Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey - Dec. 23

By frederick61

It is hard to believe, but the holidays are the “apex” of the PeeWee season. Once the New Year’s weekend is over, there are seven short weeks to district playoffs. At this time, PeeWee teams “change”. They can improve or slide into a struggle. The past two months become unimportant. The current game takes on meaning. Teams that have excelled through the first half of the season are often the teams that struggle in the second half. Conversely, teams that have struggled from the start can suddenly become “world beaters”.

These teams are kids that are growing and learning. Some learn early and forget and have to learn again, some learn late, some seem to always know what to do on the ice, and some that can do on the ice can’t cope off the ice. Coaches can teach the kids what or what not to do, but kids learn in their own way as they mature. Mostly what they need is someone to listen.

Where there is a winning team, there is a losing team. Those teams with kids that desire to play and to excel as a team win at the end of the season. Unfortunately, teams that have kids with great skills and have gotten by on that talent can be among the fallen. It is usually that they lack the desire and haven’t learned to play as a team.

Frustrated parents out of anxiety step in to “help their child out”. But the parent nor the coach can’t ease the learning process, can’t protect the kid from “change”. The kids need to fail to learn the lesson. To do that in peewee hockey has little consequences in their life, but to learn the lesson of overcoming failure is a big step forward in their maturing.

There will be some great hockey tourneys this weekend. Enjoy them and if your kid does well, celebrate. If not, help him or her, pick up the pieces. They will be small pieces and easily mended. Let them learn the lesson. It is a small lesson in their life. But it will keep the fire burning in the kid.

Maybe he will be a president some day. Somebody has to be a president. Merry Christmas.

North Region - D11/D12 teams have been rocked in tourneys the past three weeks. None of these teams have started to roll. But D2, the third district in this region, has two teams that are rolling, Stillwater and White Bear Lake. After doing it in the Spirit tourney two weeks ago, the Ponies and the Bears get to do it all over again at Edina tourney on New Years weekend against tough competition that they could play in the State tourney.

White Bear Lake’s and Stillwater’s main competition looks to be the team that takes the #3 seed in D2. Halfway through the season, the potential North Region field could be these two teams plus Mounds View, Duluth East, Cloquet, the Duluth Lakers, Grand Rapids and Greenway. Will any of these teams be challenged come playoff time?
You “betcha”. Last year, White Bear Lake got knocked out in the D2 playoffs and didn’t make the regional.

D11 - Duluth East played at Grand Rapids last weekend and took second in the Thunderhawks tourney. They beat Roseau 6-2 and Greenway before losing to Burnsville 4-3 in the championship. The Hounds also beat Proctor 3-2 in D11 action last week. This week the Hounds play Superior before breaking for the holidays. They take a tour to Thunder Bay on New Years weekend.

Hermantown tied a touring Roseville 3-3 last weekend. This week the Hawks play Proctor, Rice Lake Wisconsin and Cloquet before playing in the Bemidji tourney over the New Years. They draw host Bemidji, Sioux Falls and Hastings. Sioux Falls has played well in tourneys at Owatonna and New Ulm this December. Cloquet tied Roseville also, 3-3. That was their second tie game in a row. The Lumberjacks play the Duluth Lakers in addition to Hermantown and then head to Bemidji on New Years weekend. They draw LOW, Grand Forks and St. Cloud in pool play. They should do well in Bemidji.

The Lakers have the holidays off. Proctor has a busy holiday schedule. The Rails play Virginia twice, Northern Lakes, and Greenway in addition to Hermantown over the holidays. The Rails continue to improve.

Duluth East is still the #1 seed this week. They pushed a good Burnsville team in losing 4-3 at Grand Rapids. Cloquet takes the #2 spot and have opportunity in the Bemidji tourney to show that they deserve it. The Duluth Lakers keep the #3 seed, but Hermantown has an opportunity to shine at Bemidji and Proctor should do well over the holidays. If anything, D11 is wide open this year.

D12 - Grand Rapids hosted their own tourney last week. The Thunderhawks lost their opening game to a D3 team Hopkins 10-0, lost to Grand Forks Seawolves 4-1 and beat D12 rival International Falls. The Falls lost a tough overtime game to Greenway 3-2 and lost to Duluth East 11-0. Greenway lost the consolation game to Grand Forks 10-4. All three D12 teams ended up at the bottom of the tourney. The city teams took top honors.

