As the Christmas Holidays approach, the hockey action slows. It should as families get together and celebrate. This year is no different. Some districts, like D2, don’t schedule games during the coming two weeks. Others, the number of games scheduled are low. There are only two peewee A tourneys this week, Grand Rapids and Detroit Lakes. So to everyone who makes youth hockey possible, the kids, the parents, the coaches, the boards, the arena managers, and the sponsors; it is my turn to wish you well and if you celebrate Christmas as I do, Merry Christmas.
Last Sunday, Rosemount beat Farmington 5-2 for the Spirit of Duluth title. The Irish got there by beating Duluth East 8-1, the Mpls Storm 4-3, Osseo/Maple Grove 13-5, and Blaine 7-0. The Tigers got there by beating Centennial 7-0, tying Edina 3-3, beating the Duluth Lakers 9-1 and beating Elk River 2-0. Blaine played Elk River for third place.
In the consolation round semifinals, Wayzata beat D3 rival OMG and Edina beat D6 rival Eden Prairie 9-5. Edina beat Wayzata 7-6 in the consolation final in OT.
It was an interesting tournament result in that D8 teams (Rosemount and Farmington) took the top two places, D10 teams (Blaine and Elk River) took the next two places, D6 and D3 teams (OMG, Wayzata, Edina and Eden Prairie) played in the consolation tourney, two D2 teams played in the third place pool games, and three D11 teams (Duluth East, Duluth Lakers, and Superior) played in fourth place pool games. One could point to that and say D8 is on top, D10 is second, D3/D6 are tied for third, D2 is fourth, and D11 trails.
But this is December and this is peewee A hockey. February playoffs are 10 weeks out; that is enough time for these kids to grow an inch.
Albert Lea’s tourney had the Johnson/Como Devils in the finals against a tough Mankato team. Mankato won 3-2. This year Albert Lea’s long time coach, Roy Nystrom, and Rochester Mayo coach, Lorne Grosso, are dueling for who will end up with the most wins as a high coach. Last week, Nystrom passed Willard Ikola (616 wins) when he won his 617th game beating Rochester John Marshall 7-4. Lorne Grosso started the season with 613 wins and has added three wins to bring his total to 616. A win over Mankato East will put Grosso ahead of Ikola this week.
Albert Lea and Rochester youth hockey programs are both in D9. Both associations’ high schools play their hockey in the Big 9 Conference. Albert Lea’s association supports just their high school; Rochester’s association supports three Big 9 teams, John Marshall, Century and Mayo. The Rochester association also supports Lourdes. Albert Lea at 3-1 has a better record than each of the three Big 9 Rochester teams. Lourdes is currently unbeaten in 5 games.
Moorhead’s tourney was won by the Moorhead Black (or A or A1) team. The Black beat a good Mound/Westonka team 9-0, a good Andover team 7-0 and the Fargo Flyers 5-1. The surprise of this tourney was the play of the Moorhead Orange (or A2) team. The Orange lost a close game to Grafton 9-8, beat Red Wing (a team that had been playing well prior to the trip to Moorhead) 7-3 and lost close game to Mound/Westonka 6-5 in the consolation finals.
Owatonna’s tourney had eight well matched teams. The Kansas City Stars took the championship beating Kennedy 3-2, Crow River 5-4 and Princeton 5-2 in weekend that started with a hard sleeting rain on Friday and ended with massive snow storm Saturday night. Princeton continued their good play from D10 action the previous week beating a scrappy Luverne team 6-2 and Waconia 6-1 to get to the championship game. No snowstorm stops hockey, it just slows it a bit.
Grand Rapids has the Star of the North tourney this weekend. Burnsville is entered and is bracketed with the Thunderhawks in what could be the most interesting peewee A game this week providing both teams win their opening games (Grand Rapids plays Forest Lake and the Blaze play Little Falls).
North Regional (D12, D15, D16) - It took one week for Thief River Falls to turn the North Region upside down. The Prowlers handed Bemidji its first D16 loss last week, 3-0. Thief River Falls have now beaten Roseau, Bemidji, and East Grand Forks in their first four games. Moorhead Black sailed along last week, winning their tourney. Moorhead travels to the Cities this weekend and will test itself against Woodbury and Blaine.
