Mound/Westonka and Litchfield played two games in the Chisago Lakes tourney over the weekend. Both these teams play in D5. On Friday evening, Mound/Westonka handed Litchfield a tough loss, beating them 12-1. On Sunday, the same two teams met in the same tourney. This time Litchfield beat Mound/Westonka 5-3. This is an example of peewee aged kids playing hockey. It is also an example of why coaches and parents get frustrated.
Maybe Litchfield won the second game because the Litchfield coach had a brilliant approach to the second game or maybe some of the Mound/Westonka kids were sick. Who knows? But isn’t it a great teaching moment for the coaches and parents of both teams to either explaining “how to overcome adversity” or “how to not get too complacent”. They have the kid’s attention because the kids want to know what happened. That is the best learning time.
The funny thing is that Mound/Westonka and Litchfield will play each other a third time when they meet this week in a D5 game.
North Region - Stillwater and White Bear Lake have played in the same tourneys the first two months of this season and both finished in a tie each time out in terms of their tourney performance. In D2, they remain tied and share the top spot. This week the teams meet for the second time in a D2 game that might settle who wins the regular season title.
Meanwhile, D11 Duluth East takes a trip to the cities. The Hounds will “put their nose” into the D2 tent, playing Stillwater on their trip.
Over in D12, Grand Rapids takes on the rest of the league (except Eveleth) in a single weekend trip that should prove interesting. All this is calm before the “tourney” storm in two weeks (Mariucci Tourney in Eveleth and the DAHA tourney in Duluth).
In the North Red this week, the projected teams are: Duluth East, Stillwater, International Falls, and the Duluth Lakers; in the North Blue, the projected teams are: White Bear Lake, Cloquet, Grand Rapids, and Roseville. There are two changes this week, both in the Red. The Falls knock out Greenway (loss to Eveleth) and the Lakers take the seed from Hermantown.
D11 - Duluth East beat Hermantown 6-2 in D11 action last week. This week the Hounds play Cloquet and then travel to the cities to play Stillwater, Lakeville South, the 97 Fire, and Wayzata. Duluth East is 8-2 in their last 10 games and they will be tested this week. Hermantown, besides losing to the Hounds, beat Virginia and lost to the Duluth Lakers 3-2 last week. This week the Hawks take on Greenway and Virginia. Cloquet beat Superior last week 5-2 and play Proctor this week.
The Duluth Lakers played in the Brainerd tourney last week. The Lakers took third place. They lost to Farmington 5-1 and beat Centennial 3-2 and beat Hutchinson 7-1 in pool play and returned home to beat Hermantown.
Proctor split a pair of games last week, beating Greenway 5-2 and losing to the Duluth Lakers 8-6. They also played Superior. This week, the Rails head to Rice Lake to play in an interesting, 4 game, tourney with Rice Lake, New Prague (rated in the top of D4 teams) and Coon Rapids. They return to play Cloquet. The Rails have won 7 out of their last 11 games.
Duluth East is looks to be a solid #1 seed this week. A case can be made for anyone of the other four teams taking one of the remaining two seeds. It is really tough. Proctor is steadily improving and Hermantown had a down a week (the Hawks will play better). This week, Cloquet keeps the #2 seed and the Duluth Lakers take the #3. The Lakers took third place in Brainerd. They won by coming out of a pool that included Farmington, Hutchinson and Centennial. It is a nice trophy.
D12 - Grand Rapids had an off week. This week the Thunderhawks play 5 games, including 4 D12 games. In D12, the Rapids take on Virginia, Hibbing, International Falls and Greenway. While at the Falls, the Thunderhawks will cross the bridge to play Fort Francis. They beat Fort Francis 4-3 a week ago at Bemidji. Virginia lost to Hermantown and played Greenway last week. This week the Blue Devils play Hibbing in addition to Grand Rapids.
