Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey - Feb. 11

By frederick61

An interesting dynamic kicks in for the PeeWee A teams at playoff time. Some districts play 11 or 12 minute stop time periods and switch to 15 minute stop time for the district playoffs. That creates the “hard five minutes” for a number of teams used to playing the shorter time periods. With 15 minute stop time periods; the ice is usually cleaned every two periods. If a team skates on clean ice in the first period, then last five minutes of period 2 are the “hardest” in the game. Often the game is won or lost by goals scored in those five minutes. D3, D5, D12, D15, and D16 are reviewed this week.

D4 is the first to start their playoffs. The D4 regular season is over, the seeds are out, and the play-in games will be this weekend at Luverne and Owatonna. D6 will start their “wild card” portion of the playoffs on the 18th.

There are slightly over 100 PeeWee A teams in the state this year. Not all of these teams will play in district playoffs. Some will not make the playoffs, some will chose not to participate, and some will have played an independent schedule and simply end their season. To each of those teams, their parents, their coaches, and their board members who have all worked to make their season happen, thank you. You are what makes youth hockey great.

North Region - Key teams from the three districts in this region gathered at the Cloquet tourney. What emerged in Sunday’s championship round were three D11 teams (Cloquet, Hermantown, and the Duluth Lakers) and one D2 team (Stillwater).

Cloquet won as the tourney season ended and district playoffs start. Duluth East traveled to White Bear Lake for the Moose Goheen tourney and played well against tough competition. The host Bears played well also.

There are changes in the North this week with one more week to go before playoffs. In the North Red, the projected teams are: Cloquet, Stillwater, Grand Rapids, and Duluth East; in the North Blue, the projected teams are: White Bear Lake, Duluth Lakers, Greenway, and Roseville. D11 projections changed this week. Cloquet replaces the Duluth Lakers as the #1 seed, the Duluth Lakers take the #2 seed and switch pools with Duluth East (the #3 seed).

District 11 - Duluth East played in the White Bear Lake tourney over the weekend. They opened with a loss to Edina 11-5, and followed that with two overtime games beating Woodbury 5-4 and losing to Osseo/Maple Grove 3-2 in the consolation championship game. The Hounds returned to home to beat Superior in a D11 game to end their D11 schedule. This week, Duluth East plays Grand Rapids and Thunder Bay to end their regular season.

The Duluth Lakers and Duluth East are tied on top of D11. The Lakers beat Superior 2-0 and then lost 2-1 to Cloquet. Duluth East beat Proctor 2-0.

The Lakers played in Cloquet’s tourney. They opened pool play beating Princeton 7-4 and beat Dryden 3-2. In the championship round they lost to Stillwater 3-2 and beat Hermantown 4-2 for third place. Cloquet won their tourney. They beat CINB 4-2, Hopkins 3-1, Hermantown, and Stillwater 4-3. Then they beat the Duluth Lakers on Monday. The Lumberjacks play Blaine this week to close out their season. Hermantown and Cloquet are tied for #3/#4 in the D11 standings. Proctor has the #5 seed.

Cloquet has to bounce up this week. They beat the Duluth Lakers in a game both teams wanted. Plus the Lumberjacks won their own tourney and the Lakers took third. This week the #1 seed goes to Cloquet, the Lakers take the #2 seed and Duluth East the #3 seed. Hermantown tied Cloquet a week ago 2-2 and will be a threat in district playoffs in 10 days.

District 12 - D12 this year has a double elimination format. The six D12 teams are seeded as a result of season play. Grand Rapids has a lock on the #1 playoff seed. International Falls looks to have the #2 seed. Hibbing could potentially overtake the Broncos. Greenway, Eveleth, and Virginia have the #4, #5, and #6 seeds.

The D12 playoffs open at Eveleth on Feb. 19th. Based on the current standings, Eveleth plays Greenway and Hibbing plays Virginia in the opening games. Eveleth and Greenway have played three times this season and the Golden Bears hold the edge wining two of three games. Hibbing has beaten Virginia three times this season.

The winner of the Hibbing/Virginia game plays Grand Rapids. The Thunderhawks split their two league games with Hibbing. The winner of the Eveleth/Greenway game plays International Falls. The Broncos hold three wins over Eveleth, but the last two games against the Golden Bears have been tough.

Greenway played in the Cloquet tourney this week. They lost to Hermantown 3-1, Spring Lake Park 7-0, CINB and the Saint Paul Saints 6-2.

