Monday, December 20, 2010

Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey - Dec. 17

By frederick61
As the Christmas Holidays approach, the hockey action slows. It should as families get together and celebrate. This year is no different. Some districts, like D2, don’t schedule games during the coming two weeks. Others, the number of games scheduled are low. There are only two peewee A tourneys this week, Grand Rapids and Detroit Lakes. So to everyone who makes youth hockey possible, the kids, the parents, the coaches, the boards, the arena managers, and the sponsors; it is my turn to wish you well and if you celebrate Christmas as I do, Merry Christmas.

Last Sunday, Rosemount beat Farmington 5-2 for the Spirit of Duluth title. The Irish got there by beating Duluth East 8-1, the Mpls Storm 4-3, Osseo/Maple Grove 13-5, and Blaine 7-0. The Tigers got there by beating Centennial 7-0, tying Edina 3-3, beating the Duluth Lakers 9-1 and beating Elk River 2-0. Blaine played Elk River for third place.

In the consolation round semifinals, Wayzata beat D3 rival OMG and Edina beat D6 rival Eden Prairie 9-5. Edina beat Wayzata 7-6 in the consolation final in OT.
It was an interesting tournament result in that D8 teams (Rosemount and Farmington) took the top two places, D10 teams (Blaine and Elk River) took the next two places, D6 and D3 teams (OMG, Wayzata, Edina and Eden Prairie) played in the consolation tourney, two D2 teams played in the third place pool games, and three D11 teams (Duluth East, Duluth Lakers, and Superior) played in fourth place pool games. One could point to that and say D8 is on top, D10 is second, D3/D6 are tied for third, D2 is fourth, and D11 trails.

But this is December and this is peewee A hockey. February playoffs are 10 weeks out; that is enough time for these kids to grow an inch.

Albert Lea’s tourney had the Johnson/Como Devils in the finals against a tough Mankato team. Mankato won 3-2. This year Albert Lea’s long time coach, Roy Nystrom, and Rochester Mayo coach, Lorne Grosso, are dueling for who will end up with the most wins as a high coach. Last week, Nystrom passed Willard Ikola (616 wins) when he won his 617th game beating Rochester John Marshall 7-4. Lorne Grosso started the season with 613 wins and has added three wins to bring his total to 616. A win over Mankato East will put Grosso ahead of Ikola this week.

Albert Lea and Rochester youth hockey programs are both in D9. Both associations’ high schools play their hockey in the Big 9 Conference. Albert Lea’s association supports just their high school; Rochester’s association supports three Big 9 teams, John Marshall, Century and Mayo. The Rochester association also supports Lourdes. Albert Lea at 3-1 has a better record than each of the three Big 9 Rochester teams. Lourdes is currently unbeaten in 5 games.

Moorhead’s tourney was won by the Moorhead Black (or A or A1) team. The Black beat a good Mound/Westonka team 9-0, a good Andover team 7-0 and the Fargo Flyers 5-1. The surprise of this tourney was the play of the Moorhead Orange (or A2) team. The Orange lost a close game to Grafton 9-8, beat Red Wing (a team that had been playing well prior to the trip to Moorhead) 7-3 and lost close game to Mound/Westonka 6-5 in the consolation finals.

Owatonna’s tourney had eight well matched teams. The Kansas City Stars took the championship beating Kennedy 3-2, Crow River 5-4 and Princeton 5-2 in weekend that started with a hard sleeting rain on Friday and ended with massive snow storm Saturday night. Princeton continued their good play from D10 action the previous week beating a scrappy Luverne team 6-2 and Waconia 6-1 to get to the championship game. No snowstorm stops hockey, it just slows it a bit.

Grand Rapids has the Star of the North tourney this weekend. Burnsville is entered and is bracketed with the Thunderhawks in what could be the most interesting peewee A game this week providing both teams win their opening games (Grand Rapids plays Forest Lake and the Blaze play Little Falls).

North Regional (D12, D15, D16) - It took one week for Thief River Falls to turn the North Region upside down. The Prowlers handed Bemidji its first D16 loss last week, 3-0. Thief River Falls have now beaten Roseau, Bemidji, and East Grand Forks in their first four games. Moorhead Black sailed along last week, winning their tourney. Moorhead travels to the Cities this weekend and will test itself against Woodbury and Blaine.

Grand Rapids established itself as the dominant team in D12 this week by beating Hibbing, Eveleth, and Mesabi East soundly. The Thunderhawks could potentially play Burnsville in the semifinals of their tourney. This region remains wide open because after the top teams, the remaining teams are balanced. Who gets to the regional will boil down to who is playing best in February.

District 12-Grand Rapids stays home this week to play Virginia. They open their tourney against a tough Forest Lake team with a good defense. Besides Burnsville/Little Falls, Hibbing plays Hopkins and Anoka plays Duluth East. Virginia beat Rochester Black 5-0 and Rochester Gold twice 5-1 and 2-1 last week. The Blue Devils play Eveleth and Superior besides Grand Rapids this week. Hibbing besides losing to Grand Rapids played International Falls last week.

The Falls travel to Detroit Lakes to play in the Lakers tourney. They play Detroit Lakes, Willmar, and Moorhead Orange in pool play. Greenway played Hermantown last weekend and hosts the Hawks this week. They also play Mesabi East and Eveleth. Mesabi East beat Eveleth 2-0 last week. Eveleth continues to struggle losing to Proctor 10-1 in addition to East and Grand Rapids.

The seeds remain the same this week. Grand Rapids keeps the #1 seed. Hibbing remains the #2 seed and Greenway takes the #3 seed. Two weeks ago, International Falls beat MALM 6-4 in their own tourney. MALM has potential and been an up and down team all year. Last week, they rose up and tied ranked STMA 2-2 in D5 play. The Bronco’s should do well at Detroit Lakes. Virginia had a good trip in a tough snow storm and appears to be improving.

District 15 - The Moorhead Black won their tourney last week and the Moorhead Orange also had a good tourney. These teams return to D15 where the Black has dominated and the Orange has struggled. The Black adds a stop at Bemidji this week to their cities trip and then they take the Christmas week off. The Orange play in the Detroit Lakes tourney this week. They draw Detroit Lakes, Willmar and International Falls in pool play.

Last week, Alexandria beat Little Falls 6-1 and tied Detroit Lakes 4-4. This week the Cardinals play in the Detroit Lakes tourney. They draw Proctor, Sauk Rapids and Northern Lakes in pool play. Eight teams are entered in the Detroit Lakes tourney.
Brainerd lost to Bemidji 7-1, beat Fergus Falls 5-2 and Detroit Lakes 3-2 last week. This week the Warriors play Sartell. Fergus Falls beat Little Falls 6-3 last week and play Crookston, Grand Forks and Thief River Falls this week. Little Falls heads to Grand Rapids to play in the Star of the North tourney. The Flyers draw a tough Burnsville Blaze team in the opening game.

After a week off, Northern Lakes gets back into action at the Detroit Lakes tourney playing Alexandria in the opening of pool play. Moorhead Black keeps the #1 seed this week. Brainerd takes the #2 seed. Alexandria and Detroit Lakes will have their chances in the Detroit Lakes tourney. The #2 seed remains wide open.

District 16 -
Bemidji looked good on their trip to the cities two weeks ago, and then they lost to Thief River Falls last week 3-0. The Lumberjacks did beat Brainerd 7-1 and Red Lake Falls last week. This week they play three more D16 games, East Grand Forks, Warroad and Roseau. A sweep of those games would put Bemidji back in control of D16.

Thief River Falls is 4-0 in D16, but one of the reasons that Bemidji remains even with TRF is that the Prowlers have lost 3 “unfairplay” points (and yet won every game). The Prowlers have two D16 games this week against Red Lake Falls and Warroad. They also play Fergus Falls. Their second D16 game, just before Christmas, with East Grand Forks will be a key game.

East Grand Forks beat Roseau 8-3 and beat Red Lake Falls in D16 games last week. This week the Green Wave hosts Bemidji and Crookston. Roseau hosts Bemidji this week. Crookston had a tough Moorhead tourney last week losing to Andover, Mound/Westonka and playing Red Wing for seventh place. This week the Pirates play Fergus Falls and the Grand Forks Golden Eagles in addition to EGF. Red Lake Falls had a tough week (the Eagles have played better). In addition to hosting TRF this week, Warroad travels west on 11 to Grafton for a game.

To the victor go the spoils. Thief River Falls takes the #1 seed this week; Bemidji takes the #2 seed. East Grand Forks is starting to play better and gets the #3 seed. Roseau had a tough week losing to TRF and EGF, but the Rams continue to work hard. Over the Christmas Holiday, they will be playing at the Edina tourney and will have Edina, Elk River and Lakeville South in their pool.

South Regional (D4, D8, D9) - Last week’s headline in the South Regional was “Rosemount beats Wayzata”. This week the headline reads “Rosemount beats Farmington 5-2 to win the Spirit of Duluth tourney”. Quite a week for the Irish and it isn’t even March yet. Rosemount continues their stretch of great wins with victories over OMG, Mpls Storm, Duluth East, and Blaine to get to the championship game.

Farmington was not exactly a pussycat in the tourney as the Tigers shut out Centennial and Elk River and held the Duluth Lakers to a single goal in the tourney. They tied Edina 3-3 in pool play.

Meanwhile, down south in the storms, Luverne lost a tough game to Princeton in the opening game of the Owatonna tourney and slid to the hotel/home in the middle of an ice storm. Next day the Cardinals lost to Owatonna and then plowed to the hotel/home in the middle of a snow storm. Further south in Albert Lea, Mankato won their tourney beating Johnson/Como in the championship game.

District 4 - Luverne and Redwood Falls meet this week. Redwood Falls played in a Wisconsin tourney last week. This week the Falls hope to avenge an earlier 6-2 loss when they play River Lakes in addition to Luverne. Marshall has a return match with Hutchinson also this week. Luverne plays Albert Lea in a D9 game.

Luverne remains on top of the D9 West but that lead will be challenged by Mankato when the two teams meet just before Christmas. The #1 seed remains with Luverne and the #2 seed stays with Marshall.

District 8 - Rosemount and Farmington finally met at the Spirit and the Irish came out on top 5-2 as both teams made it to the championship game. The Irish beat Duluth East 8-1, Mpls Storm 4-3, OMG 13-5 and Blaine 7-0 to get there.

Farmington beat Centennial 7-0, tied Edina 3-3, beat the Duluth Lakers 9-1 and beat Elk River 2-0 to get the championship game and a second place finish. Rosemount return to play IGH/SSP and Apple Valley in D8 action this week. The Irish also play Roseville.

Farmington has a similar schedule to the Irish this week. The Tigers play Eagan and Sibley in D8 action and also play a single game with the Rochester Red. Lakeville South came out storming in the first period, jumped to a three goal lead over Woodbury and never let go beating the Predators 6-3 last week. That win has twisted D8 standings and opens the competitive door for the Cougars to move into the top echelon in D8. The Cougars added a 6-0 win over Apple Valley and have two D8 games this week with Lakeville North (in what is now a key early season match-up) and Johnson/Como. Woodbury came back to beat Eagan.

Where Lakeville South stepped up to beat Woodbury, Lakeville North took a hit in losing to Eagan 4-3 last week. The Panthers had just beaten a tough Eastview team 4-3 two days before. The loss to Eagan was the first Panthers D8 loss of the season. Eagan had been struggling and the win over the Panthers was a good for the Wildcats and maybe a sign of better days ahead. Eagan played Roseville and lost to Woodbury last week. This week the Wildcats play visiting Moorhead Black, Farmington, and Eastview. Lakeville North plays a return game with Eastview besides arch rival Lakeville South this week.

Johnson/Como took second at Albert Lea last week. The Devils won their pool beating Sioux Falls Blue 4-2, Faribault 6-0, and Albert Lea 8-1. They lost to Mankato 3-2 in an overtime, shootout, championship game on Sunday. The Devils play Apple Valley and IGH/SSP in addition to Lakeville South this week. IGH/SSP took the consolation title at Owatonna beating Kennedy in the semis and Owatonna 6-4 in the finals. IGH/SSP plays Rosemount in D8 action this week in addition to Johnson/Como.

Hastings beat Apple Valley 5-2 for their first D8 win. The Raiders host Sibley this week. Apple Valley played Lakeville South this week and plays Johnson/Como and Rosemount next week.