Grand Rapids established itself as the dominant team in D12 this week by beating Hibbing, Eveleth, and Mesabi East soundly. The Thunderhawks could potentially play Burnsville in the semifinals of their tourney. This region remains wide open because after the top teams, the remaining teams are balanced. Who gets to the regional will boil down to who is playing best in February.
District 12-Grand Rapids stays home this week to play Virginia. They open their tourney against a tough Forest Lake team with a good defense. Besides Burnsville/Little Falls, Hibbing plays Hopkins and Anoka plays Duluth East. Virginia beat Rochester Black 5-0 and Rochester Gold twice 5-1 and 2-1 last week. The Blue Devils play Eveleth and Superior besides Grand Rapids this week. Hibbing besides losing to Grand Rapids played International Falls last week.
The Falls travel to Detroit Lakes to play in the Lakers tourney. They play Detroit Lakes, Willmar, and Moorhead Orange in pool play. Greenway played Hermantown last weekend and hosts the Hawks this week. They also play Mesabi East and Eveleth. Mesabi East beat Eveleth 2-0 last week. Eveleth continues to struggle losing to Proctor 10-1 in addition to East and Grand Rapids.
The seeds remain the same this week. Grand Rapids keeps the #1 seed. Hibbing remains the #2 seed and Greenway takes the #3 seed. Two weeks ago, International Falls beat MALM 6-4 in their own tourney. MALM has potential and been an up and down team all year. Last week, they rose up and tied ranked STMA 2-2 in D5 play. The Bronco’s should do well at Detroit Lakes. Virginia had a good trip in a tough snow storm and appears to be improving.
District 15 - The Moorhead Black won their tourney last week and the Moorhead Orange also had a good tourney. These teams return to D15 where the Black has dominated and the Orange has struggled. The Black adds a stop at Bemidji this week to their cities trip and then they take the Christmas week off. The Orange play in the Detroit Lakes tourney this week. They draw Detroit Lakes, Willmar and International Falls in pool play.
Last week, Alexandria beat Little Falls 6-1 and tied Detroit Lakes 4-4. This week the Cardinals play in the Detroit Lakes tourney. They draw Proctor, Sauk Rapids and Northern Lakes in pool play. Eight teams are entered in the Detroit Lakes tourney.
Brainerd lost to Bemidji 7-1, beat Fergus Falls 5-2 and Detroit Lakes 3-2 last week. This week the Warriors play Sartell. Fergus Falls beat Little Falls 6-3 last week and play Crookston, Grand Forks and Thief River Falls this week. Little Falls heads to Grand Rapids to play in the Star of the North tourney. The Flyers draw a tough Burnsville Blaze team in the opening game.
After a week off, Northern Lakes gets back into action at the Detroit Lakes tourney playing Alexandria in the opening of pool play. Moorhead Black keeps the #1 seed this week. Brainerd takes the #2 seed. Alexandria and Detroit Lakes will have their chances in the Detroit Lakes tourney. The #2 seed remains wide open.
District 16 - Bemidji looked good on their trip to the cities two weeks ago, and then they lost to Thief River Falls last week 3-0. The Lumberjacks did beat Brainerd 7-1 and Red Lake Falls last week. This week they play three more D16 games, East Grand Forks, Warroad and Roseau. A sweep of those games would put Bemidji back in control of D16.
Thief River Falls is 4-0 in D16, but one of the reasons that Bemidji remains even with TRF is that the Prowlers have lost 3 “unfairplay” points (and yet won every game). The Prowlers have two D16 games this week against Red Lake Falls and Warroad. They also play Fergus Falls. Their second D16 game, just before Christmas, with East Grand Forks will be a key game.
East Grand Forks beat Roseau 8-3 and beat Red Lake Falls in D16 games last week. This week the Green Wave hosts Bemidji and Crookston. Roseau hosts Bemidji this week. Crookston had a tough Moorhead tourney last week losing to Andover, Mound/Westonka and playing Red Wing for seventh place. This week the Pirates play Fergus Falls and the Grand Forks Golden Eagles in addition to EGF. Red Lake Falls had a tough week (the Eagles have played better). In addition to hosting TRF this week, Warroad travels west on 11 to Grafton for a game.