This is a difficult playoff to predict. All the teams have had an up and down season. The two D12 seeds will likely go to the two teams that are playing best in February. The best bet is that three teams (Grand Rapids, the Falls, and Hibbing) will contend. But Greenway and Eveleth are improving.

For this week, the seeds remain unchanged. Greenway takes the #1 seed and the Rapids the #2 seed.

District 2 - White Bear Lake and Stillwater remain tied at the top of D2. White Bear have two games left. The Bears played Mahtomedi last week and end their D2 season against Irondale this week. Stillwater returned from Cloquet and beat Mounds View 5-2. The Ponies have one D2 game left against Mahtomedi. White Bear has beaten the Ponies twice in D2 this year and hold the tie breaker.

Stillwater took second at Cloquet losing the championship game to the host 4-3. To get there, the Ponies beat Farmington 3-1, the Saint Paul Saints 10-0, and the Duluth Lakers 3-2. White Bear held their own tourney and opened with a 6-2 win over Osseo/Maple Grove, but lost to Centennial 5-4 and Elk River 6-3.

Roseville played in the New Hope tourney. The Raiders beat Hastings 4-1 in the opener, lost to Eastview 4-3 in a shotout, and played Champlin Park for third place. The lost to Eastview in OT was the third consecutive New Hope tourney loss in the last three years to the Lightning, all in OT. This week Roseville ends their D2 season with a home game against Mounds View.

Roseville, Mounds View and Forest Lake are fighting for third place in D2. Roseville has the edge, but the winner of their game with the Mustangs will most likely take third place. But the Mustangs need to beat Tartan this week to make the game with Roseville mean something.

Forest Lake and Roseville tied 10 days ago 2-2. Last week, the Rangers beat Irondale 5-1 and the Saint Paul Saints 3-2 in D2 games. This week they play Mahtomedi in their last D2 game. A win would give Forest Lake a surprising third place finish. Maybe the Rangers have turned a corner just before playoff time?

Mahtomedi plays Stillwater besides Forest Lake this week and is still in the running for third place. North St. Paul played in the Alexandria tourney on the weekend. The Polars lost their opening game to the Grand Forks Seawolves, beat Sioux Falls and played Fargo for the consolation title. Tartan was at the Alex tourney also. The Titans played well, losing close games to Alexandria 4-2 and to Fargo 3-2 before beating Sioux Falls 4-3.

The seeds remain unchanged this week, White Bear Lake takes the #1 seed, and Stillwater takes the #2 seed and Roseville the #3 seed. But the Raiders tie with Forest Lake opened the door for either the Mustangs or the Rangers to take third this week.

East Region - Looking at the White Bear Lake tourney on paper, Edina went right and Eden Prairie and Woodbury went left. Edina won the championship while Eden Prairie and Woodbury played in the dreaded “game #9”. With both Eden Prairie and Woodbury projected to be in the East Regional, the Hornets look invincible. Both Eden Prairie and Woodbury could be playing each other for the #2 spot behind Edina’s #1 in their regional pool with a shot at going to state by beating a non-Edina team from the other division. Interesting?

For the third week in a row, there are no changes in the East regional pools. 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. Rosemount, Rochester, Eastview, and Prior Lake/Savage all have a shot to be in this region. Lakeville North is a “dark horse”.

District 1-As a result of beating Mpls Park twice in the past two weeks, Highland takes the D1 title this year and the #1 seed into the district playoffs. The Caps end their regular season with games against North St. Paul and the St. Paul Saints. Mpls Park lost to Wayzata 4-1 last week and concludes D3 play against Hopkins this week. The Storm also play Mounds View.

The Saints played in the Cloquet tourney. They lost to Stillwater and Farmington, beat Greenway 6-2 and lost to Princeton 3-0. Besides playing Highland, the Saints lost to Forest Lake. They play Coon Rapids and conclude their D2 play with a game against North St. Paul this week. Irondale lost a D2 game to Forest Lake 4-0 and play White Bear Lake in their last D2 game of the season.

The draw for the D1 playoffs should match Highland and Irondale in one game, the Saint Paul Saints and Mpls Park in the other game. Highland will host the D1 tourney starting Monday Feb 22nd. The games will be played over two weekends, Feb. 22nd and Feb. 27th. This week, Highland Central takes the #1 seed and the Storm takes the #2 seed.