Hibbing played in the Brainerd tourney and did not place. Eveleth beat Greenway 2-1 and then traveled to Anoka. They took on some of the top teams in the state losing to Orono 9-0, Anoka 8-0 and Apple Valley 7-0. The Golden Bears host the Mariucci tourney in two weeks at the historic hippodrome in Eveleth. The Eveleth kids will have chances to apply what they learned in Anoka. Often kids learn and learn quickly. The Golden Bears will play North Metro in the opener. As a tune-up this week, the Golden Bears play Greenway and the Duluth Lakers this week.
With two regional seeds available to D12, Grand Rapids takes the #1 seed. The choice for #2 seed is a coin toss. Greenway’s loss to Eveleth leaves the seed open. Eveleth will have their opportunities in the next few weeks and Virginia is still struggling. That leaves Hibbing and International Falls. Out came the old zinc penny. The Falls take the #2 seed this week. But when the coin was in the air, the name “Huffer” was distinctly heard from one of the old hockey ghosts. Maybe the fix was in.
D2 - Take a glance at the D2 standings and there are 11 teams listed. But three teams are D1 teams (Highland, Saint Paul Saints, and Irondale) that play less then half a schedule (8 games). The remaining 8 teams play 17 games. Highland is 5-0 in D2 and appears to be scheduled to play Stillwater this week (last time the Ponies were a no show) and are scheduled to play Roseville. The Caps need three more wins to sweep D2, going unbeaten, this year. Since the Caps are a D1 team, that leaves the D2 title chase to White Bear Lake and Stillwater. These two teams are the only D2 teams that have less then four losses entering the last half of the regular season.
These two teams meet this week in one of the key D2 games of the season. Roseville was sort of a measuring stick last week. Stillwater played Roseville on Friday and won 3-2. Roseville then beat White Bear Lake on Monday 3-2. But the Ponies could not stand prosperity. Over the weekend, they tied Rosemount 1-1 on Saturday, played Rochester and Tartan on Sunday (beating the Titans 8-1), and lost to the Saint Paul Saints 4-2 on Monday. The Ponies play Highland (perhaps?) and play White Bear Lake this week. They also take on a visiting Duluth East team in a potential preview of a North Regional final match-up.
After the dust settled, at the start of this week, the Ponies held a narrow lead (-5 if they won all their “unfairplay” points) over White Bear Lake (-7). The Bears plays Mounds View in addition to the Ponies in D2 this week.
Roseville had almost a three week break over the holidays and finally got back into action in splitting their games against Stillwater and White Bear Lake last week. The Raiders play Saint Paul Saints, Highland and Mahtomedi in D2 action this week. Mahtomedi traveled to a few miles south last week to Phalen to play in the Governor’s Cup. They beat Princeton 3-0 in the opener and beat Sibley to make to the finals; but lost to Hopkins 3-1.
Forest Lake also played at Phalen, but had a tougher time. They lost to Highland 7-3 and St. Francis 1-0 before beating the Saints 4-1. The game with St. Francis was a tough fought game with Saint Francis scoring the winning goal with 6 minutes to go in the third period. The game had an odd ending to it. Each team was penalized twice with a minute and a half to go in the game. The penalties were not off-setting resulting in the last minute of the game being played 3 on 3 and 4 on 3 when the Rangers pulled their goalie.
The refs in Saturday morning games at Phalen deserve some kudos. They made the calls emphatically and decisively. The calls could be clearly seen and understood from the stands. Some of the fans may not have agreed with the calls, but they understood and as a result the refs controlled a hard fought, physical, pair of games.
Forest Lake travels to Rochester this weekend to play in the Rochester tourney. In pool play, the Rangers draw Eastview, Dodge County and Mankato. Tartan also travels to Rochester. In pool play the Titans draw Rochester, Luverne, and Albert Lea. The Titans beat Irondale 3-2 last week.
Mounds View returns to action after a week off, taking on White Bear Lake in D2 and then traveling to St. Cloud for the Geyer tourney (one of the best tourneys around if they don’t stick a team in the same arena for pool play all three days). The Mustangs draw Minnetonka, Brainerd and Sartell. Forest Lake along with Roseville, Mounds View and Mahtomedi are contending for third to sixth place in D2.
