Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey - Jan. 21

This week, the attention will switch from St. Cloud and Rochester to four PeeWee A tourneys in the north, Roseau, Eveleth, Virginia and Duluth. The Roseau tourney has a field that includes the top teams from six of the 12 districts (D3 Wayzata and Osseo/Maple Grove, D6 Edina and Eden Prairie, D8 Woodbury and Lakeville South, D10 Elk River, D12 Grand Rapids and D16 East Grand Forks). The field also includes the #15 ranked (nationally) 97 Wisconsin Fire and the Fargo Flyers who currently are on top of the North Dakota Peewee A South League.

Over 200 miles away on the Range, Eveleth is hosting an eight-team tourney at the oldest indoor ice facility in the state, the “Hipp” as they call it. Although a smaller field, the Golden Bears have attracted some of the top teams in the state including Andover and Highland. Next door to Eveleth, Virginia has their 8 team tourney this weekend.

Fifty miles south of Eveleth in Duluth, the DAHA Invitational is being played. It is a 12-team tourney that this year pits D11 teams against D8 teams with two D6 and two D4 teams added to the mix.

Add to these four tourneys the Minnesota Hockey Day (hosted by Hermantown) on January 23, and the North Region will go “wild” with hockey this weekend.

North Region - Twenty eight PeeWee A teams will compete in three tourneys (Eveleth, Duluth, and Virginia) in the North Region this week. At Eveleth, five city teams take on three Range teams in an 8-team bracketed tourney. At Virginia, four teams from out of state play four Minnesota (three Range teams) teams in the opening round of bracket play. At Duluth, the Twin Ports teams (Duluth East, the Duluth Lakers and Superior) play a mix of D8, D6 and D4 teams. If you want to see outdoor hockey, Saturday afternoon at Hermantown is the place to be. Three high school games will be played and broadcast state wide.

Last week, Duluth East took a swing south and struggled against some tough competition. Stillwater finally ended Highland’s run through D2 and Roseville beat White Bear Lake. Stillwater and White Bear Lake play each other this week. Both teams are tied for first in D2.

In the North Red this week, the projected teams are: Duluth Lakers, White Bear Lake, International Falls, and Cloquet; in the North Blue, the projected teams are: Stillwater, Duluth East, Grand Rapids, and Roseville. There are some changes this week in both the Blue and the Red. The Duluth Lakers and Duluth East swap divisions, White Bear Lake and Stillwater swap divisions, and Cloquet moves from the Blue to the Red. Hermantown, Mounds View, Mahtomedi and Hibbing are all strong challengers to get to the North Regional.

D11 - Before leaving on their city tour, Duluth East beat Cloquet. Then the Hounds tied Stillwater 2-2 in the opening game of their city tour. The next day they took on the 97 Fire and lost 7-3 in the morning. That afternoon, they played Lakeville South to a draw for two periods before tiring in a 30 minute running time third period to lose 6-2. The next morning, Wayzata beat them 6-1. They returned to play the Duluth Lakers on Monday night and lost 2-1. The Hounds had a tough week. This week they play in the DAHA tourney, in pool play they draw Prior Lake and Mankato.

The Duluth Lakers play in the DAHA also this weekend. They draw Lakeville North and Crow River in pool play. Cloquet beat Proctor 4-3 and lost to Duluth East 6-5 last week. The Lumberjacks take a short trip to the cities to play Blaine and Spring Lake Park this weekend.

Hermantown beat Greenway 12-2 last week and played Virginia. This week they play Superior in a D11 game. Proctor, besides losing to Cloquet, had a tough weekend at Rice Lake, losing to New Prague 4-1, Coon Rapids 5-2, Rice Lake 9-4 before beating Burnett 8-3.

Duluth East lost to the Lakers and their struggle on the cities tour last weekend puts a crack in what has been a solid #1 seed in D11. The rule here is always “to the victor, go the spoils”. In other words, no excuses are allowed, although a case could be made for the Hounds being tired last Monday. But as Tom Hanks said, “this is baseball and baseball players don’t cry”, this is hockey and hockey players only whine for a little while (because they have a game usually next day).

The Duluth Lakers jumped into the #1 seed this week. Cloquet lost to the Hounds before they took their trip and fall to the #3 seed. The Hounds take the #2 seed. The Lakers and Hounds get to do it all over again this weekend. Hermantown has a light week, but the Hawks are a dangerous team. Proctor lost another one goal D11 game this time to Cloquet.

