Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey - Jan. 28

By frederick61

When the dust had cleared Saturday at the Roseau tourney; Edina, Woodbury, East Grand Forks and the 97 Fire won their pools. When Sunday was over, a short handed Edina team was crowned champs in a well run tourney. At Duluth, Duluth East, Rosemount, Lakeville North, and Sibley won their pools. Rosemount was crowned champ on Sunday. Hudson won the Virginia Queen Classic tourney beating Rice Lake. In Eveleth, Andover, Anoka and Highland fought for the title. It was a bad weekend for weather, but great for hockey and great for D8 teams.

North Region - With 28 teams playing in three tourneys in arenas 60 miles apart, it was a Highway 53 tourney weekend. But the winner last weekend was D8 as teams from D8 won in Virginia (Hudson) and in Duluth (Rosemount). Three D11 teams (Duluth East, Duluth Lakers and Superior) played well in the DAHA tourney, Proctor played for third place at Virginia. D12 Grand Rapids played in Roseau’s tourney, three D12 teams (Eveleth-Gilbert, International Falls, and Hibbing) played in the Mariucci at the Hipp, and two D12 teams (Virginia and Greenway) played in the Queen City tourney.

All these tourneys accomplished was to stir up the swamp water. If the North crystal ball was filled with the rust colored water before the weekend started, it was really muddied after this weekend. D2 was no help. White Bear Lake beat Stillwater for the second time this year in league action, but both teams have lost to other D2 teams in the past two weeks.

In the North Red this week, the projected teams are: Duluth Lakers, Stillwater, Grand Rapids, and Cloquet; in the North Blue, the projected teams are: White Bear Lake, Duluth East, Greenway, and Roseville. White Bear Lake and Stillwater switched pools this week. Greenway replaced Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids replaced the Falls.

D11 - Duluth East won their pool in the DAHA tourney. The Hounds beat Prior Lake 4-1 and Mankato 5-1. In Sunday’s championship play, they lost the semifinal game to Rosemount 4-2 and beat Sibley 4-3 in OT for third place. The Duluth Lakers tied Lakeville North 4-4 and beat Crow River. In the consolation round on Sunday, the Lakers beat Eagan 6-2 and played Prior Lake for the consolation title. Superior, the third D11 team entered, lost to Rosemount 3-0 and to Jefferson 7-2 in pool play. In a consolation round, they beat Mankato 5-4 and Crow River 2-0.

At Virginia, Proctor beat the host in the opening round of bracket play, lost to Hudson 7-0 and played West Fargo for third place. Cloquet took a Saturday trip to Fogerty. The Lumberjacks lost to Blaine 3-2 and beat Spring Lake Park 6-2. The Lumberjacks played those games shorthanded resulting in shifting kids to all positions. They still played well enough, but remain an unknown. Hermantown beat Virginia 10-0 and Superior 3-0 last week.

D16 invades D11 this week when Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks come to the Duluth area. They will play Cloquet, Hermantown, and Duluth East. Grand Rapids will be in town also. The Thunderhawks will play Cloquet, Hermantown and the Duluth Lakers. This will be a great preview for the North regional.
Both Duluth teams had similar performances in the DAHA. But the Hounds third place DAHA finish is not enough to erase the loss to the Lakers 10 days ago. The Duluth Lakers keep the #1 seed this week. The Hounds take the #2 seed. Cloquet, Hermantown and Proctor are all jumbled together for the third seed. The Lumberjacks played short handed against a couple of tough D10 teams and split the two games. They keep the #3 seed. Anybody who peers into this D11 crystal is looking at murky swamp water. Who knows?

D12 - Last week, Grand Rapids had a tough tourney at Roseau. The Thunderhawks lost to Woodbury 6-3, lost to Roseau 3-2 and lost to Chaska 8-2. In the consolation game, they beat Warroad 7-2. In their lone D11 game before they left for Roseau, the Rapids lost 2-1 to Greenway. This week, they travel to the Range to play Eveleth and then south to Duluth to tour D12 playing Hermantown, the Duluth Lakers and Cloquet.

Eveleth and Virginia held tourneys less then 6 miles apart on Highway 53. Eveleth lost to North Metro 6-2 in opening bracket play, lost to district rival International Falls 5-2, and lost to another district rival Hibbing 3-0. This week, the Golden Bears get another shot at Hibbing in a D11 game. Hibbing lost to Highland and lost to Cottage Grove 7-3 also. The Falls lost to Andover in the opener and beat Cottage Grove 9-4 for the consolation championship.

At Virginia, Greenway lost in the opener of the Queen City Classic to Hudson 6-0, lost to Virginia and played the Grand Forks Golden Eagles in a consolation game. Virgina lost their opener to Proctor and lost to D5 MALM 6-2 in the consolation championship game.

The D12 teams are balanced. Grand Rapids’ loss to Greenway was a surprise. The question is, ‘was it worth the Thunderhawks losing the #1 seed this week?’ Because change can be positive and can occur week to week among peewee aged kids and because D11 is balanced, the answer is yes. Greenway takes the #1 seed. The Rapids fall to #2. The Falls, despite their consolation title in the Eveleth tourney, drop out. The Rapid’s play over the coming weekend could change that.

International Falls and Eveleth-Gilbert look to be up in the past few weeks and Hibbing looks to be down. If D11 provided murky swamp water in the old crystal ball, then D12 has made it “murkier”.

D2 - White Bear Lake beat Stillwater 3-2 in a game last week that could have decided the D2 regular season title this year. The Bears also beat Forest Lake 5-1 last week. This week the Bears play Mounds View as they prepare for their Moose Goheen tourney.
That tourney draw is out. In the upper bracket, the Bears play Osseo/Maple Grove in the opener. Centennial and Eden Prairie play in the other bracket game. In the lower bracket, Woodbury plays Elk River and Edina plays Duluth East.

Stillwater beat Irondale 8-1, beat Tartan 4-1 and played Forest Lake also last week. The Ponies have two D2 games left; both played the second week of February, against Mahtomedi and Mounds View. After this week, White Bear Lake will have two games left against Mahtomedi and Irondale. With both teams tied in the standings today, it could end that way. If the tie breaker is head-to-head play, then the Bears own the tie breaker having beaten the Ponies twice.

What is at stake for the Bears and the Ponies? Roseville has beaten and tied White Bear this season. The Raiders have lost twice to Stillwater. The Bears by finishing first will end up playing Tartan and the winner of Mahtomedi/Mounds View game based on current standings. If the Bears finish second, they would end up playing Forest Lake and the winner of Roseville/North St. Paul game.

Roseville and Mahtomedi are in their own battle for third in D2. The Raiders last week lost to Highland, tied Mahtomedi, and beat North St. Paul in D2 action. They beat Jefferson 3-2. This week they play a single game with Forest Lake. Roseville holds a 5-point edge on Mahtomedi with two games left. The Zephyrs have four games left. They had last week off. They play two D2 games this week, Tartan and Highland. Their last two D2 games are White Bear Lake and Stillwater.

Mounds View remains a wild card in D2. If the Mustangs can sweep their remaining five games (White Bear Lake, North St. Paul, Stillwater, Tartan and Roseville); they could finish in third place. Last week, they beat Tartan 3-0 in their only game. This week, the Mustangs play White Bear Lake and North St. Paul. They are a dangerous team.

North St. Paul, Forest Lake and Tartan continue to struggle. The Polars have started to play better this few weeks. Forest Lake is a scrappy team, but has played inconsistently. The Lakers play in the Hudson Tourney this weekend. They play Apple Valley in the opener.