White Bear Lake keeps the #1 spot this week; the Ponies take the #2 seed and Roseville the #3 seed.
East Region - The teams in this region continue to show improvements. The Saint Paul Saints are starting to challenge in D1 and D8 could become wide open. Woodbury this week can make a strong move to take one of the top two seeds, but the Royals may not want to (if they look at the new D8 playoff format). The top three D6 teams still don’t have a challenger as Minnetonka took a hit (losing to Jefferson) trying to turn the top three into a top four.
In the East Red this week, the projected teams are: Woodbury, Burnsville, Mpls Park, and Farmington; in the East Blue, the projected teams are: Edina, Lakeville South, Highland, and Eden Prairie. The only change this week is Rochester is replaced by Farmington in the Red. Both these teams are improving and both could likely make this regional. D8 is becoming a donnybrook.
D1 - Three of the four D1 teams played in tourneys this week. Mpls Park traveled to Anoka, the Saint Paul Saints and Highland played in St. Paul Johnson’s Governor’s Cup tourney. Mpls Park opened with a good 2-1 win over Anoka in their opener, but lost their next two games, to Orono 3-0 and to Littleton Colorado 3-0. The Storm play in the Geyer tourney in St. Cloud next weekend. They draw Eagan, STMA and St. Cloud in pool play and should have a shot at the title.
The Saints lost two tough games in OT, to Sibley 3-2 and to Princeton 2-1 in the Governor’s Cup. Forest Lake beat them in the third tourney game 4-0. They returned to D2 action to upset Stillwater 4-2. This week the Saints have a busy schedule playing 5 games (Kennedy, Roseville, Apple Valley, Cottage Grove and Highland. Highland fared better at the Governor’s Cup, beating Forest Lake 7-3, losing to Hopkins 4-0 and playing Sibley for third. This week the Caps play Stillwater, Roseville and the Saints.
Irondale played North St. Paul and lost to Tartan 3-2 in a D2 game. Highland Central keeps the #1 seed and the Storm takes the #2 seed, but for the first time in weeks, the Saints maybe gaining momentum as the season starts to wind down.
D6 - Edina took most of last week off. The Hornets did add another D6 win beating Eastview 9-1. This week they play two D6 teams (Minnetonka and Prior Lake) and Wayzata before heading north to take on East Grand Forks next Thursday and to take on the field at the Roseau tourney. Eden Prairie ended a long layoff with a 6-3 loss Lakeville North. The Eagles don’t return to D6 action until next week against Burnsville.
Burnsville returned to action beating Kennedy 10-0. The Blaze head to St. Cloud this week to play in the Geyer. The Blaze are the defending champions. They draw Buffalo, Grand Forks and Moorhead in pool play.
Minnetonka joins the Blaze at the Geyer. The Skippers draw Mounds View, Brainerd and Sartell in pool play. Besides playing Edina, Eastview played Hastings last week. This weekend the Lightning play in the Rochester tourney. They draw Forest Lake, Dodge County and Mankato in pool play.
Jefferson lost to Prior Lake 10-3 last week and play Apple Valley this week in D6 action. Prior Lake tied Farmington 2-2 and beat Mankato 10-4 in addition to beating Jefferson last week. The Lakers are back.
After losing to Burnsville, Kennedy traveled to Thief River Falls to play in their tourney. The Eagles took the championship beating Wadena, Prairie Center, the Minot Sabres 2-0 and Mandan 2-1 (Mandan is one of 10 teams that play in the North Dakota Amateur Hockey Association Peewee A South league. Fargo Angels and the Fargo Flyers-Edina tourney entrant and Roseau tourney entrant-lead the league. Mandan is currently fourth.) Congratulations to the Eagles.