With no D11 league standings published, the best guess for the D11 playoffs would have Hermantown/Proctor in the first game with the winner advancing to play Duluth East in the semifinals. Cloquet and the Duluth Lakers would play in the other semifinal. The tourney is a double elimination tourney but the two teams in the first final are guaranteed a seed.

The reason for bringing the playoff format up is that a team finishing first, second or third needs to win just one game to make the North Regional. With the teams so evenly balanced, one game is a real gamble. Teams finishing fourth or fifth, need to win their first two games to get a seed.

D12 - Grand Rapids took their own tour of D12 teams. Over the weekend, the Thunderhawks beat Virginia 7-0, Hibbing 3-2 in OT, and International Falls 4-2 in D12 action. They ended the weekend by crossing the bridge at the Falls and losing to Fort Francis 4-3. This week the Thunderhawks play Greenway and then travel to Roseau to play in the Ram’s tourney. They draw Woodbury, Roseau and Chaska in pool play.

Virginia hosts their tourney this week. In opening bracket play, the Blue Devils play Rice Lake and West Fargo plays MALM in the upper bracket. In the lower bracket, Greenway plays Hudson and Grand Forks plays Proctor. Hudson plays in D8, but as a Wisconsin team is not eligible for play in the D8 districts. They are contending for the regular D8 season title and in the last two weeks have tied Lakeville South twice by identical 1-1 scores.

Eveleth hosts their tourney this weekend also. With the Hipp about 10 minutes by car from Virginia’s Miner’s Memorial Arena, both tourneys can be watched. At Eveleth, the opening games are played on Friday starting at 2:00. In the upper bracket, Hibbing plays Highland and Cottage Grove plays Anoka. In the lower bracket, Andover plays International Falls and North Metro plays the Golden Bears.

D12 has set a 5 team playoff format meaning one team will be eliminated via season play? It is vague if that format would apply to peewee A playoffs. If it were, without any regular season standings published, the best guess for the playoffs at this time is that Virginia would be eliminated. Greenway would play Eveleth in the first round with the winner advancing to the semifinals to play Grand Rapids. Hibbing and International Falls would play in the other semifinals with the semifinal winners playing for the #1 and #2 seeds. Though the format shows a double elimination for a third seed to the region, there is no #3 seed for D12 this year.

With two regional seeds available to D12, Grand Rapids takes the #1 seed. The choice for #2 seed looks to be determined by who finishes second and third in the season standings. That appears to be Hibbing and International Falls. No zinc penney this week, the Falls get the nod for #2 seed. Bronco teams always seems to succeed in a must win one-game played at the Hipp. Greenway and Eveleth are improving and could battle Grand Rapids in the other must win one-game at the Hipp.

D2 - Stillwater finally ended Highlands run through the D2 teams, beating the Caps 7-0 in a make-up game at Stillwater’s Blizzard arena. The Caps were the home team. Stillwater won that game two days after being upset by the Saint Paul Saints 4-2. At the end of the week, the Ponies were on top of D2. They also tied Duluth East 2-2 last week. This week, they play four D2 games. The key game is against White Bear Lake, but the ponies also play Irondale, Tartan and Forest Lake. Winning those games should lock-up the D2 regular season crown and the #1 seed to the D2 playoffs.

Highland played Roseville last week and has one more D2 game left against North St. Paul. White Bear Lake beat Mounds View 4-1 last week. Besides Stillwater, the Bears play Forest Lake this week.

Roseville played Minnetonka, tied the Saint Paul Saints 2-2, played Highland and Mahtomedi last week. Mounds View played in the Geyer tourney. They beat Minnetonka 4-0, tied Brainerd 3-3 and lost to Sartell 2-1. The lost to the Sabres eliminated them from the championship and consolation rounds. They tied Rogers 2-2 to end their Geyer tourney this year.

Tartan and Forest Lake traveled to Rochester for their tourney. Tartan beat Albert Lea, beat Luverne, and lost to Rochester. In the third place game, the Titans lost to Mankato 10-3. Forest Lake lost to Mankato 4-0, lost Eastview and beat Dodge County.

This week, the Ponies take the #1 seed. White Bear Lake takes the #2 and Roseville the #3 seed. Mounds View scored the most impressive win for a D2 team beating Minnetonka 4-0 at the Geyer, but the Mustangs lost their ticket to the Geyer championship by a single goal. Based on where the teams are in the standings, the 8 team D2 playoff opening round would be Stillwater versus Tartan and Mahtomedi versus Mounds View in one bracket; White Bear Lake versus North St. Paul and Roseville versus Forest Lake.