Virginia lost to Roseville and played Hibbing last week. This week the Blue Devils play Hibbing, Proctor, and Grand Rapids before traveling to Bemidji to join the Paul Bunyan festivities. They draw Crookston, Armstrong and Keweensaw in pool play.

Eveleth plays Superior, Grand Rapids and International Falls over the holidays as the Golden Bears prepare for a trip to the cities to play in the Anoka tourney. With two regional seeds available to D12, Grand Rapids takes the #1 seed and Greenway takes the #2 seed by virtue of beating the Falls 3-2 at Grand Rapids.

D2 - White Bear Lake and Stillwater are in virtual tie in D2 (White Bear Lake is a -4 and Stillwater is a -3 in league points). The Bears played North St. Paul and beat Tartan 5-1. The Bears take the holidays off before playing in the Edina tourney. The Bears draw Elk River, Eagan and Fargo. Stillwater also plays in the Edina tourney, drawing Chaska, Lakeville South and Wayzata in pool play. The Ponies beat Mounds View and tied an improving and dangerous Farmington 2-2 last week.

Roseville toured D11/D12 last week. They beat Hibbing 5-1, beat Virginia, and tied Cloquet and Hermantown by identical 3-3 scores. The Raiders returned home to beat Tartan in D2 5-3 (the Raiders went 3-0-2 in that four day stretch). They are off over the holidays. Mounds View lost to Stillwater 2-0 and beat Irondale last week. They play in the Bloomington tourney after Christmas. They play Eastview, Prior Lake and Andover in their pool. That is a tough three games for the Mustangs, but in the Bloomington tourney, the pool games only determine the seeding to a 12 team bracket playoff. The Mustang will have their chances.

Tartan showed improvement in the South St. Paul tourney. Last week, Tartan returned to D2 action and ruined Forest Lake’s December run, beating the Lakers 4-2 for their first D2 win. The Titans then lost to White Bear Lake and to Roseville. With all eight D2 teams going to a double elimination district playoff, the Titans could be a surprise seed taker.

Mahtomedi sits in second place in D2 this week, but they have taken a serious hit in “unfairplay” points (getting 6 points in 10 games). Last week they played in the Fargo Shanley Cup Tourney hosted by the Fargo Angels. Mahtomedi played Pembina Trail, the Fargo Angels, and Brandon in pool play. After their win in the Albert Lea tourney two weeks ago, North St. Paul is off over the holidays.

Stillwater keeps the #1 seed this week, White Bear Lake takes the #2 seed. Both teams have a chance to follow-up their Spirit of Duluth tourney success at Edina. The old zinc penny had to come out to determine the #3 seed in D2. North St. Paul, Forest Lake, Tartan and Mahtomedi are still struggling and that left Mounds View and Roseville. The Mustangs pushed Stillwater before losing a close one and Roseville had a respectable northern swing. The Mustangs took the flip. The hockey ghosts of Christmas present expect good things from the Mustangs at Bloomington.

East Region - The East could have an “old guard/new guard” scenario. Last week, the potential regional line-up looked solid. This week, it looks solid in D6 with the “old guard” teams (Edina, Burnsville and Eden Prairie) and in D1 with the “new guard” teams of Mpls Park and Highland. What has changed is D8. In league action last week, the old guard (Lakeville, Woodbury, and Rochester) took a couple of hits from the new guard (Rosemount, Farmington, and Hudson). What looked to be the start of a lock by Lakeville South and Woodbury has been broken wide open when both Lakeville South and Woodbury took their second D8 loss after struggling against a tough Moorhead team.

Eleven D6 and D8 teams will mix it up in the Bloomington and Edina tourneys over the holidays. Three D8 teams are in their own pools in the Edina tourney, two are in their own pools in the Bloomington tourney. Four D6 teams play in Bloomington and two in Edina. Two of the top D6 teams (Burnsville and Eden Prairie) not entered in any holiday tourney this year.

D1 - Highland Central took on the Eastview and the 97 Fire on the weekend. The Caps started slow against the Lightning, giving up two goals in the first period before coming back to win 3-2. It was a fast, nicely skated game unlike the Sunday’s game with the 97 Fire.

