Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey - Feb. 25

By frederick61

Note: This electronic versus of Another Way to Look at PeeWee Hockey has been updated through Wednesday’s district playoff games.

The 103 teams in the running for the state title just two weeks ago have been whittled down to 59. By Sunday, that number will be reduced to 32. Of the 12 district playoffs that started last week, four (D4, D12, D15 and D16) have crowned their champs.

D1 has Highland and Mpls Park playing for the #1 seed. D2 has Stillwater and White Bear Lake playing for the #1 seed. D3 has determined two of their three seeds. Wayzata and OMG will either take the #1 or #2 seeds. D4 winners were Mankato #1, New Prague #2, and St. Peter #3. D5 has STMA and Hutchinson playing for the #1 seed, but the loser could still be out.

D6 has determined the three teams that will represent D6 (Edina, Eden Prairie, and Burnsville). But which team will take which seed will not be determined until the weekend. D8 starts to roll on Thursday. D10 has Andover and Elk River playing for the #1 seed with the loser guaranteed a seed.

D11 has Duluth East and the Duluth Lakers playing for the #1 seed with the loser guaranteed a seed. D12 is over, Grand Rapids took the #1 and Hibbing the #2. D15 is over; the top three teams are Moorhead #1, Alexandria #2, and Brainerd #3. D16 crowned East Grand Forks the champ (and #1 seed). Bemidji took the #2 seed.

The regional tourney draw can be partially populated. The following teams will be in the North Red Division: D11 #1 (Duluth East or Duluth Lakers), D2 #2, Hibbing, and D11 #3; in the North Blue: D2 #1 (White Bear Lake or Stillwater), D11 #2, Grand Rapids, and D2 #3.

The following teams will be in the East Red Division: D8 #1, D6 #2, D1 #2, and D8 #3; in the East Blue Division: D6 #1, D8#2, D1 #1 (Highland or Mpls Park), and D6 #3.

In the South Red Division: Wayzata or OMG, D5 #2, New Prague, and St. Peter; in the South Blue Division: STMA or Hutchinson, Wayzata or OMG, Mankato, and D3 #3.

In the West Red Division: Moorhead, Bemidji, D10 #2, and D10 #3; in the West Blue Division: East Grand Forks, Alexandria, D10 #1 (Elk River or Andover), and Brainerd.

Two teams in each regional will win seeds to the state tourney on Sunday, March 7th. The state tourney draw is already set. In one bracket, North #1 will play East #2 and South #1 plays West #2. In the other bracket, East #1 plays North #2 and West #1 plays South #2.

For those who like to plan ahead, Moorhead will play Bemidji in the opening game of the West Region at East Grand Forks. New Prague will play St. Peter in their opening game of the South Region (second regional game) at Maple Grove. All regional tourneys start at the same time (10:00 Friday, March 5th). The following summarizes each districts play.

The 97 Fire were eliminated “quarterfinals” of the Quebec tourney. They made the final eight of the 56 team tourney. After an opening overtime loss to Slovakia K&B 6-5, the Fire strung three wins together beating the Montreal Juniors 2-0, Gatineau Olympiques 3-0, and the Whitby Wildcats 4-3 before losing to Richelieu Voyagers 2-1. Richelieu scored the winning goal in the last minute of the game.

The top four teams in the tourney were the Montreal Canadians, Detroit Compuware, Richelieu Voyagers and the Burnaby Winter. Detroit Compuware beat Richelieu 3-1 and Burnaby Winter 1-0 to win the tourney. Detroit Belle Tire, Zurich Lions, and the St. Louis Blues joined the Fire to complete the top eight teams. Congratulations to the Fire on a good tourney.

District 1 - In the first round games, Highland beat Irondale 8-1 and Mpls Park beat the Saint Paul Saints 4-2. Highland plays Mpls Park on Thursday for the #1 seed.

Irondale and the Saints play for the #2 seed. The winner plays the loser of the Highland/Mpls Park game; the loser is out of the playoffs. The Knights and the Saints have tied twice in league games, 2-2 and 3-3.

District 2 - In opening quarter final rounds, White Bear Lake beat Tartan 8-3 and Mahtomedi beat Forest Lake 4-3 in OT. The Bears beat the Zephyrs 7-0 to take a D2 North Regional seed.

Stillwater beat North St. Paul 7-3 and Roseville beat Mounds View 5-1. The Ponies beat Roseville 6-1 in the other D2 semifinal game. They play White Bear Lake for the #1 seed in the championship game on Saturday. The loser plays the winner of the single elimination part of the playoffs for the #2 seed. White Bear Lake has beaten the Ponies twice in league play (4-2 and 3-2).

Tartan meets Forest Lake with the winner playing Roseville. North St. Paul plays Mounds View with the winner playing Mahtomedi. The winners play each other; the losers are out of the playoffs. The Titans have beaten and tied the Rangers (4-4 and 4-2). Mounds View and North St. Paul split their two league games. The Mustangs lost 4-3 and won 4-1.

The winner of these four teams will play the championship game loser for the #2 seed; the loser gets the #3 seed.

District 3 - Wayzata beat Orono 6-3. That win gave the Trojans the #1 or #2 seed to South Region; OMG beat Hopkins 6-1 to get either the #1 or #2 seed. Wayzata and OMG play each other at PIC on Friday in a rematch of last Sunday’s regular season championship game that ended in a 2-2 tie. The winner of this game will end up in the South Red Division and could end up playing another D3 team on Sunday to get to state.

The Orono and Wayzata teams played an outstanding game in their semifinal. The Spartans trailed by a goal late into the third period. Then the refs lost control of the game for about five minutes as both teams resorted to a very physical game. The Trojans came out the better, scoring a critical fifth goal to break the Spartans pressure. But the best player on the ice for that game was wearing red and black.

Orono play Armstrong and Hopkins play North Metro in D3 games. If the Spartans or Royals are looking ahead, and they win their playback games, they could end up playing OMG or Wayzata in a key South Regional Blue game at Maple Grove next Saturday morning.

District 4 - Six teams met at the Le Sueur Community Center to decide which teams get the three South Regional seeds. Mankato and New Prague entered the playoffs with the #1 seeds and the Mustangs threw three sixes to take the D4 championship and the #1 D4 seed to the South Region. They beat Owatonna 6-1, Faribault 6-2 and New Prague 6-3.

New Prague beat Luverne 4-1 and St. Peter to make the championship game. They take the #2 D4 seed. St. Peter beat Faribault 2-1 on Sunday to take the #3 D4 seed. All three teams (Mustangs, Trojans and Bulldogs) travel to Maple Grove to play in the South Regional tourney.

On Saturday, a short bench Luverne team was beaten by St. Peter/Le Seuer 6-3 to end their regional tourney hopes. Not always is a peewee game about winning and losing. Sometimes it’s about overcoming. Accolades for an outstanding performance need to be acknowledged.

This one recognizes the Luverne team. The Luverne kids worked hard in their game with St. Peter, all 9 kids. They were “iron kids” playing their second tourney game in 24 hours. They led 2-1 going into the third period. With nine forwards, that meant somebody had to double shift during the game and one Cardinal defenseman took on that challenge.

He skated 35 minutes out of the 45 minute, stop time, game. He turned the Bulldogs back consistently and prevented pressure or eased pressure on his team. And he did it knowing that he had to skate reserving his energy, to focus on what he needed to do to keep his team in the game, not just taking off with the puck.

St. Peter’s tie breaking goal late in the third period came when he was in the penalty box (on a marginal call). On a team of “iron kids”, he was the “iron kid”. Good going Cardinals. They didn’t make the regional tourney, but they will be remembered.

District 5 - When the dust had settled at the playoffs in Litchfield, STMA and Hutchinson were left to play each other for the #1 seed. STMA beat River Lakes 8-1 and Buffalo 5-3 to get there; Hutchinson beat Litchfield 5-3 and Sartell 5-2. Sartell/Crow River and Buffalo/Mound Westonka play each other for the #2 seed. The STMA/Hutchinson loser drops down to play the winner of those four teams.

District 6 - Minnetonka made it through the wild card part that opens the D6 playoffs only to lose to Eastview 1-0 in the first double elimination game. Eden Prairie lost to Prior Lake 3-1 in the second game. That setup a semifinal round where Edina (bye) beat Eastview 9-0 and Burnsville (bye) beat Prior Lake 4-1.

Those wins assured Edina and Burnsville of a seed to the East Regional. Those two teams played for a spot in the D6 championship game and the #1 regional seed Wednesday at Pagel. The Hornets beat the Blaze 5-4 for the fourth time this season to move into Saturday’s championship game.

In the single elimination bracket, Prior Lake beat Minnetonka 5-4 to end the Skippers year; Eden Prairie beat Eastview 3-1 to end the Lightning’s playoff. The Eagles then beat Prior Lake 2-1 to take a seed in the East. The three teams (Burnsville, Edina, and Eden Prairie) remain in contention for the #1, #2, and #3 seeds. The shootout opens with Burnsville playing Eden Prairie on Friday. The winner plays in Saturday’s game; the loser takes the #3 seed.