District 6 - Edina continues to win. They went to White Bear to play in their tourney, they beat Duluth East 11-5, Elk River 4-1, and Centennial 5-1. Braemar Arena must be planning an upgrade to the trophy case. They better add at least another 6 feet the way this Hornet team is playing. The Hornets added a 6-3 win over Minnetonka Monday evening. They beat four tough teams in four straight days. To cap the week off, they beat Eden Prairie on their ice 7-1 three days later. This week the Hornets end their D6 season playing Jefferson. Maybe the Hornets should go to Vancover?

Eden Prairie ran into a rough spot at White Bear Lake. They lost their opener to Centennial 6-3, lost to Osseo/Maple Grove 3-2 and beat Woodbury 6-2. But in the game that really mattered, the Eagles came out with a loss to Edina that ended their hopes for a D6 bye. The Edina loss left Eden Prairie rooting for an Apple Valley upset against the Blaze this week. The Eagles need that to happen and to beat Prior Lake to have a shot at the second seed and a bye in the D6 playoffs.

Burnsville won twice last week, beating Eastview 3-0 and Chaska 4-0. Eastview and Prior Lake remain in a battle for the #4 and #5 seed. Eastview beat Apple Valley 7-1, Prior Lake beat Kennedy 4-2 last week. Eastview needs to win its remaining two games (Kennedy and Chaska) to take #4 seed. Prior Lake will take either the 4th or 5th seed. The Lakers last D6 game is with Eden Prairie.

The Lightning beat the Fargo Angels 6-0 for the New Hope tourney championship on Sunday. The Lightning got there by beating Orono 2-0 and Roseville 4-3 (shootout).

Minnetonka needs Eastview to lose its last two games to make the top five in D6. The Skippers have one D6 game left against Chaska. Minnetonka is slated for the #6 seed and the wild card part of the D6 tourney. The game with Chaska could be a tune-up as both teams may meet again in the wild card part of the D6 playoffs next week.

Based on current standings, the wild card part of the D6 playoffs have Apple Valley playing Kennedy in the opening game at Pagel a week from today. The winner of that game will play Jefferson in one wild card semifinal game. Minnetonka would play Chaska in the other semifinal. The semifinal winners play for the #6 seed to the double elimination part of the D6 playoffs. The wild card semifinal teams, to get a seed, would have to play as many as six games in six days. D6 playoffs are the toughest.

D6 has been consistent all year in the seeds. Edina keeps the #1 seed. Burnsville takes the #2 seed, and Eden Prairie the #3 seed.

District 8 - This district is balanced this year. Going into the last week of the season, the seven top teams have 30 to 37 points. The team playing the best, Farmington, has the lowest of that total, 30 points.

With two games left in their D8 season, Rosemount finds themselves in the driver’s seat. Win their last two games (Farmington and South St. Paul) and claim the D8 championship. Nobody can catch the Irish. Lose one game and Woodbury with a win over Hudson can claim the title. Take less then four points and Lakeville South can overtake the Irish.

Rochester and Hudson can’t catch the Irish even if they win their last game. This week will end D8 regular season play for Rochester for the next few years. Next year they will join other D8/D4 teams in the new District 9. Eleven of the new D9 associations skated peewee A hockey this year (Albert Lea, Austin, Dodge County, Faribault, Mankato, New Ulm, Northfield, Owatonna, Red Wing, St. Peter, and Waseca) besides Rochester. Rochester beat Eagan 8-1 last week. This week they play Hastings in their last D8 game and Chaska.

Farmington last week played in the Cloquet tourney. They beat the Saint Paul Saints 8-0, lost to Stillwater 3-1, beat Hopkins 6-0 and beat Dryden 5-2 for the consolation title. The Tigers have not lost in their last 9 D8 games. Two more D8 wins (Rosemount and Sibley) would run that streak to 11 and put the Tigers in the top half of the D8 standings for the first time in the last 10 years.

If the Tigers could have kept a few extra “unfairplay” points, they would be contending for the #1 or #2 seed this week. But that is what “unfairplay” points do. They are designed to punish the team, not the kid responsible. The “unfairplay” idea reminds a person of being in a high school class with a teacher who can’t control a few kids. The teacher punishes all the kids including those who are behaving to solve their problem. Worst thing about the idea is calling it “fairplay”, because it results in an ugly style of hockey at times that is not played fairly.