The Fire are undersized but beat a bigger, older, Highland 5-2 playing “hookey”. It was the generosity of the referees that gave the Fire the game. They didn’t earn the win. After falling behind 2-0 at the end of the first period, the Fire began taking penalties.

Most of the second period, the Caps skated short-handed as the refs gave out penalties, serially, every two minutes, as a small Fire forward tripped or fell. The whistle blew. The score was still 2-0 at the end of the second period. In the third, the penalties on the Caps continued (the worst being a two and ten when a Fire forward managed to fall loudly into the boards as the Caps best defenseman avoided all contact). The ref should have known better as the Fire forward immediately got up and skated away.

The Fire won by scoring 4 power play goals in the third period. After the fourth goal, magically, the game returned to a normal flow. A few make-up calls couldn’t change the Caps fear of touching the smaller Fire forwards. Thankfully the game ended.

The 97 Fire is a young peewee team compared to Minnesota teams. If they choose to play a game against a Minnesota team, they will be hit. The refs shouldn’t be drawn in to compromise the game. That is when kids get hurt.

The Fire can’t have it both ways. If they want to play association teams, play hockey. If they want to play “hookey”, the Green Bay Gamblers are down the road.

Highland beat Irondale last week. The Caps play Mpls Park in a key D1 game over the holidays. They also play Edina in one of the more interesting games during the holiday season before returning to D2 action against Mahtomedi.

Mpls Park returned from playing in the championship round last Sunday and played Mound/Westonka in a D3 game that ended in a 0-0 tie. They play the Saint Paul Saints and Irondale in D1 action over the holidays. The Saints also play Coon Rapids this week.

Highland Central keeps the #1 seed and the Storm takes the #2 seed. The Caps continue to play well. The “showdown” with the #2 seed Mpls Park this week could determine #1 next week.

D6 - The most interesting game last week was played between Edina and STMA. Edina won 11-0. After being frustrated for most of the first period by STMA’s size and strength, the Hornets put four goals on the board in the last minutes of the first period and the opening minutes of the second. For STMA, the game was over. The Knights now know how high the mountain is. The Hornets are one of the top teams in the state. Edina then avenged an earlier loss to Elk River, beating the Elks 5-3. But just as they were standing on top of the peewee world, they lost to Eden Prairie 2-1 in D6 ending the Hornets 24 game winning streak. This is the same Eden Prairie that tied Moorhead 2-2 four days earlier.

The Hornets play another “new guard” team Highland this week before taking on Centennial, Rosemount and Osseo/Maple Grove in pool play in their own tourney on New Years weekend.

Jefferson and Kennedy host their Midwest Regional Tourney between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Forty four bantam and peewee teams are entered in four separate tourneys (A/B). The Jags play Woodbury, Anoka and Orono in pool play. Kennedy plays STMA, Lakeville North, and Arvada Colorado.

Eden Prairie and Minnetonka tied 4-4 in a D6 game played at Pagel. The Skippers built a 4-2 lead and held that lead late into the third period before giving up two last minute goals (one with the goalie pulled). The Skippers are an improving team but still lose their discipline at different times in a game. If you have a game at Pagel, bring your walking shoes. They have a nice track around. The track is well above the ice surface. You can walk and watch.

Burnsville took the Grand Rapids Star of the North tourney. The Blaze beat Grand Forks 7-4, Hopkins 6-2 and Duluth East 4-3 in the championship game and are off over the holidays.

Apple Valley started off well in the New Ulm tourney beating St. Peter 3-0 and despite being edged by Sioux Falls 4-3, made the championship round. On Sunday, the Eagles lost to a tough 1-0 game to Des Moines in the championship semifinals and lost 5-3 to Mankato in the third place game.

Eastview started slow against Jefferson last week and came back to beat the Jags 6-3. The Lightning started fast against Highland jumping out to a 2-0 lead before losing 3-2. They play in the Bloomington tourney and draw Andover, Mounds View and Prior Lake/Savage in pool play. Prior Lake/Savage beat Chaska 5-1 and played Apple Valley in D6 action last week. The Lakers have been struggling in the past few weeks, but that win over Chaska is impressive.