With Lakeville South beating Woodbury and Lakeville North losing to Eagan, D8 shifted last week from a potential year end donnybrook among five teams to a potential Rosemount and Farmington runaway. This week Rosemount takes the #1 seed and Farmington takes the #2 seed. Over the Christmas Holidays, Rosemount plays in the Bloomington tourney and Farmington plays in the Edina tourney. That will prove interesting. These two teams remain on the verge of winning their first 13 league games and being unbeaten when they play each other in February. But the Spirit of Duluth tourney last week settled the bragging rights between the Irish and the Tigers. For now, Rosemount is top dog.

The #3 seed this week goes to Lakeville South. They beat Woodbury, last week’s #3 seed. To the victor go the spoils.

District 9 - In D9, the Rochester Red team continues to play an independent schedule. Snow canceled their games last weekend. The Red plays Mankato, Eden Prairie and host Farmington this week. The Black and the Gold hosted Virginia last weekend. The Black lost to Virginia 4-0 and tied the Gold in a D9 game 1-1. The Black plays a home and home series with D9 East Division leading Northfield and a single D9 game with Dodge County this week.

The Gold lost twice to Virginia, 2-1 and 5-1 and lost a D9 game to Northfield 7-2 last week. The Gold play at Mankato and host Dodge County in two D9 games.
Northfield had scheduled games with Armstrong and Apple Valley on the weekend but were snowed and sleeted out. Besides beating the Rochester gold, the Raiders tied Red Wing 4-4 last week. That tie with the second place Wingers keeps Northfield on a path to lockup the D9 East Division title early. Red Wing played in the Moorhead tourney. They lost the opening game to the Fargo Gold, lost to the Moorhead Orange 7-3 and played Crookston. Red Wing returns to D9 action playing New Ulm and Austin.

Dodge County played in the Albert Lea tourney over last weekend. They lost to the Quad Cities Ice Eagles 6-3 and Mankato. They beat the Omaha Jr Lancers and Albert Lea 5-4. This week the Bulldogs get going in D9 playing four games; Austin, Rochester Black, Albert Lea, and Rochester Gold. Austin plays a game this week with Faribault besides playing Red Wing.

Owatonna and Albert Lea, two teams in the D9 West Division, held their tourneys this week. Owatonna’s tourney had a repeat winner as the Kansas City Stars added a second Minnesota tourney title to their collection. The Stars are now rated in the top 25 nationally (out of approximately 350) USA Peewee 98 Tier II teams. One more Minnesota tourney crown for the Stars and the state will have to adopt them.
The Stars won the crown by beating D6 Kennedy 3-2, D3 Crow River 5-4, and D10 Princeton 5-3. Owatonna lost to Princeton 6-1, beat D9 rival Luverne 6-4, and lost to IGH/SSP 6-4 in the consolation finals. Luverne showed up a man short and skated eight forwards in the tourney opener. The Cardinals hung in against a good Princeton team before giving up three goals late in the game and losing 6-2.

Mankato won the Albert Lea tourney. The Mavericks won their pool beating the Quad Cities Ice Eagles 4-2, Dodge County and the Omaha Jr. Lancers. The Mavericks beat Johnson/Como in an overtime, shootout, championship game on Sunday 3-2. Mankato plays Faribault and Luverne this week. In addition to hosting their tourney, Owatonna beat Faribault 3-2 last week. The Huskies play New Ulm this week.

Besides losing to Dodge County on Sunday in the final game of their tourney, Albert Lea beat Faribault 2-0, lost to Johnson/Como 8-1, and lost to the Sioux Falls Blue. This week, they play Dodge County and Luverne in D9 games. Faribault plays Mankato and New Ulm this week. New Ulm’s two D9 loses has been to Luverne. This week, they play three D9 games; Owatonna, Red Wing, and Faribault; and host Waconia. New Ulm has a twelve team tourney coming up in mid-January with some good teams entered. There are one or two slots left.

If D9 follows the D4 format from last year, the top two teams from each division (East and West) are seeded into the tourney. The remaining teams play-in for the two remaining slots-one remaining slot for each division.

Luverne, Owatonna, and Mankato are leading in the D9 West Division. Luverne is playing D9 as a guest and is favored to take one of the D4 seeds to the South Regional. But more importantly, Luverne at this point will not play in the D9 playoffs. That leaves Owatonna and Mankato with a clear path to the D9 playoff seeds. New Ulm, Albert Lea and Faribault would have to “play-in” to get to the playoffs. In the East Division, Northfield and Redwing have a similar clear path to the playoff seeds, leaving Dodge County, Rochester Gold, Rochester Black, and Austin having to “play-in” to get the last seed to the playoffs.

With all that being said, D9 is still a wide open district. A month from now, things will start to settle down. This week, Northfield keeps the #1 seed. The Raiders are now 6-0-1 at the halfway mark. The Raiders next three games (Rochester Black twice and Rochester Gold) are key. Mankato is starting to play better. The Mavericks won at Albert Lea and take the #2 seed. Red Wing takes the #3 seed. They struggled at Moorhead, but came back to tie Northfield in D9 play. Owatonna remains a threat as the Husky’s season rolls along. Faribault and both of the Rochester teams are still unknowns and could challenge. This is a wide open district.

East Regional (D2, D10, D11) - D11 had the Spirit of Duluth tourney over the weekend. Three of the sixteen teams entered were from D11 (Duluth East, Duluth Lakers, and Superior) and they all finished fourth in their pool. Two of the teams were from D2 (White Bear Lake and Stillwater) and they finished third in their pools. Two of the teams were from D10 (Blaine and Elk River) and they won their pools.

What does that mean? If this was August and the teams were major league baseball teams, the D11 and D2 teams would be putting their stars on the trading block and looking to cut salary. The D10 teams would be scanning the waiver lists looking to get some Star power for a few months. But this is peewee A hockey. These kids can grow an inch or more in the next month. In the end, it will be which team is playing the best when the district playoffs start.

District 2 - Roseville and Hudson are still positioned to run away with the D2 regular season title as the New Year comes. Roseville beat Mahtomedi 8-4 and Eagan 8-0 last week. They will play White Bear Lake and Forest Lake in D2 games this week. The Raiders have the big game with Rosemount on Saturday. The Raiders remain in first in D2 tied with Hudson with a game advantage. Hudson tied Highland 3-3 last week; they play Stillwater and Mahtomedi this week.

White Bear Lake had a tough Spirit of Duluth tourney, losing to Wayzata 6-2, losing to Blaine 4-0, beating Superior 9-1 and losing to Mpls Storm 3-0 on Sunday. Stillwater had a shot at winning their pool after beating the Thunder Bay Kings 3-0 and tying Elk River 1-1 in their first two pool games at the Spirit. But Eden Prairie beat the Ponies 4-1 in the third game dropping them to third in the pool. They played Centennial on Sunday.

Forest Lake heads to Grand Rapids this weekend to play in the Star of the North tourney. They draw the host Thunderhawks in the opening game of bracket play. Moundsview plays Tartan and Irondale this week. After playing Hudson this week, Mahtomedi takes the holidays off.

Roseville Raiders keep the #1 seed. They had a stunning loss to Farmington two weeks ago and will play another top D8 team in Rosemont. Stillwater takes the #2 seed. After struggling early this year, the Ponies were one of the surprises in the Spirit of Duluth and played well in their pool play. White Bear Lake takes the #3 seed, but the Bears will be challenged. One the teams to watch in D2 this week is Forest Lake. The Rangers will be tested when they play at Grand Rapids.

District 10 - Blaine and Elk River won their pools at Duluth with both teams advancing to the Championship Round on Sunday. Blaine got there by beating Superior 7-0, White Bear Lake 4-0, and Wayzata 5-4. The Bengals have a tough team. Elk River got to the championship round by tying Eden Prairie 2-2, Stillwater 1-1, and beating Thunder Bay Kings 8-0. Both teams lost in the semifinals to two D8 teams. Blaine lost to Rosemount 7-0 and Elk River lost to Farmington 2-0. The Elks beat Blaine 3-2 in the third place game.

The Elks return to D10 playing four games, Coon Rapids, Rogers, Anoka, and Spring Lake Park. Blaine played St. Francis last week. This week the Bengals are busy. They have games scheduled with Andover, Moorhead, Centennial, and Champlin Park.
Anoka makes the trip to Grand Rapids for the Star of the North tourney. They open against Duluth East. Last week, the Tornadoes lost to Rogers 4-1, tied Irondale 3-3, and beat Champlin Park 4-3. Spring Lake Park tied Andover 4-4 and a tough Prior Lake team 5-5. The Panthers play Rogers, Moorhead, and Coon Rapids this week. Considering Prior Lake tied Edina two days later, the Panthers will be a team to watch. They play in the Bloomington tourney after Christmas.

Irondale continues to surprise. Besides tying Anoka, the Knights beat St. Francis 8-1. They play Centennial, Andover and Moundsview this week. Princeton, the other surprising D10 team played at Owatonna and took second place losing in the championship game to the nationally ranked Kansas City Stars 5-2. The Tigers beat Luverne 6-2 and Waconia 6-1 to get to the championship game. This week, Princeton plays Champlin Park, Andover, Coon Rapids and St. Francis.

Andover played at Moorhead and ran into a tough Moorhead Black team losing 7-0. They beat Crookston in the opening game and played Grafton, ND in the third place game. The Huskies play Blaine, Princeton, Irondale and Andover this week. Centennial drew a tough pool at the Spirit tourney in Duluth. They lost their opener 7-0 to Farmington, but came back big to beat the Duluth Lakers 6-0. But they lost to Edina 6-2 in the final pool game and ended up third in the pool. On Sunday they played Stillwater. Centennial plays two D10 games this week, Irondale and Blaine. They play Wayzata at the Super Rink on the weekend.

Champlin Park plays Princeton, Blaine, and Coon Rapids this week. The Rebels last week beat St. Francis. Rogers had a good week. Besides beating Anoka, they beat Coon Rapids 3-2. Champlin Park and Rogers currently sit on top of D10.

Coon Rapids also tied St. Louis Park 4-4 last week. That tie coupled with pushing a good Champlin Park team before losing 3-2 means the Rapids are showing improvement.
This week, the top seeds are all changed. Elk River takes the #1 seed. They beat Blaine in the third place game at Duluth. Blaine takes the #2 seed, their win over Wayzata at Duluth was impressive. Centennial takes the #3 seed. They lost their pool at Duluth on the weekend but most teams would have difficultly advancing with Farmington and Edina in their pool. It should be noted that Rogers and Champlin Park lead D10 going into Christmas week. Spring Lake Park is improving while Irondale and Princeton continue to play well.

District 11 - Cloquet and Hermantown did not play in the Spirit. They did play each other in D11 action last week. Cloquet beat the Hawks 7-4. The Lumberjacks play the Duluth Lakers this week. Hermantown plays Greenway and Marquette, Michigan in addition to Cloquet this week.

The Marquette team will be in the Bloomington tourney. They will play Apple Valley, Woodbury, and Kennedy in pool play.

The two Duluth teams finished fourth in pool play at the Spirit. Duluth East lost Rosemount 8-1, OMG 5-1 and to the Mpls Storm 4-2. The Lakers lost to Edina 3-1, Centennial 6-0, and to Farmington 9-1. On Sunday, the Lakers beat the Thunder Bay Kings 4-3. Duluth East plays in the Grand Rapids tourney this weekend opening bracket play against Anoka. Duluth East beat Proctor 8-1 in D11 last week.

Proctor heads to Detroit Lakes this weekend to play in their tourney. They draw Sauk Rapids, Northern Lakes, and Alexandria in pool play. It should be a good test for the Rails.

This week the #1 seed goes to Cloquet and Hermantown takes the #2 seed. The two teams settled who is #1 when the Lumberjacks beat the Hawks this week. The Duluth Lakers and Duluth East are still struggling. The Hounds will have their chances at the Grand Rapids tourney on the weekend. The Proctor Rails should do well at the Detroit Lakes tourney.

West Regional (D3, D5, D6) - The Spirit of Duluth tourney trophies went to D8/D10 teams. In two weeks, Edina and Bloomington (Jefferson/Kennedy) will host their tourneys. Twenty eight teams will participate at the peewee A level, 12 at Edina and 16 at Bloomington. The two arena complexes are about 10 minutes apart. More trophies will be handed out, but Farmington plays in one tourney, Rosemount in the other tourney.