White Bear Lake takes the #1 seed this week. They beat Stillwater 3-2 and are the favorites to finish first in D2. Stillwater falls to the #2 seed and Roseville the #3 seed. Mahtomedi and Mounds View are the challengers as the D2 season draws to a close.

East Region - A lot of games were played this week by teams in this region. Strangely, nothing changed in the ratings. In D6, the top three teams (Edina, Burnsville and Eden Prairie) remained the top three as the only team (Minnetonka) with a potential to challenge them in the standings lost twice. In D8, there was a lot of action in tourneys outside the district and the D8 teams did very well. That is an indication that not only is the league balanced, but very competitive playing teams outside the district. In D1, Mpls Park and Highland are dueling for #1. The Saint Paul Saints continue to improve and may challenge these two. But this week there is no change.

There are no changes at the district level, hence no changes in the 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.

The word is out that the new D8 next year will consist of Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Eagan, Eastview, Farmington, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Rosemount, Sibley, South St. Paul, and Woodbury associations.

D1 - This is the week. Highland and Mpls Park finally played at Parade the first of two D1 games to settle who is best in D1. The Caps won 5-0. They showed up missing three players and won by using their size and setting up hard shots just outside the slot. The Storm struggled. They have played better hockey.

The Storm will get another chance. The two teams have a second game this Monday at Highland that will settle who is going to be #1 in D1 going into the playoffs. In D3, Mpls Park lost to Hopkins 5-4 and tied Orono 2-2. In another D1 game, the Storm beat the Saint Paul Saints 2-0 before playing Highland.

The Mpls Park/Orono game was a good hockey game to watch. The Storm has one of the more interesting players to watch at the peewee level in the state.

The Highland played in the Mariucci tourney in Eveleth last week. In the opening game the Caps beat Hibbing 5-2, beat Anoka 6-2 and lost to Andover in the championship game 7-2. The Caps’ only game this week is against the Storm.

The Saint Paul Saints played three games. They lost to Mpls Park 2-0, tied North St. Paul 1-1 and tied Irondale 3-3. They are off this week. Irondale lost to Stillwater in D2 play and played in a River Falls tourney losing to Somerset Wisconsin 5-2 and Waseca 4-3. The Knights are also off this week.

Highland Central keeps the #1 seed and the Storm takes the #2 seed. Each week, the Saints continue to improve and could be a threat in the playoffs in three weeks. Irondale is shaking some rust after being off for a few weeks and has played some good games including tying the Saints.

D6 - Edina still has that “good view” from the top of the Peewee A world. Last week, the Hornets traveled north a day earlier to invade the previously unbeaten East Grand Forks home ice. They beat the Green Wave 9-1, traveled on to Roseau where they swept through the opposition and handed the Green Wave a second beating 10-1 in the championship semifinals. Along the way, the Hornets beat Thief River Falls 11-0, the Fargo Flyers 7-0, Osseo/Maple Grove 3-2, and the 97 Fire 4-3. Congratulations to the Hornets.

Eden Prairie and Chaska also played at Roseau. The Eagles struggled losing to East Grand Forks 5-4, beating Brainerd 7-1, losing to Elk River 6-2 and beating Thief River Falls (on their ice) 5-4 in OT. Chaska also struggled, losing to Roseau 6-4, Woodbury 7-2, beating Grand Rapids 8-2 and Brainerd 6-0. The Eagles loss to Burnsville 4-2 before they left and beat Minnetonka 5-2 when they returned. They played six tough games last week. This week the Eagles play Chaska and Eastview in D6 action.

Edina, Eden Prairie and Burnsville sit on top of D6. Edina has one game with both teams on their schedule. But this Friday’s game with the Blaze is the key game. A win for the Hornets will give them a strong hold on first place and the #1 seed going into the D6 playoffs. A Blaze win would force the Hornets to sweep their remaining games to keep the #1 seed. Eden Prairie can’t catch both teams to take first. But they can catch the Blaze if they lose to Edina and the Eagles beat the Hornets for the second time in D6 play. Besides Edina, the Blaze play Kennedy and Eastview this week.

Minnetonka lost to Burnsville 6-2 and to Eden Prairie last week to ruin their shot at a #1 or #2 seed and a bye in the playoffs. The Skippers now have to focus in their last four games on finishing in the top 5 in the league to avoid having to play in the single elimination tourney for the #6 spot in the playoffs. Tonka needs to win their games and hope that either Prior Lake or Eastview lose. Both Prior Lake and Eastview hold the edge on the #4 and #5 D6 playoff seeds.

Jefferson played in the DAHA tourney. The Jags traveled to Duluth and played in the DAHA tourney. In pool play, they beat Superior 7-2, lost to Rosemount, lost to Prior Lake 6-5 (shootout) in Sunday’s consolation round opener and beat Eagan 5-4. Kennedy stayed home last week. They beat New Prague 4-3 and played Hopkins. Last week, Apple Valley lost to Jefferson 6-2, lost to Minnetonka, tied Roseville 4-4 and lost to Chaska 6-4.

The seeds are unchanged this week. Edina keeps the #1 seed and Eden Prairie the #3 seed. Burnsville keeps the #2 seed. Burnsville and Edina play for the third time this year. The Hornets have two victories over the Blaze this year, 6-4 and 3-2. The games were played late November and early December.

D8 - Woodbury and Lakeville South played in the Roseau tourney this week and both teams played well. Woodbury beat Grand Rapids, Chaska and Roseau to win their pool. In the championship round on Sunday, they played the 97 Fire to a draw at the end of two periods before losing 6-2 and played East Grand Forks tough before losing 5-3. Lakeville South upended Wayzata in the opener, knocking them out of the championship round, but lost to the Fire 5-2 to end their hopes. They beat Warroad and Roseau to end the tourney.

This week, both teams return to D8 action. But unlike D6 where every position in the standings has significance in their playoffs, first place means nothing in D8 (that also applies to the Bantam A playoffs).

Woodbury plays Rosemount in a key D8 game for first place and Lakeville South plays Cottage Grove. With a “goofy” tourney draw that rewards finishing in third or fourth place over finishing first or second and rewards finishing second over finishing first that remains unchanged, the coaches and teams are put in awkward situation. Normally the Woodbury/Rosemount game would be a real battle with first place the prize. But not this year. That makes this game the most interesting game in the state this week. Woodbury also plays Rochester and Rosemount plays Sibley this week.

Farmington can’t finish in first place. But the Tigers could end up in a coveted third or fourth place. That would put them one tough game away from D8’s #1 or #2 seed to the East Region. Lakeville North is in the same position. Oddly enough, Lakeville South with an easier schedule, could find themselves with the “Queen of Spades”.

Rosemount, Lakeville North, and Sibley ended up representing D8 well. They each won their pool as the DAHA tourney in Duluth last weekend. Rosemount beat Superior 3-0 and beat Jefferson 7-1 in pool play. On Sunday, the Irish beat Duluth East 4-2 and Lakeville North 2-1 for the DAHA championship. Lakeville North won their pool beating Crow River 8-0 and tying the Duluth Lakers 4-4. They beat Sibley in the championship semifinals on Sunday 8-2. Sibley beat Albert Lea and Eagan to win their pool. On Sunday, they lost to Duluth East 4-3 in OT in the third place game.

This week, Lakeville North plays Farmington, Rochester, and Cottage Grove in D8 games. Farmington tied Rochester this week. Tigers play Sibley in addition to Lakeville North.