District 8 - The D8 opening round was played Sunday. Hastings beat Eagan 4-1 to advance to play #1 seeded Rosemount. Farmington beat Lakeville South 1-0 to advance to play the Rosemount/Hastings winner. Rochester beat Lakeville North 4-0 and South St. Paul beat Sibley 4-2 to advance to play Woodbury. The tourney continues on Thursday, but Saturday is the win or go home day in D8.

District 10 - Andover went into a funk three weeks ago after losing their bid for the D10 Blue championship to Elk River. Worst yet the Huskies drew Centennial, a team that had beaten the Huskies 2-1 three weeks ago. On Sunday, the Huskies beat Centennial 5-1 and followed that with a Tuesday win over Champlin Park 4-0 to advance to the D10 championship game. The Huskies are assured of a D10 seed to the West Regional. Champlin Park upended Green champ Rogers 3-2 in their opening game.

Elk River beat Blaine 7-1 and Spring Lake Park 6-2 to move into the D10 championship game and assure the Elks of a D10 seed. Spring Lake Park beat a tough St. Francis team 5-1 their opening game. Andover and Elk River meet in the championship game for the #1 D10 seed on the weekend. The loser plays the winner of the single elimination part of the playoff for the #2 seed. The loser of that game gets the #3 seed.

In the fight for the last seed to the West, Blaine plays St. Francis and Rogers plays Centennial. The Blaine/St. Francis winner plays Champlin Park; the Rogers/Centennial winner plays Spring Lake Park.

District 11 - Cloquet beat Proctor 4-0 in the first game of the D11 tourney. The Lumberjacks then lost to Duluth East 4-1. The Duluth Lakers beat Hermantown 3-2 in triple OT. The Hounds and the Lakers are in the North Regional as a result of those wins. They play each other to advance to the D11 championship game.

After losing to the Lakers, Hermantown beat Proctor 3-1 to end the Rails tournament trail and keep the Hawks hopes for a regional seed alive. They play Cloquet for the third seed to the North Regional on Thursday. The winner plays the plays the Duluth East/Duluth Lakers loser.

District 12 - Grand Rapids took the #1 seed into the playoffs and the Thunderhawks took the #1 D12 seed to the North Region out of the playoffs. They beat Greenway 8-0 and Hibbing 5-4 in the championship game. Hibbing was the #2 seed in the playoffs and took the #2 D12 seed to the North Region. The Bluejackets beat International Falls twice in two overtime games (4-3 and 3-2) at the Hipp in Eveleth to take the seed. The Falls ended their season beating Virginia twice and Eveleth-Gilbert to get to the final seed game. Virginia, after struggling all season, upset Greenway 4-3 to end Greenway’s playoff hopes.

District 15 - Moorhead swept through the D15 playoffs beating Prairie Center 7-0, Brainerd 5-1, and Alexandria 5-3 to take the #1 D15 seed to the West Regional in East Grand Forks. Alexandria took the #2 D15 seed, beating Wadena and Detroit Lakes 2-1 before losing to the Spuds. Fergus Falls upset Detroit Lakes in a playback game 4-1 to knock the Lakers out of the playoffs. The Otters lost to Brainerd 7-3 in the battle for the #3 D15 seed.

District 16 - Both East Grand Forks and Bemidji entered the D16 playoffs last week appearing to be struggling as a team. But they had no trouble with their D16 opposition. East Grand Forks quickly dispatched LOW and beat host Roseau 7-3. Bemidji equally as quick beat Warroad and beat a tough Crookston team 7-1. That set up a championship game between the #1 and #2 seeded teams on Sunday.

East Grand Forks won 7-3 to take the D16 #1 seed to the West Regional that the Green Wave will host. Bemidji takes the D16 #2 seed.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey - Feb. 18

By frederick16

This week the district playoffs start to roll. Congratulations to all the regular season district Champions (D1-Highland, D2-White Bear Lake, D3-Wayzata, D4 East-New Prague, D4 West-Mankato, D5-St. Michael/Albertville, D6-Edina, D8-Rosemount, D10 Blue-Elk River, D10 Green-Rogers, D11-Duluth East, D12-Grand Rapids, D15-Moorhead, and D16-East Grand Forks).

The D4 play-in games were played last weekend. Luverne won the #3 seed in the D4 West and Owatonna won the #3 seed in the D4 East to complete the D4 playoff field. Austin, Marshall, Albert Lea and New Ulm all ended their season. Cottage Grove’s season ended when they did not make the D8 top 10 teams.

The 97 Fire is playing in the Quebec International PeeWee Hockey Tourney held in Quebec City, Quebec. Play in the 11 day tournament started last week. Fifty six teams are entered. Each tourney game has 15 minute periods but has to be played in 75 minutes (clock time) including cleaning the ice. That is less ice time then a D6 league game (14 minute periods played in 75 minutes without cleaning the ice).

The 97 Fire opened play against Slovakia K&B, losing 6-5 in overtime. The Fire held leads of 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, and 5-3 (with two minutes to go in the game). Slovakia came back to tie the score and scored in the first two minutes of OT to win the game. The Fire beat the Montreal Juniors 2-0 to advance. They play the Gatineau Olympics in their next game.

The 98 and the 97 Fire have had peewee A teams play on weekends in Summerset as part of their preparation for a tourney like the Quebec tourney. The 97 Fire played in the Roseau tourney in mid-January and did well, losing the championship to Edina 4-3 in a shootout. The 97 Fire have also played 20 games against Minnesota peewee A teams and have a 16-4 record.

It is nice to see a regional team competing well. It would be great to the 97 Fire make the final championship round. But they need to tell the Quebec Tourney organizers that they are the Wisconsin Fire (not the Minnesota Fire). That’s peewee hockey. Some times the kids get it right on the ice, sometimes the adults get it wrong in the stands.

Here is a quote for the opening of playoffs this day (from an unknown source in Alexandria-excuse the re-phrasing). “A grandfather wanted to know from his grandson how heavy the championship trophy was? About 3 pounds was the answer. However (the grandfather said), it takes an entire team to hoist it.”

North Region - Two of the three district tourneys (D12 and D2) start this weekend. D11 starts Monday.

There are no changes in the North this week. In the North Red, the projected teams are: Cloquet, Stillwater, Grand Rapids, and Duluth East; in the North Blue, the projected teams are: White Bear Lake, Duluth Lakers, Greenway, and Roseville. D11 projections changed this week. Cloquet replaces the Duluth Lakers as the #1 seed, the Duluth Lakers take the #2 seed and switch pools with Duluth East (the #3 seed).

District 11 - Cloquet ended the season playing well. Last week, they were rated #1 here in D11. But based on season rankings, the Lumberjacks ended up with the #4 seed and play a tough Proctor team in the first game of the D11 playoffs Monday at Fryberger. The winner of that game will play Duluth East, the D11 regular season champion and #1 playoff seed the next day.

Cloquet has beaten Proctor twice this season, 6-0 in mid-November and 4-3 in mid-January. The Lumberjacks should win, but it should be a good game to watch. Duluth East has beaten Proctor twice (3-2 and 6-0). The Hounds have beaten Cloquet 6-5 and tied Cloquet 3-3. The winner of this semifinal game is assured a regional seed. The loser drops to the playoff for the #2 or #3 seed.

The #2 seeded Duluth Lakers and the #3 seeded Hermantown play in the other semifinal. The winner gets a seed to the regional. The loser starts all over again and has to eliminate two teams to get to the regional tourney. The two teams have played each other four times this year. The Lakers have won 7-4, 3-2 and 4-2. There was one tie 3-3.

The seeds are unchanged this week; the #1 seed goes to Cloquet, the Lakers take the #2 seed and Duluth East the #3 seed. Hermantown is one game away from the regional, Proctor and Cloquet need to win two games.

District 12 - The D12 playoffs began this Friday (Feb 19th) at the Hipp in Eveleth. Grand Rapids takes the #1 seed into the playoffs. The Thunderhawks have a bye and will play the winner of #4 Greenway/#5 Eveleth game. The Rapids have beaten Eveleth twice this season (7-2 and 8-0); but they have split with Greenway losing to them 2-1 at home and beating them 6-1 away.

In the other side of the playoff, Hibbing finished second and take the #2 seed in the playoffs. The Bluejackets will play the winner of the #3 International Falls/#6 Virginia game. The Broncos and the Bluejackets have split their two league games this year. The Broncos beat Hibbing 3-2 and lost to Hibbing 4-1.

With the playoffs starting in two day, the seeds remain unchanged. Greenway takes the #1 seed and the Rapids the #2 seed. But International Falls and Hibbing are playing well.

District 2 - White Bear Lake beat Mahtomedi 3-1 and Irondale 7-0 to end their D2 season last week. Stillwater ended their D2 season beating Mahtomedi 5-1. That left White Bear Lake on top of the D2 regular season standings and the #1 seed going into the playoffs this Saturday at Tartan.