The Edina tourney has three pools of four teams each. One D6 team is in each pool. Three D3 teams are in the tourney and one D5 team is entered. Pool A has Edina, Elk River, Lakeville South, and Roseau. Pool B has Eden Prairie, Wayzata, Centennial, and Mpls Storm. Pool C has Chaska, OMG, STMA, and Farmington. Eight of these teams played in the Spirit. The four non-Spirit teams are Lakeville South, Roseau, Chaska, and STMA.

The three pool winners plus the wild card team play semi-final and final championship round games on Sunday. The tourney starts on Thursday, December 30th and ends on Sunday, January 2nd.

At Bloomington, 16 teams are entered into four pools. The Blue has Jefferson, Arvada Colorado, Roseville, and Spring Lake Park. The Gold has Kennedy, Marquette Michigan, Woodbury and Apple Valley. The White has Burnsville, Highland, Thunder Bay Kings, and Eastview. The Silver has Rosemount, Prior Lake, Lakeville North and Champlin Park.

The four pool winners are seeded one to four into an 8-team bracket tourney to determine the championship. The remaining 12 teams are seeded based on point totals (13 points maximum per game) with the top four teams advancing. Finishing second in your pool does not guarantee a 5-8 seeding. The lower eight seeded teams play each other for a fourth game.

The Burnsville Thanksgiving tourney had Jefferson, Roseville, Woodbury, Apple Valley, Eastview, and Rosemount entered. The Marquette Michigan team is traveling to Duluth this week to play Superior and Hermantown. Last year, Prior Lake won a twelve team tourney after being seeded near the 12th seed. The peewee A tourney at Bloomington starts December 28th and ends December 31st.

District 3 - Osseo/Maple Grove, Wayzata and the Mpls Storm played in the Spirit last weekend. Wayzata made it to the consolation finals, but the Mpls Storm should improvement and played well. They were the surprise of the tourney. The Storm opened losing to OMG 4-3 and Rosemount 4-3 in their first two pool games. They then beat Duluth East 4-2 and White Bear Lake 3-0 to end their tourney play. The Storm play Orono this week.

Wayzata opened with their tourney play with a 6-2 win over White Bear Lake, beat Superior 5-1, and lost to Blaine 5-4. In the consolation round on Sunday, the Trojans beat OMG and lost to Edina. OMG beat Duluth East 5-1 and lost to Rosemount 13-5 in their other pool games to finish second in their pool.

Wayzata and OMG are unbeaten in D3 play, but the Trojans have lost 4 “unfairplay” points, OMG has lost 1 point. OMG hold the advantage. These two teams meet in their first D3 game this week. The Trojans also play Centennial, Stillwater and Crow River this week. Crow River can sneak into the top two spots. They have a single loss and are coming off a good Owatonna tourney, taking third. The Tigers got there by beating IGH/SSP, losing to the Kansas City Stars 5-4, and beating Waconia 4-2. The Tigers play Wayzata at the PIC.

Mound/Westonka took the Consolation Title at Moorhead, losing to Moorhead Black 9-0, beating Crookston, and beating Moorhead Orange. The Whitehawks beat the Mpls Storm 2-1 before leaving for Moorhead and were beaten by Armstrong 6-2 when they returned. This week they play OMG and Chaska. Armstrong tied Eastview 4-4 this week. The snowstorm canceled Armstrong’s trip to the south. This week Armstrong plays OMG and St. Louis Park.

Hopkins heads to Grand Rapids to play in their tourney. They open bracket play against Hibbing. The Royals return to play St. Louis Park and Jefferson. St. Louis Park gets back into D3 action playing Orono, Armstrong and Crow River in addition to Hopkins. Besides tying Coon Rapids last week, the Orioles played Forest Lake.

Wayzata takes the #1 and OMG the #2. Mpls Storm showed they can compete at the Spirit especially in losing to a tough Rosemount team by a single goal (4-3). Crow River continues to improve and Armstrong’s hard work is starting to show in the win column.

District 5 - St. Cloud and STMA remain tied on top of D5 this week. But MALM marred STMA’s perfect record tying them 2-2 last week. STMA added D5 wins over Litchfield and Hutchinson this week. St. Cloud continued to be busy. They beat MALM 5-1 and beat Buffalo 5-2 in D5 action. STMA plays Prior Lake this week. St. Cloud plays Litchfield before taking the holidays off.

Willmar plays in the Detroit Lakes tourney this weekend. They draw Detroit Lakes, Moorhead Orange, and International Falls in pool play. Sartell beat Willmar last week in D5 and play Brainerd this week. River Lakes plays Redwood Falls, MALM and Hutchinson this week. Last week, the Lakes tied Willmar 2-2 and beat Buffalo 3-2. Hutchinson plays Marshall and Buffalo besides River Lakes this week.

St. Cloud and STMA remain tied and will not play each other in D5 until mid-January. St. Cloud continues to roll along in D5 action, but STMA took a hit in being tied by MALM. STMA keeps the #1 seed; St. Cloud keeps the #2 seed. MALM takes the #3 seed this week.

District 6 - Burnsville took it easy this week, Edina went to Duluth to kick some dirt on the sodbusters from Farmington and Eden Prairie went there to hunt Elk. The Hornets got stung, tying Farmington and beating the Duluth Lakers in a close (3-1) game. The Hornets lost the pool on a point differential tie breaker. That put them in the consolation round with the Eagles. Eden Prairie got gored by tying the Elks from Elk River and losing to the Thunder Bay Kings “Dolly Parton style” (9-5). They played each other in the consolation semifinals, Edina beating the Eagles “Dolly Parton style” 9-5 and Wayzata 7-6 for third place. The Hornets play Kennedy and Waconia in D6 games this week. Eden Prairie came back from Duluth and handed Minnetonka a 7-2 D6 loss. The Eagles play Waconia and Prior Lake this week.

Back within D6 last week Prior Lake was tying everybody that is two “everybodies”. The Lakers tied Spring Lake Park 5-5 and Edina 1-1. They beat Jefferson 5-0. This week the Lakers play STMA, Woodbury, and Eden Prairie. That is a tough three games.
Burnsville takes their unbeaten record to Grand Rapids. In the Star of the North tourney, they open against Little Falls. They play two D6 games against Waconia and Shakopee when they return.

Minnetonka beat Jefferson 5-1 last week (besides losing to Eden Prairie) and plays Chaska this week in their only game. Waconia and Kennedy played in the Owatonna tourney. Waconia beat Owatonna 4-3 in OT, lost to Princeton 6-1 and Crow River 4-2 in the third place game. Kennedy lost 3-2 to the Kansas City Stars, lost to IGH/SSP and played Luverne.

Burnsville had last week off. The Blaze plays two more D6 games this week. Unless they stumble in those two games, they will be a “perfect 30” in 10 games. By the Christmas Holiday break, the D6 regular season schedule will be half over with the top five teams (Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Prior Lake, Edina, and Minnetonka) each having played 9-11 games of an 18 game schedule. Only Prior Lake and Eden Prairie have a chance to get into the mid-20’s or higher. And they play each other.

If Prior Lake beats Eden Prairie this week, then the Lakers will move into second and be close enough to the Blaze to overtake them if they should stumble in January.
If Eden Prairie wins, they swap with the Lakers and the Eagles become the contenders chasing the Blaze; but the Eagles need more help from other teams since they will have played more games. At this point all Edina and Minnetonka can do is to win and hope things fall in their favor.

The Blaze take the #1 seed. Minnetonka’s loss to Eden Prairie drops the Skippers this week. Prior Lake takes the #2 seed. Their tie with Edina was nice, but not the only reason for getting the #2 this week. In the Edina game, their defense stood out and shut down the Edina style of attack. And as in many games this season, Edina scored their lone goal against the Lakers on a power play. The Hornets get the #3 seed.

Eden Prairie lost to Edina and beat Minnetonka. But the Eagles and the Skippers will not go away. Chaska is struggling. However, the Hawks will have their chances in the Edina tourney. So will Jefferson and Kennedy in their tourney over the holidays.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey - Dec. 9

By frederick61

The action this week changed from tournaments to key games. And there were a number of key games scheduled. The best one would have been between Farmington and Wayzata but Friday’s snow storm forced a cancelation. Fortunately, the consolation prize was Rosemount and Wayzata on Saturday. The two teams played one terrific game for two periods. Rosemount won 6-5 despite a ragged third period chopped up by five penalties handed out to the Irish.

The game consisted of three 17-minute stop-time periods with a break to clean the ice between the second and third periods. The Irish jumped out to a 2-0 lead and led 5-2 midway through the second period. They got there by using every inch of open ice and outstanding passing angles to consistently break through the Trojan defense. And the Trojans threw up a tough defense forcing the Irish forwards to their extremes on every pass, every shot and every check.

With the Trojans down 5-2 and on a penalty kill, the Trojans were on the ropes when two Irish forwards broke in alone on the goalie. But instead of passing, the forward shot. The rebound came to a Trojan forward who broke down the Irish defense and scored. The Irish passing stopped. They hung on enduring penalties in the third period and killing a 5-3 penalty late in the period to win. It was a great game and the Irish played outstanding two periods against a very good Trojan team.

Both Bemidji and Grand Rapids made trips to the Twin Cities. Bemidji beat St. Cloud 3-2 along the way and over the weekend went 1-1-1, beating Osseo/Maple Grove 3-1, losing to Edina 6-3 and tying Chaska 3-3. The Lumberjacks lucky number must be three, scoring three goals in all four games. But Bemidji is a solid team and more than just a lucky number. Grand Rapids took on four of the top D10 teams, beating Blaine 4-3 in OT, losing to Andover 5-4, Centennial 6-2 and Elk River 5-1.

The Spirit of Duluth tourney hosts a 16-team pool play tourney. The tourney has drawn top teams, including Farmington, Wayzata, Rosemount and Edina. Both Duluth teams (Duluth East and Duluth Lakers) are entered. Owatonna has an interesting tourney with solid teams entered, including a surprising Princeton team, Crow River and the return of the Kansas City Stars (last year’s champion). Moorhead has only an eight-team tourney this year and has their two A teams entered in separate brackets. Andover returns to the Moorhead tourney.

North Regional (D12, D15, D16) - With three seeds to the North Regional for D12 and D16, Grand Rapids and Bemidji are looking good to make the trip to Moorhead in February. Both teams played some tough competition over the weekend and proved they will be competitive. Bemidji could be the best team in the Northwest. Moorhead Black (aka Moorhead 1) could be the challenger, but D15 gets two seeds. The Black have get through a tough D15 playoff first to get to Moorhead.

District 12 - While the Rapids traveled, Greenway played in the Hermantown tourney. They lost a tough opening game to Brainerd 4-3, lost to the Thunder Bay Kings 6-0 and beat Warroad. This week they have off. Hibbing beat Virginia in a D12 game 9-6 and lost to East Grand Forks 6-1. This week, the Bluejackets play Messabi East, Grand Rapids and International Falls. Eveleth-Gilbert played a round robin tourney at the Falls, losing twice to MAML 6-0 and 7-0, losing to the Falls 13-1 and losing to Fort Francis 7-2. The Golden Bears play Grand Rapids, Mesabi East and Proctor this week.

International Falls beat MAML 6-4 and played Fort Frances in the championship game of their tourney. Virginia beat Mesabi East 4-3, beat the Proctor Rails 5-4 and lost to East Grand Forks 8-0. Virginia heads to Rochester this week to play the Rochester Black and Rochester Gold (twice). Mesabi East, after being off last week, plays Eveleth and Grand Rapids in addition to Hibbing.

There is no change in this week in the seeds. Grand Rapids remains the #1 seed this week. The Thunderhawks passed a good early-season test on their trip through D10 last weekend. Hibbing remains the #2 seed and Greenway takes the #3 seed. International Falls always seem to start slow every year, but always contend at playoff time. It is a Bronco tradition that goes back to the 1950’s. But this year the Broncos seem to have put their team together earlier. Virginia’s visit to Rochester will be interesting. The Blue Devils seemed to be improving. Mesabi East is still an unknown as their season gets rolling; Eveleth is starting to struggle. Outside of Grand Rapids, this district remains wide open.