With three strong teams vying for the top spot in D6, there are bound to be upsets. Few hockey teams go undefeated during the season. Dispite losing their first game in the last 25 games, Edina is the #1 seed this week. The Blaze are the #2 seed and Eden Prairie remains the #3 seed, but the Eagles win over the Hornets impressive. Their goal tending did a great job protecting his weak side against the Hornets.

D8 - Lakeville South start to a tough holiday schedule last week was a rough one. The Cougars lost to Wayzata 6-2, beat Moorhead 4-3 and lost to Rosemount 5-1. If it is any consolation to the Cougars, Woodbury had a worst weekend, losing to Moorhead 3-0, losing to Farmington 1-0. Rosmount had a good weekend beating a Hastings team (coming off a 2-0 win over Farmington) 6-1 besides beating Lakeville South.

Rosemount and Woodbury clash this week before playing in holiday tourneys. Rosemount plays in the Edina tourney. The Irish play Edina, Osseo/Maple Grove and Centennial. Woodbury plays in the Bloomington tourney. They play Jefferson, Anoka and Orono.

Eagan also plays in the Edina tourney over the holidays. They play Elk River, Fargo and White Bear Lake. Last week, Eagan beat Apple Valley 4-1, lost to Moorhead 5-1, tied South St. Paul 4-4, and lost to Eastview 2-1.

Hastings plays in the Paul Bunyan tourney in Bemidji this week. They play host Bemidji, Hermantown and Sioux Falls. Dodge County played in the New Ulm tourney. They beat MAML 5-1, lost to Mankato 4-1 and to Owatonna 3-2. They play Austin and Albert Lea this week. Rochester plays D8 games this week. They tied Hudson 2-2 on the weekend. They play Sibley, Farmington and Cottage Grove this week.

Both Lakeville South and Woodbury struggled this week, but one week does not justify their losing their seeds. The Cougars take the #1 seed this week, the Royals the #2 seed. Rosemount edges Rochester for the #3 seed. But a case could be made for Farmington and Hastings being in the mix. With these D8 teams playing a heavy holiday schedule, something will give. Right now, Woodbury is the most susceptible.

South Region - D3 continues to be the tough district in the South. Four teams have emerged as the season enters the second half (Wayzata, Osseo/Maple Grove, Orono and Hopkins). Those four teams will likely fight for the district’s three regional seeds. Over in D5, STMA Knights are in “re-armor” mode after being dented and battered by Edina. They will have their chances in the Bloomington Tourney over the holidays playing tough D6 and D8 foes. With Orono also entered in the same tourney, STMA could play a repeat of the Orono tourney semifinal (one of the great games of this season).

Sartell, Crow River, Mound/Westonka, Hutchinson and Buffalo are all contending for one of the two D5 seeds. In D4, there is no question that gap between D4 teams is narrowing and the gap between D4 teams and outside competition is narrowing. The question in D4 is will the “gap” be narrowed come March. New Prague, Faribault, and Mankato look to be the best this week.

D3 - Wayzata returned from Duluth and took on Hopkins at the Pavillion. They beat the Royals 4-0. That win looks to be an expected outcome. But the Trojans had their hands full as an undermanned (down to seven forwards and missing one of the better forwards) Royals team kept the game close. The Trojans first score came in the second when a Trojan forward picked up a loose puck inside the blue line and beat the goalie on a hard shot to his left. That 1-0 score held until the Royals finally tired in the third.

Wayzata added two more victories last week beating Lakeville South and North Metro before playing Orono in a key D3 match-up. Both teams entered the game with identical D3 records and tied for second behind OMG. The game started out like gang busters in front of a number of fans in an atmosphere that would rival a high school game. The Trojans took led 1-0 at the end of the first. The game was tied 2-2 at the end of the second period, but the play was becoming ragged as both teams resorted to a series of solo rushes on the goal for offense. Wayzata had the only player that could score consistently in those conditions and he did. That was the difference as the Trojans pulled away to win 6-3.

Hopkins played in the Star of the North tourney in Grand Rapids over the weekend. The Royals beat the host in the opening game, lost to Burnsville 6-2 and beat Roseau 5-0 to take third place. Before traveling to Grand Rapids, Hopkins beat Prior Lake/Savage 4-2. The Royals play Mpls Park in D3 action over the holidays.