Edina (-2) sits atop D6, Eden Prairie (-5) and Burnsville (-6) are the Hornets closest competitors. Eastview (-12), Prior Lake (-13) and Minnetonka (-13) trail those three going into this week’s action. In D6, the top five regular season finishers are seeded 1-5 and automatically are entered into the double elimination playoff tourney. The bottom five teams have to play a single elimination tourney to get the #6 seed. The pressure starts to build over the last 6-8 games of regular season play. For Eastview, Prior Lake and Minnetonka, it becomes a game of musical chairs.
Minnetonka had a great game against Eden Prairie a month ago, but last week, the Skippers were upset by Jefferson. That loss kept the Skippers in the pack. They will have their chance against Edina this week, but Edina still has a lock on D6 ticket to the East Region. The Hornets take the #1 seed. Burnsville remains #2 and Eden Prairie #3.
Burnsville returns to action this weekend in St. Cloud, a tourney the Blaze won last year. Eden Prairie, Edina and Chaska return to play in the Roseau tourney next weekend. Chaska beat Apple Valley 5-4 in D6 action this past week. Chaska found its stride there last year and came on strong in the D6 playoffs almost knocking out Edina. Despite the January frost, things are beginning to heat up.
D8 - For some reason this year, D8 changed their playoff format for peewee A. It appears that they lifted a format out of a softball tourney designed to give all 10 teams entered equal opportunity at winning the playoff. It ignores the regular season play and actually punishes teams finishing first or second in regular season play. So why play 16 games?
Perhaps that is why four teams, Lakeville South, Rosemount, Woodbury, and Rochester all knotted at the top seem more relaxed about regular season play. A team has a better chance of winning the tourney if they finish in the bottom of the league which brings out a second interesting point.
The playoff has only the top 10 teams advancing. There are 12 teams in the league. Hudson is not eligible for the playoffs (but the Raiders could contend this year for one of the seeds). That leaves one team to be eliminated and the team most likely to be eliminated is Cottage Grove who is the D8 peewee A playoff host. D8 should reconsider its playoff format.
Woodbury had the last 10 days off and finally played Hastings on Sunday. They beat the Raiders 3-2. This week the Royals play Sibley, Hastings and Farmington in what will be a key week for them. Lakeville South tied Hudson 1-1 last week and beat Rochester 4-3 in one of the best games of the week. The Cougars jumped off to a 3-0 lead on two breakaway goals and a “stuffer” off a melee around the net. Rochester came back to close the gap to 3-2, but late in the third the Cougars added an insurance goal to take the win. Both team showed improvement over their previous outings two weeks ago.
Lakeville South plays a visiting Duluth East and has a return D8 match with Hudson on the weekend. Rosemount had a good week, beating Eagan in D8 action 3-1 and tying Stillwater 1-1. This week, they play South St. Paul in D8 action. Rochester played Stillwater besides losing to Lakeville South. This week they play in their own tourney, drawing Albert Lea, Luverne and Tartan in pool play.
Eagan had a difficult week in D8 play. The Wildcats lost to Rosemount, Lakeville North 3-0 and Hudson 5-3. This weekend they head to St. Cloud to play in the Geyer tourney. In pool play, they draw Mpls Park, STMA, and St. Cloud. Lakeville North may have finally got rolling. The Panthers are 7-1-1 in their last 9 games. Last week, they beat Eagan 3-0 and beat Eden Prairie 6-3. The win over Eden Prairie was a good one.
Farmington took the D8 flag into the Brainerd tourney and planted it smack in the middle of “Cragun’s”. The Tigers took the championship by beating the Duluth Lakers 4-1, Centennial 4-2, Hutchinson 5-1 and Blaine 3-0 in the championship game. Before going to Brainerd, the Tigers tied Prior Lake 2-2.
Hastings is a dangerous team, though they struggled last week D8, tying Sibley, losing to Hudson 3-0 and losing to Woodbury 3-2. This week the Raiders take on Eastview, have a re-match with Woodbury and play Red Wing. South St. Paul played in the Austin tourney over the weekend, playing the Host, beating Dodge County 6-4, beating Sioux Falls 6-4 and losing to tourney champ, Champlin Park, 3-1.