Hudson plays Wisconsin Hockey come playoff time. During the year, they play in the D8 league and have over the years become a sentimental favorite among D8 teams and fans. This year, they have a good team and have played well from the opening tourney in Burnsville (playing Edina tough before losing 3-0), to being tied on top D8 this week with few games to go. Last week, the represented D8 well in the Virginia tourney, beating Greenway 6-0, Proctor 7-0 and Wisconsin rival, Rice Lake 6-3 in the championship game. This weekend, they host their own tourney, playing another D8 team, Red Wing in the opener. Before heading to the Range, the Raiders beat Sibley 3-1 and tied Lakeville South 1-1 in D8 games.

Dodge County lost a close game to Faribault 1-0. They play Cottage Grove this week. Red Wing beat Austin 6-0 and lost to Hastings 2-1. They play the host in Hudson’s tourney this weekend. Northfield played St. Peter last week and will play Faribault this week.

Farmington’s tie with Rochester is not enough to knock them out of the first seed this week. The Tigers keep the #1. Woodbury and Lakeville South played well at Roseau and Lakeville South’s win over Wayzata is a quality win. Woodbury keeps the #2 seed and the Cougars keep the #3 seed. Rosemount had a good outing at Duluth. But this week’s play in D8 will settle some things and the coveted third and fourth place finishes should become known.

The D8 teams this year, look like card players sitting around a poker table playing a game of Hearts. Who gets the Queen of Spades (first place)? Should they go for all the marbles and potentially end up busted? It is not peewee hockey.

South Region - The focus in the South Region shifted to the D3 teams playing at Roseau and the D4/D5 teams at the DAHA. The team that may have turned a corner out that weekend is Osseo/Maple Grove. They had a strong Roseau tourney and played well in the week prior to going to Roseau despite being beaten.

Wayzata was surprised by Lakeville South and D4 Mankato and Albert Lea struggled at DAHA. D5 Crow River didn’t fare better.

The West Regional pools 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, Orono, St. Peter and Osseo/Maple Grove. Hutchinson replaces Sartell and New Prague replaces Mankato in the Red. St. Peter replaces New Prague in the Blue.

D3 - Osseo/Maple Grove were playing well, but Orono beat them 2-0 just before they went to Roseau. At Roseau they played well, beating the Fargo Flyers 4-3, Thief River Falls 2-0 and narrowly came close to knocking Edina out of the tourney before losing 3-2 to the Hornets. In a consolation game, they lost another close game to Elk River.

Wayzata had a tough tourney. They opened with a tough 5-4 loss to Lakeville South, beat Warroad 9-0 to setup a pool winning game against the Fire only to lose 7-1. In a consolation game, the Trojans beat the Fargo Flyers 9-3. This week, Wayzata play three D3 games against North Metro, Orono and Hopkins.

Orono tied Mpls Park 2-2 and played Hopkins last week besides beating OMG. North Metro beat Hopkins 4-2 last week to put a dent in the Royals title chase. The Pirates played in the Mariucci at Eveleth. They beat Eveleth-Gilbert in the opener 6-2, lost to a tough Andover team 5-2 and lost the third place game to Anoka 5-1. Armstrong took second in Sauk Centre’s I-94 tourney. They lost to Princeton in the championship game 4-3.

But the real story in D3 is that Mpls Park, OMG, Orono, Hopkins and Wayzata are in a 5 team race for first place and they play each other three or four times over the next three weeks.

This week, the seeds are unchanged; Wayzata keeps the #1 seed. Orono takes the #2 seed, and OMG takes the #3 seed. The Trojans will be tested within D3 in the next two weeks and anything can happen. Both OMG and Orono are playing good hockey. Hopkins is not far behind. Mpls Park, though a D1 team, has a shot at the title.

D4 - New Prague look to be on a roll and then St. Peter showed up to play a non-league game at New Prague and beat the Trojans 3-2. The next day, they lost another tough game to Kennedy 4-3 before beating Owatonna 8-0 on Sunday. That’s peewee hockey and it sets up an interesting preview to the D4 playoffs where the Trojans and St. Peter are likely to play each other again. New Prague plays Albert Lea this week. Their last D4 game of the season will be against Faribault.

Faribault needs an Albert Lea win over the Trojans if they are to have a chance to catch them. They trail the Trojans in the D4 East by six points with three games left. Faribault beat Austin 11-2 and Dodge County last week. They play Northfield and then travel to Hudson to play in their tourney. They play Madison Wisconsin in the opener.

Albert Lea and Mankato played in Duluth at the DAHA tourney and both teams struggled. Mankato lost to Duluth East 5-1, lost to Prior Lake 4-1, lost to Superior 5-4 and played Albert Lea. Albert Lea lost to Sibley, lost to Eagan 5-2, lost to Crow River.

Mankato plays Owatonna and Mason City this week. One victory will clinch the first place for the Mavericks in the D4 West. St. Peter needs a victory to clinch second place. The Bulldogs end their D4 season this weekend with games at Waseca and at Marshall. Last week, in addition to beating New Prague, they beat New Ulm, lost to D5 Hutchinson, and played Northfield.

New Ulm plays in the Hudson tourney this weekend. They play South St. Paul in the opener. Owatonna plays Mankato and Austin this week. Waseca played in the River Falls tourney and surprised Irondale, beating them 4-3. They play Luverne and St. Peter this week.

St. Peter’s win over New Prague changes the seeds this week. New Prague is a good team, but St. Peter is good enough to take the #1 seed from them this week. The Bulldogs have been an unknown. This week, they will be known as #1. New Prague falls to #2 and Faribault takes the #3 seed. Mankato struggled at DAHA last week and are a better team. They need to show that they are, but this week they fall out of the top three.

With the D4 season winding down, four of the six seeds in the D4 playoffs can be predicted. New Prague is #1 and Faribault is #2 in the East; Mankato is #1 and St. Peter is #2 in the West. Owatonna, Albert Lea and Austin will contend for the #3 seed from the East; New Ulm, Luverne, Marshall, and Waseca will contend for the #3 seed from the West.

D5 - The D5 playoff format is out and it is an interesting format and a fair one. Each of the 10 teams in the district will have two shots at the #1 seed and the #2 seed. The 8/9 seeds and the 7/10 seeds start play for the #1 seed. The losers of those two games drop into a single elimination tourney for the #2 seed. The winners of those two games advance to a quarter final bracket playing the #1 and the #2 seeded teams. Games between the 4/5 teams and 6/3 teams complete the quarterfinal round. Winners continue to advance through semifinals to the championship game. Losers drop into the #2 seed tourney until one team wins the #2 seed. With finishing first and second paying off and finishing third through sixth paying off, the regular season for this 10 team league has meaning.

STMA is in first place this week. Last week, the Knights beat Willmar, beat Litchfield 7-1, and played Crow River. This week they play Sartell, River Lakes and Hutchinson in D5. After this week, the Knights will have one D5 game (against Mound Westonka) left. STMA will set the mark for first place and a bye into the Seed #1 quarterfinals once this week is over.

Crow River is in second place and will end their D5 season this week. The Tigers play Buffalo, Litchfield, and Mound Westonka. They will set the mark for second place and a bye into the Seed #1 quarterfinals.

Hutchinson and Sartell look to challenge both those marks. Hutchinson plays Willmar, Buffalo and STMA this week. Sartell plays River Lakes, STMA and Willmar. Clearly the key game for these teams will be with STMA.

STMA keeps the #1 seed this week; Hutchinson gets the #2 seed. The Tigers beat Sartell last week. With a fair tourney format set, the two teams that earn the top seeds will be well tested. Teams will be playing hard to keep in the #1 seed portion of the playoff tourney and team strength over multiple games will become important.

West Region - In a preview of what maybe in 6 weeks, the Roseau tourney pooled three potential West Regional teams, D10 Elk River, D16 East Grand Forks and D15 Brainerd. All season, EGF and Elk River have looked to be the strongest teams in this region. Their performance in Roseau verified that. East Grand Forks won the pool beating Elk River and Brainerd in the process. The Elks and EGF beat Brainerd.