Woodbury ended up with sick kids and a bad tourney at White Bear Lake. The Royals lost to Elk River 11-0, Duluth East 5-4 in OT, and to Eden Prairie 6-2. They play Hudson in a game that could determine their D8 championship on Valentine’s Day.

Lakeville South lost a tough game 4-3 to an up and down Prior Lake team that plays tough. The Cougars end their D8 season this week with games against Lakeville North and South St. Paul. The North game will be a tough rivalry game. This will be the first time they play each other this year. The Panthers added two D8 wins to its season total last week, beating South St. Paul 7-2 and Hastings. North lost to Blaine 2-1.

Hastings had a tough New Hope tourney last week. They lost to Roseville 4-1 in the opening game, lost to Orono and played Armstrong. Dodge County last week, beat Albert Lea 2-1, tied Northfield at Northfield 2-2, and beat Northfield at home 6-1. They are off this week as their season winds down. Northfield plays Red Wing this week. Last week, Red Wing lost to Apple Valley 4-2 and lost to New Prague 4-0. This week, the Wingers play Faribault in addition to Northfield.

Cottage Grove beat Sibley last week in a D8 game. Sibley leads Cottage Grove by a point for the 10th and last seed to the D8 playoffs held at Cottage Grove. Each has a game to play. Sibley plays Farmington and Cottage Grove plays Eagan.

This week’s seeds are unchanged. Farmington keeps winning in D8 and played well at Cloquet, losing one game to Stillwater. Woodbury keeps the #2 seed, but continues an up and down season. Lakeville South keeps the #3 seed. Both teams lost outside D8 this week. Rosemount still looks good, their game with the Tigers is a key one. Rochester continues to play well. As predicted, last week’s D8 play only tightened an already tight D8 race. This week it has to be settled. The regular season will end.

South Region - In D3, Hopkins traveled to Cloquet, Osseo/Maple Grove played in the White Bear tourney, Orono and Armstrong played in the New Hope tourney and Wayzata stayed home. Hopkins struggled at Cloquet, OMG played well at White Bear and Orono and Armstrong struggled at New Hope. Wayzata won their one D3 game.

In D4, the regular season ended and the seeds are posted. New Prague won the East Division title and Mankato won the West Division title. Congratulations to both teams. In D5, St Michael/Albertville won regular season title. Congratulations to the Knights.

The South Regional pools don’t change this week. In the South Red this week, the projected teams are: Wayzata, Hutchinson, New Prague, and Faribault; in the South Blue, the projected teams are: STMA, Osseo/Maple Grove, St. Peter and Hopkins.

District 3 - D3 and D12 have a similar playoff formats, but D3 gets three seeds to the regional. That means the winners of the semifinals will get the #1 and #2 regional seeds. The losers of the opening round and semifinal games will play for the third seed.

The D3 season will end on Valentine’s Day. That makes the seeding for the D3 playoffs less predictable. Wayzata and Osseo/Maple Grove are headed for a showdown this weekend for the #1 seed. The regular season title is at stake (unless OMG gets waylaid by Orono). Hopkins appears to have third place in hand. Orono, Armstrong and North Metro have the #4, #5, and #6 seeds.

That sets up Hopkins/North Metro and Orono/Armstrong in the opening games. Hopkins has been improving over the past few weeks with the return of a more players. The Royals have beaten the Pirates twice this season. Orono has also beaten Armstrong twice, but those games have been close. The winner of the Hopkins/North Metro game plays the #2 seed (either OMG or Wayzata) and the winner of the Orono/Armstrong game plays the #1 seed.

Wayzata has lost only one D3 game (to OMG). The Trojans have won all their other games by three or more goals including winning their last three D3 games by an identical 4-1 score. The #1 and #2 teams (Trojans and OMG) will need to win only one game to make the regional. But if they lose that game, they would have to beat an Orono or Hopkins to advance.

OMG had a good White Bear Lake tourney. After a slow start losing to White Bear in the opener 6-2, OMG can back to beat Eden Prairie 3-2 and Duluth 3-2 in OT to take the consolation trophy. Hopkins struggled at Cloquet. They lost the opener to the Host team 4-1, beat CINB, lost to Farmington 6-0 and beat Spring Lake Park 2-1. Orono also struggled at the New Hope tourney. They lost to Eastview 2-0 in the opener, beat Hastings and beat Kennedy 3-2 for the consolation title. Armstrong, host of the tourney also struggled, losing the opening game to the Fargo Angels, losing to Kennedy 3-2 and playing Hastings.