Dodge County had a good Austin tourney. They beat Austin 5-1, lost to Champlin Park 9-2, lost to South St. Paul 6-4 and Sioux Falls 5-4. The Dogs showed improvement against tougher competition at Austin. This week, the competition is just as tough as they travel to Kasson/Mantorville’s suburb, Rochester, to play in their tourney. In pool play, the Dogs draw Eastview, Forest Lake, and Mankato.
Red Wing played in the Waseca tourney last week, losing to Faribault 2-1, beating the Host 9-1 and tying Northfield 4-4. The Wingers plays Austin and Hastings this week. Last week, Northfield tied New Ulm 2-2, tied Faribault 3-3, beat Waseca, and lost to Faribault 3-0 besides tying Red Wing. They play Mason City and Owatonna this week.
Lakeville South and Woodbury may have turned a corner this past week. The Cougars looked good against Rochester and Woodbury came back from an off week to beat Hastings. The deadlock should be broken this week by Woodbury. The Royals have three D8 games that if they win, will put them out in front of the pack. Lakeville South will have to beat Hudson to keep stride. Woodbury takes the #1 seed and Lakeville South the #2 seed. Farmington takes the #3 seed. Rochester looks good, Rosemount looks good, Lakeville North had a quality win over Eden Prairie. These are hard things to ignore in a balanced league this year. But Farmington won a tough tourney at Brainerd. Two years ago, the Tigers would have been blitzed in that tourney. This week they deserve the #3 seed.
South Region - D3 has been tough this year. Four teams (Wayzata, Orono, Osseo/Maple Grove, and Hopkins) will battle in the D3 playoffs for three seeds to the South Regional. But until this week in D4 and in D5, no team has stepped forward by playing well enough to challenge any of the D3 seeds. Last week, STMA made a move in D5 that put them in a strong position to take the D5 regular season crown. STMA has gone through a tough schedule in the past 30 days and the Knights maybe one team to challenge D3 in this region.
New Prague is another team that may challenge D3 in this region. They made a move and took control in D4 last week. But the Trojans have yet to be tested. This week, the Trojans are in small tourney in Rice Lake and should do well.
In the South Red this week, the projected teams are: Wayzata, Sartell, Mankato, and Faribault; in the South Blue, the projected teams are: STMA, Orono, New Prague and Osseo/Maple Grove. The D4 and D5 seeds have changed this week. STMA and Sartell swapped places and Mankato and New Prague swapped places.
D3 - Osseo/Maple Grove has been struggling over the past two weeks. They did not have a good Edina tourney. OMG’s win over Armstrong 6-1 last week broke a 6 game losing streak. They followed that with a 4-2 win over Hopkins. So it is curious that they find themselves in first place in D3. But they are. OMG played well in the game against Hopkins. The D3 championship may come down to the last game of the season when OMG plays Wayzata.
Wayzata beat Mound/Westonka 4-1 in D3 action this week. The Trojans play Edina and Armstrong this week. The Edina game will be a re-match of the Edina tourney championship New Years weekend won by the Hornets 3-2.
Orono and Mpls Park both played in the Anoka tourney last week. After Mpls Park beat Anoka 2-1 and Orono beat Eveleth, the two teams met in the semifinals. Orono won 3-0 and played Andover in the title game. The Spartans play North Metro and OMG in D3 play this week. Hopkins won the Governor’s Cup last week end beating St. Francis 4-0, a tough Highland team 4-0 and Mahtomedi 3-1. The Royals continue to improve. This week, Hopkins plays in the Geyer tourney. They play Bemidji, Detroit Lakes and Rogers in pool play.
North Metro played in the Chisago Lakes tourney on the weekend. The Pirates lost to the Host 4-3 in the opener, tied CINB 3-3, beat Mound/Westonka 5-2 and then beat CINB 2-1 to take third place.