In the West Red this week, the projected teams are: Alexandria, Bemidji, Andover, and St. Francis; in the West Blue, the projected teams are: East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Elk River, and Detroit Lakes. There are no changes.

D10 - Elk River beat Brainerd 14-0 to open pool play at Roseau. The next day East Grand Forks beat the Elks 6-4. That loss ended the Elk’s Roseau championship chances. They beat Eden Prairie 6-2 and Osseo/Maple Grove 3-1 to end the tourney. Before the Elks left to play in Roseau, they added another D10 win beating Blaine 6-3. Andover, the Elks main competitor in the D10 Blue, played in the Eveleth tourney. The Huskies beat International Falls in the opener and played North Metro in the semifinals.

Andover and Elk River are deadlocked in the D10 Blue. Each team is 13-0-1 with five league games to go. They play each other this Sunday at Andover in a game that will likely decide first. Both the Elks and the Huskies play Centennial this week. Andover has another D10 game against Rogers.

Centennial, Blaine, and Anoka have their own race within the D10 Blue over the next three weeks, only it is loser goes home. These three teams are tied for third. The fifth place finisher is eliminated from the D10 playoffs. Centennial needs every point and they play the Elks and the Huskies this week.

Last week, besides losing to the Elks, Blaine beat Cloquet 3-2 and played Chisago Lakes. This week, they play Champlin Park, Rochester and Coon Rapids. Anoka played in the Mariucci tourney in Eveleth last week. They opened with a 10-0 win over Cottage Grove and played Highland in the semifinals. Anoka plays Princeton and Spring Lake Park this week.

In the D10 Green, St. Francis beat St. Cloud 2-1, Rogers 1-0, and played Champlin Park last week. The Fighting Saints have built a small lead in the D10 Green with three league games left. They play Coon Rapids this week and will close out their D10 schedule against Blaine and Elk River. The Fighting Saints have a potential 40+ points on the season to set the mark for other teams in the Green.

Spring Lake Park trails St. Francis by a point. Last week, the Panthers beat Chisago Lakes 4-2, lost to Cloquet 6-2, and lost a key game to St. Cloud 3-0. They play Princeton, Anoka, Rogers this week and end their season against CINB.

Rogers lost to Champlin Park 2-1, played CINB and played Centennial besides losing to St. Francis last week. This week, they play Andover and Spring Lake Park. Champlin Park played Blaine besides St. Francis. This week, the Rebels play Princeton.

Princeton traveled to Sauk Centre and won the I-94 tourney beating River Lakes 4-2, Northern Lakes 6-0 and Armstrong 4-3. They return to D10 this week to play Spring Lake Park, Anoka, and Champlin Park.

St. Cloud losses to St. Francis and Spring Lake Park knocked them out of the chase. They need points in their last three D10 games to climb into the top four and make the playoffs. The other five teams can finish from first to out of the playoffs. It’s quite a season in D10 Green.

The seeds remain unchanged this week. Elk River and Andover take the #1 and #2 seeds this week. St. Francis takes the #3 seed this week.

D15 - Weather postponed hockey days at Moorhead. The Spuds had an off week as a result and resume play this weekend the Fargo Flyers and Crookston. Brainerd traveled to Roseau and lost a pre-tourney game to the Rams. In pool play, the Warriors lost to Elk River, Eden Prairie 7-1, and East Grand Forks 8-0.

Detroit Lakes beat Crookston last week. This week they play Brainerd. Brainerd also plays Alexandria. Alexandria tied Fergus Falls 1-1 in a D15 game. Alexandria plays their last four D15 games this weekend (Prairie Centre, Wadena, Brainerd and Fergus Falls). A sweep by the Cardinals will set the target for the rest of the league at 35 points. But the Cardinals will need help from Brainerd and will need to root for the Lakers to beat Moorhead, to take first place.

Prairie Centre had their I-94 tourney this week. They beat Wadena and lost to Armstrong in pool play. In the third place game, they lost to River Lakes 2-0.

D15 normally has a 6-team double elimination playoff. With 8 teams playing peewee A this year, the potential is the bottom two teams will not make the playoffs. Given there is no change in playoff format, the top two finishers in regular season get a first round bye. Detroit Lakes, Moorhead and Alexandria can finish 1-2 leaving one team out. Based on current standings and last year’s playoff format, Brainerd would play Fergus Falls with the winner playing Detroit Lakes. Alexandria would play Northern Lakes with the winner playing Moorhead.

Brainerd can’t catch the three teams are fighting for the #1 or #2 seed to the D15 playoffs. But the Warriors can spoil all three team’s chances. D15 gets three seeds this year to the region. With little action inside D15 last week, Alex keeps the #1 seed. The tie with Fergus Falls was not enough to knock them out. Moorhead keeps #2 and Detroit Lakes keeps the #3 seed.

D16 - East Grand Forks took two losses to Edina last week. They lost at home 9-1 and they lost at Roseau in the semifinals of the Rams tourney 10-1. In between, they beat Eden Prairie 5-4, Elk River 6-4 and Brainerd 8-0. They added a 5-3 win over Woodbury to take third place. This week, EGF travels to Duluth to play Duluth East, Cloquet and Hermantown. The Green Wave shouldn’t get too down losing “large” to the Hornets, they won’t see them until the state semifinals and they need to get there.

For any D16 team, getting there means winning one of the two D16 seeds in the district playoffs. Bemidji has played well all season. Last week, the Lumberjacks added two D16 wins, beating Crookston 5-4 and LOW 11-1. They play International Falls this week. Crookston also lost to Detroit Lakes 5-4 in overtime.

Thief River Falls played Roseau in a D16 game and then played in Roseau’s tourney. The Prowlers beat Roseau 3-2 and in pool play lost to Edina 11-0, the Fargo Flyers 8-2 and Osseo/Maple Grove 2-0. In consolation, they lost to Eden Prairie 5-4 in OT. The Prowlers tour D11 next weekend playing Duluth East, Cloquet and Proctor, then playing a single D16 game with Hallock.

Roseau in a pre-tourney game beat Brainerd 2-1. The Rams in their pool in the tourney beat Chaska 6-4, beat Grand Rapids 3-2 and lost to Woodbury 7-3. In consolation, they lost to Lakeville South 6-0.

East Grand Forks is the #1 seed, and Bemidji is the #2 seed. Thief River Falls showed something this weekend (beating Roseau at home and playing Osseo/Maple Grove and Eden Prairie close). The Prowlers trip to Duluth along with the Green Wave will test them. Crookston slipped a little this week, but the Pirates should also contend in the D16 playoffs.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There were no changes the South Red or Blue projections this week. In the South Red this week, the projected teams are: Wayzata, Sartell, Mankato, and Faribault; in the South Blue, the projected teams are: STMA, Orono, New Prague and Osseo/Maple Grove. Hopkins still is looking good, but had a setback in losing to OMG in D3 play a week ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey - Jan. 14

Mound/Westonka and Litchfield played two games in the Chisago Lakes tourney over the weekend. Both these teams play in D5. On Friday evening, Mound/Westonka handed Litchfield a tough loss, beating them 12-1. On Sunday, the same two teams met in the same tourney. This time Litchfield beat Mound/Westonka 5-3. This is an example of peewee aged kids playing hockey. It is also an example of why coaches and parents get frustrated.

Maybe Litchfield won the second game because the Litchfield coach had a brilliant approach to the second game or maybe some of the Mound/Westonka kids were sick. Who knows? But isn’t it a great teaching moment for the coaches and parents of both teams to either explaining “how to overcome adversity” or “how to not get too complacent”. They have the kid’s attention because the kids want to know what happened. That is the best learning time.

