's Maia Martinez (27) gets a hug from teammates after scoring one of her three second-period goals in a 4-4 tie at Andover. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Maple Grove goaltender Lucy Morgan (32) deflected an Andover shot in the third period. Morgan made 29 saves in the 4-4 tie at Andover. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
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