To the victor go the spoils. Thief River Falls takes the #1 seed this week; Bemidji takes the #2 seed. East Grand Forks is starting to play better and gets the #3 seed. Roseau had a tough week losing to TRF and EGF, but the Rams continue to work hard. Over the Christmas Holiday, they will be playing at the Edina tourney and will have Edina, Elk River and Lakeville South in their pool.
South Regional (D4, D8, D9) - Last week’s headline in the South Regional was “Rosemount beats Wayzata”. This week the headline reads “Rosemount beats Farmington 5-2 to win the Spirit of Duluth tourney”. Quite a week for the Irish and it isn’t even March yet. Rosemount continues their stretch of great wins with victories over OMG, Mpls Storm, Duluth East, and Blaine to get to the championship game.
Farmington was not exactly a pussycat in the tourney as the Tigers shut out Centennial and Elk River and held the Duluth Lakers to a single goal in the tourney. They tied Edina 3-3 in pool play.
Meanwhile, down south in the storms, Luverne lost a tough game to Princeton in the opening game of the Owatonna tourney and slid to the hotel/home in the middle of an ice storm. Next day the Cardinals lost to Owatonna and then plowed to the hotel/home in the middle of a snow storm. Further south in Albert Lea, Mankato won their tourney beating Johnson/Como in the championship game.
District 4 - Luverne and Redwood Falls meet this week. Redwood Falls played in a Wisconsin tourney last week. This week the Falls hope to avenge an earlier 6-2 loss when they play River Lakes in addition to Luverne. Marshall has a return match with Hutchinson also this week. Luverne plays Albert Lea in a D9 game.
Luverne remains on top of the D9 West but that lead will be challenged by Mankato when the two teams meet just before Christmas. The #1 seed remains with Luverne and the #2 seed stays with Marshall.
District 8 - Rosemount and Farmington finally met at the Spirit and the Irish came out on top 5-2 as both teams made it to the championship game. The Irish beat Duluth East 8-1, Mpls Storm 4-3, OMG 13-5 and Blaine 7-0 to get there.
Farmington beat Centennial 7-0, tied Edina 3-3, beat the Duluth Lakers 9-1 and beat Elk River 2-0 to get the championship game and a second place finish. Rosemount return to play IGH/SSP and Apple Valley in D8 action this week. The Irish also play Roseville.
Farmington has a similar schedule to the Irish this week. The Tigers play Eagan and Sibley in D8 action and also play a single game with the Rochester Red. Lakeville South came out storming in the first period, jumped to a three goal lead over Woodbury and never let go beating the Predators 6-3 last week. That win has twisted D8 standings and opens the competitive door for the Cougars to move into the top echelon in D8. The Cougars added a 6-0 win over Apple Valley and have two D8 games this week with Lakeville North (in what is now a key early season match-up) and Johnson/Como. Woodbury came back to beat Eagan.
Where Lakeville South stepped up to beat Woodbury, Lakeville North took a hit in losing to Eagan 4-3 last week. The Panthers had just beaten a tough Eastview team 4-3 two days before. The loss to Eagan was the first Panthers D8 loss of the season. Eagan had been struggling and the win over the Panthers was a good for the Wildcats and maybe a sign of better days ahead. Eagan played Roseville and lost to Woodbury last week. This week the Wildcats play visiting Moorhead Black, Farmington, and Eastview. Lakeville North plays a return game with Eastview besides arch rival Lakeville South this week.
Johnson/Como took second at Albert Lea last week. The Devils won their pool beating Sioux Falls Blue 4-2, Faribault 6-0, and Albert Lea 8-1. They lost to Mankato 3-2 in an overtime, shootout, championship game on Sunday. The Devils play Apple Valley and IGH/SSP in addition to Lakeville South this week. IGH/SSP took the consolation title at Owatonna beating Kennedy in the semis and Owatonna 6-4 in the finals. IGH/SSP plays Rosemount in D8 action this week in addition to Johnson/Como.
Hastings beat Apple Valley 5-2 for their first D8 win. The Raiders host Sibley this week. Apple Valley played Lakeville South this week and plays Johnson/Como and Rosemount next week.