District 15 - Moorhead remains the dominant story in D15 so far this year. Moorhead Black is on top of the D15 league and Moorhead Orange is at the bottom of the D15 league. The Black have strung seven D15 wins together, two of those games are identical 1-0 wins over the Orange at the start of the season. Ten days ago, the Moorhead teams hosted Alexandria; Black beat Alex 8-2 and Alex beat Orange 8-3. Last week, Black beat Crookston 7-1, lost an OT game to Thief River Falls 7-6 and beat the Fargo Flyers 5-2.

Both Moorhead teams are in the Moorhead tourney this week. The Black play Mound/Westonka and the Orange play Grafton Park. Andover plays Crookston in the other bracket game with the Black team and Red Wing plays the Fargo Flyers Gold in the other bracket game with the Orange team. Fargo Gold had a good Burnsville Turkey Day tourney, beating Eastview 4-2 and Waconia 5-2 before losing to top-rated Rosemount 9-0. Andover has a separate game Friday with the Fargo Gold. Besides losing to Alex, Moorhead Orange lost 6-3 to Little Falls last week.

Alex played in the Hermantown tourney, losing to the Hawks 7-0, beating Warroad 8-2 and losing to the Thunder Bay Kings in the consolation finals 7-0. The Cardinals play two D15 games this week, Little Falls and Detroit Lakes. Brainerd also played in the Hermantown tourney. The Warriors beat Greenway 4-3, lost to the Duluth Lakers 3-1 and lost to Mounds View 4-0 in the third-place game. Brainerd returns to D15 action this week, playing Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes. They also play a tough Bemidji team.

Fergus Falls played Moorhead Orange and West Fargo last week. This week the Otters play Little Falls in addition to Brainerd. Moorhead Black keeps the #1 seed this week; Brainerd takes the #2 seed. The Black are running away with the league, holding an 11-point lead over the nearest competitor. Brainerd played well at Hermantown, better then Alex, to take the #2 seed. Alex, Detroit Lakes and Fergus Falls could contend. They have in previous years.

District 16 - Bemidji made their statement on their trip south. They come to compete and have a solid team. The Lumberjacks play Brainerd, Thief River Falls and Red Lake Falls this week. Roseau opened their D16 season with wins over Crookston 6-3 and Red Lake Falls 12-1. Unfortunately they lost to Thief River Falls 6-4. This week they host East Grand Forks in one of the biggest rivalry games in the state.

EGF took a swing through Northeastern Minnesota last weekend, beating Hibbing 6-1 and Virginia 8-0 before losing to Duluth East 4-1. The Green Wave lost a key D16 game to Thief River Falls 7-3 before hitting the road. TRF had a great week with wins over EGF, Roseau and Moorhead Black. They will play Bemidji in a key early season D16 game and Warroad this week.

Crookston plays in the Moorhead tourney on the weekend, drawing one of the top teams in D10, Andover. Red Lake Falls beat Moorhead Orange last week and this week play EGF and Bemidji. Warroad had a tough tourney at Hermantown losing to Mounds View, Alexandria and Greenway. They play EGF and TRF.

The Lumberjacks keep the #1 seed. They are good. Roseau and TRF duked it out on Tuesday, the Prowlers won. They get the #2 seed. If they beat Bemidji this week, they get the #1 seed. Roseau gets the #3 seed.

South Regional (D4, D8, D9) - The headline in the South Regional this week is “Rosemount beats Wayzata.” What will the headline be next week after Farmington, Rosemount, Wayzata and Edina all tangle in the Duluth Spirit Tourney on the weekend?

District 4 - Redwood Falls was busy last week. The Cardinals lost to River Lakes 6-2 and played Marshall and Litchfield. Marshall played Hutchinson last week and will play them again this week. Luverne plays in the Owatonna tourney. They draw a tough Princeton team in the opener. The Luverne Cardinals lead the D9 West this week. They beat New Ulm 9-3 and beat Owatonna 5-4 in two D9 games last week. The #1 seed remains with Luverne and the #2 seed stays with Marshall.

District 8 - Rosemount and Farmington continue to be the teams in D8. Rosemount beat Wayzata 6-5 on the weekend and played great hockey. Their overall team play that showed awareness of open ice and an understanding of available passing lanes was excellent. It was needed to beat a very good Wayzata team. The Irish followed that up with a 10-0 D8 victory over IGH/SSP. In that game, the Irish beat a good team but showed none of the great team skill they had at Wayzata (for the Irish fans, don’t blame the kids, the Burnsville Blaze did the same thing against Shakopee).

Farmington’s scheduled game with Wayzata was “snowed out”; but the Tigers did beat Roseville 10-1 and Eastview 8-0 last week. Both Rosemount and Farmington play in the Spirit of Duluth Tourney on the weekend. Rosemount draws Duluth East, Osseo/Maple Grove and the Mpls Storm in pool play. Farmington draws the Duluth Lakers, Centennial and Edina.

IGH/SSP plays in the Owatonna tourney on the weekend. They draw Crow River in the opening game. Johnson/Como had a busy week. The Devils played in the Hudson tourney and lost three one goal games to Superior 2-1, to Madison West 4-3 in OT and to Mason City 5-4. They tied Eagan 0-0 in D8 action. This week the Devils travel to Albert Lea and play in their tourney. They draw Sioux Falls, Faribault and Albert Lea in pool play.

Lakeville North beat Apple Valley 6-2 and lost to Prior Lake 4-3 last week. The Panthers are 3-0 in D8 and play two D8 games (Eastview and Eagan) this week sandwiched around a trip to play the Rochester Red on their home ice. Lakeville South tied Hastings 4-4 last week and play Woodbury in their only game this week.

Woodbury beat Sibley 5-2 and Eastview 7-0 in two D8 games last week. The Predators play Hastings, Lakeville South and Eagan this week. Sibley played in the Hudson tourney on the weekend. They lost to Tartan, beat Eau Claire and beat West Madison 4-3 to take the consolation title. This week, the Generals have a single game with Highland.

Apple Valley lost to Roseville 9-3 last week. This week the Eagles play Hastings in a D8 game. Eastview has struggled in the last few weeks, losing last week to Woodbury and Farmington. It does not get any easier this week when the Lightning play Lakeville North. Eagan has a busy week playing Roseville, Lakeville North and Woodbury.

Farmington remains the #1 seed and the Irish take the #2 seed. These two teams are on the verge of winning their first 13 games and being unbeaten when they play each other in February. But this week, the Spirit of Duluth tourney will settle some of the bragging rights between these two teams.

In a D8 scheduling quirk, Woodbury could be 12-1 entering the last week of D8 and in a position to win the league title. They can get to 12-1 without having to play Rosemount or Farmington. If they are 12-1, they play Rosemount four days before the Rosemount/Farmington game and play Farmington the day after that game. The Predators take the #3 seed and will have a say in the league championship if they can continue to win their games.

Lakeville North is playing well and is also unbeaten in league play. If the Panthers can get by Lakeville South in two weeks, they could be 10-0 playing Rosemount with a similar record in late January. The Panthers play Rosemount, Woodbury and Farmington once in D8 play and could be a wild card surprise in early February. Lakeville South and Hastings continue to improve and Sibley still looks tough.

District 9 - In D9, the story is Rochester. The Rochester Red team continues to play an independent schedule while Rochester Black and Gold play a D9 schedule. The Red lost two games last week to White Bear Lake 5-4 and Centennial 5-2. They will host Lakeville North and Tartan this week. Last week, Rochester Black lost a D9 game to Red Wing 4-2 and beat Austin 7-3. The Gold lost a D9 game to Northfield 2-0 and lost to Red Wing 10-8. Both the Gold and Black host Virginia this week. The Gold has D9 games with Austin and Northfield. The Black and Gold play each other in a D9 game this week.

Northfield and Red Wing made a move last week in D9 play and put some distance between themselves and the rest of the East Division teams. The Raiders beat Faribault 5-2 besides Rochester Gold. Red Wing beat Rochester Black 4-2, lost to New Ulm 4-1 and beat Rochester Gold. Red Wing travels to Moorhead to play in their tourney; they open bracket play against Fargo. Northfield hosts Armstrong and Apple Valley this weekend and play at Rochester Gold and Red Wing.

Dodge County played Faribault last week and this week travel to Albert Lea to play in Albert Lea’s tourney. The Bulldogs draw Mankato, the Quad Cities and Omaha Jr. Lancers in pool play. The Jr. Lancers played in Spring Lake Park’s tourney a month ago and improved as the tourney went on, losing to Waconia 5-0, Sauk Rapids 7-4 and Princeton 3-2.

Albert Lea is hosting an eight-team tourney. Dodge County, Mankato, Quad Cities and the Omaha Jr. Lancers are in one pool; Albert Lea, Johnson/Como, Faribault and Sioux Falls Blue are in the other pool. Sioux Falls Blue had a good Mankato tourney at Thanksgiving and played well in the Fargo Freeze tourney last week, pushing the Fargo Angels before losing 8-5, losing to the Mandan Braves 5-1, beating D5 Sartell 2-1 and beating the Fargo Flyers Black 3-2.

For those who don’t know, the Fargo Angels are made up of kids going to private school and the Fargo Flyers and Fargo Raiders are kids going to public school. There is a second hockey association in Fargo, the West Fargo association, that draws kids that are in the West Fargo High School Area.

In the D9 East Division, Northfield and Red Wing look to draw away from the other for teams. Dodge County and Austin will contend and Rochester Black and Rochester Gold teams are struggling.

Luverne beat Owatonna, putting the Cardinals on top of the D9 West this week (the Cardinals are a D4 team playing in D9 as guests and are discussed under District 4). Mankato lost to Owatonna 4-2 and beat Albert Lea 8-4 last week. This week the Mavericks play in Albert Lea’s tourney. Faribault will join them.

Owatonna has a good tournament this year. Last year’s winner, the Kansas City Stars, is entered, but they will have a tougher tourney this year. Owatonna hosts D6 Waconia and Princeton plays Luverne in one bracket; Crow River plays IGH/SSP and the Stars play Kennedy. Kennedy has lost three tough D6 games in a row by narrow margins (Shakopee 4-3, Minnetonka 3-0 and Chaska 5-2) and is ready for a change. The Stars won at Mankato on turkey day, beating Shakopee 8-3. They are ranked in the top 30 of over 300 Tier II AA hockey teams in the nation.

Owatonna is 6-3 in their last nine games and Waconia is coming off a disappointing two loses to the Mpls Storm and Minnetonka in a D6 game. This will be an interesting game and could change the season around for a good Waconia team. Princeton, Crow River, IGH/SSP and Luverne are all tough teams and are playing well going into the tourney.

New Ulm, after upsetting Red Wing last week, hosts Armstrong in an interesting game this weekend.

D9 is still a wide open district and with at least three seeds to the South Regional, it is far too early to pick which teams will go, but it must be done each week. This week, the #1 seed goes to Northfield. The Raiders are 4-0 in the D9 East (6-1 overall). But Armstrong and Apple Valley will test them this week. The #2 seed goes to Red Wing, but they will be tested at Moorhead. The old zinc penny came out and in a coin flip between Owatonna and Mankato, Owatonna won and gets the #3 seed this week.

East Regional (D2, D10, D11) - D11 has the tourney this week, the Spirit of Duluth. Sixteen teams descend on the twin port cities of Duluth and Superior. The tournament has four pools with three D11 teams, Duluth Lakers, Duluth East and Superior each hosting their own pool. The Duluth Lakers have the unenviable task of playing Edina, Farmington and Centennial in their pool play and if the schedule holds, Edina and Farmington play each other at 7 a.m., Saturday in what should be one of the best games in the state this week. Duluth East draws Osseo/Maple Grove, Mpls Storm and Rosemount. Superior draws Wayzata, Blaine and White Bear Lake. The last pool matches Stillwater, the Thunder Bay Kings, Eden Prairie and Elk River.