The funny thing is that Mound/Westonka and Litchfield will play each other a third time when they meet this week in a D5 game.

North Region - Stillwater and White Bear Lake have played in the same tourneys the first two months of this season and both finished in a tie each time out in terms of their tourney performance. In D2, they remain tied and share the top spot. This week the teams meet for the second time in a D2 game that might settle who wins the regular season title.

Meanwhile, D11 Duluth East takes a trip to the cities. The Hounds will “put their nose” into the D2 tent, playing Stillwater on their trip.

Over in D12, Grand Rapids takes on the rest of the league (except Eveleth) in a single weekend trip that should prove interesting. All this is calm before the “tourney” storm in two weeks (Mariucci Tourney in Eveleth and the DAHA tourney in Duluth).

In the North Red this week, the projected teams are: Duluth East, Stillwater, International Falls, and the Duluth Lakers; in the North Blue, the projected teams are: White Bear Lake, Cloquet, Grand Rapids, and Roseville. There are two changes this week, both in the Red. The Falls knock out Greenway (loss to Eveleth) and the Lakers take the seed from Hermantown.

D11 - Duluth East beat Hermantown 6-2 in D11 action last week. This week the Hounds play Cloquet and then travel to the cities to play Stillwater, Lakeville South, the 97 Fire, and Wayzata. Duluth East is 8-2 in their last 10 games and they will be tested this week. Hermantown, besides losing to the Hounds, beat Virginia and lost to the Duluth Lakers 3-2 last week. This week the Hawks take on Greenway and Virginia. Cloquet beat Superior last week 5-2 and play Proctor this week.

The Duluth Lakers played in the Brainerd tourney last week. The Lakers took third place. They lost to Farmington 5-1 and beat Centennial 3-2 and beat Hutchinson 7-1 in pool play and returned home to beat Hermantown.

Proctor split a pair of games last week, beating Greenway 5-2 and losing to the Duluth Lakers 8-6. They also played Superior. This week, the Rails head to Rice Lake to play in an interesting, 4 game, tourney with Rice Lake, New Prague (rated in the top of D4 teams) and Coon Rapids. They return to play Cloquet. The Rails have won 7 out of their last 11 games.

Duluth East is looks to be a solid #1 seed this week. A case can be made for anyone of the other four teams taking one of the remaining two seeds. It is really tough. Proctor is steadily improving and Hermantown had a down a week (the Hawks will play better). This week, Cloquet keeps the #2 seed and the Duluth Lakers take the #3. The Lakers took third place in Brainerd. They won by coming out of a pool that included Farmington, Hutchinson and Centennial. It is a nice trophy.

D12 - Grand Rapids had an off week. This week the Thunderhawks play 5 games, including 4 D12 games. In D12, the Rapids take on Virginia, Hibbing, International Falls and Greenway. While at the Falls, the Thunderhawks will cross the bridge to play Fort Francis. They beat Fort Francis 4-3 a week ago at Bemidji. Virginia lost to Hermantown and played Greenway last week. This week the Blue Devils play Hibbing in addition to Grand Rapids.

Hibbing played in the Brainerd tourney and did not place. Eveleth beat Greenway 2-1 and then traveled to Anoka. They took on some of the top teams in the state losing to Orono 9-0, Anoka 8-0 and Apple Valley 7-0. The Golden Bears host the Mariucci tourney in two weeks at the historic hippodrome in Eveleth. The Eveleth kids will have chances to apply what they learned in Anoka. Often kids learn and learn quickly. The Golden Bears will play North Metro in the opener. As a tune-up this week, the Golden Bears play Greenway and the Duluth Lakers this week.

With two regional seeds available to D12, Grand Rapids takes the #1 seed. The choice for #2 seed is a coin toss. Greenway’s loss to Eveleth leaves the seed open. Eveleth will have their opportunities in the next few weeks and Virginia is still struggling. That leaves Hibbing and International Falls. Out came the old zinc penny. The Falls take the #2 seed this week. But when the coin was in the air, the name “Huffer” was distinctly heard from one of the old hockey ghosts. Maybe the fix was in.

D2 - Take a glance at the D2 standings and there are 11 teams listed. But three teams are D1 teams (Highland, Saint Paul Saints, and Irondale) that play less then half a schedule (8 games). The remaining 8 teams play 17 games. Highland is 5-0 in D2 and appears to be scheduled to play Stillwater this week (last time the Ponies were a no show) and are scheduled to play Roseville. The Caps need three more wins to sweep D2, going unbeaten, this year. Since the Caps are a D1 team, that leaves the D2 title chase to White Bear Lake and Stillwater. These two teams are the only D2 teams that have less then four losses entering the last half of the regular season.

These two teams meet this week in one of the key D2 games of the season. Roseville was sort of a measuring stick last week. Stillwater played Roseville on Friday and won 3-2. Roseville then beat White Bear Lake on Monday 3-2. But the Ponies could not stand prosperity. Over the weekend, they tied Rosemount 1-1 on Saturday, played Rochester and Tartan on Sunday (beating the Titans 8-1), and lost to the Saint Paul Saints 4-2 on Monday. The Ponies play Highland (perhaps?) and play White Bear Lake this week. They also take on a visiting Duluth East team in a potential preview of a North Regional final match-up.

After the dust settled, at the start of this week, the Ponies held a narrow lead (-5 if they won all their “unfairplay” points) over White Bear Lake (-7). The Bears plays Mounds View in addition to the Ponies in D2 this week.

Roseville had almost a three week break over the holidays and finally got back into action in splitting their games against Stillwater and White Bear Lake last week. The Raiders play Saint Paul Saints, Highland and Mahtomedi in D2 action this week. Mahtomedi traveled to a few miles south last week to Phalen to play in the Governor’s Cup. They beat Princeton 3-0 in the opener and beat Sibley to make to the finals; but lost to Hopkins 3-1.

Forest Lake also played at Phalen, but had a tougher time. They lost to Highland 7-3 and St. Francis 1-0 before beating the Saints 4-1. The game with St. Francis was a tough fought game with Saint Francis scoring the winning goal with 6 minutes to go in the third period. The game had an odd ending to it. Each team was penalized twice with a minute and a half to go in the game. The penalties were not off-setting resulting in the last minute of the game being played 3 on 3 and 4 on 3 when the Rangers pulled their goalie.

The refs in Saturday morning games at Phalen deserve some kudos. They made the calls emphatically and decisively. The calls could be clearly seen and understood from the stands. Some of the fans may not have agreed with the calls, but they understood and as a result the refs controlled a hard fought, physical, pair of games.

Forest Lake travels to Rochester this weekend to play in the Rochester tourney. In pool play, the Rangers draw Eastview, Dodge County and Mankato. Tartan also travels to Rochester. In pool play the Titans draw Rochester, Luverne, and Albert Lea. The Titans beat Irondale 3-2 last week.

Mounds View returns to action after a week off, taking on White Bear Lake in D2 and then traveling to St. Cloud for the Geyer tourney (one of the best tourneys around if they don’t stick a team in the same arena for pool play all three days). The Mustangs draw Minnetonka, Brainerd and Sartell. Forest Lake along with Roseville, Mounds View and Mahtomedi are contending for third to sixth place in D2.

White Bear Lake keeps the #1 spot this week; the Ponies take the #2 seed and Roseville the #3 seed.