With Lakeville South beating Woodbury and Lakeville North losing to Eagan, D8 shifted last week from a potential year end donnybrook among five teams to a potential Rosemount and Farmington runaway. This week Rosemount takes the #1 seed and Farmington takes the #2 seed. Over the Christmas Holidays, Rosemount plays in the Bloomington tourney and Farmington plays in the Edina tourney. That will prove interesting. These two teams remain on the verge of winning their first 13 league games and being unbeaten when they play each other in February. But the Spirit of Duluth tourney last week settled the bragging rights between the Irish and the Tigers. For now, Rosemount is top dog.
The #3 seed this week goes to Lakeville South. They beat Woodbury, last week’s #3 seed. To the victor go the spoils.
District 9 - In D9, the Rochester Red team continues to play an independent schedule. Snow canceled their games last weekend. The Red plays Mankato, Eden Prairie and host Farmington this week. The Black and the Gold hosted Virginia last weekend. The Black lost to Virginia 4-0 and tied the Gold in a D9 game 1-1. The Black plays a home and home series with D9 East Division leading Northfield and a single D9 game with Dodge County this week.
The Gold lost twice to Virginia, 2-1 and 5-1 and lost a D9 game to Northfield 7-2 last week. The Gold play at Mankato and host Dodge County in two D9 games.
Northfield had scheduled games with Armstrong and Apple Valley on the weekend but were snowed and sleeted out. Besides beating the Rochester gold, the Raiders tied Red Wing 4-4 last week. That tie with the second place Wingers keeps Northfield on a path to lockup the D9 East Division title early. Red Wing played in the Moorhead tourney. They lost the opening game to the Fargo Gold, lost to the Moorhead Orange 7-3 and played Crookston. Red Wing returns to D9 action playing New Ulm and Austin.
Dodge County played in the Albert Lea tourney over last weekend. They lost to the Quad Cities Ice Eagles 6-3 and Mankato. They beat the Omaha Jr Lancers and Albert Lea 5-4. This week the Bulldogs get going in D9 playing four games; Austin, Rochester Black, Albert Lea, and Rochester Gold. Austin plays a game this week with Faribault besides playing Red Wing.
Owatonna and Albert Lea, two teams in the D9 West Division, held their tourneys this week. Owatonna’s tourney had a repeat winner as the Kansas City Stars added a second Minnesota tourney title to their collection. The Stars are now rated in the top 25 nationally (out of approximately 350) USA Peewee 98 Tier II teams. One more Minnesota tourney crown for the Stars and the state will have to adopt them.
The Stars won the crown by beating D6 Kennedy 3-2, D3 Crow River 5-4, and D10 Princeton 5-3. Owatonna lost to Princeton 6-1, beat D9 rival Luverne 6-4, and lost to IGH/SSP 6-4 in the consolation finals. Luverne showed up a man short and skated eight forwards in the tourney opener. The Cardinals hung in against a good Princeton team before giving up three goals late in the game and losing 6-2.
Mankato won the Albert Lea tourney. The Mavericks won their pool beating the Quad Cities Ice Eagles 4-2, Dodge County and the Omaha Jr. Lancers. The Mavericks beat Johnson/Como in an overtime, shootout, championship game on Sunday 3-2. Mankato plays Faribault and Luverne this week. In addition to hosting their tourney, Owatonna beat Faribault 3-2 last week. The Huskies play New Ulm this week.
Besides losing to Dodge County on Sunday in the final game of their tourney, Albert Lea beat Faribault 2-0, lost to Johnson/Como 8-1, and lost to the Sioux Falls Blue. This week, they play Dodge County and Luverne in D9 games. Faribault plays Mankato and New Ulm this week. New Ulm’s two D9 loses has been to Luverne. This week, they play three D9 games; Owatonna, Red Wing, and Faribault; and host Waconia. New Ulm has a twelve team tourney coming up in mid-January with some good teams entered. There are one or two slots left.
If D9 follows the D4 format from last year, the top two teams from each division (East and West) are seeded into the tourney. The remaining teams play-in for the two remaining slots-one remaining slot for each division.