District 2 - Hudson hosted their 10-team PeeWee A tourney over the weekend that included five Wisconsin AA PeeWee 1A teams (West Madison, Fox Valley, Eau Claire, Superior and Hudson). West Madison and Fox Valley are ranked in the top 40 (of over 300 teams) nationally. Three D2 teams were entered (Mahtomedi, Tartan and Hudson), one Iowa team (Mason City) and two D8 teams (Sibley and Johnson/Como). Hudson won the tourney, beating Eau Claire 9-0, Fox Valley 5-1, Tartan 5-1 and Mahtomedi 2-1. Tartan took third, beating Fox Valley 5-0 to give the three D2 teams the top three places.

Hudson was tied with Roseville on top of the D2 standings. They beat Tartan 3-2 last week, but lost to White Bear Lake 3-0 in D2 action. This week Hudson plays Highland. Roseville beat Highland 4-0 in their only D2 game this week, lost big to Farmington 10-1 and beat Apple Valley 9-3. The Farmington score is surprising. Roseville is a tough team. They play Mahtomedi this week.

In addition to beating Hudson, White Bear Lake hosted Rochester Red, beating them 5-4 in OT. The Bears join Stillwater and head to the Spirit of Duluth Tourney this weekend. White Bear Lake draws Wayzata, Blaine and Superior in pool play. The Ponies draw the Thunder Bay Kings, Eden Prairie and Elk River in pool play. Last week the Ponies played Tartan and Highland. Tartan beat Sibley in their opening game at Hudson, lost to Hudson 5-1 and came back to beat Fox Valley 5-0 to take third place. Tartan plays Mounds View and Rochester Red this week.

Mahtomedi opened last week beating Mounds View 4-3 in a D2 game and then took second in the Hudson tourney, beating West Madison 4-3 and Superior before losing to Hudson 2-1 in the championship game. Mounds View didn’t let the loss to the Zephyrs slow them at the Hermantown tourney. The Mustangs beat Warroad 8-1, lost a tough OT game to Hermantown 4-3 and beat Brainerd 4-0 to take third place. Highland lost to Prior Lake 8-1 in addition to losing to Roseville. The Caps have three home games this week, Sibley and two D2 games with Hudson and Forest Lake. After a week off, Forest Lake gets back into action, playing St. Louis Park in addition to Highland.

Roseville’s 10-1 loss to Farmington was stunning, but it will take more losses than that to knock the Raiders out of the #1 seed. Two weeks ago, White Bear Lake stunned Elk River in the opener of pool play at Eden Prairie and then lost their next two games. This week, the Bears draw Wayzata in the opener followed by Blaine. They will be tested. Stillwater has really struggled this year and the pool at Duluth will tough. The Bears take the #2 seed. The #3 is a coin flip. Highland has struggled, Tartan has been up and down, but the Mustangs made a respectable showing at Hermantown. Mounds View takes the #3 this week.

District 10 - If Irondale was surprising two weeks ago, then Princeton deserves to be called surprising this week. The Tigers looked to have potential a month ago at the Spring Lake Park tourney. This week, they strung three good D10 games together, tying Centennial 1-1 and Anoka 1-1 and beating Irondale 3-0. Irondale lost to Elk River 4-0 and played St. Francis last week in addition to losing to Princeton.

Champlin Park had a good week also. The Rebels, coming off a tough OT loss to Cloquet at the Super Rink tourney two weeks ago, beat Andover 5-0, Spring Lake Park 2-1 and Rogers 4-1. Those three wins put the Rebels in first place in D10.

Elk River strung three wins together last week, beating Irondale, Grand Rapids 5-1 and Andover 5-1. The Elks head to Duluth and the Spirit tourney this week. They draw Eden Prairie, Stillwater and the Thunder Bay Kings in pool play. Blaine and Centennial join the Elks at Duluth.

Blaine plays Princeton before heading to Duluth. The Bengals draw Wayzata, White Bear Lake and Superior in pool play. Blaine lost to Wayzata in the first game of the season for each team (sort of a game since penalties were called, but the teams did not skate shorthanded). Their game in Duluth will be an interesting re-match. Blaine is coming off a third-place finish at Burnsville (behind Rosemount and Burnsville) and Wayzata is coming off a first-place finish at Eden Prairie two weeks ago. The Bengals play St. Francis when they return.

Centennial played hard in the Burnsville tourney and then last week ran into 1-1 ties with Princeton and Rogers. They beat Grand Rapids 6-2 and beat Rochester Red (at Rochester) 5-2 last week. At the Spirit this week, Centennial draws two heavyweights, Farmington and Edina in pool play. The Duluth Lakers are the third team in the pool and the Lakers finished second at Hermantown last week.

Andover also played Grand Rapids last week. The Huskies beat the Thunderhawks 5-4 and beat St. Francis 4-0 in a D10 game. They lost to Elk River and Spring Lake Park. This week the Huskies travel to Moorhead to play in the Spuds tourney. They draw Crookston in the opening round and play a game with the Fargo Gold.

Anoka tied Princeton, lost to St. Cloud 6-4 and played Blaine last week. The Tornadoes continue to be busy in D10 playing three games this week (Rogers, Irondale, and Champlin Park). Coon Rapids played in the Orono tourney over the weekend losing to Orono 5-4, to Hutchinson 6-2, and Buffalo 3-1. The Rapids play Rogers this week. Rogers beat St. Francis 7-0 and lost to Champlin Park besides tying Centennial.

This week, the top two seeds in D10 are unchanged. Centennial takes the #1 seed this week. Elk River takes the #2 seed. Andover, however, takes the #3 seed. Blaine lost to Grand Rapids and Andover beat Grand Rapids.

Centennial, Elk River and Blaine play in the Duluth tourney. Centennial has the most difficult pool and will really be tested, playing Edina and Farmington. Blaine will be challenged by Wayzata, but a good game against the Trojans should give the Bengals a chance to play Sunday. Elk River will battle Eden Prairie. Andover plays at Moorhead and the Huskies have done well at Moorhead the past two years. Champlin Park, Anoka, Princeton and Rogers are all in contention in a wide open D10 league.

District 11 - Hermantown won their own tourney last week, giving the Hawks a tourney championship and a tourney second-place finish in the last three weeks. They won their tourney by beating another D11 team, the Duluth Lakers, in the championship game 5-2. They lost the Superior championship game to Cloquet three weeks ago. The Hawks beat Alexandria 7-0 and Mounds View 4-3 to get to the Hermantown championship game. The Duluth Lakers beat the Thunder Bay Kings 2-1 in OT and Brainerd 3-1 to get to the Championship game.

The Hawks play Greenway and Cloquet this week. The Lakers play in the Spirit of Duluth tourney. They draw Farmington, Edina and Centennial in pool play (all top teams in their districts). Duluth East plays in the Spirit also and draw Osseo/Maple Grove, Mpls Storm and Rosemount. Rosemount is playing well entering the tourney. The question is will they be fully manned? The Hounds had the last week off and will play Proctor in addition to the Spirit tourney.

Superior plays D11 hockey and they played in the Hudson tourney last week, beating Johnson/Como 2-1, losing to Mahtomedi and losing to Fox Valley Wisconsin 4-0. They play in the Spirit and draw Wayzata, White Bear Lake and Blaine.

Cloquet had last week off and play Hermantown in their only game this week. Proctor lost to Virginia 5-4 last week. This week the Rails play Eveleth besides playing Duluth East.

This week the #1 seed goes to Hermantown and Cloquet takes the #2 seed. The two teams will settle who is No. 1 when they play each other this week. The Duluth Lakers and Duluth East will be tested in the Spirit and a good showing by either team could change things in D11. The Proctor Rails keep playing tough and practice regularly outdoors. Go Rails. The Detroit Lakes tourney is in two weeks.

West Regional (D3, D5, D6) - There are a host of teams battling for a spot in the West Regional. The only thing close to a sure bet are the Wayzata Trojans and they have to be careful because D3 has only two regional seeds. A single loss at the wrong moment in the D3 playoffs could knock them out. Crow River has been playing well in D3 and took the Orono tourney title last week.

In D5, STMA and St. Cloud continue to battle for the #1 seed; but with three seeds available anything goes. Over in D6, Burnsville is looking to put some distance between them and the rest of the league in December. Edina, Eden Prairie, Prior Lake, Minnetonka and Chaska are looking to challenge.

District 3 - Both Osseo/Maple Grove and Wayzata have 5-0 records and are on top D3 standings this week. But Wayzata has managed only one “unfair play point” and are essentially one game behind OMG. OMG beat St. Louis Park 5-1 in league action last week. They also lost to Bemidji 3-1. Wayzata beat Armstrong 7-2 last week and lost to Rosemount.

Both teams head to Duluth this week. In the Spirit, Wayzata draws White Bear Lake, Blaine and Superior. OMG draws Duluth East, Rosemount and another D3 team, Mpls Storm. The Mpls Storm lost to OMG 4-1 three weeks ago. They beat Waconia 3-0 and lost to Mound/Westonka 2-1 last week. The Storm play Hopkins this week after they return from Duluth.

Crow River took the Orono tourney, beating Buffalo 6-0, the Wausau Warjacks 2-0 and Orono 5-2. The Tigers head to Owatonna to play in a tough Owatonna Tourney. They open play against a IGH/SSP team rebounding from a tough loss to Rosemount. If the Tigers win that game, they will play either the Kansas City Stars or Kennedy. The Tigers play Hopkins in a D3 game this week.

Orono took second in their tourney by beating Hutchinson 7-1 and Coon Rapids 5-4. The Spartans play Mound/Westonka this week.

After the Orono game, Mound/Westonka heads for Moorhead and draws Moorhead Black in the opening game. That will test the Whitehawks. Hopkins upended the Whitehawks 3-2 for their first D3 win last week. St. Louis Park after being off last week, play three games this week, Forest Lake, Shakopee and Coon Rapids. Armstrong beat Hopkins 4-2 besides losing to Wayzata. Armstrong travels to D9 playing Northfield, New Ulm and at Mankato. They return home to play Mound/Westonka.

The ratings this week are unchanged; Wayzata takes the #1 and OMG the #2. Mpls Storm has shown they can compete and will get their chances again in the Spirit, especially against a tough Rosemount team. Crow River continues to develop as a team and have a good shot at winning in Owatonna, but it will not be easy. Armstrong continues to work hard. Things could get interesting in D3 yet.

District 5 - St. Cloud and STMA have perfect records in D5 play after four games. They are tied on top of D5 this week. St. Cloud was busy last week. They beat Anoka 6-4, beat Willmar 12-2, lost to Bemidji 3-2 and played Hutchinson. This week St. Cloud plays River Lakes, MAML and Buffalo in D5 action. STMA beat Sauk Rapids 12-0 last week and this week play MAML, Litchfield and Hutchinson.

Hutchinson played in the Orono tourney last week. The Tigers beat Coon Rapids 6-2, lost to Orono 7-1 (on a snowy Friday night) and lost to the Wausau Warjacks 6-0. Sartell played in the Fargo Face Off tourney over the weekend. They played the Mandan Braves, the Fargo Angels, lost to the Sioux Falls Blue 2-1 and beat the Fargo Raiders 6-5. The Sabres play Willmar and MAML this week.

Buffalo also played at Orono. The Bison lost to Crow River 6-0, the Wausau Warjacks 6-3 and beat Coon Rapids 3-1. They play River Lakes and St. Cloud this week. MAML traveled to International Falls. They beat Eveleth twice 6-0, lost to the Falls 6-4, and lost to Fort Frances 7-6. The Moose return to D5 this week to play the top three teams in D5 standings, STMA, Sartell and St. Cloud. These are key games for the Moose.

River Lakes had a good week, beating Sauk Rapids 5-3, Redwood Falls 6-2 and tying Willmar 2-2. They play St. Cloud and STMA this week. Willmar also tied Litchfield/Dassel/Cokato 4-4 besides losing to St. Cloud. They play Sartell and Hutchinson this week before heading to Detroit Lakes next week to play in their tourney.

St. Cloud and STMA will not play each other in D5 until mid-January. Both teams are on a path to be unbeaten and both have perfect records (all their “unfairplay” points). STMA had an off week playing only one game; St. Cloud had a busy week playing four games, but lost one (to Bemidji). STMA keeps the #1 seed; St. Cloud keeps the #2 seed. MAML and Sartell need to continue to improve. River Lakes had a good week. Buffalo and Hutchinson are struggling and Willmar has shown some signs of improving. Still MAML takes the #3 seed this week.