The seeds remain unchanged this week; Wayzata keeps the #1 seed. Orono takes the #2 seed, and OMG takes the #3 seed. OMG look good in beating Hopkins last week, but watch out for Hopkins. After skating with 10-13 players over the past month, the Royals finally have a full team.
D4 - New Prague continued their winning ways last week. The Trojans beat Owatonna 4-0 and handed Mankato its first D4 loss 5-2 to put a strangle hold on the East Division first place with four regular season games left. This week the Trojans play Austin and then travel to Rice Lake, joining Coon Rapids and Proctor, to play in their tourney.
Faribault’s loss of “unfairplay” points cost them this year. They still have a lock on second place in the East, but could have played for the championship when they met New Prague near the end of the season. The Falcons had a good week, tying Northfield 2-2, beating Albert Lea 7-1, and winning the Waseca Tourney by beating Red Wing 2-1, Northfield 3-0 and Waseca 8-1. They play Marshall and Waseca in D4 action this week.
Albert Lea has struggled in the past few weeks. This week they will be tested in the Rochester tourney, playing the Host, Tartan and Luverne in pool play. Waseca held their tourney on the weekend as did Austin. The Packers played South St. Paul, lost to a tough Sioux Falls team 5-3, lost to Dodge County 6-4, and lost to Champlin Park 7-0. The Packers have talent if they get their overall team speed up.
Owatonna plays a single game with Northfield this week.
Mankato took their first D4 loss in losing to New Prague last week. The Mavericks lead the West Division with 24 points and five games to play. St. Peter, their closest rival has 22 points and three games to play and will need a lot of help to catch the Mavericks. St. Peter needs to keep an eye on Luverne and Marshall and hang on to the #2 seed in the D4 playoffs. Both these teams could catch St. Peter. Marshall plays three crucial D4 games this week. The Tigers play Faribault, Waseca and New Ulm.
Mankato plays a grueling six games in four days this week, mixing D4 games with the Rochester tourney. They play at Waseca on Thursday, Forest Lake in pool play at Rochester on Friday, Eastview and Dodge County on Saturday and a guaranteed fourth game Sunday at Rochester before returning home to play an improving Austin team.
Luverne plays in the other pool at Rochester. The Cardinals draw the Host, Tartan and Albert Lea in pool play.
New Prague beat Mankato this week and takes the #1 seed. Mankato drops to the #2 seed and Faribault takes the #3 seed this week. The question is, “are there any other teams starting to close on these three?” Owatonna was making a move, but has been off the past two weeks. Luverne could be a threat. The Cardinals have challenged itself this January in the run-up to the playoffs by entering the Rochester tourney, playing games each weekend and hosting their own tourney.
St. Peter and Owatonna are playing a light January schedule and are unknown at this point. That’s peewee A hockey. Kids change, sometimes in a week.
D5 - Here come the Knights. After playing a rugged December schedule against top teams, STMA returned to D5 action and beat MALM 6-0 and Buffalo 10-0. Those two wins effectively catapulted the Knights into first place in D5. This week, the Knights drive 30 miles west (can they take the new North Star Line?) down I-94 to play in the Geyer tourney in St. Cloud. The Knights draw the Host, Mpls Park, and Eagan in pool play.
Sartell had the week off, playing no D5 games. They tied Alexandria 2-2. This week, the Sabres play in the Geyer (is Sartell considered a St. Cloud suburb?) and in pool play draw Brainerd, Minnetonka and Mounds View. Another D5 contender, Hutchinson, played in the Brainerd tourney. In pool play, they lost to Farmington 5-1, lost to the Duluth Lakers 7-1 and played Centennial.
Mound/Westonka played in the Chisago Lakes over the weekend. The Whitehawks beat Litchfield 12-1, lost to Superior 2-1 and lost to D3 rival North Metro 5-2. On Sunday, the Whitehawks lost to Litchfield 5-3. This week, the Whitehawks play Hutchinson and Litchfield (third time in a week) in D5 action. Crow River played in the Anoka tourney last weekend. The Tigers lost to Littleton Colorado, beat Apple Valley 2-0 and played Anoka for the consolation crown. River Lakes has surprised some teams this year and in the Brainerd tourney, they did again beating the Host 3-2 in overtime.