White Bear Lake will play Tartan in the opener. The Bears have beaten the Titans twice in regular season action. In the other side of the bracket, #4 Mahtomedi plays the #5 seed Forest Lake. Mahtomedi has beaten Forest Lake twice this season by identical 4-2 scores. The Bears are the favorite to win the semifinal game and a North Regional seed. They have beaten Mahtomedi twice and Forest Lake twice this season.

Stillwater finished second and took the #2 seed. The Ponies play #7 North St. Paul in the opener in the other bracket. Mounds View beat Tartan 4-1 and Roseville 4-2. That put the Mustangs in third place. Their win over Roseville in their last D2 regular season game, dropped the Raiders into a three-way tie with Forest Lake and Mahtomedi. The result is that Mounds View and Roseville will tangle in the final first round game of the playoffs.

The Mounds View/Roseville game is going to be a good game played at 7:00 Saturday (in the bubble!). The winner of that game should challenge the Ponies for a seed to the North Regional in the semifinals played next Tuesday. The Ponies have beaten Mounds View twice (2-0 and 5-2) and Roseville twice (5-1 and 3-2).

The seeds remain unchanged this week, White Bear Lake takes the #1 seed, and Stillwater takes the #2 seed and Roseville the #3 seed. The #3 seed is really a toss up between Roseville, Mounds View, Mahtomedi, and Forest Lake. That makes for an exciting playoff.

East Region - Burnsville didn’t need to take 3 points (2 point win plus an “unfairplay” point) in their D6 season ending game with Apple Valley. But they played the Eagles with minimum physical contact, avoiding any collisions especially along the boards as if they needed it.

Apple Valley took advantage and turned the game into an up and down shootout for the first half of the game. The score was 4-3 at the end of the first period. The final score was 11-5. The Blaze won. Valley has a young team and is struggling playing in last place in D6. But with any good peewee A team, if you don’t play the game aggressively, they will beat you. Burnsville was fortunate that they were a stronger skating team that night. They kept their “unfairplay” point. They edged Eden Prairie in the D6 standings for second, by a single point. They got their bye.

Now the Blaze move on to the playoffs where there are no “unfairplay” points. They can play hockey.

For the third week in a row, there are no changes in the East regional pools. In the East Red this week, the projected teams are: Farmington, Burnsville, Mpls Park, and Lakeville North; in the East Blue, the projected teams are: Edina, Woodbury, Highland, and Eden Prairie. Lakeville North edges Lakeville South this week. Lakeville South, Rosemount, Rochester, Eastview, and Prior Lake/Savage all have a shot to be in this region.

District 1 - The D1 playoffs start next Monday at Highland. The final seeds have yet to be posted, but the Monday 5:40 game will have Highland playing either Irondale or the Saint Paul Saints and the 7:40 game will have Mpls Park playing either Irondale or the Saints.

The winners play each other for the D1 championship and the #1 seed to the East Regional. The losers will play each other for the right to play the championship game loser for the #2 seed to the East.

Highland has emerged as the team to beat in D1. Twice in the past three weeks they have beaten a tough Mpls Park team (a team that contended for the D3 regular season crown). Highland beat North St. Paul 5-1 in their last D2 game this year. They finished their D2 season beating every team once except Stillwater. The Caps could have beaten the Ponies is they weren’t a no show for their regular season game at Highland (the Ponies beat them later in the season at the Ponies arena). Highland will move to D2 next year.

Mpls Park will move to D3 next year. For the last two years the Storm has been competitive in D3 and they made the state tourney a year ago. This year, they played almost half of their D3 schedule in the last three weeks of the season and could salvage only a single 2-2 tie with Orono out of their final six D3 games. Still they look good to take the second regional seed in the D1 playoffs, but the Saints could challenge them.

The Saints played another string of games last week. They lost to Forest Lake 3-2 in a D2 game, lost to Coon Rapids 2-1, beat North Metro 3-0, lost to Highland 6-2 and lost to North St. Paul 4-3 to end their D2 and regular season.

Unlike the Saints, Irondale has played few games since the first of the year and practiced regularly three and four times a week. Unfortunately they will have to play either Highland or Mpls Park in their D1 playoff opener.

This week, Highland Central takes the #1 seed and the Storm takes the #2 seed.

District 6 - Edina and Burnsville took first and second (and the #1/#2 seeds) in D6 regular season play. Eden Prairie is all alone in third place. Eastview and Prior Lake took fourth and fifth, the last two spots in the D6 playoff. Minnetonka leads a group of five teams (Chaska, Jefferson, Kennedy and Apple Valley) into the wild card portion of the D6 playoffs for the sixth and last spot. The wild card tourney opens on the 17th at Pagel Arena in Minnetonka with Apple Valley playing Kennedy.

Edina and Burnsville have byes to the semifinal round. To gain a seed to the East Regional, they have to win one game. Should they lose that game, they have to win two more games to get a seed. That makes Monday’s (Feb 22nd) semifinal games the games to see.

Edina will open play that evening against the winner of Eastview/wild card game on Sunday. Eastview has played well in the past month and will rely heavily on their defense to stop the Hornets provided the Lightning get past the wild card winner. Minnetonka is the favorite to take the wild card and the Lightning have split their two games with the Skippers. Last week, Edina ended their D6 season with wins over Eden Prairie 7-1 and Jefferson 12-2. This week the Hornets play Farmington and the visiting Fargo Flyers. Last week, the Lightning ended their D6 season beating Apple Valley, Chaska and Kennedy.

On Monday, Burnsville will play the winner of Eden Prairie and Prior Lake. The Eagles beat the Lakers last Saturday 4-3 and have an early season 6-3 win also. Burnsville has beaten Eden Prairie twice this season and has split two early season games with the Lakers (winning 8-4 and losing 9-4). Last week, the Blaze beat Apple Valley 11-5 to end the Blaze D6 season.

Burnsville has played 14 games since the holidays; the Hornets have played 29 games. Burnsville has a higher ratio of practice/training to games then Edina; but does it matter for peewee age kids? Edina has beaten the Blaze 3 times this year, 6-4 and 3-2 in early December and 7-3 in late January.

The winner of the Apple Valley/Kennedy game plays Minnetonka in the second round of the wild card. Tonka has beaten both teams twice this season. Kennedy has been playing well. Last week, Kennedy beat Armstrong 3-2, lost to Orono 3-2, lost to Prior Lake 4-2, and pushed Eastview Sunday before losing 2-0. Jefferson and Chaska tangle in the other second round game. Jefferson has beaten Chaska twice (6-3 and last week 9-3).

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

District 8 - The top seven teams in D8 had 35 to 41 points. That is a balanced league. For the past month, Farmington (#5 seed/35 points) has played the best among those seven teams and should take the #1 regional seed coming out of the district playoffs. The Tigers open play against Lakeville South (#4 seed/36 points), a team they lost to 2-1 back in November. The winner will most likely play Rosemount, a team Farmington has tied twice this season.

Lakeville South lost both their league games last week, 3-2 to Lakeville North in their rivalry game and 5-2 to South St. Paul. The game against North was a well skated game between two good teams, but the Panthers used their size and a good short passing game to mount continuous pressure on the Cougars. Lakeville South had few shots on goal in the first two periods. A crowd of about 500 plus watched the game at Ames.

Rosemount has the #1 seed to the district playoffs. The Irish earned that by going 5-0-2 in their last seven league games, tying Woodbury and Farmington. They will open the D8 playoffs against the winner of Eagan/Hastings (they have beaten Eagan twice this year and Hastings once). In their tie with Farmington last Thursday, the Irish took advantage of the Tigers’ short bench (11 kids) and their speed at forward to take a two goal lead into the third period. The Tigers came back to score the tying goal in the last minute of the game. Rosemount also beat South St. Paul; lost to STMA 5-3; and played Prior Lake last week.

Woodbury took second place and will open their D8 playoffs against the South St. Paul/Sibley winner. The Royals ended their regular season with a 4-3 win over Hudson in their only game played last week. They have beaten South St. Paul and Sibley in regular season play. The #7 seed, South St. Paul, takes on the #10 seed Sibley in the first round of the playoffs. Both teams have been playing well in the past month. In the last two week, the Packers have beaten Lakeville South and Hastings 7-2; Sibley had a good Duluth tourney.

Rochester took the #3 seed (with 38 points). They open play against Lakeville North (the #6 seed with 35 points). Rochester beat the Panthers 5-0 two weeks ago. In the last first round game Eagan plays Hastings. The Wildcats beat Hastings 3-2 two weeks ago. Both teams are struggling as the playoffs start. Cottage Grove, this year’s D8 playoff host, finished 11th and did not make the playoffs.

Hudson finished fourth this year in D8 with 36 points. They ended their season with the loss to Woodbury on Sunday. Congratulations to the Raiders on a successful season (winning tourneys and being ranked in the top twenty of Minnesota peewee A teams).