District 6 - Burnsville added three more D6 wins last week, beating Chaska 3-2, Jefferson 6-0 and Shakopee 7-4. In the Shakopee game the Blaze were more like a dying campfire; smoldering and smoking, but no flames and no sparks. Both Burnsville and Shakopee came out flat and both played an uninspired first period. The Sabres gave the Blaze far more respect than they deserved. And the Blaze sort of just skated around. They led 2-1 at the end of the first and were finally shocked into starting to play when the Sabres tied the game 2-2 at the halfway mark. It was triggered by a Shakopee defenseman walking around a Blaze forward from the blue line and driving the puck into the goal.

A few minutes later, a Blaze forward put the puck on the goalie from the left faceoff, skated to the center slot and one-timed his own rebound into the net. Four seconds later, they added a fourth goal on a rush off the center faceoff. Trailing 5-2 halfway through the third period, a Sabres forward skated through two Burnsville players out of the corner to the slot and backhanded the puck by the goalie to make it a 5-3 game. A few minutes later, on a two-on-one, a Sabre forward used the other forward to set up a high upper right corner shot to cut the lead to 5-4.

At that point, the Blaze finally came alive and held the Sabres in their own defensive zone for the last few minutes, adding two goals. The final score was 7-4. That puts the Blaze at a perfect 8-0 as they roll through December. Shakopee plays Edina this week.

Edina beat Bemidji 6-3 last week in the Hornets' only game. This week they head to Duluth and will play Farmington in pool play. They also play Centennial and the Duluth Lakers. The Hornets play Prior Lake when they return from Duluth. Eden Prairie joins the Hornets at Duluth, playing the Thunder Bay Kings, Stillwater and Elk River in pool play. Eden Prairie returns to play a tough Minnetonka team. The Eagles beat Chaska 7-1 and played Jefferson last week.

Minnetonka beat Kennedy 3-0 and Waconia 7-1. The Skippers are unbeaten in D6 (the only blemish is a 3-3 tie with Eden Prairie) and play Jefferson in addition to a return match with Eden Prairie. Chaska, besides losing to Eden Prairie, beat Kennedy 5-2, tied Bemidji 3-3, and lost to Prior Lake 7-0 last week. Prior Lake had a good week. The Lakers beat Shakopee 3-2 and Lakeville North 4-3 besides beating Chaska. This week, they play Jefferson, Spring Lake Park and Edina. Shakopee beat Kennedy 4-3 besides losing to Prior Lake and Burnsville.

Waconia lost to the Mpls Storm 3-0 last week in addition to losing to Tonka. This week, they head to Owatonna to play in their tourney. They draw the host in Friday’s quarterfinal game. Kennedy joins them and will play a tough Kansas City Stars team in the opening game.

Burnsville continues to win, but did not impress this week. After beating top ranked opposition in a two-week stint, they have come back to earth and just won their last three games (Chaska, Jefferson and Shakopee). Still, a coach has a hard time complaining about winning.

The Blaze take the #1 seed. Minnetonka takes the #2 seed this week in a surprising move. The Skippers had some injuries over the past few weeks, but are positioning themselves to make a run at the top. The Skippers have played well and hold the season wins over the Hornets and Rosemount. Hopefully they will be fully manned when they play Eden Prairie this week.

Edina takes the #3 seed and is approaching the halfway mark in the season, facing tough competition at Duluth, in D6 and at their tourney over the Christmas holidays. They will be tested.

D6 is turning into a five-team race (Burnsville, Minnetonka, Edina, Eden Prairie and Prior Lake) for the top two spots. Finishing first or second gets a first-round bye in the D6 playoff. Chaska is a dangerous up-and-down team that is languishing in last place in D6. Burnsville could be playing an unbeaten Minnetonka on Jan. 2, 2011, if the Skippers beat Eden Prairie this week.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey - Dec. 3

By frederick61

Tournaments, tournaments, tournaments were played everywhere over the Thanksgiving Holiday. By my count, 60 tourneys were held in 19 locations in the Twin Cities area. But the PeeWee A tourneys are the ones that matter here. There were four tourneys locally that were of interest: Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Hopkins and Mounds View/Irondale (Super Rink). The Mankato PeeWee A tourney is also worthy of being included. That tourney mixes D9, Twin Cities-based teams, and out of state teams.

Tournament Highlights: Eight of the nine D6 PeeWee A teams played in four of those five tourneys, winning two and placing second in the other two. Burnsville won their tourney. Prior Lake took the Hopkins title. Edina took second at Eden Prairie and Shakopee took second at Mankato.

What made the Blaze tourney win interesting is that they entered the tourney with one of their two goalies injured. At the start of the semifinal game on Sunday against Woodbury, their only goalie was injured and could not play. A forward donned the goalie gear and led the Blaze to a 3-2 win in overtime/shootout game. At Eden Prairie, an Edina forward gets credit for the most unusual goal this weekend. Edina was in a tough game against Lakeville North (score 2-1 at the halfway mark) when the Edina forward picked up a loose puck in his offensive zone deep in the corner. As he turned to make a hard pass to the point, a Panther defenseman’s stick hit the puck at the same time, driving it not towards the point, but sideways to the front of the Panthers goal, bouncing off a third or fourth player into the net. A pass to the point turns the game to a 3-1 score.

D8 had four teams in the Burnsville tourney, Rosemount finished second, Woodbury finished fourth, and Eastview and Apple Valley did not make it to Sunday’s play. At Eden Prairie, only Lakeville South made to Sunday’s consolation round. Both Lakeville North and Eagan had their tourney ended on Saturday. D8’s Johnson/Como did not make a trophy game at the Super Rink. Farmington, D8 strongest team, did not play in any tourney.

D2 teams played in the Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Super Rink and Mankato tourneys. At Burnsville, Roseville gave the Blaze a tough game before losing 3-2 (their only tourney loss) and did not make it to Championship Sunday. White Bear Lake and Stillwater did not make it to Sunday’s championship or consolation rounds at Eden Prairie; Mounds View and Tartan played each other for the Super Rink consolation title and Mahtomedi played in the third place game. t Mankato, Forest Lake made it to the championship round on Sunday.

D3’s Wayzata took the Eden Prairie championship (Osseo/Maple Grove and Mpls Storm did not make it to Sunday’s games). Mound/Westonka placed second at Hopkins. Orono surprised Rogers 7-2 in the opening round at Hopkins. Orono took third and Hopkins fourth. D5’s St. Michael/Albertville made it to Eden Prairie’s Sunday games and had a nice 3-0 win over Minnetonka Sunday morning. St. Cloud won consolation at Hopkins, beating D5 rival MAML. Litchfield did not make a trophy game at the Super Rink tourney.

D10’s Irondale was the most surprising team of the week. The Knights made it to the Super Rink championship game, losing 2-1 to Cloquet. Blaine took third place at Burnsville. Centennial had Roseville beaten late in their pool game only to let the Raiders off the hook and lost a tough game. Like Roseville, Centennial pushed Burnsville to the limits before losing 3-2 in pool play. Elk River made it to the championship round at Eden Prairie, taking fourth. Rogers did not get to a trophy game at Hopkins.

Champlin Park took Cloquet into overtime in the Super Rink semifinals before losing on a goal that almost look like a set play. A Cloquet forward picked up a puck deep in the corner of the Rebels' offensive zone and shot the puck waist high across the front of the net at the top of the crease. The Rebel goalie turned to follow the puck when another Cloquet forward reached out and batted the puck down into the net. Either it was a great play or a lucky swing. It looked like a great play and it put the Lumberjacks into the title game.

Three D9 teams (and D4 Luverne playing a D9 schedule) hosted four teams; one D2, the Sioux Falls Blue, the Kansas City Stars and one D6 team. All four D9 teams failed to make it to Championship Sunday. Rochester Gold was one of the four D9 teams that played in the tourney. Rochester Red, playing an independent schedule (and should not be eligible for D9 playoffs), did not make it to Sunday at Eden Prairie although they did tie Eden Prairie 3-3 and the Mpls Storm 3-3 in pool play. Rochester Black played at Hopkins and did not play in a trophy game, losing all three games.

Cloquet was the only D11 team playing in tourneys this weekend. D12 teams and D15 teams played elsewhere. Roseau from D16 played at Eden Prairie’s tourney and did not make it to Sunday; but the Rams played .500 hockey in pool play, tying Chaska and beating Eagan. East Grand Forks hosted their tourney, playing teams from Canada and North Dakota. They went 2-2 in their tourney.

When the turkey day tourneys start on “Black Friday,” there is excitement as players, coaches, parents and tourney hosts are all running around the arenas. But Sunday morning of these tourneys reminds me of a lyric from the song “Sunday Morning Coming Down.”

A tourney’s championship semifinals are usually played in the early Sunday Morning. Nobody is up. The teams that didn’t make it to Sunday are gone. The crowds are small. As parents and kids get out of the car in an almost empty parking area, it makes “a body feel alone.” “Cuz there’s something in a Sunday, Makes a body feel alone.” In the final championship game later in the Sunday afternoon or early evening, the crowd and fans bring the place alive and afterward the winners and losers go home.

This is a way of saying to kids, parents and coaches that playing the game is “the fun.” One team will always be on the short end of the score. But none of the teams that played in this tourney, none of the kids and coaches who participated lost. They are all winners.

North Regional (D12, D15, D16) - Except for Roseau’s appearance in the Eden Prairie tourney, the teams in these districts stayed home. That is understandable since most of the teams have had only a few weeks of hockey. But as a measuring stick, Roseau went 1-1-1 at Eden Prairie. That is a good start. The Rams are an example of how all the teams in these three districts start because of lack of practice time (ice) in early November. The Bemidji tourney at New Years and the Rams' tourney in late January should show different results.

Northern Lakes' play on the Range showed that the D15 and D12 teams are well-matched. Warroad shows up in the Hermantown tourney this week. That gives that eight-team tourney an interesting mix of D12 (Greenway), D15(Alexandria and Brainerd) and D16 (Warroad) teams.

District 12 - In D12, Grand Rapids took the last week off. They travel south this week to play four of the top D10 teams on the weekend (Andover, Blaine, Centennial and Elk River). Greenway and Virginia hosted St. Francis and Princeton in a round robin set of games. Greenway beat Northern Lakes 3-2, played St. Francis and lost to Northern Lakes 4-0. This week, they play in the Hermantown tourney, drawing another D15 team, Brainerd. Virginia played St. Francis, Mesabi East (in the Giants; first D12 game) and Hermantown last week. The Blue Devils host Hibbing this week. Hibbing hosts East Grand Forks this week and play Armstrong. The Blue Jackets beat Proctor last week 7-3 and lost to the Duluth Lakers 2-0. Eveleth-Gilbert lost to Proctor 7-1 this week and play in the International Falls tourney. They will play MAML, the Falls and Fort Francis.

Grand Rapids remains the #1 seed this week. The Thunderhawks' tour this weekend will be a good early season test. Hibbing remains the #2 seed and the third seed remains wide open. Greenway takes the #3 seed this week. Outside of Grand Rapids, this district remains wide open.

District 15 - Northern Lakes traveled to the Range last week and played Greenway twice (winning 4-0 and losing 3-1) and lost to St. Francis 5-3. The Lightning play two league games this week, Detroit Lakes and Brainerd.

Moorhead Black was a winner over the Thanksgiving weekend, beating Duluth East 3-1, Detroit Lakes 8-2 and Alexandria 8-2. This week the Black play at Crookston, at Thief River Falls and host the Fargo Flyers. Moorhead Orange beat Alexandria 8-3 in their only game last week. The Orange play Red Lake Falls and Fergus Falls this week. Fergus Falls tied Detroit Lakes 6-6 last week and lost to Grand Forks 13-5. Besides the Orange, the Otters play West Fargo this week.

Alexandria plays in the Hermantown tourney this week. They draw the host Hawks in opening round of bracket play. Brainerd played the Fargo Angels last week. This week the Warriors travel to Hermantown and open play against Greenway. Little Falls took a short trip down Highway 10 to play Sauk Rapids. The Flyers are off this week as they gear up to play Brainerd and the two Moorhead teams the following week.

Moorhead Black still holds the #1 seed this week. Moorhead Orange 8-3 win over Alex gives them the #2 seed.