Luverne, Owatonna, and Mankato are leading in the D9 West Division. Luverne is playing D9 as a guest and is favored to take one of the D4 seeds to the South Regional. But more importantly, Luverne at this point will not play in the D9 playoffs. That leaves Owatonna and Mankato with a clear path to the D9 playoff seeds. New Ulm, Albert Lea and Faribault would have to “play-in” to get to the playoffs. In the East Division, Northfield and Redwing have a similar clear path to the playoff seeds, leaving Dodge County, Rochester Gold, Rochester Black, and Austin having to “play-in” to get the last seed to the playoffs.
With all that being said, D9 is still a wide open district. A month from now, things will start to settle down. This week, Northfield keeps the #1 seed. The Raiders are now 6-0-1 at the halfway mark. The Raiders next three games (Rochester Black twice and Rochester Gold) are key. Mankato is starting to play better. The Mavericks won at Albert Lea and take the #2 seed. Red Wing takes the #3 seed. They struggled at Moorhead, but came back to tie Northfield in D9 play. Owatonna remains a threat as the Husky’s season rolls along. Faribault and both of the Rochester teams are still unknowns and could challenge. This is a wide open district.
East Regional (D2, D10, D11) - D11 had the Spirit of Duluth tourney over the weekend. Three of the sixteen teams entered were from D11 (Duluth East, Duluth Lakers, and Superior) and they all finished fourth in their pool. Two of the teams were from D2 (White Bear Lake and Stillwater) and they finished third in their pools. Two of the teams were from D10 (Blaine and Elk River) and they won their pools.
What does that mean? If this was August and the teams were major league baseball teams, the D11 and D2 teams would be putting their stars on the trading block and looking to cut salary. The D10 teams would be scanning the waiver lists looking to get some Star power for a few months. But this is peewee A hockey. These kids can grow an inch or more in the next month. In the end, it will be which team is playing the best when the district playoffs start.
District 2 - Roseville and Hudson are still positioned to run away with the D2 regular season title as the New Year comes. Roseville beat Mahtomedi 8-4 and Eagan 8-0 last week. They will play White Bear Lake and Forest Lake in D2 games this week. The Raiders have the big game with Rosemount on Saturday. The Raiders remain in first in D2 tied with Hudson with a game advantage. Hudson tied Highland 3-3 last week; they play Stillwater and Mahtomedi this week.
White Bear Lake had a tough Spirit of Duluth tourney, losing to Wayzata 6-2, losing to Blaine 4-0, beating Superior 9-1 and losing to Mpls Storm 3-0 on Sunday. Stillwater had a shot at winning their pool after beating the Thunder Bay Kings 3-0 and tying Elk River 1-1 in their first two pool games at the Spirit. But Eden Prairie beat the Ponies 4-1 in the third game dropping them to third in the pool. They played Centennial on Sunday.
Forest Lake heads to Grand Rapids this weekend to play in the Star of the North tourney. They draw the host Thunderhawks in the opening game of bracket play. Moundsview plays Tartan and Irondale this week. After playing Hudson this week, Mahtomedi takes the holidays off.
Roseville Raiders keep the #1 seed. They had a stunning loss to Farmington two weeks ago and will play another top D8 team in Rosemont. Stillwater takes the #2 seed. After struggling early this year, the Ponies were one of the surprises in the Spirit of Duluth and played well in their pool play. White Bear Lake takes the #3 seed, but the Bears will be challenged. One the teams to watch in D2 this week is Forest Lake. The Rangers will be tested when they play at Grand Rapids.
District 10 - Blaine and Elk River won their pools at Duluth with both teams advancing to the Championship Round on Sunday. Blaine got there by beating Superior 7-0, White Bear Lake 4-0, and Wayzata 5-4. The Bengals have a tough team. Elk River got to the championship round by tying Eden Prairie 2-2, Stillwater 1-1, and beating Thunder Bay Kings 8-0. Both teams lost in the semifinals to two D8 teams. Blaine lost to Rosemount 7-0 and Elk River lost to Farmington 2-0. The Elks beat Blaine 3-2 in the third place game.