The D8 playoffs start on Sunday, Feb 21st. All four opening round Sunday games are a toss up. Rosemount and Woodbury by finishing first and second do not play until Thursday. Rosemount should play Farmington. After two ties, this game will have a winner this time. Farmington, if they are healthy should have the edge. Woodbury should advance to the semis.

Woodbury has had their own health problems in the past two weeks and playing either Rochester or Lakeville North in the semis will not make the Royals any healthier. They should win. But both Rochester and North have been playing some of their best hockey. This semifinal is a close call, but the loser of this semifinal should take the #3 seed.

The D8 regional seeds change this week. Farmington takes the #1 seed and Woodbury the #2 seed. Lakeville North takes the #3 seed. The Panthers were impressive when they beat Lakeville South 3-2 last weekend. They look dangerous. The question is can they play that way against another good physical team in Rochester.

South Region - In the South this week, 22 peewee A teams are left in the chase. D4 completed their play-in games last weekend. D3 and D5 completed their regular season play.

The districts in this region have had their playoff formats finalized for more then a month. Wayzata (D3), Mankato (D4 West), New Prague (D4 East), and STMA (D5) were the champs in each of their regular season leagues. Orono spoiled the Wayzata/OMG title match-up last weekend and could spoil the playoff title match-up between the same two teams this weekend. Hopkins tied for second and almost took the D3 #2 seed from OMG.

In D4, the play-in games were completed and the playoffs at Le Seuer are set to open this Friday. In D5, STMA survived a strong season ending challenge from Hutchinson to win the title as the D5 playoffs open this coming Friday in Litchfield.

But nothing happened this week to change the South Regional pools this week. In the South Red this week, the projected teams are: Wayzata, Hutchinson, New Prague, and Faribault; in the South Blue, the projected teams are: STMA, Osseo/Maple Grove, St. Peter and Hopkins.

District 3 - Wayzata and Osseo Maple Grove were suppose to tangle in the championship game for the D3 title. OMG needed to beat Orono three days before that match and they lost 3-2. But that did not keep a crowd of around 500 fans attending the game in the smaller PIC rink (home ice for Providence Academy). OMG now needed a win or a tie to keep second place and a bye in the playoffs. They played a great game and really had the Trojans on the run for two periods. OMG led 2-0 going into the third, started to struggle, and gave up two goals. But the tie was enough to tie Hopkins in points for second place and OMG held the tie breaker.

Wayzata played the OMG game without one of their better players. This Sunday, the Trojans will play the winner of Orono/Armstrong in the one game needed to get a regional seed. Orono has beaten Armstrong twice this season (7-1 and 6-0), but the Falcons pushed Hopkins last week before losing 6-3.

The Trojans have had Orono’s number this year, beating the Spartans 6-3 and 4-1. These two teams will be playing on the smaller PIC ice on Sunday and it should be quite a game.

OMG plays the winner of the North Metro/Hopkins game. North Metro and Hopkins played a month ago with Hopkins winning 4-2. The Royals also hold an earlier season win over the Pirates 6-2. OMG has beaten Hopkins 3-2 and 4-2.

The semifinal losers play with the first round losers for the third seed and it could get tough for the Wayzata/Orono loser. Wayzata and Osseo/Maple Grove are still headed for a showdown this weekend for the #1 seed, only this weekend it is for the #1 seed to the South Regional. Hopkins and Orono look to battle for third, but a Hopkins/OMG semifinal looks to be the best game of the D3 playoff.

This week, Wayzata keeps the #1 seed. OMG takes the #2 seed. Hopkins takes the #3 seed. Orono’s upset of OMG, while surprising, was not enough this week to overtake OMG or Hopkins. OMG played two very good, powerful periods, against Wayzata. This weekend, they look ready to play three powerful periods. Orono will have their shot, twice on the weekend. The Spartans are good.

District 4 - Luverne and Owatonna won their play-in games for the D4 playoff and #3 seeds in the National and American pools. The D4 playoff starts this Friday at Le Seuer. Mankato #1 seed will open American Division pool play against Owatonna. Mankato had last week off. The third team in the American is Faribault. Mankato beat Owatonna 5-0 two weeks ago and tied Faribault 2-2 in early December. Faribault beat Owatonna twice in early December and is coming off a nice 6-2 win over Red Wing last week.

Owatonna beat Albert Lea in an evenly matched play-in game 3-2 in OT. The game was played at Owatonna.

Both teams played a very physical game. With less then two minutes in the third period left, Albert Lea tied the score. They had been killing penalties most of the last half of the third period and finally got five players on the ice. But they lost in OT when a ref called a penalty on Albert Lea during a melee around Albert Lea’s net. Thirty seconds later, Owatonna scored to end the game.

The ref that made the penalty call was on the other side of the red line when he made the call and both refs ignored the two Owatonna players in the crease (one on his knees) when the puck was passed from behind the net seconds before the call.

The other opening game on Friday has New Prague playing Luverne. The two teams did not meet in regular season play. St. Peter has played both teams. The Bulldogs are the third team in the National Division pool. They beat New Prague 8-3 and 3-2; they beat Luverne 6-4 and 4-3 and lost to Luverne 4-3. This is a tough pool. Luverne beat Waseca 8-3 and New Ulm 6-1 to win their play-in games.
St. Peter remains #1, New Prague #2 and Mankato #3 in the chase for the South regional seeds.

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

STMA takes the #1 seed and plays the winner of #8 MAML/#9 River Lakes games. MALM has beaten and tied River Lakes 3-1 and 2-2. STMA has beaten both teams twice, but MALM had potential earlier in the season to improve. The Stars will have their chance to show that in this playoff. River Lakes beat Litchfield 5-4 to end their season Sunday. STMA have really been a powerhouse in D5 since their struggles in the St. Cloud tourney. The Knights have gone 8-0-1 in their last nine games. They beat D10 Green champ Rogers 4-1 and D8 champ Rosemount (at Rosemount) 5-3. Their only blemish was a 2-2 tie with Hutchinson.

Crow River and Buffalo meet in the other side of the bracket. These two teams tied during regular season play 1-1 and 2-2. This will be Crow River’s last D5 tourney, the Tigers move to D3 next year. They ended their D5 season early and played two weekends ago in the Fergus Falls tourney, beating Crookston in OT for the championship. Buffalo is coming off of two tough back to back losses to Hutchinson 4-2 and 7-3.

Hutchinson has the #2 seed and plays the winner of Litchfield/Willmar in their opening playoff game. The Hutch has beaten both teams twice in regular season play. In the other side of the bracket, Sartell plays Mound/Westonka. The Sabres have beaten the Whitehawks twice this year 4-2 and 5-1. This will be Mound/Westonka’s last D5 tourney; they move to D3 next year.

Sartell and Hutchinson are favored to meet in the semifinal game. The winner will still need another victory to gain a seed to the South Regional. These two teams split their games this year, Sartell won 6-3 in November, Hutchinson won 1-0 in late January.

A week ago, D5 looked wide open, but STMA’s play this past week shows improvement and the Knights had a good team before that. It is hard to not give them the #1 seed. Hutch has ended their season on an up note and is equally hard to ignore. The question then becomes can Crow River, Hutchinson and Sartell upset one of those two? STMA remains the #1 seed this week; Hutchinson gets the #2 seed.

West Region - After play-ins and regular season, 24 teams are left standing entering playoffs this weekend. The three districts in the West have similar playoff tourney formats with eight teams entered in each tourney. D16, with only two regional seeds this year, is a single elimination tourney this year. The D16 playoff approach could really impact the potential West Region divisions and puts both East Grand Forks and Bemidji’s potential seeds up in the air.

The D10 playoffs favor Elk River taking a seed, most likely the #1 seed, but puts Centennial/Andover on a collision course where the loser of that game would have a tough play back to gain a seed. Rogers/Champlin Park winner and the Spring Lake Park/St. Francis winner will find themselves one game away from the West Regional.
In D15, Moorhead has a clear shot at a seed while Alexandria and Detroit Lakes will likely play each other for a spot in the playoff finals.

In the West Red this week, the projected teams are: Alexandria, Bemidji, Elk River, and Andover; in the West Blue, the projected teams are: East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Centennial, and Detroit Lakes. But the way the district playoffs have matched teams, these pools will likely change in five days.

District 10 - Like the D8 playoffs, the D10 playoffs open Sunday, Feb 21st at Champlin Park. The top four finishers in each division are automatically seeded to the playoffs based on the position they finished in their division. The Blue #1 and #4 seeds play each other (Elk River and Blaine) in one bracket and the Green #1 and #4 seeds play each other (Rogers and Champlin Park) in the other bracket.

The #2 and #3 teams in each division cross over and play in the bracket with the #1 seed from the other division. In the Elk River bracket, #2 Spring Lake Park plays #3 St. Francis; and in the Rogers bracket, #2 Centennial plays #3 Andover.