East Region - D1 and D8 have become wide open. In D1, all season long, Mpls Park and Highland have dominated play. But this is January and this is peewee A hockey. The Saint Paul Saints have tied Roseville and beaten Stillwater in the past two weeks. They have lost other games in that time, but show improvement. Is it enough to catch a seed in the D1 playoffs? Woodbury was upended this week by Farmington and that loss opened the league up. The balance in the league plus the “unique” tourney draw that puts a premium on where a team finishes not on how high a team finishes makes D8 a wide open district at this point.

With Edina, Eden Prairie, and Burnsville fighting for district seeds that mean something, D6 has been fairly predictable. This week, it is time for Minnetonka to make a move to join that club.

In the East Red this week, the projected teams are: Farmington, Burnsville, Mpls Park, and Lakeville South; in the East Blue, the projected teams are: Edina, Woodbury, Highland, and Eden Prairie. Woodbury swaps divisions with Lakeville South. D8 has become a donnybrook.

D1 - Mpls Park played in the Geyer last week. The Storm beat STMA 4-3, St. Cloud 6-3, and Eagan 8-1 to win their pool and advanced to the Championship round. There, they lost to Burnsville in the semis 5-1 and lost to Hopkins 5-3 to take fourth. This week the Storm returns to D3/D1 action. They play two D3 games (Orono and Hopkins); and play two D1 games (Saint Paul Saints and Highland). All tough games especially with the improvement the Saints have shown in the past few weeks.

Highland had their D2 unbeaten streak ended when they lost to Stillwater 7-0 last week. The Caps also played Roseville in D2. This week they travel to Eveleth and play in the Mariucci tourney. After playing well in the past few weeks, the Stillwater loss was surprising. They play Hibbing in the opening round of bracket play at the old “Hipp” and could end up in the championship game against Andover. That would be one of the better games on this Minnesota Hockey weekend.

The Saint Paul Saints had a busy week losing to Kennedy 4-3, tying Roseville 2-2, tying Apple Valley 1-1, losing to Cottage Grove 4-1, and losing to Highland last week. The Saints keep working and could be a surprise team at playoff time. This week, the Saints play Irondale, North St. Paul and Mpls Park.

Irondale has had a quiet January, but swing into action this week. After playing the Saints in D2 action, they travel to River Falls for their tourney. In pool play, they play River Falls, Somerset, Stillwater, and Waseca.

Highland Central keeps the #1 seed and the Storm takes the #2 seed. The Saints continue to improve and Irondale is starting to “rev-up”. Playoff time is coming.

D6 - Burnsville and Minnetonka traveled to the Geyer tourney. Minnetonka opened their pool play with a 4-0 loss to Mounds View. They went on to beat Brainerd 3-1 and Sartell 5-2 to win their pool. The Blaze (the defending Geyer Champions) swept their pool beating Buffalo 8-1, Grand Forks 3-1 and Moorhead 3-0. In the semis, the Skippers beat Hopkins 5-2 and the Blaze beat Mpls Park 5-1. That set up an all D6 final that the Blaze won 4-3.

Now the two teams get to do it all over again. They play this week in a key game for both teams, Burnsville needs the points to stay in the hunt for a #1 or #2 seed, the Skippers need the points to gain a #5 seed or higher. Things are getting tight in D6.

Edina lost to Wayzata last week 6-5 (or 5-4). But they added two more D6 wins beating Minnetonka 4-0 and Prior Lake 8-2 and remain tied with Eden Prairie for first. Burnsville is threatening to rejoin them. This week the Blaze, the Eagles and the Skippers have their own little round robin pool that can decide their collective fates. Somebody has to win, somebody has to lose. Last week, Eden Prairie lost to Lakeville North 6-3 and tied Rosemount 3-3.

The Eagles have sandwiched the Roseau tourney between the Burnsville and Minnetonka games. At Roseau, they play Elk River, East Grand Forks and Brainerd in pool play. The Hornets play what will be the best peewee A game this week when they travel to East Grand Forks to take on the Green Wave on home ice. The Civic Center should be rocking. The Hornets then travel to Roseau and in pool play draw the Fargo Flyers, Osseo/Maple Grove and Thief River Falls.