The Elks return to D10 playing four games, Coon Rapids, Rogers, Anoka, and Spring Lake Park. Blaine played St. Francis last week. This week the Bengals are busy. They have games scheduled with Andover, Moorhead, Centennial, and Champlin Park.
Anoka makes the trip to Grand Rapids for the Star of the North tourney. They open against Duluth East. Last week, the Tornadoes lost to Rogers 4-1, tied Irondale 3-3, and beat Champlin Park 4-3. Spring Lake Park tied Andover 4-4 and a tough Prior Lake team 5-5. The Panthers play Rogers, Moorhead, and Coon Rapids this week. Considering Prior Lake tied Edina two days later, the Panthers will be a team to watch. They play in the Bloomington tourney after Christmas.
Irondale continues to surprise. Besides tying Anoka, the Knights beat St. Francis 8-1. They play Centennial, Andover and Moundsview this week. Princeton, the other surprising D10 team played at Owatonna and took second place losing in the championship game to the nationally ranked Kansas City Stars 5-2. The Tigers beat Luverne 6-2 and Waconia 6-1 to get to the championship game. This week, Princeton plays Champlin Park, Andover, Coon Rapids and St. Francis.
Andover played at Moorhead and ran into a tough Moorhead Black team losing 7-0. They beat Crookston in the opening game and played Grafton, ND in the third place game. The Huskies play Blaine, Princeton, Irondale and Andover this week. Centennial drew a tough pool at the Spirit tourney in Duluth. They lost their opener 7-0 to Farmington, but came back big to beat the Duluth Lakers 6-0. But they lost to Edina 6-2 in the final pool game and ended up third in the pool. On Sunday they played Stillwater. Centennial plays two D10 games this week, Irondale and Blaine. They play Wayzata at the Super Rink on the weekend.
Champlin Park plays Princeton, Blaine, and Coon Rapids this week. The Rebels last week beat St. Francis. Rogers had a good week. Besides beating Anoka, they beat Coon Rapids 3-2. Champlin Park and Rogers currently sit on top of D10.
Coon Rapids also tied St. Louis Park 4-4 last week. That tie coupled with pushing a good Champlin Park team before losing 3-2 means the Rapids are showing improvement.
This week, the top seeds are all changed. Elk River takes the #1 seed. They beat Blaine in the third place game at Duluth. Blaine takes the #2 seed, their win over Wayzata at Duluth was impressive. Centennial takes the #3 seed. They lost their pool at Duluth on the weekend but most teams would have difficultly advancing with Farmington and Edina in their pool. It should be noted that Rogers and Champlin Park lead D10 going into Christmas week. Spring Lake Park is improving while Irondale and Princeton continue to play well.
District 11 - Cloquet and Hermantown did not play in the Spirit. They did play each other in D11 action last week. Cloquet beat the Hawks 7-4. The Lumberjacks play the Duluth Lakers this week. Hermantown plays Greenway and Marquette, Michigan in addition to Cloquet this week.
The Marquette team will be in the Bloomington tourney. They will play Apple Valley, Woodbury, and Kennedy in pool play.
The two Duluth teams finished fourth in pool play at the Spirit. Duluth East lost Rosemount 8-1, OMG 5-1 and to the Mpls Storm 4-2. The Lakers lost to Edina 3-1, Centennial 6-0, and to Farmington 9-1. On Sunday, the Lakers beat the Thunder Bay Kings 4-3. Duluth East plays in the Grand Rapids tourney this weekend opening bracket play against Anoka. Duluth East beat Proctor 8-1 in D11 last week.
Proctor heads to Detroit Lakes this weekend to play in their tourney. They draw Sauk Rapids, Northern Lakes, and Alexandria in pool play. It should be a good test for the Rails.
This week the #1 seed goes to Cloquet and Hermantown takes the #2 seed. The two teams settled who is #1 when the Lumberjacks beat the Hawks this week. The Duluth Lakers and Duluth East are still struggling. The Hounds will have their chances at the Grand Rapids tourney on the weekend. The Proctor Rails should do well at the Detroit Lakes tourney.
West Regional (D3, D5, D6) - The Spirit of Duluth tourney trophies went to D8/D10 teams. In two weeks, Edina and Bloomington (Jefferson/Kennedy) will host their tourneys. Twenty eight teams will participate at the peewee A level, 12 at Edina and 16 at Bloomington. The two arena complexes are about 10 minutes apart. More trophies will be handed out, but Farmington plays in one tourney, Rosemount in the other tourney.
