Friday, December 3, 2010

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

By frederick61

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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