The Maple Grove CI-Adapted floor hockey team capped off a great season with a successful state tournament appearance on March 17-18. Despite being the smallest team in the league, the Crimson captured third place to bring home the bronze medals—the first state tournament medals for the team in a decade.
Maple Grove entered the tournament as the #3 seed from the North Conference. The Crimson took on #2 seeded Owatonna in the quarterfinals on March 17. Jose Guiterrez-Peralta, Paige Faber and Mohammed Konneh all scored goals for Maple Grove and goalie Jason Robins notched 47 saves to help the Crimson upset Owatonna 7-2.
In the semifinals, the Crimson faced the defending state champions from North Suburban. Robins had another great showing and Cole Brambilla scored a power play goal in the third period, but North Suburban prevailed by a final score of 10-1.
Maple Grove played previously undefeated South Washington in the third place game, and the Crimson scored early and often. Guiterrez-Peralta scored five goals while Konneh, Faber and Brambilla also notched scores to help the team bring home the third place trophy. Robins and Konneh were also named to the All-Tournament Team.
After the tournament, Coach Kelli Waalk-Gilbertson reflected on the team’s season.
“It’s been 10 years since Maple Grove earned a medal in floor hockey,” she said. “The kids definitely saved their best games for the state tournament. Konneh, Faber and Guiterrez-Peralta were amazing. Brambilla was dominant on defense and then moved to center to give Konneh key rest time in each game. Jason Robins was in the zone in net all weekend—one referee even commented that it was the best goaltending he’s seen in 25 years of doing the adapted state tournament.”
The Maple Grove CI-Adapted floor hockey team is made up of students from Maple Grove, Osseo and Park Center senior high schools. Waalk-Gilberston has worked with the team since 1997 and has served as head coach since 2012.
“Back in January we hoped to be a .500 team,” she added, “so to finish third at state is an incredible accomplishment for the kids! It’s a testament to how hard they work at practice that we ended the season at 10-5-1 and in the top three at state.”