Orono plays in the Bloomington tourney. They play Woodbury, Anoka and Jefferson in pool play. They also play Brainerd over the holidays. Armstrong beat Mound/Westonka in D3 play 3-2 last week. Over the holidays they travel to Bemidji. They play Crookston, Virginia and Keweenaw in pool play.

Osseo/Maple Grove had a rough week. They lost to Elk River 6-2, the 97 Fire, and Centennial. Over the holidays, OMG plays the in the Edina tourney. They play Edina, Centennial (for the third time this season) and Rosemount.

Wayzata keeps the #1 seed. OMG takes the #2 seed. The Trojans and OMG play in the Edina tourney and will have opportunity to demonstrate who is #1 playing tough opponents. Orono takes the #3 seed. The Spartans are good and an improving team. But they can’t look back, the Royals are lurking.

D4 - Mason City Iowa, Faribault and New Prague continue to dominate the D4 East. After edging Faribault 4-3 two weeks ago, Mason City beat Albert Lea 7-2 and then lost a key game to New Prague 5-0 last week. The Jr. Mohawks and New Prague play again on New Years weekend in a game that will effect who wins the East. The game will be on the Trojans home ice. The day after playing Mason City, the Trojans travel to Faribault for a second key game against the Falcons. Faribault lost to Farmington 7-1 last week. The action heats up in the D4 East on New Years weekend.

Over in the West Division, Mankato reigns. The Mavericks have lost a single point in the standings after 5 games and are tied with St. Peter. But St. Peter has played 8 D4 games. Luverne, Marshall, New Ulm all trail St. Peter and have played more games then the Mavericks. With the second place finisher guaranteed a spot in the D4 playoffs, it could turn into quite a battle for second among these teams. But the Mavericks better watch out. They play Marshall twice over the holidays and take on Albert Lea and Luverne in between those games.

Marshall started out strong and took on some major competition in the Moorhead tourney two weeks ago. Last week the Tigers beat Brookings South Dakota 3-1 and Waseca. They get the first game with the Mavericks at home.

In the New Ulm tourney, Mankato won their pool beating MAML 3-0 and Dodge County 4-1. They lost the championship semifinal on Sunday to Sartell 5-2 and beat Apple Valley 5-3 for third place. Host New Ulm beat Willmar 6-1 in their opening game, but lost 6-2 to Des Moines and lost 6-4 to Sioux Falls. They break for the holidays and don’t return to action until after the New Year.

Mankato keeps the #1 seed this week. New Prague takes the #2 seed. Faribault takes the #3 seed this week. St. Peter continues their up and down season. They played Apple Valley and Sioux Falls tough, but lost both games at New Ulm. Their 4-1 win over MAML is encouraging.

D5 - Sartell won the New Ulm tourney. They beat Omaha 7-1 and Owatonna 9-1 in their pool. On Sunday the Sabres beat Mankato 5-2 in the semis and the Des Moines Jr. Buccaneers 3-1 for the championship. The Jr. Bucs are having a good year. Sartell plays Mound/Westonka and Buffalo New Years weekend.

Sartell remains on top of D5 standings with a glittering 9-1 record, but unfortunately the Sabres have lost 6 “unfairplay” points in those 10 games. Sartell ended Crow River’s 5 game D5 winning streak, beating the Tigers 3-1. The Tigers tied Buffalo 2-2 and beat Hutchinson 3-1 last week.

St. Micheal/Albertville played Edina at Breck last week and got beat 11-0. They had the Hornets struggling in the first period, but let up at the end of the period and the start of the second. The lesson is good teams work hard from the start of the game to the end of the game. Still, the Knights are a good team and they should improve. They beat River Lakes 8-1 and Mound Westonka 5-1 last week in D5 action. The Knights will have their chance in the Bloomington tourney. The Knights play Kennedy, Lakeville North and Arvada Colorado. Since the pool play is only used to seed teams, they will be guaranteed a spot in bracket play.