Chaska also plays in Roseau’s tourney. They draw Roseau, Woodbury and Grand Rapids in pool play. Eastview took the week off from D6 and played in the Rochester tourney. The Lightning beat Dodge County 7-1, beat Mankato 7-3, and beat Forest Lake to advance to the championship game against Rochester. The Lightning added a win over Hasting 2-1 last week before going to Rochester.

Prior Lake/Savage beat Hastings 5-1 last week before losing to the Hornets. This weekend, the Lakers travel to Duluth to play in the DAHA tourney. In pool play, they draw Duluth East and Mankato. Bloomington Kennedy beat the Saint Paul Saints last week. The Eagles play New Prague, Red Wing and Hopkins on the weekend. Kennedy has quietly accumulated a .500 record this year (15-14-6).

Edina and Eden Prairie stepped outside D6 last week and both lost. But inside D6, Edina still keeps the #1 seed and Eden Prairie the #3 seed. Burnsville and Minnetonka stepped outside D6 last week and both had good tourneys. Burnsville beat Tonka in the Geyer championship and keeps the #2 seed. Burnsville, Eden Prairie, and Tonka all play each other this week in key D6 games. Next week, a lot should be settled.

D8 - Woodbury had the opportunity to put some distance between them and the other D8 teams by winning all three D8 games last week. They beat Sibley 7-2, beat Hastings 6-0 but lost to Farmington 5-4. That leaves an opening for Rosemount to challenge the Royals for the #1 spot. Woodbury has three tough game left, Rosemount, Rochester and Hudson, and a sweep would give the Royals 42 points. Rosemount is the only other team left that can get to 40 plus, but they need to beat Woodbury and Farmington in their last four games.

Lakeville South can get only get 40 points by sweeping their last three games with Cottage Grove, Lakeville North and South St. Paul. Rochester can get to 40 points. They will need to beat Lakeville North, Farmington and Woodbury in their last five games to get there. Lakeville North can also get to 40 points, but need to win all seven remaining games.

With an unusual playoff format, nobody may want to finish first in D8 regular season play. Based on current standings, for finishing first Woodbury would play the winner of the fifth and sixth place (Farmington/Lakeville North) game. If the Royals won, they would play the winner of Rochester/Hastings (fourth and ninth). Lakeville South, in third place, would play Sibley (tenth) and if they won would play Rosemount, the second place finisher.

Lakeville South and Woodbury play in the Roseau tourney. The Cougars play Wayzata, the 97 Fire and Warroad in pool play. Woodbury plays Roseau, Grand Rapids and Chaska in pool play.

Rochester had their tourney this week. They won their pool, beating Albert Lea, Luverne, and Tartan and played Eastview for the championship. Rochester plays Farmington in their only game this week. Rosemount tied Eden Prairie 3-3 and beat South St. Paul 4-1 last week. Rosemount plays in the DAHA tourney this week. In pool play they draw Superior and Jefferson.

Eagan had a tough Geyer tourney. The Wildcats lost to Buffalo 7-3, Mpls Park 8-1, STMA 4-3 before beating St. Cloud 4-3. They are in the DAHA. In pool play they play Albert Lea and D8 rival Sibley. Lakeville North joins Eagan and Sibley at Duluth. The Panthers play Duluth Lakers and Crow River.

Dodge County struggled in the Rochester tourney. The “Dogs” lost to Eastview 7-1, lost to Forest Lake 6-3, lost to Mankato in a wild scoring game 8-5 and beat Albert Lea 4-2. They play Faribault this week. The “Dogs” have some talent. Red Wing plays Hastings and Kennedy this week. Northfield lost to Mason City 7-3 and lost to Owatonna 5-4. This week, the Raiders play St. Peter, New Ulm, and Faribault.

The Woodbury team looked like a Shelby Mustang when they played a good Hastings team last week, sharp and high performing. They looked like a Volkswagen Beetle against Farmington, sluggish and slow. That is a sign of a young team. Lakeville South looked erratic in their second tie with Hudson. They were pressured in the Duluth East game until the Hounds tired. With both teams struggling, that leaves Farmington. This week, the Tigers get the #1 seed, Woodbury the #2 seed and Lakeville South the #3 seed. The Tigers played an aggressive, physical game in beating Woodbury; but they need more discipline to avoid taking themselves out of the game.