District 16 - Bemidji opened their season with a 7-2 win over Crookston and then beat Duluth East 5-0. The Lumberjacks have had a steadily improving PeeWee A program over the past few years and came close to making the state tourney last year. This could be the Lumberjacks' year. They will test themselves this week, traveling south to play St. Cloud, Chaska, Edina and Osseo/Maple Grove.

Roseau traveled to Eden Prairie and played its second game of the season against Wayzata, losing 11-2. They tied Chaska 4-4 that night and beat Eagan 3-1 the next day. The Rams play three D16 games against Crookston, Red Lake Falls and Thief River Falls this week.

Red Lake Falls lost to the Fargo Flyers last week; they play Moorhead Orange this week besides Roseau. Thief River Falls notched two wins last week, beating Duluth East 3-1 and Grand Forks Golden Eagles 8-4 and played Crookston. The Prowlers play East Grand Forks and Moorhead in addition to Roseau this week.

East Grand Forks hosted a tourney last weekend. The Green Wave beat the Assiniboine Park Rangers 4-1, beat the Bismarck Blades 8-4, lost to the Winnipeg East Railcats 6-3 and lost to Pembina Trail Twins 9-1. The Pembina Trail Twins are a 98 AA team from Winnipeg area and are currently leading the league. In the same league, the Rangers are in second place and the Railcats are in the middle of the standings. East Grand Forks' game with Thief River Falls this week will be their D16 opener.

Warroad lost two games last week to Kenora 6-0 and Duluth East 8-3. They draw D2 Mounds View in the opening round of bracket play at Hermantown.

Roseau tried to go from 0 to 100 mph in one week, forming the team and taking on Wayzata a few weeks later. They lost that game but came back to tie and win the next two games. Bemidji impressed the most this weekend with two solid opening wins. The Lumberjacks take the #1 seed. Roseau gets the #2 seed. Thief River Falls takes the #3 seed. Crookston and East Grand Forks struggled in their games last week. Warroad will have their chances in the Hermantown tourney this week.

South Regional (D4, D8, D9) - The debate after the Eden Prairie and Burnsville tourneys were over this week should be “is D8 better then D6?” The D8 teams at Eden Prairie played better than anticipated with Lakeville South making the consolation round on Sunday and Lakeville North coming within a goal in joining the Cougars. Both teams were formed the first week in November.

At Burnsville, Woodbury and Rosemount made the championship round with Rosemount finishing second. Farmington had last week off, but re-engages this week, playing Wayzata in what is the game of the week. Last week’s tourneys didn’t resolve which district is better this year. It did prove only one thing, Burnsville and Wayzata are playing very good hockey.

District 4 - Luverne played at Mankato last week. The Cardinals lost to Forest Lake 8-3, Shakopee 4-1 and Mankato. They beat New Ulm 7-0. This week Luverne plays New Ulm again and Owatonna. Marshall and Redwood Falls play each other this week. The #1 seed remains with Luverne and the #2 with Marshall.

District 8 - D8 league play slowed with only three teams (IGH/SSP, Sibley and Farmington) not playing in turkey day tourneys. With few games played, Rosemount, Lakeville North, Farmington and Lakeville South have yet to lose a league game. Woodbury has a sole loss to Rosemount. Sibley and IGH/SSP have single losses. Johnson/Como, Apple Valley and Eagan are struggling. Hastings has yet to play a league game.

Rosemount sailed through their pool play at Burnsville. The Irish beat Waconia 9-0, Fargo 8-0 and arch rival Eastview 7-3. On championship Sunday morning, the Irish beat Blaine 6-2 in the semifinals to set up a championship match on the same ice that Burnsville beat the Irish 5-4 a month ago. The Blaze called up a B goalie to play in the game. The game started fast with both teams moving the puck well, but as the period progressed the Blaze defense began to consistently beat the Irish forwards to the puck and the Blaze forwards were quicker than the Irish defenders in their zone. Halfway through the period, the Irish goalie sprawled to stop a Blaze shot with his leg pad and ended up at an awkward angle in the crease. The puck rebounded to a Blaze forward who lifted it over the goalie for a goal. The period ended with the score 1-0.

In the second period, the Blaze pressure on the Irish defense was relentless. The Rosemount defense held until the last five minutes of the period. The Blaze scored two quick goals. The first goal came on a 2-on-1 break. The second was a tough rebound goal on a puck that caromed off the goalie from his left to his right side on to a stick of an open Blaze forward. The Blaze added a fourth goal with a minute to go. Rosemount came back in the third period and started to pressure the Blaze. They scored at the nine-minute mark to make it a 4-1 game, but could not find the net again.

Woodbury opened pool play by beating Blaine 4-2 in a tough game and then rolled, beating Jefferson 6-2 and St. Louis Park 7-1 to go unbeaten in pool play. But the Predators had a tough Sunday, losing to Burnsville and to Blaine 3-2 in the third place game. Eastview was surprised by a Fargo team that came to play and lost their opening game of pool play 4-2. They beat Waconia 3-1 for their only tourney win. Apple Valley gave Burnsville a tough opening game. It was a 1-1 tie with five minutes to go in the second period before the Blaze put the Eagles away with a 5-1 win. The Eagles also lost to Roseville 5-0 and Centennial 9-3.

At Eden Prairie, Lakeville South opened their pool play with a 3-1 win over Rochester Red. The Cougars tied the Mpls Storm 3-3 and lost to Eden Prairie in a tight game 6-5. They played in the consolation round on Sunday losing to Chaska 5-1. Lakeville North opened the Eden Prairie tourney with a 6-1 win over Stillwater, lost to Edina 7-1, and lost a tough game to STMA 3-2. Eagan lost all three pool games, Chaska 8-1, Wayzata 5-0 and Roseau 3-1.

Johnson/Como played at the Super Rink tourney. The Devils lost the opening game to Mahtomedi 6-2, lost to Tartan 7-1 and played Litchfield. Hastingd had home-and-home non-league games with Sibley, losing both, 5-2 and 6-2. The Raiders also lost to Highland 5-2. This week the Raiders play Lakeville South in the Raiders' opening D8 game.

Rosemount returned to D8 action and beat Johnson/Como 5-1. The Irish play Wayzata and IGH/SSP this week. Woodbury has two D8 games, Eastview and Sibley. Lakeville North plays Apple Valley and Prior Lake this week. Eagan plays at Johnson/Como.

Sibley and Johnson/Como play in the Hudson tourney. The Devils draw Superior in opening round play of a ten team bracket format tourney; the Generals draw Tartan.

D8 remains unchanged this week. Farmington remains the #1 seed; the Irish take the #2 seed; and Woodbury takes the #3 seed. Farmington and Rosemount play Wayzata on Friday and Saturday. That will make things interesting next week. Lakeville North had a good Eden Prairie Tourney and played Edina tough. Lakeville South had a better Eden Prairie Tourney and played Eden Prairie tough. Eastview struggled at Burnsville. Sibley plays in a good Hudson tourney on the weekend and then play Woodbury on Monday. The Generals will be tested this week. IGH/SSP will also be tested taking on Rosemount. D8 still looks tough this year.

District 9 - In D9, the story in their first year is Rochester. The Rochester Red team, playing an independent schedule and not playing in either of the D9 divisions, played well in the Eden Prairie tourney. The Red lost to Lakeville South, but came back to tie Eden Prairie 3-3 and Mpls Storm 3-3. Rochester Black went three games and out at Hopkins, losing to Mound/Westonka 6-3, MAML 5-0 and Rogers 11-0. Rochester Gold fared better, losing to the Kansas City Stars 7-1 and the Sioux Falls Blue 4-0, before beating New Ulm 3-1 in pool play. On Sunday the Gold lost to Mankato 12-0.

The Red play White Bear Lake and Centennial this week. The Black play Red Wing and Austin in D9 games; the Gold play Northfield and Red Wing in D9 action.

In the D9 East Division, Northfield has strung together three straight wins. They beat Austin 5-1 last week and that win puts them on top of the East. They play Faribault and Rochester Gold this week. Red Wing is close behind Northfield. The Wingers play Rochester Black and Rochester Gold (in an interesting early season two games) and New Ulm this week. The Wingers travel to Moorhead in 10 days to play in the Spuds tourney. Dodge County hosts Faribault on Sunday.

In the West Division, Mankato, Luverne and Owatonna are on top. Mankato had an up and down home tourney. The Mavericks tied a tough Forest Lake team 2-2, beat Luverne, but lost a tough game to Shakopee 4-3. They did not make the championship round on Sunday, but to their credit they played well against two good teams. They return to D9 action this week playing Owatonna in a key D9 match-up and Albert Lea.

Owatonna plays Luverne in addition to Mankato this week. They beat Red Wing 3-2 and Dodge County 10-2 in two non-league games last week. The Huskies look to avenge an earlier 7-6 loss to Mankato. Luverne struggled at Mankato, the Cardinals lost to Forest Lake 8-3 and to Shakopee 4-1. New Ulm also struggled at Mankato losing to Luverne 7-0, Kansas City Stars 8-1 and the Sioux Falls Blue 5-2 in pool play. In addition to Owatonna, New Ulm plays Red Wing this week.

Mankato remains the #1 seed this week. Despite not getting to the championship on Sunday, the Mavericks showed potential to compete. Red Wing remains the #2 seed despite their loss to Owatonna. The Wingers will be tested in two weeks at Moorhead. Owatonna does take the #3 seed. The Huskies win over the Wingers was a good one. Both Rochester teams are struggling, but their return to D9 action will give them opportunities to improve. D9 teams were “shaken” last week as they collectively struggled in the Hopkins and Mankato tourneys. Now have they been “stirred” or “riled up”?

East Regional (D2, D10, D11) - Cloquet, Elk River, Blaine, Centennial and Roseville all emerged as strong candidates to make the East Regional this week. Cloquet looked good in winning their second tourney in a row, all three D10 teams impressed and Roseville came close at the Burnsville tourney.

District 2 - Roseville’s only blemish was losing a tough 3-2 game to the host team at Burnsville, but it was enough to knock them out of the tourney. Some of the damage was done when the Raiders beat Centennial 5-2 in what was the best played game on the weekend. The first period was up and down action mixed with three minute stretch of Roseville being dominated by Centennial. The score ended 1-1. The second period was just tough, well-played hockey between two evenly matched teams. No goals were scored. Centennial scored early in the third period to take a 2-1 lead and Roseville looked down and out. But the Raiders caught Centennial in a line change and scored to even the game. That turned the game for the Raiders. They went on to add three goals. It was a good game to watch.

White Bear Lake and Stillwater played at the Eden Prairie tourney. The Bears opened with a stunner, beating Elk River 5-3. But they could not follow through and lost the last two pool games to OMG 4-1 and Minnetonka 6-2. Stillwater lost all three pool games to Lakeville North, STMA and Edina.

Mounds View, Mahtomedi and Tartan all played at the Super Rink tourney. Mahtomedi was knocked out by a surprising Irondale team 4-1, Tartan lost to the same Irondale team 1-0, and Mounds View was beaten by Cloquet 5-2. Mounds View beat Tartan 3-0 to take the consolation title. Forest Lake made championship Sunday round at Mankato losing to the Kansas City Stars 5-0. The Rangers got there by edging Mankato in pool play. The Rangers and Mankato tied 2-2 in their game, both lost to Shakopee and both beat Luverne.

In D2, Roseville and Hudson sit on top of the D2 standings. Their only blemish is a 2-2 tie the two teams played to three weeks ago. Roseville plays Highland this week and has a return match against Farmington. Hudson hosts a 10-team bracket tourney on the weekend. Tartan and Mahtomedi are entered. The Titans play Sibley and the Zephyrs play West Madison. Hudson plays Eau Claire. Other teams in Hudson’s tourney are Johnson/Como, Superior, Fox Valley and Mason City.

White Bear Lake hosts Rochester Red and Hudson this week at the new Vadnais Heights Rink. Forest Lake has the week off. Mounds View travels to Hermantown for their tourney. The Mustangs open against Warroad. Mounds View plays Mahtomedi before hitting the road. Highland and Stillwater play this week.

Roseville takes the #1 seed this week again. Hudson would be the choice for the #2 seed, but are not eligible. White Bear Lake continues to struggle. Stillwater has four league losses in their first five games. Mounds View has at least four league losses to date. Highland has three league losses. Only Forest Lake has more than one league win besides Roseville and Hudson. The Rangers take the #2 seed this week. White Bear Lake keeps the #3 seed.