The Edina tourney has three pools of four teams each. One D6 team is in each pool. Three D3 teams are in the tourney and one D5 team is entered. Pool A has Edina, Elk River, Lakeville South, and Roseau. Pool B has Eden Prairie, Wayzata, Centennial, and Mpls Storm. Pool C has Chaska, OMG, STMA, and Farmington. Eight of these teams played in the Spirit. The four non-Spirit teams are Lakeville South, Roseau, Chaska, and STMA.
The three pool winners plus the wild card team play semi-final and final championship round games on Sunday. The tourney starts on Thursday, December 30th and ends on Sunday, January 2nd.
At Bloomington, 16 teams are entered into four pools. The Blue has Jefferson, Arvada Colorado, Roseville, and Spring Lake Park. The Gold has Kennedy, Marquette Michigan, Woodbury and Apple Valley. The White has Burnsville, Highland, Thunder Bay Kings, and Eastview. The Silver has Rosemount, Prior Lake, Lakeville North and Champlin Park.
The four pool winners are seeded one to four into an 8-team bracket tourney to determine the championship. The remaining 12 teams are seeded based on point totals (13 points maximum per game) with the top four teams advancing. Finishing second in your pool does not guarantee a 5-8 seeding. The lower eight seeded teams play each other for a fourth game.
The Burnsville Thanksgiving tourney had Jefferson, Roseville, Woodbury, Apple Valley, Eastview, and Rosemount entered. The Marquette Michigan team is traveling to Duluth this week to play Superior and Hermantown. Last year, Prior Lake won a twelve team tourney after being seeded near the 12th seed. The peewee A tourney at Bloomington starts December 28th and ends December 31st.
District 3 - Osseo/Maple Grove, Wayzata and the Mpls Storm played in the Spirit last weekend. Wayzata made it to the consolation finals, but the Mpls Storm should improvement and played well. They were the surprise of the tourney. The Storm opened losing to OMG 4-3 and Rosemount 4-3 in their first two pool games. They then beat Duluth East 4-2 and White Bear Lake 3-0 to end their tourney play. The Storm play Orono this week.
Wayzata opened with their tourney play with a 6-2 win over White Bear Lake, beat Superior 5-1, and lost to Blaine 5-4. In the consolation round on Sunday, the Trojans beat OMG and lost to Edina. OMG beat Duluth East 5-1 and lost to Rosemount 13-5 in their other pool games to finish second in their pool.
Wayzata and OMG are unbeaten in D3 play, but the Trojans have lost 4 “unfairplay” points, OMG has lost 1 point. OMG hold the advantage. These two teams meet in their first D3 game this week. The Trojans also play Centennial, Stillwater and Crow River this week. Crow River can sneak into the top two spots. They have a single loss and are coming off a good Owatonna tourney, taking third. The Tigers got there by beating IGH/SSP, losing to the Kansas City Stars 5-4, and beating Waconia 4-2. The Tigers play Wayzata at the PIC.
Mound/Westonka took the Consolation Title at Moorhead, losing to Moorhead Black 9-0, beating Crookston, and beating Moorhead Orange. The Whitehawks beat the Mpls Storm 2-1 before leaving for Moorhead and were beaten by Armstrong 6-2 when they returned. This week they play OMG and Chaska. Armstrong tied Eastview 4-4 this week. The snowstorm canceled Armstrong’s trip to the south. This week Armstrong plays OMG and St. Louis Park.
Hopkins heads to Grand Rapids to play in their tourney. They open bracket play against Hibbing. The Royals return to play St. Louis Park and Jefferson. St. Louis Park gets back into D3 action playing Orono, Armstrong and Crow River in addition to Hopkins. Besides tying Coon Rapids last week, the Orioles played Forest Lake.
Wayzata takes the #1 and OMG the #2. Mpls Storm showed they can compete at the Spirit especially in losing to a tough Rosemount team by a single goal (4-3). Crow River continues to improve and Armstrong’s hard work is starting to show in the win column.