Rosemount has played some nice games, but against a bigger South St. Paul team (a game they won), the Irish scrambled to take the win. Rochester looked good in their tourney and Lakeville North impressed with their win over Eden Prairie. With such a balanced league, the tournament draw could determine who advances.

South Region - It was a quiet week in the districts that comprise the South region. D3 sent Hopkins to the Geyer tourney in St. Cloud. D4 teams Luverne, Albert Lea and Mankato played in the Rochester tourney, and D5 teams Sartell, STMA and Buffalo played in the Geyer.

Wayzata traveled short distance down Highway 55 to Breck. In the third game between two top teams in the state, they beat Edina 5-4 to even their season record with each other at 1-1-1.

There were no changes the South Red or Blue projections this week. 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. Hopkins still is looking good, but had a setback in losing to OMG in D3 play a week ago.

D3 - Osseo/Maple Grove had a good 4-2 win over Hopkins last week. This week, they travel to Roseau. They play the Fargo Flyers, Thief River Falls and Edina in pool play. Last week, Wayzata beat Edina, Duluth East 6-1, and Armstrong. The Trojans play Lakeville South, Warroad and the 97 Fire in pool play at Roseau.

Hopkins had a good run at the Geyer tourney in St. Cloud. They beat Rogers 7-3, Bemidji 3-1 and Detroit Lakes 10-0 in pool play. In the Monday championship round, the Royals lost to Minnetonka 5-2 and beat D3 rival Mpls Park 5-3 for third. This week, they get another shot at Mpls Park in D3 play. Orono played North Metro last week. This week, the Spartans play OMG, Mpls Park and Hopkins.

Armstrong lost to Coon Rapids 4-0 and to Cottage Grove 6-5 last week. This week they scrimmage Woodbury and play in the Sauk Centre Tourney. They draw Wadena and Prairie Centre in pool play. North Metro plays Hopkins before going to the Eveleth tourney. The Pirates play the Host Golden Bears in the opening round of bracket play.

This week, the seeds remain unchanged; Wayzata keeps the #1 seed. Orono takes the #2 seed, and OMG takes the #3 seed. The Trojans continue to roll, beating Edina last week. Orono puts have its D3 title hopes on the line this week. Over the next 10 days, the Spartans play OMG, Mpls Park, Hopkins and Wayzata in D3. OMG should be tangling with Edina next Saturday evening for the pool championship at Roseau and the right to move on to Sunday Championship round. They will be tested. Hopkins had a good Geyer tourney. Watch out for the Royals.

D4 - New Prague took a good step forward taking the Rice Lake tourney last week. The Trojans beat Proctor 4-1 (Proctor lost to Duluth East 3-2 two weeks ago), Rice Lake 6-2, Burnett 8-3 and Coon Rapids 7-3. Nice going Trojans. This week, they return to D4 play with games against Austin, St. Peter and Owatonna. The Trojans also play Kennedy.

Mankato had a tough run of games, playing 6 games in four days. The Mavericks did well. They beat Waseca 11-1 in a D4 game. Then at Rochester, the Mavericks beat Forest Lake 4-0, lost to Eastview 7-3, beat Dodge County 8-5 and Tartan 10-1 for third place. They returned home Sunday night to beat Austin 11-1 to end a long weekend. Mankato travels to Duluth to play in the DAHA. In pool play, the Mavericks draw Prior Lake and Duluth East.

Faribault won two D4 games, beating Marshall 7-0 and Waseca 8-0, last week. The Falcons play Austin, Dodge County and Northfield this week. Owatonna plays Mason City and New Prague this week. Faribault needs New Prague to trip up in one of their remaining league games before the Falcons end the D4 season at New Prague.

St. Peter beat New Ulm 12-4 last week. That win earns the Bulldogs second place in the D4 West. The top seeds in the West should be Mankato and St. Peter. The top seeds in the D4 East should be New Prague and Faribault. Luverne, Marshall, New Ulm and Waseca will play a single elimination tourney to get the #3 seed and join Mankato and St. Peter in one D4 playoff pool; Albert Lea, Owatonna and Austin will play a single elimination tourney to get the #3 seed and join New Prague and Faribault in their playoff pool.