Willmar also played in the New Ulm tourney going 1-1-1. In pool play they lost to New Ulm 6-1, tied Des Moines 3-3, and beat Omaha 5-2. They play Mound/Westonka and MAML on New Years weekend. Mound/Westonka continues their D3/D5 schedule. They tied Mpls Park 0-0 and lost to Armstrong 3-2 in D3 games, the Whitehawks lost to STMA 5-2 in D5 action last week. They play MAML, Buffalo, Sartell and Willmar in D5 over the holidays before returning to D3 to play Wayzata. The Whitehawks are an improving team.

Last week Hutchinson had the #1 seed. Typically in this district this year, the #1 seed loses the next week. Hutchinson lost. So what team is brave enough to carry the unlucky #1 seed this week? It has to go to the Sabres. They won at New Ulm and have only one loss in D5 (the loss was the week after they were last given the #1 seed). STMA takes the #2 seed. The Knights stepped out to take on Edina last week and lost big. They came back to beat two good D5 teams easily. Crow River, Hutchinson, Mound/Westonka, and Buffalo are all in the running. And the Whitehawks are starting to look good.

West Region - Two years ago this month, a 12 kid team (plus two goalies) came out of nowhere to win a Cloquet tourney. Surprised everyone at that time; nobody even knew that they were playing peewee A hockey. The Flyers went on to have a good season, winning against good competition. As the #1 D15 seed, Little Falls beat Roseau in one of the West Regional final games to go the State tourney that year. This year seven of the kids are playing for the Little Falls high school team, 5 kids are on the boys team, 2 kids are on the girls team. It can happen.

Unlike the North region that seems to be headed for a donnybrook in their regional tourney or the East region that looks to have a powerful group of 8 teams playing each other or the South region that D3 is threatening to make an extension of their district playoffs, the West is prime for an upset. Elk River and East Grand Forks look to own this region. The Elks lost to a tough Edina team 5-3 last week. Edina and the Elks have split their first two games and should tangle in the Edina holiday tourney. East Grand Forks echoed the Edina. The Green Wave beat Bemidji 5-3. Do they have a lock on the D16 regular season title?

This region looks to be dominated by those two teams, Elk River and East Grand Forks. But Moorhead turned some heads sweeping through D8 on a twin cities tour this past weekend. The Spuds beat Eagan 4-1, lost to Lakeville South 4-3 and beat Woodbury 3-0.

A Bemidji could turn the tables on the Elks or EGF by upending them in the West, much like the Green Wave upended Roseau two years ago. Or a Moorhead or an Alexandria can repeat the Little Falls “out of nowhere” trick and to go to state.

D10 - Elk River and Andover sit on top of D10 this week. The question has been all season, is there another team to challenge the Elks. The Elks last week beat Osseo/Maple Grove 6-2, played Spring Lake Park in D10 and played Edina. This week they play two more D10 games against Chisago Lakes and Blaine plus a game against an improving Minnetonka team. On the New Years weekend the Elks play in Edina’s tourney drawing Eagan, the Fargo Flyers and White Bear Lake in pool play. The Flyers took 5th place in the 12 team Moorhead tourney last weekend (a 6-4 loss to Andover knocked the Flyers out of the championship).

Andover had one game last week, a D10 game with Chisago Lakes. The Huskies play Blaine and CINB this week. They play in the Bloomington tourney after Christmas. In pool play they draw Mounds View, Prior Lake, and Eastview. The Bloomington peewee A tourney starts on Sunday the 27th. The tourney is a grind where the winner plays 6 or 7 games in five days to win the tourney. Andover has added a D10 game during those five days. They will be challenged.

Centennial played Blaine and Prior Lake last week. This week they play Champlin Park and St. Francis before entering the Edina tourney. In pool play they draw Edina, OMG and Rosemount. Anoka is also entered in the Bloomington tourney. They draw Jefferson, Woodbury and Orono.

St. Cloud and Rogers travel to Bemidji over the holidays. St. Cloud draws LOW, Cloquet, and Grand Forks Seawolves in pool play. Rogers draws Grand Rapids, Detroit Lakes and Fort Francis in pool play. Rogers beat Blaine 4-1 last week to open a small gap over four D10 teams tied for second in the Green Division. St. Cloud is a “tied” team in D10. Besides being tied for second, St. Cloud had three straight D10 games ending in a tie (Spring Lake Park 3-3, Anoka 2-2, and Champlin Park 1-1) before beating CINB 3-2.