Elk River looks to dominate their bracket. If the Elks do so, then they will make the finals and get a seed to the West Regional. Blaine appears to be the Elks’ biggest obstacle. The Bengals went 7-2-2 in their last 11 league games. Their two loses were to the Elks 6-3 and Andover 6-2. The Bengals have had a good month.

In the other bracket game, Spring Lake Park plays St. Francis. The Panthers played well at the DAHA tourney 10 days ago, pushing Hopkins and Hermantown before losing close games. They returned to tie CINB 3-3 last week to finish second in the Green. St. Francis has played well also tying Blaine 1-1 and losing to Elk River 6-3 in the last two weeks. Either team will push the winner of the Elk River/Blaine game for that regional seed.

Andover was sailing along until in a D10 battle for first with Elk River until the last three weeks of the season. The Huskies won two of their last five D10 games. Their woes started with a 2-1 loss to Centennial, the team they play in the playoffs opener. Centennial has really put things together. Three weeks ago, they were faced with being eliminated from the D10 playoffs; needing every win and playing Andover and Elk River back to back. They won both those games, went on to have a good White Bear Lake tourney finishing second. This game looks to be the best game in the D10 opening round.

Rogers took the #1 seed via tie breaker in the Green. The Green was so balanced that at one point in January, six of the seven teams in the Green were in a virtual tie for first place. Rogers plays #4 seed Champlin Park in their bracket. They have lost to the Rebels twice this season (2-0, 3-0) in league play. Last week the Royals lost to STMA 4-1 and beat Princeton 6-1. Champlin Park had a tough week, losing to St. Cloud 3-1 and Anoka 3-0.

The D10 playoff draw leans toward Elk River and the winner of Andover/Centennial playing in the final game; but the other five teams can not be discounted. The Spring Lake Park/St. Francis winner will give the Elks a tough game and the Rogers/Champlin Park will challenge also. The semifinal games played at Champlin Park on Tuesday (the 23rd) should be fun to watch.

Centennial continues to play well and keep the #1 seed this week; the Elks keep the #2 seed. But Andover has struggled and Blaine, Rogers, St. Francis and SLP will all challenge the Huskies. Andover keeps the #3 seed, barely.

District 15 - D15 playoff is official. All eight teams will play in the playoffs. The playoff format is similar to D16’s and D10’s. Eight teams will play in the opening round with the semifinal winners guaranteed either the #1 or #2 West regional seed. The losers will play for the #3 West regional seed. The tourney will start this Friday in Moorhead.

Moorhead, as regular season champions, open the tourney against Prairie Centre. In the other bracket game, Brainerd plays Fergus Falls. Moorhead has beaten Prairie Centre twice in regular season play. Brainerd and Fergus Falls played their regular season games with each other in November and early December. The Warriors won both games (11-2 and 5-0) and will be favored in this game.

The Spuds hold two season victories over Brainerd. They beat the Warriors 4-1 before Thanksgiving Day 4-1 and beat them again last week 7-2. In an interesting quirk, the Spuds opened their D15 season in mid-November with a 7-1 win over Fergus Falls. They ended their D15 season on Valentine’s Day beating Fergus Falls 7-1. Brainerd tied a good Anoka team last week 4-4, beat a tough Sartell team 3-2 and lost to Bemidji 5-0.

Alexandria took second place in D15 and the #2 seed. They open the playoffs against the #7 seed Wadena. Alex has not lost in their last 12 games and beat Moorhead 3-2 a month ago. They beat Wadena twice in regular season play. In the other side of the bracket, Detroit Lakes plays Northern Lakes. Detroit Lakes has two regular season wins over Northern Lake.

Alex and Detroit Lakes are favored to meet in the semifinal game. These two teams split in two early season D15 games, Alex winning 9-3 and Detroit Lakes winning 5-4 in OT. Alex closed out their regular season last week beating West Fargo 5-1 and Willmar 6-0. Detroit Lakes played tough in losing two of their last three D15 games (Brainerd 2-1 and Moorhead 3-2). If they make it to the semifinals, Alex and the Lakers game will be the game to see in D15. The team that loses this semifinal game will likely battle Brainerd and Fergus Falls for the #3 seed.

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

District 16 - The D16 tourney opens this Friday at Roseau. The winner of the Saturday afternoon’s semifinal games will determine the two West Regional seeds from D16. East Grand Forks finished their D16 season unbeaten and with the #1 seed. They play the #8 seed Lake of the Woods (LOW) in their opening game in bracket play. The Green Wave had a good week, beating LOW, Detroit Lakes 8-1, and the Fargo Angels 7-6.

The #4 seed Thief River Falls plays #5 seed Roseau in the other side of the bracket. These two teams tied 2-2 last week in a game played at TRF. TRF has a 3-2 win in a game played at Roseau in mid-January. The teams playing in this bracket are all playing well. The Green Wave should make the semis, but either Roseau or TRF could challenge them in what would be a “win or go home” game.

Bemidji with the #2 seed plays #7 Warroad in the lower bracket. The Lumberjacks have been playing steady hockey all season and own two regular seasons wins over Warroad (8-1 and 12-0). In the other side of the bracket, Crookston plays Hallock. The Pirates have beaten Hallock in regular season play.

Bemidji and Crookston are favored to meet in the other semifinal game. The Lumberjacks have two regular season wins over the Pirates (9-1 and 5-4). In prepatation for this playoffs, Bemidji played four games last weekend. They beat Brainerd 4-0, Hallock 7-0, LOW 9-2 and tied Roseau 3-3 last Sunday at Roseau. Crookston also finished the season strong. They beat Roseau 8-4 at Roseau last Saturday. The weekend before, the Pirates took second at the Fergus Falls tourney. They beat Mound/Westonka 7-1, Detroit Lakes 4-3, before losing to Crow River 7-6 in OT.

The semifinal games at Roseau will be great to watch. A real test of the four teams with the regional seeds at stake. East Grand Forks keeps the #1 seed, but the Green Wave better be prepared for the semifinal game. Bemidji keeps the #2 seed, but Crookston is playing tough. It would not be a surprise if either one or both of these seeds lose on Saturday.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

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

By frederick61

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the third week in a row, there are no changes in the East regional pools. In the East Red this week, the projected teams are: Farmington, Burnsville, Mpls Park, and Lakeville South; in the East Blue, the projected teams are: Edina, Woodbury, Highland, and Eden Prairie. Rosemount, Rochester, Eastview, and Prior Lake/Savage all have a shot to be in this region. Lakeville North is a “dark horse”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey - Feb. 4

By frederick16

Some district playoffs at the PeeWee A level will start Valentine’s Day weekend. For the man who will enjoy those weekend games, you want to tell your “better half” that she has only nine more days to buy her present.

For the mother who is rooting for her son or daughter in a Valentine’s Sunday morning playoff game, here is a salute for all hockey mornings and evenings you have attended and made happen for your child. As one author’s famously coined phrase was put, you are in the “she who must be obeyed” club.

The district playoffs have to be completed by February 28th. That is the only rule that Minnesota Hockey has given the districts. That means all district tourneys at all levels have to be completed by that date, not just the PeeWee A’s. That also means around 700 teams at approximately 30 plus locations will be playing down starting with district “play-in” games in 10 days. The tournament season is upon us.

The district’s regular season plus each association’s wishes determine the number of teams that will participate in the district playoffs. In some districts, the decision of an individual association on their participation is left to the last week of regular season. Because the number of teams entered in a playoff determines a district playoff format, some districts have yet to publish their tourney format.

Starting this week and ending with the Feb 18th LPH issue, each districts playoff will be reviewed in this column. The electronic version will continue for the next two weeks as the peewee A regular season ends. This week, D1, D2, D4, and D11 playoffs are summarized.

Last week was relatively quiet after all the northern tourney action the week before. Hudson held its tourney. They won it. The Raiders also won recognition in the LPH ratings. The Wisconsin team was rated #20 among the best teams in Minnesota. That is a great achievement for all involved. Maybe Hudson should be annexed by the Gopher State. After all, it is just a small river that separates the two.

North Region - This week, D16 invaded D11 when Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks traveled to Duluth. The Prowlers lost three tough games and EGF won two and tied a third game. Grand Rapids from D11 made a trip to Duluth also, winning one game and losing another.

Cloquet has a twelve team tourney going this weekend that also includes D11 rivals Hermantown and the Duluth Lakers. Some of the top teams in the state will be there including Stillwater. The Ponies are likely to be a D2 seed in this region tourney in four weeks.

White Bear Lake and Stillwater are knotted on top of D2. The Bears will host the Moose Goheen tourney this weekend and has drawn some of the top rated teams in the state. Duluth East will take on Edina in the opening round of that tourney.

No changes in the North this week with one more week to go before playoffs. In the North Red, 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.

District 11 - D11’s playoff format is out. Five teams will play for three seeds in a double elimination tourney. The 4/5 teams will play in the opening game with the winner playing the #1 seed in one semifinal game. The 2/3 teams play in the other semifinal. Losers drop down to play each other. The tourney starts on February 22nd at Fryberger in Duluth.