The seeds are unchanged this week. New Prague takes the #1 seed. Mankato takes the #2 seed and Faribault takes the #3 seed. Albert Lea played well in their game against Tartan at the Rochester tourney, but lost their composure (on defense and on offensive) that resulted in Tartan goals. The Tigers are a better team and could challenge if they keep their focus. Luverne has some good players who are intent on playing hockey. The Cardinals keep on coming, no matter what the score; but they lack numbers (down to 8 forwards in the Rochester tourney). St. Peter remains an unknown, but had some good games early in the season. The question remains, “are there any other teams starting to close on the top three in D4?”

D5 - STMA, Sartell, and Buffalo traveled to the Geyer last weekend. The Knights had a good tourney. They beat St. Cloud 5-3, Eagan 4-3 and lost to Mpls Park 4-2. That gave the Knights a ticket to the consolation round. They beat Moorhead 9-3 in the semis, but lost to Bemidji 4-0. The Knights return to D5 action this week. They play Litchfield, Willmar and Crow River this week.

In the Geyer, Sartell beat Mounds View 2-1, Brainerd 4-0 and lost to Minnetonka 5-2 in pool play. That also gave the Sabres a ticket to the Consolation round. They lost to Bemidji 2-1. The Sabres return to D5 action playing Hutchinson and Litchfield. Buffalo lost to Burnsville 8-2, lost to Moorhead 4-3 and beat Eagan 7-3 in pool play. The Bison beat Grand Forks 5-4 to end their tourney. They play Litchfield in D5 this week.

Hutchinson plays Sartell and St. Peter (D4) this week. The Tigers beat Mound Westonka 4-3 in a key D5 game for the Tigers. Fittingly, after beating Litchfield 12-1 and then losing to Litchfield 5-3 two weekends at Chisago Lakes, the Whitehawks tied Litchfield 3-3 in their other D5 game this week.

Crow River heads for the DAHA. In Duluth, the Tigers will play Lakeville North and the Duluth Lakers in pool play. Last week, they beat MALM 5-0, River Lakes 4-0, and Willmar 10-3 in D5 play. Both Crow River and River Lakes are improving. River Lakes had a good Brainerd tourney two weeks ago (beating Hibbing 3-2 and Brainerd 3-2 in pool play).

STMA takes the #1 seed this week; Sartell gets the #2 seed. Both teams did well at the St. Cloud Geyer Signal Center Ice Classic tourney. STMA went one game further, but Sartell proved they could compete. Buffalo, Crow River, River Lakes, Mound Westonka, and Hutchinson will challenge making D5 playoffs a real donnybrook.

West Region - Elk River notched two more D10 wins and East Grand Forks added five more wins last week as both teams continued to roll. Is there another team to challenge the two in this region? The Elks are still in a tie with Andover in the D10 Blue Division. Except for a tie game between the two teams, both teams are unbeaten in D10 play. Blaine, Centennial and Anoka trail in the D10 Blue. Anoka is an improving team. They will play in the Eveleth tourney and could end up playing Andover for the Mariucci Championship.

Bemidji has won its own tourney and took the consolation title at the Geyer Tourney in the past three weeks. The Lumberjacks have played themselves to a 25-4 record with two of the losses (5-4 and 5-3) to EGF. Over in D15, Moorhead had an impressive tour of the cities a month ago, but has struggled at times since. Alexandria has been playing well lately. Moorhead, Detroit Lakes, and Brainerd did not fare well in the Geyer.

In the West Red this week, the projected teams are: Alexandria, Bemidji, Andover, and St. Francis; in the West Blue, the projected teams are: East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Elk River, and Detroit Lakes. The only change in the projections this week is that Alexandria and Moorhead swap divisions this week.

D10 - Both Andover and Elk River matched D10 victories as the two teams continue to roll in D10. Andover beat Princeton 8-0; St. Francis 2-1, and Blaine 7-1. Elk River beat CINB 7-1 and Anoka 5-2. The Elks play Blaine this week and then head to Roseau. In pool play, the Elks draw Eden Prairie, East Grand Forks, and Brainerd. The Elks have five remaining D10 games, the key game being the return match with Andover on January 31. Andover heads to the Mariucci Tourney this week. They draw International Falls in the opening game.

Anoka plays in the Mariucci also. They draw Cottage Grove in the opener. St. Cloud hosted the Geyer tourney last week, one of the better tourneys in the state. They and Rogers (also D10) struggled. St. Cloud lost to STMA 5-3, Mpls Park 6-3, Eagan 3-2 and Grand Forks 5-2. Rogers lost to Hopkins 7-3, Bemidji 7-2, beat Detroit Lakes 4-3 and tied Mounds View 2-2.