St. Francis finally played some D10 games last week at East Bethel. They played Anoka and CINB. The Fighting Saints had a low key November schedule and are 7-2-3 in their first 12 games and .500 in their first three D10 games. This week they play Centennial, Rogers and CINB as their D10 action heats up.

Elk River and Andover continue to dominate the Blue Division. In the Green, Rogers has a slight lead over Champlin Park, Princeton, Spring Lake Park and St. Cloud. St. Francis is just starting to play D10 games and CINB is struggling. The Rogers/St. Cloud foray into D16 country in the Bemidji tourney will be interesting to watch. Some combination of the D16 teams and Rogers/St. Cloud could tangle in this regional come March.

But this week, the seeds remain unchanged. Elk River takes the #1 seed, Andover the #2 seed and Centennial the #3 seed.

D15 - Moorhead returns from their cities tour take the Christmas holidays off. The Spuds play a single game next week at Detroit Lakes in a battle for #1 in D15 and play West Fargo. The Spuds jumped out on top of Woodbury 1-0 and added a goal in each period. They used their size and strength well to contain the smaller Royals. Their defense was excellent and they have two kids that could rank among the top peewees in the state this year.

Alexandria had a good week going last week. The Cardinals beat Wadena 8-1, Brainerd 3-1 and Northern Lakes 3-2 in ot, but lost their last game of the week to Detroit Lakes 5-4 in ot. Detroit Lakes played Fergus Falls and the Fargo Raiders besides beating Alexandria last week. The Lakers play in the Bemidji tourney over the holidays and drawing Grand Rapids, Rogers and Fort Francis in pool play. But the game with the Spuds between the holidays will be one of the keys to the Lakers season.

Moorhead has yet to lose a point in D15 (5-0 with 15 points) and Detroit Lakes has a single early season loss to Alexandria to give them a -2 points in D15. Alex sits at a -5 points. Brainerd continues to struggle in D15. The Warriors have lost games to the Spuds, Cardinals and the Lakers.

Moorhead ended up in 4th their tourney two weeks ago. They did not play like a fourth place finisher last weekend and take the #1 seed. Detroit Lakes beat Alexandria to grab the #2 seed. Alex takes the #3 seed. This week, D15 is a three team race with Detroit Lakes, Moorhead, and Alexandria contending.

D16 - EGF continued their winning ways last week. They won three more games last week. The Green Wave beat the Grand Forks Greyhounds 9-2 and West Fargo 10-2 besides Bemidji. The win over Bemidji was only their fourth D16 game giving them a 4-0 record with 10 D16 games left. But two of those wins were over the Lumberjacks. It appears that no team left on the Green Wave D16 schedule can challenge them.

Bemidji hosts their 16 team Paul Bunyan Invitational tourney during the holidays. The Dave’s Pizza Pool has Bemidji, Hermantown, Hastings and Sioux Falls; the Corner Bar pool has Detroit Lakes, Grand Rapids, Rogers and Fort Francis; the Hampton Inn pool has Crookston, Virginia, Armstrong and Keweenaw Michigan; and the McDonald’s pool has LOW, Cloquet, St. Cloud and Grand Forks. The Lumberjacks have been runner-up in three of the past five tourneys. They have not won their tourney in 15 years, perhaps this is the year. The Lumberjacks had a tough weekend, beating Crookston 9-2, but lost to Thief River Falls (2-1) and besides losing to EGF.

With three D16 teams in the Bemidji tourney (Crookston and LOW besides the host), D16 strength will be tested.

Roseau entered the Grand Rapids tourney. The Rams beat International Falls 4-3, lost to Duluth East 6-2 and lost to Hopkins 5-0 in the third place game. They take the holidays off with no games scheduled until January. Crookston did well in the Detroit Lakes tourney two weeks ago. They beat International Falls, Mandan and Detroit Lakes. Last weekend, the Pirates lost to Bemidji. This week they play West Fargo and EGF. Thief River Falls through a scheduling quirk plays their first 6 games, home and home, against Crookston, EGF and Bemidji. The Prowlers are 1-3 with two of those games left (EGF and Crookston).

East Grand Forks is the solid #1 seed this week. The loss to TRF is not enough to knock Bemidji out of the #2 seed.

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