Buffalo has been a sleeping beast for the first half of the season. Last week, they beat River Lakes 6-1, Littleton Colorado 5-4, and lost to STMA big 10-0. That loss may have kicked the Bison and got them moving. This week, they head to the Geyer and play Burnsville, Grand Forks and Moorhead in pool play.
STMA takes the #1 seed this week, Sartell drops to the #2 seed. Both the Knights and the Sabres will be tested in the St. Cloud Geyer Signal Center Ice Classic tourney. The difference is that STMA already has been tested, failed, and are now playing better hockey. Sartell has yet to go through that process. Buffalo is poised for a run in D5. Their win over Littleton was a quality win. The Bison could sweep their remaining seven D5 games, but are unlikely to overtake STMA.
West Region - Elk River and East Grand Forks own this region and are most likely to take the two West seeds to the state tourney. That may seem odd to the casual reader since both these teams are projected to be in the same pool this week. But it is the top two teams in each pool that advance to a single game play down on the Sunday of the Regional tourney. Suppose EGF finishes #1 and Elk River finishes #2 in the West Blue in March. On Sunday, EGF would play the #2 finisher in the West Red with the winner advancing to the state tourney; and Elk River would play the #1 finisher in the West Red with the winner advancing to the state tourney.
In the West Red this week, the projected teams are: Moorhead, Bemidji, Andover, and St. Francis; in the West Blue, the projected teams are: East Grand Forks, Detroit Lakes, Elk River, and Alexandria. The only change this week is in the West Red, St. Francis replaces Princeton.
D10 - Elk River continued to roll through the opposition last week. The Elks beat Littleton Colorado 5-1, Coon Rapids 10-0, St. Cloud 4-0 and Anoka 5-2. They play CINB this week. The Elks are tied with Andover at the top of the D10 Blue Division. Each team is unbeaten, the only blemish to their D10 records is a tie in their first game.
Andover played in the Anoka tourney last weekend. They beat Apple Valley 9-1, beat Littleton Colorado in the semifinals and played Orono for the championship. This week, the Huskies are busy. They play Chisago Lakes, Blaine, St. Francis and Princeton in D10 action.
Centennial traveled to Brainerd. In pool play, they lost to Farmington 4-2, the Duluth Lakers 3-2 and played Hutchinson. They play Anoka this week. Anoka hosted its tourney this weekend. The Tornados lost to Mpls Park 2-1 in OT, beat Eveleth 8-0 and played Crow River for the consolation championship. Anoka then returned to D10 action losing to Elk River. The Tornados continue to improve and played well in losing a close game to Mpls Park in the opener.
It is not often that a seven team league has 6 teams essentially tied for first place halfway through the season. But that is the situation this week in the D10 Green Division. With approximately 10 games played and 8 games to go, Spring Lake Park, Rogers, St. Francis, Princeton, Champlin Park, and St. Cloud all have near .500 records and all except Champlin Park and St. Cloud have kept all their “unfairplay” points. That is amazing because these teams are playing Blue Division teams as well as teams in their own division.
St. Francis and Princeton played in the Governor’s Cup last weekend. Both lost their opening games; St. Francis lost to Hopkins 4-0 and Princeton lost to Mahtomedi 3-2. Both won their consolation semifinal games; St. Francis beat Forest Lake 1-0 and Princeton beat the Saint Paul Saints 2-1. In the consolation finals, St. Francis beat Princeton 5-0 for the consolation championship. Both are good teams.
Chisago Lakes won their tourney over the weekend. They beat North Metro 4-3, Litchfield 2-1 and Superior 3-0 in pool play. In the championship game, the Wildcats beat Superior again 2-1. D10 rival CINB also played in the Chisago Lakes tourney, losing to Superior 2-1, tying North Metro 3-3, beating Litchfield 5-1 and losing to North Metro 2-1 in OT in the third place game.