The Duluth Lakers and Duluth East are in a tie for first in D11; Cloquet and Hermantown are tied for third and fourth. Proctor trails. Each team has one game left. Proctor can not catch either Cloquet or Hermantown; Duluth East and the Duluth Lakers have a lock on either the #1 or #2 seed. Proctor and either the Lumberjacks or the Hawks will play in the opening game on the 22nd. The Hawks have an edge in schedule. The winner of the 4/5 game will play either Duluth East or the Duluth Lakers. Hermantown and Cloquet tied last week 2-2 in a key match-up for the two teams.

Hermantown ends their D11 season with Proctor; Cloquet plays the Duluth Lakers in their last game. With the Lakers needing a win to keep pace with archrival Duluth East, the advantage swings to Hermantown for the #3 seed.

If the Duluth Lakers sweep their last two games, they take first via having one more “unfairplay” point then the Hounds. The Lakers would take the #1 seed and play the winner of the 4/5 game. The Hounds as the #2 seed would play #3 (most likely Hermantown). The Hounds beat Proctor this week 6-0.

Which two teams is most likely to lose in this tourney? It is difficult to tell. In the last month, the last place Proctor Rails lost to Duluth East 3-2, Hermantown 5-2, the Duluth Lakers 8-6, and to Cloquet 4-3. Last weekend, the Hawks beat visiting Thief River Falls 3-2 and lost to East Grand Forks 5-3; Duluth East beat the same TRF team 5-2 and lost to EGF 4-3. Cloquet tied EGF 2-2.

It is wide open. The two teams that win the semifinal games on Feb 23 will advance. The loser of the game between the #1 seed and the #4/#5 seed winner will have the advantage in the fight for the third seed.

Cloquet opens their tourney against Cambridge and Hopkins. Hopkins is back at full strength after playing most of the last month with a short bench. They looked tough beating Woodbury last Tuesday 2-1. The Lakers take on Dryden and Princeton in their pool play. Dryden, if it is the same team, played in the Superior tourney early in the season and took second, losing to Highland in the championship game. Hermantown draws Greenway and Spring Lake Park. Spring Lake Park is currently on top of the D10 Green Division.
The Duluth Lakers keep the #1 seed this week. The Hounds take the #2 seed. Cloquet keeps the #3 seed.

District 12 - Grand Rapids split their two game swing to Duluth, beating Hermantown 3-2 and losing to the Duluth Lakers 5-4. The Thunderhawks also played Eveleth in their last D12 game. They beat the Golden Bears 8-0 to finish with a 7-2 record and most likely in first place. This week Grand Rapids plays Bemidji.

Hibbing also played Eveleth last week, beating the Golden Bears 5-2. This week they play International Falls and Eveleth. Greenway plays in the Cloquet tourney. They play Spring Lake Park and Hermantown in opening games. They lost to International Falls 7-4 last week. Eveleth continues to show improvement.

Greenway still takes the #1 seed. They beat the Rapids two weeks ago and nothing has changed since. The Rapids remain #2. But the Bluejackets and the Broncos will challenge these two teams in the playoffs in a very balanced league that has shown some remarkable swings in play week to week.

District 2 - D2 has an eight team playoff format for the eight teams in its district. The teams winning the semifinal games are assured a regional seed; the losers in the semis and opening round have to play back for the third seed.

The eight teams are seeded per their finish in regular season. Tartan will host the D2 playoffs this year. The last two years, the D2 playoffs are among the best attended playoffs.

But this year, unlike last year, the seeds are predicable. White Bear Lake and Stillwater are fighting for the #1 or #2 seed. With White Bear Lake beating Mounds View 4-1 on the weekend, both teams are deadlocked. Both teams have two games left, both teams play Mahtomedi. The Bear’s other game is against Irondale; the Ponies other game is against Mounds View. Should they tie in points, White Bear beat the Ponies twice during the season and should hold the tie breaker.

Roseville has the #3 seed; Mahtomedi, Mounds View, and Forest Lake are vying for the 4-6 seeds. North St. Paul has the 7th seed and Tartan the 8th.

The Bears as the #1 would play Tartan in the opening round; Stillwater as the #2 would play North St. Paul. Roseville would play the #6 seed (most likely Forest Lake) and Mounds View and Mahtomedi would play in the 4/5 game.

That means one D2 regional seed will be decided by the winner of bracket play games between White Bear Lake, Tartan, Roseville and Forest Lake. A second D2 seed will be decided by the winner of bracket play games between Stillwater, North St. Paul, Mahtomedi and Mounds View.

To prep for the D2 playoffs, the Bears will host their Moose Goheen tourney this week. It will be a tough tourney. The field includes Osseo/Maple Grove (played well at Roseau), Centennial (coming off of two wins over Elk River and Andover in D10), Eden Prairie (fighting for one of the top two spots in D6), Woodbury (locked in a battle for the top spot in D8), Elk River (most likely D10 regular season champ), and Edina (who has a view from the top of peewee A’s in Minnesota).

Stillwater plays at Cloquet this weekend. The Ponies play Farmington and the Saint Paul Saints in their opening games. Roseville travels to New Hope to play in Armstrong’s tourney. They play Hastings in the opening round of bracket play.

The seeds remain unchanged this week, White Bear Lake takes the #1 seed, Stillwater takes the #2 seed and Roseville the #3 seed.

East Region - Edina, Edina, Edina… They are like a hockey loving spouse on Valentines Day. You love them, but you will want to shoot them when they come home from the arena.

The Hornets rolled through D6 last week to lock up first, beating Burnsville in the process. All the Hornets can say is who is next? They were even kind to the 97 Fire, calling their win in the championship game at Roseau a “tie”.

Suddenly the East has become a region of Edina and who else. The only fly (or should it be eagle) in their ointment is Eden Prairie who have beaten them. They will have one or two games with Eden Prairie this week.

For the second week in a row, there are no changes in the East regional pools. In the East Red this week, the projected teams are: Farmington, Burnsville, Mpls Park, and Lakeville South; in the East Blue, the projected teams are: Edina, Woodbury, Highland, and Eden Prairie.

District 1 - Minnesota Hockey is restructuring districts and will have a new district alignment, regional and state tourney approach for 2010-2011. Under that new alignment, this will be the last year for D1 to have seeds to the peewee A tourney.

Four teams, Highland, Mpls Park, the Saint Paul Saints, and Irondale, will play in the D1 playoffs this year. The D1 format is a four team double elimination tourney that seeds the teams 1/4 and 2/3 in the opening games. Based on current standings, that means Highland will play Irondale and Mpls Park will play the Saint Paul Saints in the opening round.

Highland beat Mpls Park twice this past week (5-0 and 5-2) and has a lock on #1 seed. The Caps have been playing short handed and may have to play short handed in the playoffs. The Monday game with Mpls Park was hard fought for two periods before the Caps broke it open in the third to win 5-2. Both teams played a great game until Mpls Park struggled in the third period.

The Storm had been fighting for first place in D3 until these past two weeks when a tie with Mound Westonka (0-0) and losses to Hopkins (5-4) and Armstrong (3-0) knocked them out of contention. Last night against the Caps, they struggled on defense. The Storm will likely have two battles with the Saint Paul Saints to take the #2 seed.

The Storm beat the Saints last week 2-0, but the Saints have been improving since the Governor’s Cup. They recently beat Stillwater 4-2 in D2 and will test themselves again in Cloquet opening with games against Stillwater and Farmington. Irondale can be dangerous and could upset the Saints should they meet. The Knights, coming off a three week layoff, tied the Saints last week 3-3.

Highland will host the D1 tourney. The games will be played over two weekends, Feb. 22nd and Feb. 27th. Highland Central keeps the #1 seed and the Storm takes the #2 seed.

District 6 - Edina beat Burnsville for the third time this season 7-3. That win still has that “good view” from the top of the Peewee A world. Last week, the Hornets beat Apple Valley 11-1 and beat Chaska 6-0 in other D6 action. Eden Prairie had a good week last week, beating Chaska 6-2, Minnetonka 5-2, and beating Eastview 6-3. Despite those three wins by the Eagles, they trail the Hornets by 5 points. Each team has three D6 games left. One of the games is against each other this week.

Both Eden Prairie and Edina are entered in the White Bear Lake tourney. The Eagles draw Centennial and the Hornets play Duluth East in the opening round.

Last week, Burnsville beat Eastview 2-1, beat Kennedy 6-0, and played Eastview a second time in addition to losing to the Hornets last week. They are in a chase with Eden Prairie for second place in D6. The Blaze play Chaska this week and end their season against Apple Valley. The Blaze appear to have “lost a game” in the D6 standings.