East Region - The teams in this region continue to show improvements. The Saint Paul Saints are starting to challenge in D1 and D8 could become wide open. Woodbury this week can make a strong move to take one of the top two seeds, but the Royals may not want to (if they look at the new D8 playoff format). The top three D6 teams still don’t have a challenger as Minnetonka took a hit (losing to Jefferson) trying to turn the top three into a top four.

In the East Red this week, the projected teams are: Woodbury, Burnsville, Mpls Park, and Farmington; in the East Blue, the projected teams are: Edina, Lakeville South, Highland, and Eden Prairie. The only change this week is Rochester is replaced by Farmington in the Red. Both these teams are improving and both could likely make this regional. D8 is becoming a donnybrook.

D1 - Three of the four D1 teams played in tourneys this week. Mpls Park traveled to Anoka, the Saint Paul Saints and Highland played in St. Paul Johnson’s Governor’s Cup tourney. Mpls Park opened with a good 2-1 win over Anoka in their opener, but lost their next two games, to Orono 3-0 and to Littleton Colorado 3-0. The Storm play in the Geyer tourney in St. Cloud next weekend. They draw Eagan, STMA and St. Cloud in pool play and should have a shot at the title.

The Saints lost two tough games in OT, to Sibley 3-2 and to Princeton 2-1 in the Governor’s Cup. Forest Lake beat them in the third tourney game 4-0. They returned to D2 action to upset Stillwater 4-2. This week the Saints have a busy schedule playing 5 games (Kennedy, Roseville, Apple Valley, Cottage Grove and Highland. Highland fared better at the Governor’s Cup, beating Forest Lake 7-3, losing to Hopkins 4-0 and playing Sibley for third. This week the Caps play Stillwater, Roseville and the Saints.

Irondale played North St. Paul and lost to Tartan 3-2 in a D2 game. Highland Central keeps the #1 seed and the Storm takes the #2 seed, but for the first time in weeks, the Saints maybe gaining momentum as the season starts to wind down.

D6 - Edina took most of last week off. The Hornets did add another D6 win beating Eastview 9-1. This week they play two D6 teams (Minnetonka and Prior Lake) and Wayzata before heading north to take on East Grand Forks next Thursday and to take on the field at the Roseau tourney. Eden Prairie ended a long layoff with a 6-3 loss Lakeville North. The Eagles don’t return to D6 action until next week against Burnsville.

Burnsville returned to action beating Kennedy 10-0. The Blaze head to St. Cloud this week to play in the Geyer. The Blaze are the defending champions. They draw Buffalo, Grand Forks and Moorhead in pool play.

Minnetonka joins the Blaze at the Geyer. The Skippers draw Mounds View, Brainerd and Sartell in pool play. Besides playing Edina, Eastview played Hastings last week. This weekend the Lightning play in the Rochester tourney. They draw Forest Lake, Dodge County and Mankato in pool play.

Jefferson lost to Prior Lake 10-3 last week and play Apple Valley this week in D6 action. Prior Lake tied Farmington 2-2 and beat Mankato 10-4 in addition to beating Jefferson last week. The Lakers are back.

After losing to Burnsville, Kennedy traveled to Thief River Falls to play in their tourney. The Eagles took the championship beating Wadena, Prairie Center, the Minot Sabres 2-0 and Mandan 2-1 (Mandan is one of 10 teams that play in the North Dakota Amateur Hockey Association Peewee A South league. Fargo Angels and the Fargo Flyers-Edina tourney entrant and Roseau tourney entrant-lead the league. Mandan is currently fourth.) Congratulations to the Eagles.

Edina (-2) sits atop D6, Eden Prairie (-5) and Burnsville (-6) are the Hornets closest competitors. Eastview (-12), Prior Lake (-13) and Minnetonka (-13) trail those three going into this week’s action. In D6, the top five regular season finishers are seeded 1-5 and automatically are entered into the double elimination playoff tourney. The bottom five teams have to play a single elimination tourney to get the #6 seed. The pressure starts to build over the last 6-8 games of regular season play. For Eastview, Prior Lake and Minnetonka, it becomes a game of musical chairs.

Minnetonka had a great game against Eden Prairie a month ago, but last week, the Skippers were upset by Jefferson. That loss kept the Skippers in the pack. They will have their chance against Edina this week, but Edina still has a lock on D6 ticket to the East Region. The Hornets take the #1 seed. Burnsville remains #2 and Eden Prairie #3.

Burnsville returns to action this weekend in St. Cloud, a tourney the Blaze won last year. Eden Prairie, Edina and Chaska return to play in the Roseau tourney next weekend. Chaska beat Apple Valley 5-4 in D6 action this past week. Chaska found its stride there last year and came on strong in the D6 playoffs almost knocking out Edina. Despite the January frost, things are beginning to heat up.

D8 - For some reason this year, D8 changed their playoff format for peewee A. It appears that they lifted a format out of a softball tourney designed to give all 10 teams entered equal opportunity at winning the playoff. It ignores the regular season play and actually punishes teams finishing first or second in regular season play. So why play 16 games?

Perhaps that is why four teams, Lakeville South, Rosemount, Woodbury, and Rochester all knotted at the top seem more relaxed about regular season play. A team has a better chance of winning the tourney if they finish in the bottom of the league which brings out a second interesting point.

The playoff has only the top 10 teams advancing. There are 12 teams in the league. Hudson is not eligible for the playoffs (but the Raiders could contend this year for one of the seeds). That leaves one team to be eliminated and the team most likely to be eliminated is Cottage Grove who is the D8 peewee A playoff host. D8 should reconsider its playoff format.

Woodbury had the last 10 days off and finally played Hastings on Sunday. They beat the Raiders 3-2. This week the Royals play Sibley, Hastings and Farmington in what will be a key week for them. Lakeville South tied Hudson 1-1 last week and beat Rochester 4-3 in one of the best games of the week. The Cougars jumped off to a 3-0 lead on two breakaway goals and a “stuffer” off a melee around the net. Rochester came back to close the gap to 3-2, but late in the third the Cougars added an insurance goal to take the win. Both team showed improvement over their previous outings two weeks ago.

Lakeville South plays a visiting Duluth East and has a return D8 match with Hudson on the weekend. Rosemount had a good week, beating Eagan in D8 action 3-1 and tying Stillwater 1-1. This week, they play South St. Paul in D8 action. Rochester played Stillwater besides losing to Lakeville South. This week they play in their own tourney, drawing Albert Lea, Luverne and Tartan in pool play.

Eagan had a difficult week in D8 play. The Wildcats lost to Rosemount, Lakeville North 3-0 and Hudson 5-3. This weekend they head to St. Cloud to play in the Geyer tourney. In pool play, they draw Mpls Park, STMA, and St. Cloud. Lakeville North may have finally got rolling. The Panthers are 7-1-1 in their last 9 games. Last week, they beat Eagan 3-0 and beat Eden Prairie 6-3. The win over Eden Prairie was a good one.

Farmington took the D8 flag into the Brainerd tourney and planted it smack in the middle of “Cragun’s”. The Tigers took the championship by beating the Duluth Lakers 4-1, Centennial 4-2, Hutchinson 5-1 and Blaine 3-0 in the championship game. Before going to Brainerd, the Tigers tied Prior Lake 2-2.

Hastings is a dangerous team, though they struggled last week D8, tying Sibley, losing to Hudson 3-0 and losing to Woodbury 3-2. This week the Raiders take on Eastview, have a re-match with Woodbury and play Red Wing. South St. Paul played in the Austin tourney over the weekend, playing the Host, beating Dodge County 6-4, beating Sioux Falls 6-4 and losing to tourney champ, Champlin Park, 3-1.