District 5 - St. Cloud and STMA remain tied on top of D5 this week. But MALM marred STMA’s perfect record tying them 2-2 last week. STMA added D5 wins over Litchfield and Hutchinson this week. St. Cloud continued to be busy. They beat MALM 5-1 and beat Buffalo 5-2 in D5 action. STMA plays Prior Lake this week. St. Cloud plays Litchfield before taking the holidays off.
Willmar plays in the Detroit Lakes tourney this weekend. They draw Detroit Lakes, Moorhead Orange, and International Falls in pool play. Sartell beat Willmar last week in D5 and play Brainerd this week. River Lakes plays Redwood Falls, MALM and Hutchinson this week. Last week, the Lakes tied Willmar 2-2 and beat Buffalo 3-2. Hutchinson plays Marshall and Buffalo besides River Lakes this week.
St. Cloud and STMA remain tied and will not play each other in D5 until mid-January. St. Cloud continues to roll along in D5 action, but STMA took a hit in being tied by MALM. STMA keeps the #1 seed; St. Cloud keeps the #2 seed. MALM takes the #3 seed this week.
District 6 - Burnsville took it easy this week, Edina went to Duluth to kick some dirt on the sodbusters from Farmington and Eden Prairie went there to hunt Elk. The Hornets got stung, tying Farmington and beating the Duluth Lakers in a close (3-1) game. The Hornets lost the pool on a point differential tie breaker. That put them in the consolation round with the Eagles. Eden Prairie got gored by tying the Elks from Elk River and losing to the Thunder Bay Kings “Dolly Parton style” (9-5). They played each other in the consolation semifinals, Edina beating the Eagles “Dolly Parton style” 9-5 and Wayzata 7-6 for third place. The Hornets play Kennedy and Waconia in D6 games this week. Eden Prairie came back from Duluth and handed Minnetonka a 7-2 D6 loss. The Eagles play Waconia and Prior Lake this week.
Back within D6 last week Prior Lake was tying everybody that is two “everybodies”. The Lakers tied Spring Lake Park 5-5 and Edina 1-1. They beat Jefferson 5-0. This week the Lakers play STMA, Woodbury, and Eden Prairie. That is a tough three games.
Burnsville takes their unbeaten record to Grand Rapids. In the Star of the North tourney, they open against Little Falls. They play two D6 games against Waconia and Shakopee when they return.
Minnetonka beat Jefferson 5-1 last week (besides losing to Eden Prairie) and plays Chaska this week in their only game. Waconia and Kennedy played in the Owatonna tourney. Waconia beat Owatonna 4-3 in OT, lost to Princeton 6-1 and Crow River 4-2 in the third place game. Kennedy lost 3-2 to the Kansas City Stars, lost to IGH/SSP and played Luverne.
Burnsville had last week off. The Blaze plays two more D6 games this week. Unless they stumble in those two games, they will be a “perfect 30” in 10 games. By the Christmas Holiday break, the D6 regular season schedule will be half over with the top five teams (Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Prior Lake, Edina, and Minnetonka) each having played 9-11 games of an 18 game schedule. Only Prior Lake and Eden Prairie have a chance to get into the mid-20’s or higher. And they play each other.
If Prior Lake beats Eden Prairie this week, then the Lakers will move into second and be close enough to the Blaze to overtake them if they should stumble in January.
If Eden Prairie wins, they swap with the Lakers and the Eagles become the contenders chasing the Blaze; but the Eagles need more help from other teams since they will have played more games. At this point all Edina and Minnetonka can do is to win and hope things fall in their favor.
The Blaze take the #1 seed. Minnetonka’s loss to Eden Prairie drops the Skippers this week. Prior Lake takes the #2 seed. Their tie with Edina was nice, but not the only reason for getting the #2 this week. In the Edina game, their defense stood out and shut down the Edina style of attack. And as in many games this season, Edina scored their lone goal against the Lakers on a power play. The Hornets get the #3 seed.
Eden Prairie lost to Edina and beat Minnetonka. But the Eagles and the Skippers will not go away. Chaska is struggling. However, the Hawks will have their chances in the Edina tourney. So will Jefferson and Kennedy in their tourney over the holidays.