Wayzata and OMG still look to be the best in D3. Orono has struggled the last two weeks and Hopkins has improved. The third seed up in the air. Just ask Armstrong or North Metro. This week, Wayzata keeps the #1 seed. OMG takes the #2 seed. Hopkins takes the #3 seed.

District 4 - Play-in games for the D4 playoff #3 seeds start this Friday. Luverne will host Waseca and New Ulm will host Marshall. The winners of those two games will play Saturday for the #3 spot in the National Division, joining #2 St. Peter and #1 New Prague. Owatonna will host the winner of the Albert Lea/Austin game for the #3 spot in the American Division. Albert Lea and Austin are “crosstown” I-90 rivals and it should be quite a game. The Owatonna game winner will join #2 Faribault and #1 Mankato in the D4 playoffs at Le Sueur on the 19th.

Mankato beat Marshall 5-0 last week and are off this week. St. Peter is off again this week. New Prague beat Faribault 13-2 and Red Wing 4-0 last week. This week they play Hopkins.

This week, the seeds are unchanged. St. Peter remains #1, New Prague #2 and Mankato #3. St. Peter’s long layoff will not help the Bulldogs.

District 5 - With two regional seeds at stake, D5 playoff format is simple. All 10 teams play a #1 seed tourney until they lose. Then they drop into the #2 seed tourney. One more loss and they are out of the playoffs.

STMA has won the D5 regular season title and will take the #1 seed into the tourney. Sartell and Hutchinson are tied for second, but the Tigers have three games left (Litchfield and Buffalo twice) and have the edge. The Sabres have two games left (Litchfield and MALM).

Crow River and Buffalo will finish fourth or fifth; Mound Westonka sixth, and Willmar, Litchfield, MAML and River Lakes will finish 7th to 10th. With those finishes, the playoffs should open on the 19th with Litchfield (tourney host) playing MAML and Willmar playing River Lakes. The next day, #4 Crow River and #5 Buffalo play in one game. In the other game, STMA will play the winner of Litchfield/MAML. In the lower bracket, #2 Hutchinson would play the winner of the Willmar/River Lakes game and #3 Sartell would play #6 Mound Westonka.

STMA has had a good season. They have played a tough schedule and have played well. The Bloomington tourney was a turning point. The Knights came into that tourney having been beaten up by Edina. They started slow and played better as a team as the tourney progressed. But the Knights have been up and down since then and tied Hutchinson 2-2 last week.

Buffalo and Crow River have played well, but not consistently. They have tied each other twice in league play (1-1, 2-2). This game is a coin flip. STMA should be rooting for Buffalo to win. They have soundly beaten the Bison twice in league play. Crow River has played the Knights tough three times; most notably beating them in the Orono tourney championship game.

Hutchinson and Sartell played in Alex’s tourney last weekend. The Tigers won 3-1 in the third place game. River Lakes and Mound Westonka can’t be overlooked. The Whitehawks took the consolation title at Fergus Falls last week, losing to Crookston, beating Grand Forks and Fergus Falls. The Whitehawks pushed Wayzata three weeks ago before losing 4-1. River Lakes has the last seed because they have lost 7 (or more) “unfairplay” points. The Stars have split their two league games with Sartell (losing to the Sabres 4-3 two weeks ago).

With a balanced league and a tough but fair playoff, D5 is wide open. STMA should take one of the seeds, but will potentially have to play Crow River and then Hutchinson/Sartell. Crow River, Hutchinson and Sartell will all play teams that have played them tough to get to the semis. The teams that lose in the semis, will have a real grind to take the #2 seed. That is as it should be. D5 has a great playoff this year.

STMA remains the #1 seed this week; Hutchinson gets the #2 seed.

West Region - Elk River won the D10 Blue Division title and the #1 Blue seed in the eight team D10 playoffs. The D10 Green Division, four teams can potentially take the #1 seed. In D15, STMA has taken the D15 title and the #1 seed. In D16, East Grand Forks has taken the D16 title and the #1 seed. Congratulations to Elk River, STMA and EGF.

Most teams that don’t make the district playoffs end their season this week. For three teams in the D10 Green (St. Cloud, Princeton and CINB) and for three teams in the D10 Blue (Chisago Lakes, Anoka, and Coon Rapids); their season ends this week.