Dodge County had a good Austin tourney. They beat Austin 5-1, lost to Champlin Park 9-2, lost to South St. Paul 6-4 and Sioux Falls 5-4. The Dogs showed improvement against tougher competition at Austin. This week, the competition is just as tough as they travel to Kasson/Mantorville’s suburb, Rochester, to play in their tourney. In pool play, the Dogs draw Eastview, Forest Lake, and Mankato.

Red Wing played in the Waseca tourney last week, losing to Faribault 2-1, beating the Host 9-1 and tying Northfield 4-4. The Wingers plays Austin and Hastings this week. Last week, Northfield tied New Ulm 2-2, tied Faribault 3-3, beat Waseca, and lost to Faribault 3-0 besides tying Red Wing. They play Mason City and Owatonna this week.

Lakeville South and Woodbury may have turned a corner this past week. The Cougars looked good against Rochester and Woodbury came back from an off week to beat Hastings. The deadlock should be broken this week by Woodbury. The Royals have three D8 games that if they win, will put them out in front of the pack. Lakeville South will have to beat Hudson to keep stride. Woodbury takes the #1 seed and Lakeville South the #2 seed. Farmington takes the #3 seed. Rochester looks good, Rosemount looks good, Lakeville North had a quality win over Eden Prairie. These are hard things to ignore in a balanced league this year. But Farmington won a tough tourney at Brainerd. Two years ago, the Tigers would have been blitzed in that tourney. This week they deserve the #3 seed.

South Region - D3 has been tough this year. Four teams (Wayzata, Orono, Osseo/Maple Grove, and Hopkins) will battle in the D3 playoffs for three seeds to the South Regional. But until this week in D4 and in D5, no team has stepped forward by playing well enough to challenge any of the D3 seeds. Last week, STMA made a move in D5 that put them in a strong position to take the D5 regular season crown. STMA has gone through a tough schedule in the past 30 days and the Knights maybe one team to challenge D3 in this region.

New Prague is another team that may challenge D3 in this region. They made a move and took control in D4 last week. But the Trojans have yet to be tested. This week, the Trojans are in small tourney in Rice Lake and should do well.

In the South Red this week, the projected teams are: Wayzata, Sartell, Mankato, and Faribault; in the South Blue, the projected teams are: STMA, Orono, New Prague and Osseo/Maple Grove. The D4 and D5 seeds have changed this week. STMA and Sartell swapped places and Mankato and New Prague swapped places.

D3 - Osseo/Maple Grove has been struggling over the past two weeks. They did not have a good Edina tourney. OMG’s win over Armstrong 6-1 last week broke a 6 game losing streak. They followed that with a 4-2 win over Hopkins. So it is curious that they find themselves in first place in D3. But they are. OMG played well in the game against Hopkins. The D3 championship may come down to the last game of the season when OMG plays Wayzata.

Wayzata beat Mound/Westonka 4-1 in D3 action this week. The Trojans play Edina and Armstrong this week. The Edina game will be a re-match of the Edina tourney championship New Years weekend won by the Hornets 3-2.

Orono and Mpls Park both played in the Anoka tourney last week. After Mpls Park beat Anoka 2-1 and Orono beat Eveleth, the two teams met in the semifinals. Orono won 3-0 and played Andover in the title game. The Spartans play North Metro and OMG in D3 play this week. Hopkins won the Governor’s Cup last week end beating St. Francis 4-0, a tough Highland team 4-0 and Mahtomedi 3-1. The Royals continue to improve. This week, Hopkins plays in the Geyer tourney. They play Bemidji, Detroit Lakes and Rogers in pool play.

North Metro played in the Chisago Lakes tourney on the weekend. The Pirates lost to the Host 4-3 in the opener, tied CINB 3-3, beat Mound/Westonka 5-2 and then beat CINB 2-1 to take third place.

The seeds remain unchanged this week; Wayzata keeps the #1 seed. Orono takes the #2 seed, and OMG takes the #3 seed. OMG look good in beating Hopkins last week, but watch out for Hopkins. After skating with 10-13 players over the past month, the Royals finally have a full team.

D4 - New Prague continued their winning ways last week. The Trojans beat Owatonna 4-0 and handed Mankato its first D4 loss 5-2 to put a strangle hold on the East Division first place with four regular season games left. This week the Trojans play Austin and then travel to Rice Lake, joining Coon Rapids and Proctor, to play in their tourney.

Faribault’s loss of “unfairplay” points cost them this year. They still have a lock on second place in the East, but could have played for the championship when they met New Prague near the end of the season. The Falcons had a good week, tying Northfield 2-2, beating Albert Lea 7-1, and winning the Waseca Tourney by beating Red Wing 2-1, Northfield 3-0 and Waseca 8-1. They play Marshall and Waseca in D4 action this week.

Albert Lea has struggled in the past few weeks. This week they will be tested in the Rochester tourney, playing the Host, Tartan and Luverne in pool play. Waseca held their tourney on the weekend as did Austin. The Packers played South St. Paul, lost to a tough Sioux Falls team 5-3, lost to Dodge County 6-4, and lost to Champlin Park 7-0. The Packers have talent if they get their overall team speed up.

Owatonna plays a single game with Northfield this week.

Mankato took their first D4 loss in losing to New Prague last week. The Mavericks lead the West Division with 24 points and five games to play. St. Peter, their closest rival has 22 points and three games to play and will need a lot of help to catch the Mavericks. St. Peter needs to keep an eye on Luverne and Marshall and hang on to the #2 seed in the D4 playoffs. Both these teams could catch St. Peter. Marshall plays three crucial D4 games this week. The Tigers play Faribault, Waseca and New Ulm.

Mankato plays a grueling six games in four days this week, mixing D4 games with the Rochester tourney. They play at Waseca on Thursday, Forest Lake in pool play at Rochester on Friday, Eastview and Dodge County on Saturday and a guaranteed fourth game Sunday at Rochester before returning home to play an improving Austin team.

Luverne plays in the other pool at Rochester. The Cardinals draw the Host, Tartan and Albert Lea in pool play.

New Prague beat Mankato this week and takes the #1 seed. Mankato drops to the #2 seed and Faribault takes the #3 seed this week. The question is, “are there any other teams starting to close on these three?” Owatonna was making a move, but has been off the past two weeks. Luverne could be a threat. The Cardinals have challenged itself this January in the run-up to the playoffs by entering the Rochester tourney, playing games each weekend and hosting their own tourney.

St. Peter and Owatonna are playing a light January schedule and are unknown at this point. That’s peewee A hockey. Kids change, sometimes in a week.

D5 - Here come the Knights. After playing a rugged December schedule against top teams, STMA returned to D5 action and beat MALM 6-0 and Buffalo 10-0. Those two wins effectively catapulted the Knights into first place in D5. This week, the Knights drive 30 miles west (can they take the new North Star Line?) down I-94 to play in the Geyer tourney in St. Cloud. The Knights draw the Host, Mpls Park, and Eagan in pool play.

Sartell had the week off, playing no D5 games. They tied Alexandria 2-2. This week, the Sabres play in the Geyer (is Sartell considered a St. Cloud suburb?) and in pool play draw Brainerd, Minnetonka and Mounds View. Another D5 contender, Hutchinson, played in the Brainerd tourney. In pool play, they lost to Farmington 5-1, lost to the Duluth Lakers 7-1 and played Centennial.

Mound/Westonka played in the Chisago Lakes over the weekend. The Whitehawks beat Litchfield 12-1, lost to Superior 2-1 and lost to D3 rival North Metro 5-2. On Sunday, the Whitehawks lost to Litchfield 5-3. This week, the Whitehawks play Hutchinson and Litchfield (third time in a week) in D5 action. Crow River played in the Anoka tourney last weekend. The Tigers lost to Littleton Colorado, beat Apple Valley 2-0 and played Anoka for the consolation crown. River Lakes has surprised some teams this year and in the Brainerd tourney, they did again beating the Host 3-2 in overtime.