Prior Lake/Savage and Eastview are fighting for the 4th and 5th places and a seed into the playoffs. The Lakers beat Kennedy 2-1 last week and played Minnetonka. Their remaining two D6 games are with Kennedy and Eden Prairie. The Lightning, despite the losses to Eden Prairie and Burnsville last week, should take either 4th or 5th place. They play Apple Valley, Chaska, and Kennedy in their remaining three games. Like Burnsville, both these teams also appear to have “lost a game” in the D6 standings.

Eastview plays in the New Hope tourney this week. They draw Orono in the first game. Kennedy also plays in the New Hope tourney, they draw Champlin Park in their opening game.

Besides losing to Eden Prairie, Minnetonka beat Jefferson 6-4 and played Prior Lake last week. The Skippers have two games left on their schedule, Edina and Chaska. They too appear to have “lost a game” in the D6 standings.

Apple Valley played in the Hudson tourney over the weekend. The Eagles lost a tough overtime game to Forest Lake 6-5, beat the Madison Patriots 3-1 and Red Wing 8-1 to take the consolation title.

D6 has been consistent all year in the seeds. This week is no different. The seeds are unchanged. Edina keeps the #1 seed, Burnsville takes the #2 seed, and Eden Prairie the #3 seed. Eden Prairie and Edina play in the White Bear Lake tourney this week in opposite brackets. The two teams could meet in the championship game which would be interesting. Why? The same two teams play each other at EP1 three days later in a D6 game.

District 8 - How balanced are the D8 teams? The D8 teams are very balanced if the last two Woodbury games are any indication. Woodbury and Rosemount tied 2-2 in a key match-up this week and Woodbury and Rochester tied 3-3 in another key match-up where the Woodbury goalie played an outstanding game.

With the D8 schedule winding down this week, six teams (Rosemount, Woodbury, Lakeville South, Hudson (ranked #20 in Minnesota this week), Farmington and Rochester) are within 6 points of the top spot.

Now that D8 has corrected the seeding in their playoffs, first and second place mean something. Three teams (Rosemount, Woodbury, and Lakeville South) will battle for the top spot. Hudson could tie for the top spot, but too many teams would have to lose games.

Rosemount has the edge in the chase for #1, but has to play a tough Farmington team next week. Woodbury has one game, the last D8 game on the schedule, at Hudson. Lakeville South has to play archrival Lakeville North yet. Rochester has an outside chance to take a #2 spot.

Hudson had their tourney this week. The Raiders won by beating Red Wing 7-1, South St. Paul 5-3 and Forest Lake 5-3. The Raiders play Cottage Grove this week. Red Wing beat New Ulm and lost to Apple Valley in the consolation championship game. South St. Paul took third place. The Packers beat New Ulm 6-2, lost to Hudson and beat Faribault 7-5.

Woodbury plays in the White Bear Lake tourney this week. They draw Elk River in their opening game. The Royals lost to the Royals (Hopkins) 2-1 last week. Lakeville North went 2-2 last week. The Panthers beat Eagan 4-1, lost to Farmington 4-1, lost to Rochester 5-0 and beat Cottage Grove 9-1. This week Lakeville North plays South St. Paul, Blaine and Hastings.
Lakeville South also beat Cottage Grove this week 6-1. The Cougars are off this week. Farmington travels to Cloquet this weekend. They play the Saint Paul Saints and Stillwater in their opening games. The Tigers have scheduled a scrimmage with Edina just prior to the start of D8 playoffs.

Dodge County lost a close game to Cottage Grove 3-2 last week. This week, they play Albert Lea and two games with Northfield. Red Wing plays Apple Valley (a rematch at Bergwall of the Hudson consolation game) and New Prague this week.

Who gets the #1 seed this week? Farmington tied with Rochester, Woodbury tied Rochester, Lakeville South tied Hudson twice (but beat Rochester a month ago), and Rosemount tied Woodbury. Where is the zinc penny? Where are the hockey ghosts when you need them? When confronted with confusion, pull a “Forest Gump”. Keep it simple, go with last week’s ratings.

The Tigers keep the #1. Woodbury keeps the #2 seed and Lakeville South keeps the #3 seed. But Rosemount is looking good. The Irish should make a move. Rochester is also looking good. Woodbury will carry the D8 flag into the White Bear tourney, but this week’s D8 play only tightened an already tight D8 race. At least the D8 teams and coaches can throw away the visors and the playing cards. They can leave the poker table. There is no game of hearts this week.

South Region - This region has looked to be the domain of D3 from the start. With the return of Hopkins in D3, that looks unchanged. A potential South Region scenario, based on the projected pools, would have Wayzata finishing #1 and Hutchinson, New Prague or Faribault finishing #2 in the South Red. In the Blue, OMG and Hopkins are likely to finish #1 or #2. That would pit Wayzata against OMG or Hopkins for a ticket to the state and OMG or Hopkins against Hutch, NP or Faribault for the other ticket.

The South 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, Osseo/Maple Grove, St. Peter and Hopkins. In the South Blue, Orono drops out and is replaced by OMG. Hopkins takes OMG’s place.

District 3 - A week ago, Wayzata looked to be in trouble having been upended in the Roseau tourney in pool play. That broke a string of tourney first and second place finishes. Their return to D3 play last week was a potential trap. But it was a trap the Trojans avoided by beating North Metro 7-2, Orono 4-1, and Hopkins 4-1. With two D3 games left against Mpls Park and Osseo/Maple Grove, the D3 regular season title and #1 seed in the playoffs could come down to the final game on Valentine’s Day at the PIC.

Osseo/Maple Grove seemed to have turned a corner, stumbled by losing to Orono two weeks ago, and then come back by playing well at Roseau. They continued to play well this week beating Mpls Park 3-0. OMG trails the Trojans by a single point with two games to go. They play Orono just before they play the Trojans. A win by OMG over Orono would set up the showdown with Wayzata on Feb 14th. This week, OMG plays in the White Bear Lake tourney. They open against the Bears. Centennial and Elk River tangle in the other bracket game.

Orono has been over taken by Hopkins, a team that has a nearly full bench after playing most last month with 10-11 players. The Spartans lost to Hopkins 4-1 and to Wayzata 4-1 last week. The lost to Hopkins hurt them because they will likely end up with the #4 seed in the playoffs.

Besides beating Orono, Hopkins beat Woodbury 2-1 last week. In a game that pitted the Royals versus the Royals, the Hopkins goalie proved once again that he is among the best peewee goalies in the state. But it just wasn’t his play this time as the forward and defense play has improved in the past month. Hopkins has two D3 games left (Armstrong and Mpls Park); Orono also plays Armstrong and plays OMG. This week, Hopkins plays in the Cloquet tourney. They open with games against Cloquet and CINB. Orono plays in New Hope and draws a tough Eastview team in their opening game.

Armstrong surprised Mpls Park last week beating them 3-0. They are coming off a good tourney at Sauk Centre and hosting their own tourney this week. It is a tough one. They open against the Fargo Angels, a team currently in second place in the North Dakota Peewee A South league. The Angels usually make only one trip outside of North Dakota. Champlin Park plays Kennedy in the other bracket game. In the lower bracket, Roseville plays Hastings and Orono plays Eastview.

This week, Wayzata keeps the #1 seed. OMG takes the #2 seed. Hopkins takes the #3 seed. OMG in the White Bear Lake tourney; Hopkins in the Cloquet tourney; and Orono in the New Hope tourney should all do well. The hardware should be flowing into D3 coffers this week.

District 4 - This year D4 has two divisions of three teams each in their playoff. The top two teams in the West and East divisions are seeded into the pools with the remaining teams in each division playing for the #3 seed. With regular season almost over, the American Division will have Mankato #1, Faribault #2 and the winner of the Albert Lea, Owatonna, and Austin play-in as the #3 seed. The National Division will have New Prague #1 and St. Peter #2 and the winner of the Luverne, Marshall, New Ulm and Waseca play-in.

The format idea is simple, the West regular season champs have to beat the top teams from the East ‘sans’ the East champ and visa versa. The teams are then matched in a single game on the last day with the teams finishing first playing each other for the #1 and #2 seeds and the teams finishing second playing for the #3 seed.

In an American Division preview, Mankato beat Owatonna 5-0 and Albert Lea 5-2 last week. Owatonna or Albert Lea is likely to be the #3 seed in the playoff. The Mavericks and Faribault played to a 2-2 tie in early December and have not played since. Faribault had a good tourney last week at Hudson, beating the Madison Patriots 4-1, losing to Forest Lake and then to South St. Paul in the third place game 7-5. The Mavericks and Faribault look to be one of the key D4 playoff match-ups.

In the National, it does not get any easier. New Prague and St. Peter are the #1 and #2 division seeds and St. Peter beat the Trojans twice, 8-3 in December and 3-2 ten days ago. But both teams better not over look the #3 seed (especially if it is Luverne). The Cardinals can contend.

This week, the seeds are unchanged. St. Peter remains #1, New Prague #2 and Mankato #3. A potential D4 senario in the up coming playoffs pits St. Peter against Mankato for the #1/#2 seed to the West regional and New Prague against Faribault for the #3 seed.