St. Cloud returns to D10 action this week. They play St. Francis, Coon Rapids and Spring Lake Park. Rogers has four D10 games. They play Champlin Park, St. Francis, CINB and Centennial. St. Francis beat Champlin Park 3-0 and tied Spring Lake Park 2-2 last week.

The D10 Green Division race remains very tight. Six of the seven teams (Rogers, St. Cloud, St. Francis, Princeton, Champlin Park, and Spring Lake Park) are in contention for the top spot in the division with six games to go. This week, St. Francis will play St. Cloud, Rogers, and Champlin Park. Champlin Park plays Rogers and Blaine also. In addition to St. Cloud, Spring Lake Park plays Chisago Lakes. If your head is spinning when you read this, welcome to the club. It is a real toss up and could remain so after this week.

The seeds remain unchanged this week. Elk River and Andover take the #1 and #2 seeds this week. St. Francis takes the #3 seed this week (the Fighting Saints lost a close game to Andover 2-1).

D15 - Moorhead, Brainerd, and Detroit Lakes played in the Geyer tourney last weekend. Moorhead fared the best taking second in their pool and moving to the consolation round. The Spuds beat Buffalo 4-3, tied Grand Forks 3-3 and lost to Burnsville 3-0. They lost the first game of the consolation round to STMA 4-3. This week the Spuds play Fergus Falls as part of Moorhead’s Minnesota Hockey Day Celebration.

Brainerd struggled at the Geyer; losing to Sartell 4-0, tying Mounds View 3-3, losing to Minnetonka 3-1, and tying Detroit Lakes 3-3. Detroit Lakes didn’t fare better. The Lakers lost Bemidji 4-1, Hopkins 10-0 and Rogers 4-3. Alexandria played in a Fargo tourney last week. The Cardinals won two games against the Fargo teams by identical 8-0 scores and lost the Fargo Angels 6-0. They return to D15 action this week; they play Prairie Centre and Fergus Falls.

Prairie Centre has their tourney this weekend. The I-94 tourney has Princeton, River Lakes and Northern Lakes in one pool; Armstrong, Wadena and Prairie Centre in the second pool.

Detroit Lakes remains on top D15 regular season standings. But the Lakers have three games with contenders remaining on their schedule (Brainerd twice and Moorhead). Moorhead has four games remaining and has two contender games (Detroit Lakes and Brainerd). Brainerd has six games left and four contender games (Alexandria, Detroit Lakes twice, and Moorhead). Alexandria has the easy road in their remaining six games playing only one contender Brainerd.

That creates quite a drama in D15 as these four teams play out their remaining D15 schedules. Alex is favored to win D15 at this point and beat Moorhead 10 days ago. They take the #1 seed this week. Moorhead gets the #2 seed and Detroit Lakes takes the #3 seed.

D16 - East Grand Forks added five more wins last week. The Green Wave beat the Grand Forks Greyhounds 6-3, the Grand Forks Seawolves 6-3, LOW, Warroad and the Fargo Flyers 6-4. That busy weekend, sets up another busy weekend, kicked off when Edina comes to town to take on the Green Wave this Thursday. After that, both teams head to Roseau to play in their tourney. EGF draws Eden Prairie, Brainerd and Elk River in pool play.

Bemidji played at the Geyer and took consolation. In pool play, the Lumberjacks beat Detroit Lakes 4-1, Rogers 7-2 and lost to Hopkins 3-1. In the consolation round, Bemidji beat Sartell 2-1 and STMA 4-0 for the title. This week they return to D16 and play Crookston and LOW.

Thief River Falls is the second D16 team in the Roseau tourney. They play Edina, Osseo/Maple Grove and the Fargo Flyers in pool play. Roseau plays Chaska, Woodbury and Grand Rapids in pool play. Warroad is the fourth D16 team in the tourney; they play Wayzata, the 97 Fire, and Lakeville South in pool play. The Rams have a great tourney this year.

Roseau returned to action in earnest last week, tying Warroad 5-5 in a D16 game and losing to Grafton 6-5 and the Grand Forks Seawolves 4-2. Thief River Falls played three D16 games last week, losing to Crookston 5-2, beating Hallock 4-3 and beating LOW 12-1

East Grand Forks is the #1 seed, and Bemidji is the #2 seed. Crookston seems to be the best contender to knock either of these two teams out of the regional tourney.

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