Buffalo has been a sleeping beast for the first half of the season. Last week, they beat River Lakes 6-1, Littleton Colorado 5-4, and lost to STMA big 10-0. That loss may have kicked the Bison and got them moving. This week, they head to the Geyer and play Burnsville, Grand Forks and Moorhead in pool play.

STMA takes the #1 seed this week, Sartell drops to the #2 seed. Both the Knights and the Sabres will be tested in the St. Cloud Geyer Signal Center Ice Classic tourney. The difference is that STMA already has been tested, failed, and are now playing better hockey. Sartell has yet to go through that process. Buffalo is poised for a run in D5. Their win over Littleton was a quality win. The Bison could sweep their remaining seven D5 games, but are unlikely to overtake STMA.

West Region - Elk River and East Grand Forks own this region and are most likely to take the two West seeds to the state tourney. That may seem odd to the casual reader since both these teams are projected to be in the same pool this week. But it is the top two teams in each pool that advance to a single game play down on the Sunday of the Regional tourney. Suppose EGF finishes #1 and Elk River finishes #2 in the West Blue in March. On Sunday, EGF would play the #2 finisher in the West Red with the winner advancing to the state tourney; and Elk River would play the #1 finisher in the West Red with the winner advancing to the state tourney.

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

D10 - Elk River continued to roll through the opposition last week. The Elks beat Littleton Colorado 5-1, Coon Rapids 10-0, St. Cloud 4-0 and Anoka 5-2. They play CINB this week. The Elks are tied with Andover at the top of the D10 Blue Division. Each team is unbeaten, the only blemish to their D10 records is a tie in their first game.

Andover played in the Anoka tourney last weekend. They beat Apple Valley 9-1, beat Littleton Colorado in the semifinals and played Orono for the championship. This week, the Huskies are busy. They play Chisago Lakes, Blaine, St. Francis and Princeton in D10 action.

Centennial traveled to Brainerd. In pool play, they lost to Farmington 4-2, the Duluth Lakers 3-2 and played Hutchinson. They play Anoka this week. Anoka hosted its tourney this weekend. The Tornados lost to Mpls Park 2-1 in OT, beat Eveleth 8-0 and played Crow River for the consolation championship. Anoka then returned to D10 action losing to Elk River. The Tornados continue to improve and played well in losing a close game to Mpls Park in the opener.

It is not often that a seven team league has 6 teams essentially tied for first place halfway through the season. But that is the situation this week in the D10 Green Division. With approximately 10 games played and 8 games to go, Spring Lake Park, Rogers, St. Francis, Princeton, Champlin Park, and St. Cloud all have near .500 records and all except Champlin Park and St. Cloud have kept all their “unfairplay” points. That is amazing because these teams are playing Blue Division teams as well as teams in their own division.

St. Francis and Princeton played in the Governor’s Cup last weekend. Both lost their opening games; St. Francis lost to Hopkins 4-0 and Princeton lost to Mahtomedi 3-2. Both won their consolation semifinal games; St. Francis beat Forest Lake 1-0 and Princeton beat the Saint Paul Saints 2-1. In the consolation finals, St. Francis beat Princeton 5-0 for the consolation championship. Both are good teams.

Chisago Lakes won their tourney over the weekend. They beat North Metro 4-3, Litchfield 2-1 and Superior 3-0 in pool play. In the championship game, the Wildcats beat Superior again 2-1. D10 rival CINB also played in the Chisago Lakes tourney, losing to Superior 2-1, tying North Metro 3-3, beating Litchfield 5-1 and losing to North Metro 2-1 in OT in the third place game.

Last week, Spring Lake Park tied Rogers 2-2 and then traveled to New Richmond to play in their tourney. The Panthers beat New Richmond 3-1 in a shootout, beat Eagle River 4-0, and beat North St. Paul 5-3 in a shootout to win the championship. Then, SLP returned to Fogerty and tied (what else?) St. Francis 2-2 in D10 play. Good going Panthers!

Besides tying SLP last week, Rogers beat St. Cloud 3-2 in D10 action. This week, they play in the Geyer tourney again (last year they had a good run at the Geyer). They play Bemidji, Detroit Lakes and Hopkins in pool play. Champlin Park took the Austin tourney title, beating Sioux Falls 7-2, Dodge County 9-2, South St. Paul 3-1 and Austin 7-0.

The Geyer tourney is one of best tourneys in the state. St. Cloud is a great host city. The Host team is struggling this year (but in a six way tie for first place). They play Eagan, Mpls Park and STMA in their pool.

Elk River and Andover continue to dominate the Blue Division and take the #1 and #2 seeds this week. Of the six teams tied in the Green Division, St. Francis stands out this week. They played some good hockey at the Governor’s Cup and deserve the #3 seed this week.

D15 - Last week, this write-up opened with Moorhead taking the lead in D15. Last week, the Spuds lost their first D15 game to Alexandria 3-2. Their lead is now slim. Detroit Lakes, Alexandria and Brainerd all have a shot at the title. Moorhead and Detroit Lakes play in the Geyer tourney. Moorhead draws Buffalo, Burnsville and Grand Forks in pool play. Detroit Lakes plays Bemidji, Hopkins and Rogers in pool play.

Brainerd had their tourney last week. Farmington won the tourney. Brainerd beat Hibbing 4-1, lost to River Lakes 2-1 in OT, and lost to Blaine 5-1 in their tourney. At the Geyer, the Warriors play Minnetonka, Mounds View and Sartell in pool play.

Alexandria tied Sartell in their other game last week. This week the Cardinals travel to Fargo to play in the Fargo North Raiders Peewee A tourney. They play NB Glenlee Knights in the opening round of bracket play. Also in their bracket are the Brandon Precision Canadians and the Maples Monarch. It is a 24 team tourney.

Moorhead keeps the #1 seed this week. They beat Detroit Lakes. Detroit Lakes keeps the #2 seed. Alex takes the #3 seed.

D16 - Last week, East Grand Forks beat Warroad and Hallock 9-2 to add two more D16 wins. The Green Wave also beat the Grand Forks Greyhounds 6-3. They remain unbeaten. This week, they play two more D16 games, LOW and Warroad, and they play the Grand Forks Seawolves and the Fargo Flyers. This sets the stage for the “big game” for the Wave when Edina visits on Thursday, January 21st. After that game, both teams travel to Roseau to play in the Ram’s tourney.
Thief River Falls fared well in their own tourney last weekend. The Prowlers beat Fergus Falls 8-2, Grafton 7-2, lost to Mandan 6-4 and beat Minot 5-3. Kennedy won the tourney beating Mandan. The Prowlers play in the Roseau tourney next week.

Bemidji beat Grand Rapids 4-1 and Warroad 8-1 last week. This week, they head to the Geyer tourney, a tourney that the Lumberjacks did well in a year ago. In pool play, they play Detroit Lakes, Rogers and Hopkins. Roseau returned to action after being off for three weeks. They beat Warroad 8-3. This week, they play Warroad again, Grafton, Grand Forks Seawolves and Thief River Falls.

Crookston hosts a four team peewee A tourney this weekend. Morden, the Grand Forks Eagles and the Niverville Clippers are in the tourney.

With two seeds to the regional, East Grand Forks is the #1 seed, and Bemidji is the #2 seed. Still Crookston and Thief River Falls are hanging around. Roseau returns to play this week and next with “the tourney”. The Rams look to have the best tourney this year in Minnesota with 8 of the 16 teams entered ranked in the top 20.