In the West Red this week, the projected teams are: Alexandria, Bemidji, Elk River, and Andover; in the West Blue, the projected teams are: East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Centennial, and Detroit Lakes.

District 10 - A hockey mom must have put the D10 schedule together. All regular season games end on Friday, February 12th. There are no excuses for spending Valentine’s Day at the arena in D10.

Elk River and Centennial played in the White Bear tourney over the week end. Centennial took second place and Elk River took third place. The Elks opened with an easy win over Woodbury 11-0, lost a tough game to Edina 4-1 and beat White Bear Lake 6-3 for third place. Centennial beat Eden Prairie 6-3, White Bear Lake 5-4 and lost to Edina 5-1.

Centennial returned to D10 play and tied Blaine 2-2. Centennial has one game left with Coon Rapids. A win would give Centennial second place ahead of Andover. But the Rapids are coming off of two strong wins beating Anoka 5-2 and Andover 3-1. With Coon Rapids not making the playoffs and playing at home, it will not be an easy game for Centennial to win.

The top four teams in the Blue Division are Elk River, Andover, Centennial and Blaine. Over in the Green Division, the top four teams have also been determined (Spring Lake Park, Rogers, St. Francis, and Champlin Park). With one game left, three of these teams are in a battle for the top spot. Spring Lake Park can settle the matter by beating CINB at the Super Rink tonight. If they win, they take the title. Rogers played Princeton in their last D10 game this week.

St. Francis tied Blaine 1-1 in D10 action last week. The Fighting Saints end their D10 season at home against Elk River. St. Francis took the River Lakes tourney over the weekend beating the host 8-2, Northern Lakes 8-0, Prairie Centre 9-0 and Litchfield 9-1 at the Koronis Civic Arena.

After losing the big game to decide the D10 Blue title to Elk River, Andover split their last two D10 games, beating Anoka 4-3 and losing to Coon Rapids 3-1.

The seeds do not change this week. Centennial keeps the #1 seed, Elk River keeps the #2 seed and Andover takes the #3 seed.

District 15 - D15 playoff format will not be posted until after Feb 10th. Final standings will determine seeds to the playoffs. The playoffs are double elimination. Based on current standings, Moorhead should end up with the #1 seed. Alexandria has the #2 seed and Detroit Lakes the #3 seed. Brainerd and Fergus Falls should that the #4 and #5 seeds. Northern Lakes, Prairie Centre and Wadena will end up with the #6, #7 and #8 seeds.

If all 8 teams enter and D15 follows previous year’s approach, then the playoff format will be a double elimination tourney similar to D16’s tourney. That would result in Moorhead playing Wadena in the opener. The winner would then play the winner of Brainerd/Fergus Falls to complete the bracket. Alexandria would play Prairie Centre and Detroit Lakes would play Northern Lakes in the lower bracket.

Moorhead and Alexandria are playing well as the season ends. The Spuds traveled to Roseau last Sunday and beat the Rams 9-4. Alexandria won their own tourney beating Tartan 4-2, Hutchinson 3-0 and the Grand Forks Seawolves 2-1. These two teams should take two of the three D15 seeds. The battle for the third seed is wide open. Brainerd, Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes will contend for that third seed.

District 16 - East Grand Forks will finish D16 in first place and most likely unbeaten. Bemidji should finish second (lost to EGF twice and Thief River Falls once). Crookston and Thief River Falls are battling for third, Roseau will finish 5th. Warroad, Hallock, and LOW have the 6th, 7th, and 8th seeds.

With D16 having two seeds to the West Region, the playoff format usually involves all 8 teams, seeded in bracket play, with double elimination. That means EGF should open the tourney playing LOW. The other side of the bracket would have #4 Thief River Falls playing #5 Roseau. With the tourney at the Rams home this year, that sets up a couple of interesting games. The Prowlers and Rams will have a re-match of their D16 game from two weeks ago that the TRF won 3-2 and the winner will provide EGF a stiff test in the semifinal game.

On the other side of the bracket, #2 seed Bemidji would play Hallock and Warroad should play Crookston. That sets up a Lumberjack/Pirate game in the semifinals. Bemidji has beaten Crookston twice in regular season in close games. They may have to do the same at Roseau to advance.

EGF and Bemidji should take the two seeds; it would be an upset to predict anything else. But the Pirates and the Prowlers have proven they can be tough.

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