District 10 - Irondale sits on top of the league this week. But few league games have been played. D10 play did not get underway until November 21. The Knights made a good showing for D10 at the Super Rink tourney, finishing second. Champlin Park took third at the Super Rink. Irondale beat Champlin Park 3-2 in a D10 game last week. The Rebels also are on top of the D10 this week. Rogers was surprised by Orono at Hopkins losing 7-2 and then ran into an old D10 foe in St. Cloud and lost again 3-0. They beat the Rochester Black 11-0 in their only tourney win on the weekend.

Elk River, after being surprised by White Bear Lake in the first game of pool play at Eden Prairie, came back to beat Minnetonka 4-3 and OMG 3-2 to advance to the championship round on Sunday. The Elks lost to Edina 3-0 and lost to Eden Prairie 7-4 in the third place game. The Elks beat Princeton 6-0 in their D10 opener.

Blaine and Centennial played well at the Burnsville Tourney. The Bengals opened with a loss to Woodbury, but came back in pool play, beating Jefferson 7-0 and St. Louis Park 5-1 to capture the wild card spot on championship Sunday. The Bengals lost to Rosemount 6-2 in the morning and beat Woodbury 3-2 to take third place. Centennial and Roseville played a terrific game in their pool, but Centennial fell short, losing 5-2 after leading 2-1 late in the game. Centennial gave host Burnsville a tough game, losing 3-2, and beat Apple Valley 5-0 in their other pool games.

Andover tied Anoka 5-5 and beat Coon Rapids 8-1 in league play last week. Andover has a busy week, playing Champlin Park, Grand Rapids, St. Francis, Elk River and Spring Lake Park this week. Anoka plays Blaine and St. Cloud. Coon Rapids plays in the Orono tourney and opens with games against Orono and Hutchinson.

Champlin Park plays Spring Lake Park and Rogers in addition to Andover this week. Besides Champlin Park, Rogers plays St. Francis and Centennial this week. Blaine plays Princeton in addition to Anoka. St. Francis played at Greenway last week. They lost to Virginia 2-1, Greenway 4-2 and beat Northern Lakes 5-3. They also played Centennial and Rogers. This week, St. Francis plays Andover and Irondale.

Spring Lake Park had another shot at Anoka last week after losing to the Tornadoes in their tourney’s championship game. The Panthers lost again 4-2, but they beat St. Francis 3-1. This week they play Champlin Park, Centennial and Andover. Princeton plays Irondale and Anoka.

No changes in D10 this week. Centennial takes the #1 seed this week. They played very well in the Burnsville tourney. Elk River takes the #2 seed. Both Centennial and Elk River should make a D10 run this month, stringing wins together until they play each other on December 27. Blaine takes the #3 seed. Blaine and Andover could be spoilers. All four of these teams play Grand Rapids on the weekend.

District 11 - Cloquet won the Super Rink tourney. The Lumberjacks beat Mounds View 5-2, Champlin Park 4-3 in OT and Irondale 2-1. The Cloquet team looks to have a lot of potential and will be worth watching as the season progresses. They returned to beat Proctor 13-2. One of Cloquet competitors, Hermantown, is hosting a tourney this week. The Hawks draw Alexandria in the opening round. The Thunder Bay Kings play the Duluth Lakers, Brainerd plays Greenway, and Mounds View plays Warroad in the other games. The tourney has an interesting mix of teams.

Duluth East took a northwestern trip and struggled, losing to Moorhead Black 3-1, Thief River Falls 3-1 and Bemidji 5-0. They beat Warroad 8-3. They played the Duluth Lakers on their return. This week the Hounds play a single D11 game with Proctor before playing in the Spirit of Duluth tourney next week. The Duluth Lakers notched two wins over D12 teams beating Greenway 7-0 and Hibbing 2-0 last week.

Cloquet takes the #1 seed. The Lumberjacks have strung two tourney titles together in two weeks and look to be tough and developing. Hermantown takes the second seed but will be pushed in their tourney this weekend.

West Regional (D3, D5, D6) - In a 12-day period over the last two weeks, Burnsville beat Edina 5-4, Eden Prairie 4-1, Apple Valley 5-1, Roseville 3-2, and Centennial 3-2, Woodbury 3-2 (in OT), Rosemount 4-1 and Chaska 3-2. That’s eight wins (six against top ranked teams). This week the Blaze play Jefferson and host Shakopee in two more games. With Waconia and a return match with Jefferson the only D6 games remaining on their December schedule, Burnsville has a good chance of entering D6 play in January with a perfect 10-0 record and, in the process, putting some distance between themselves and all the other D6 teams. Congratulations to the Blaze for putting together a great win streak.

Wayzata matched the Blaze over the same period, beating Mound/Westonka 5-0, Roseau 11-2, Eagan 5-0, Chaska 4-0, Eden Prairie 4-3 and Edina 3-2. The Trojans play the Mpls Storm and Armstrong in D3 play and then go one up on the Blaze, taking on Farmington (at 6:15 Friday evening) and Rosemount (at 9:00 Saturday morning). All the games are at the PIC.

District 3 - D3 action this week focused on Eden Prairie and Hopkins. Wayzata took the top prize at Eden Prairie. Osseo/Maple Grove found themselves all knotted up in pool play and needing a win in their final pool game to have the chance to advance to Sunday’s championship round. They lost a tough game to Elk River 3-2 to end their tourney play. OMG beat White Bear Lake 4-1 and lost to Minnetonka 2-1 in their first two games. They play St. Louis Park in a D3 game and host Bemidji on the weekend.

Hopkins hosted their PeeWee tourney this week. The Royals beat MAML, lost to Mound/Westonka 4-2 and to Orono 4-1 in the third place game. Hopkins plays Armstrong and Mound/Westonka this week. Mound/Westonka beat the Rochester Black 6-3 in the opening game and lost to Prior Lake 8-0 in the championship game to take second place. Orono surprised Rogers, beating them 7-2 before losing to Prior Lake the next day 10-0. D3 teams took second, third and fourth place at Hopkins.

Mound/Westonka beat St. Louis Park 6-3, lost to Wayzata, and lost to Crow River 3-0 last week. This week, they host Hopkins and the Mpls Storm in D3 play. Orono hosts their tourney this week. Crow River plays in the tourney. The Tigers are currently 3-1 in D3 play. Armstrong hosts Hibbing and play two D3 games (Wayzata and Hopkins). Last week, they lost to Farmington 9-0.

St. Louis Park struggled in the Burnsville tourney, losing to Jefferson 4-3, Woodbury 7-1 and Blaine 5-1. This week the Orioles play OMG. The Mpls Storm played in the Eden Prairie tourney and showed some toughness, tying Rochester Red 3-3 and Lakeville South 5-5. Their sole loss was to Eden Prairie 7-2. The Storm play Waconia, in addition to Mound/Westonka this week.

With only two seeds available to the West Regional, Wayzata and OMG seem to have a tight grip on those seeds. The ratings this week are unchanged; Wayzata takes the #1 and OMG the #2. Mound/Westonka and the Mpls Storm showed they can compete. Crow River is a developing team. Things could get interesting in D3 yet.

District 5 - Two D5 teams, St. Cloud and MAML, entered the Hopkins tourney. Both lost their opening games. St. Cloud lost to Prior Lake and MAML lost to Hopkins 3-2. Both won their consolation semifinal games, St. Cloud beat Rogers 3-0 and MAML beat Rochester Black 5-0 to meet in the consolation championship won by St. Cloud 8-1. MAML travels to International Falls and will play Eveleth, the Falls and Fort Frances. St. Cloud plays Bemidji and two D5 games (Willmar and Hutchinson) this week.

STMA had a good Eden Prairie tourney. The Knights lost to Edina 7-2 in the opening game of pool play, beat Stillwater 3-2 and Lakeville North 2-1 to advance to Sunday’s consolation round. The Knights beat Minnetonka 3-0 in the opening round, but lost to Chaska 6-2 in the consolation championship game. This week the Knights play Sauk Rapids in a D5 game. The Rapids play River Lakes in a second D5 game. Litchfield-Dassel-Cokato played in the Super Rink tourney last week. LDC lost to Champlin Park 10-0, Mounds View 7-1 and Johnson/Como 4-2. They play Willmar and Redwood Falls this week.

Buffalo plays in Orono’s Best of the West tourney this week. The Bison beat Willmar 4-3 last week. Willmar plays LDC and River Lakes in two more D5 games besides Buffalo and St. Cloud. The Cardinals have a busy week.

Sartell travels to Fargo to play in their tourney. The Sabres draw the Fargo Angels, Mandan Braves and Sioux Falls Blue in pool play. Sioux Falls Blue competed last week in Mankato’s tourney, beating Rochester Gold 4-0 and New Ulm 5-2. They lost to Shakopee 4-1, but made it to the championship round on Sunday, losing to the Kansas City Stars 5-2. The Fargo Angels lost two weeks ago to Alexandria 7-2 and Mandan has not played any games. Last week, Sartell beat River Lakes 7-5 and Sauk Rapids 4-1 in a D5 games. The Sabres should do well at Fargo.

Hutchinson joins Buffalo in the “Best of the West” tourney at Orono this week. River Lakes has a busy D5 week, playing Sauk Rapids, Redwood Falls and Willmar.

St. Cloud, MAML and STMA are the only unbeaten D5 teams left after the opening three games. Sartell is 5-1 in league play. Their only loss is to St. Cloud. With three seeds to the West Regional, STMA and St. Cloud take the #1 and #2 seeds. MAML, Sartell and Buffalo appear poised to make a move in the next few weeks. Sartell, Buffalo and Hutchinson’s tourney appearances this week should prove interesting. No team is out of this district’s race for a West seed, but Sartell takes the #3 seed this week.

District 6 - In D6 last week, Burnsville looked poised to run away with the D6 crown by the end of December and they were hosting a tough tourney. The Blaze won the tourney and ran off a number of D6 wins. They still are on track and on fire. Edina can’t stop the Blaze this month. They won’t meet again until January.

Edina played well in the Eden Prairie tourney. The Hornets took second and then beat a tough Prior Lake team coming off their own tourney championship 5-1. Edina hosts Bemidji this week and plays Shakopee in a D6 game. Prior Lake had a great Hopkins tourney. In addition to losing to Edina, they beat Highland last week 7-0. This week the Lakers play Chaska. Prior Lake looks like a team that is almost, but not quite there yet, to be a top 10 team.

Minnetonka had two kids out at the Eden Prairie tourney. Still they came close to making it to the championship round. In pool play, they beat OMG 2-1, lost to Elk River 4-3 and beat White Bear Lake 6-2. In the consolation round on Sunday they lost to STMA. The Skippers play Kennedy and Waconia this week.

Chaska won the consolation title at Eden Prairie this week. It was a surprise since Chaska sits at the bottom of D6 with a 0-5 record. Chaska could be developing and is certainly a team to watch. They will be tested this week. They play Eden Prairie, Kennedy and Prior Lake. The Hawks need some D6 wins.

Eden Prairie had a good tourney, taking third place. The Eagles play Jefferson this week in addition to Chaska. Jefferson has been an up-and-down team so far this season. At Burnsville, the Jags beat St. Louis Park 4-3, lost to Woodbury 6-2 and lost to Blaine. Woodbury jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first period. The Jags came back and played tough the rest of the way. Before the Burnsville tourney, they beat Chaska 3-2 in league play.

Burnsville continues to impress. In their tourney, they had to beat some good teams in one-goal games. The Blaze have the toughness to win those close games. The teams they beat were the top teams from D10 (Centennial and Blaine), the top team from D2 (Roseville) and two of the top teams from D8 (Rosemount and Woodbury). The Blaze deserves the #1 seed.

The Hornets move to second this week. They played well in taking second place at Eden Prairie and then beat Prior Lake two days later. Eden Prairie moves to #3 because of their third place showing in their tourney. Their win over a tough Elk River team 3-0 at the end of the tourney was impressive.

Prior Lake, Minnetonka and Chaska can’t be ignored. They all had great weekends. So did Shakopee, taking second at Mankato. It is developing into a tough league unless Burnsville slips away in the next six weeks. Then there will be a host of teams fighting for the #2 to #5 places and the favored district playoff spots that go with those places.