District 5 - STMA last week beat Crow River 5-3, beat Sartell 4-1, beat River Lakes 9-1 and tied Hutchinson 2-2. That performance gives the Knights a lock on first place with one game left to play against Mound/Westonka. Ironically, Mound/Westonka has been a dominant team in D5 over the past few years. The game with the Knights (the new D5 champion) will be the White Hawks last D5 game.

Hutchinson continues to play well. The tie with the Knights is not surprising. The Tigers beat Willmar 7-2 last week. This week, they play in Alexandria’s tourney drawing Fargo in the opening round of bracket play. Alexandria plays Tartan in the other bracket game.

Crow River ended their D5 season last week. Besides losing to STMA, they tied Buffalo 1-1, played Mound/Westonka, and played Litchfield. Crow River travels to Fergus Falls to play in their tourney. They open bracket play against the host. The other game in their bracket pits D5 rival MALM against another D5 team Willmar. Mound/Westonka is in that tourney also, they play Crookston. The Fergus Falls tourney looks like a good preview of the D5 playoffs.

Sartell won two out of three D5 games last week. Unfortunately, the game for first place with STMA, they lost. The Sabres did beat River Lakes 4-3 and Willmar 9-0. But with two D5 games left (Litchfield and MAML), they trail STMA by 7 points. This week, the Sabres play at Alex. In the opening round, they draw Sioux Falls. North St. Paul plays Grand Forks in the other bracket game.

Mound/Westonka and Buffalo continue to have up and down games. The White Hawks played Buffalo and Crow River in D5 last week, they lost to Hopkins 7-0 in D3 action last week. Buffalo, besides tying Crow River, played Mound/Westonka last week. This week they have two D5 games against Willmar and Mound. The Bison will end their D5 season in two weeks with a home and home series against Hutchinson that will be an interesting match-up just prior to the D5 playoffs.

STMA remains the #1 seed this week; Hutchinson gets the #2 seed. The Tigers’ tie with STMA was not enough to swap seeds. Sartell’s loss to STMA was a tough one, but the Sabres can bounce back with a good showing at Alex. Crow River is in a similar boat, they lost also to STMA last week, but a good showing at Fergus Falls will get noticed.

Congratulations to all the D5 teams this week. For a number of years they have struggled in play outside of D5 and the league has tended to be dominated by a few teams. That is changed this year. With a balanced league and a tough but fair playoff, they will be well represented in the West by any of the teams that win the playoffs.

West Region - D10’s regular season race was settled last week when Elk River beat Andover to break the season long deadlock the two teams had at the top of the Blue Division. Four teams (Spring Lake Park, Rogers, St. Francis, and Champlin Park) are locked in a tie for first in the D10 Green. Alexandria, Moorhead, and Detroit Lakes are still fighting for first in D15. Over in D16, East Grand Forks is running away from the field.

All season long there has been a question if any team will emerge in the district playoffs to challenge Elk Rivers or EGF in the West Region. One has emerged from D10, Centennial. Last week they beat both Andover and Elk River.

In the West Red this week, the projected teams are: Alexandria, Bemidji, Elk River, and Andover; in the West Blue, the projected teams are: East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Centennial, and Detroit Lakes. Changes this week is that Centennial takes the #1 D10 seed away from Elk River in the West Blue. The Elks take the #2 seed and move from the West Blue to the West Red. Andover replaces St. Francis in the Red.

District 10 - There was a broadway play in the 60’s that had as its title “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”. In D10, that is exactly what happened last week only in this case the “forum” was the D10 title. The “funny thing” was both teams in the title chase (Elk River and Andover) lost to a team (Centennial) that needed those victories to assure that it would not be eliminated from the D10 playoffs. Elk River won the “title game” at Andover Community Center on chilly Sunday evening in front a good sized crowd that created a great environment for the kids playing the “big game”. It was a good experience for all.

With that win, Elk River trails Andover by a point with three games to play. This week the Elks play Rogers and Princeton. In between those games, they play in a tough tourney at White Bear Lake. They open play against Woodbury. In the other bracket game, Edina plays Duluth East. The Elks end their D10 season against St. Francis. Andover plays their last two D10 games (Anoka and Coon Rapids) this week. The Huskies have to hope that Elk River stumbles.

Centennial had a good week in D10 beating Rogers 7-1, Andover 2-1, Elk River 3-1 and St. Cloud 4-1. They are also in the White Bear Tourney opening against Eden Prairie. Centennial has an outside chance to still win the D10 title, but they will need Andover and Elk River to stumble.

In another turn of events, Blaine, Anoka, and Coon Rapids are now tangling for the fourth and final spot in the playoffs. Coon Rapids has the toughest road. They need points and play Anoka, Andover and Centennial in their last three games. Anoka only has Andover in their last four games. They trail Blaine by two points. The Bengals have the advantage with two league games to go.

In the Green Division, St. Cloud has one game left and trail four teams by 2-4 points. A win in their last game will not be enough to take slot in the playoffs. Losing six “unfairplay” points cost St. Cloud a playoff spot this year.

The top four teams (Spring Lake Park, Rogers, St. Francis, and Champlin Park) are knotted up in the top four spots in the Green. Princeton has a outside chance to knock one of the teams out, but need a sweep of their remaining games. If being able to compete is important to developing kids, D10’s green division certainly has provided all seven teams that opportunity.

Princeton and Spring Lake Park are playing in Cloquet’s tourney this week. Spring Lake Park plays Greenway and Hermantown. Princeton plays Dryden and the Duluth Lakers. Champlin Park is at New Hope. They play Kennedy in the opening game of bracket play. St. Francis plays in the River Lakes tourney.

The seeds change this week. Centennial beat both Elk River and Andover last week. Those two impressive wins by Centennial pole vault their team (that was nearly out of the D10 playoffs last week) to the #1 seed. Elk River, the D10 champ takes the #2 seed and Andover takes the #3 seed. St. Francis drops out this week. Two D10 losses to Champlin Park (1-0) and to Coon Rapids (3-1) did the Fighting Saints in this week.

District 15 - Alexandria had a good week. They beat to Brainerd 5-2 and beat Fergus Falls 8-2 to end their D15 season and post 35 points as the target to beat for first or second place. That puts the Detroit Lakes/Moorhead game on Friday as the key game this week. The Lakers and the Spuds need a win to catch Alex and both can’t win. Alex should end up in first or second place in D15. Moorhead plays Wadena and Brainerd this weekend. The Spuds end their D16 season on Valentine’s Day at home against Fergus Falls.

This week the Cardinals host their tourney at the Runestone Community Center. The Runestone was found in the Alex area and for years derided as a fake that nobody could quite prove. Now there is proof emerging that the Runestone is real and maybe tied to the knights templar and their desire to hide something in the Alex area.

That description sort of fits the Cardinal team this year. For the last few years, nobody noticed, but this year they are real.

Alex opens their tourney against Tartan. Fargo and Hutchinson play in the other bracket game. In the lower bracket, Grand Forks plays North St. Paul and Sartell plays Sioux Falls.

Fergus Falls has their tourney this week also has an interesting tourney this week. The Otters open play against Crow River. In the other game in their bracket, MAML plays Willmar. Grand Forks plays Detroit Lakes and Mound Westonka plays Crookston in the lower bracket.

Brainerd has games against Northern Lakes, Wadena and Moorhead to end their D15 season this week. Northern Lakes plays in the River Lakes tourney over the weekend.

Alex keeps the #1 seed. The Cardinals finished their D15 season with two wins last week still hold the win over Moorhead a few weeks ago. Moorhead keeps the #2 and Detroit Lakes keeps the #3 seed.

District 16 - Some people used to travel to “take the cure”. Last week, East Grand Forks took to the road after tough losses to Edina. The Green Wave traveled to Duluth and beat Duluth East 4-3, beat Hermantown 5-3 and tied Cloquet 2-2. This week they return to D16 action playing Hallock, Roseau and Crookston. They are unbeaten in D16 and have a lock on finishing first in D16 with four games to play. But are they “cured”?

Thief River Falls also traveled to Duluth. They lost to Duluth East 5-2, lost to Hermantown 3-2, lost to Cloquet 5-1, played Proctor, and returned home to play Hallock. Bemidji beat International Falls at the Falls last week 6-2. This week they stay home to play Grand Rapids, Warroad and International Falls.

Roseau added two wins last week, beating LOW 4-3 and Warroad 7-2. The Rams play four games this week against LOW, EGF, Moorhead and Thief River Falls. Last week, Crookston toured D11 playing Hibbing and Greenway. The Pirates then played Moorhead. This week they travel to Fergus Falls for their tourney. They play Mound/Westonka in the opening game of bracket play.

With playoffs close, Bemidji looks to have second place in D16 with Thief River Falls, Crookston and Roseau fighting it out for third. East Grand Forks is the #1 seed, and Bemidji is the #2 seed. Thief River Falls and Roseau have shown improvement in the past few weeks. Crookston should do well in Fergus Falls.