Last week, Spring Lake Park tied Rogers 2-2 and then traveled to New Richmond to play in their tourney. The Panthers beat New Richmond 3-1 in a shootout, beat Eagle River 4-0, and beat North St. Paul 5-3 in a shootout to win the championship. Then, SLP returned to Fogerty and tied (what else?) St. Francis 2-2 in D10 play. Good going Panthers!
Besides tying SLP last week, Rogers beat St. Cloud 3-2 in D10 action. This week, they play in the Geyer tourney again (last year they had a good run at the Geyer). They play Bemidji, Detroit Lakes and Hopkins in pool play. Champlin Park took the Austin tourney title, beating Sioux Falls 7-2, Dodge County 9-2, South St. Paul 3-1 and Austin 7-0.
The Geyer tourney is one of best tourneys in the state. St. Cloud is a great host city. The Host team is struggling this year (but in a six way tie for first place). They play Eagan, Mpls Park and STMA in their pool.
Elk River and Andover continue to dominate the Blue Division and take the #1 and #2 seeds this week. Of the six teams tied in the Green Division, St. Francis stands out this week. They played some good hockey at the Governor’s Cup and deserve the #3 seed this week.
D15 - Last week, this write-up opened with Moorhead taking the lead in D15. Last week, the Spuds lost their first D15 game to Alexandria 3-2. Their lead is now slim. Detroit Lakes, Alexandria and Brainerd all have a shot at the title. Moorhead and Detroit Lakes play in the Geyer tourney. Moorhead draws Buffalo, Burnsville and Grand Forks in pool play. Detroit Lakes plays Bemidji, Hopkins and Rogers in pool play.
Brainerd had their tourney last week. Farmington won the tourney. Brainerd beat Hibbing 4-1, lost to River Lakes 2-1 in OT, and lost to Blaine 5-1 in their tourney. At the Geyer, the Warriors play Minnetonka, Mounds View and Sartell in pool play.
Alexandria tied Sartell in their other game last week. This week the Cardinals travel to Fargo to play in the Fargo North Raiders Peewee A tourney. They play NB Glenlee Knights in the opening round of bracket play. Also in their bracket are the Brandon Precision Canadians and the Maples Monarch. It is a 24 team tourney.
Moorhead keeps the #1 seed this week. They beat Detroit Lakes. Detroit Lakes keeps the #2 seed. Alex takes the #3 seed.
D16 - Last week, East Grand Forks beat Warroad and Hallock 9-2 to add two more D16 wins. The Green Wave also beat the Grand Forks Greyhounds 6-3. They remain unbeaten. This week, they play two more D16 games, LOW and Warroad, and they play the Grand Forks Seawolves and the Fargo Flyers. This sets the stage for the “big game” for the Wave when Edina visits on Thursday, January 21st. After that game, both teams travel to Roseau to play in the Ram’s tourney.
Thief River Falls fared well in their own tourney last weekend. The Prowlers beat Fergus Falls 8-2, Grafton 7-2, lost to Mandan 6-4 and beat Minot 5-3. Kennedy won the tourney beating Mandan. The Prowlers play in the Roseau tourney next week.
Bemidji beat Grand Rapids 4-1 and Warroad 8-1 last week. This week, they head to the Geyer tourney, a tourney that the Lumberjacks did well in a year ago. In pool play, they play Detroit Lakes, Rogers and Hopkins. Roseau returned to action after being off for three weeks. They beat Warroad 8-3. This week, they play Warroad again, Grafton, Grand Forks Seawolves and Thief River Falls.
Crookston hosts a four team peewee A tourney this weekend. Morden, the Grand Forks Eagles and the Niverville Clippers are in the tourney.
With two seeds to the regional, East Grand Forks is the #1 seed, and Bemidji is the #2 seed. Still Crookston and Thief River Falls are hanging around. Roseau returns to play this week and next with “the tourney”. The Rams look to have the best tourney this year in Minnesota with 8 of the 16 teams entered ranked in the top 20.