Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey - Nov. 24

By frederick61

Some PeeWee A teams start their season late September or the first week of October. Some teams start as late as mid-November. But Thanksgiving weekend is probably the biggest youth hockey weekend in the state. With high school hockey is just getting rolling that leaves the arenas with blocks of time that tourney’s can fill. And the tourney’s can be profitable. The Duluth “Spirit of Duluth Tourney” organizers maintain that the Spirit tourney brings one-two million dollars in tourism to Duluth in the second week in December each year.

This Thanksgiving, multiple Peewee A tourneys are being played. Burnsville hosts a 12-team tourney with a modified Sliver Stick point system. The Fargo Flyers Gold are playing at Burnsville this year. Eden Prairie hosts a 16-team tourney which includes Roseau this year. The Eden Prairie tourney used the 2 points for a win, 1 for a tie, and tiebreakers to determine the four teams that play on championship Sunday. Eden Prairie has a four-team consolation round, also on Sunday.

Hopkins has an eight-team bracket play tourney. Mankato has an eight-team pool play tourney that matches all eight teams on Sunday based on pool results. The Maverick tourney includes the return of the Kansas City Stars (last year’s champion) this year. Mounds View (with Irondale as co-host) has an eight-team bracket play tourney at the Super Rink.

As surprising as it may seem, once the Thanksgiving Tourneys are over, the season for most Twin Cities based teams is almost one third over where teams like Roseau are just getting started.

Spring Lake Park and Superior had their tourneys last week. The Panthers tourney is always a tough tourney. This year was no exception. The tourney opening round results were predictable, but how the teams won was unpredictable.

In the first game, Anoka had to come back from a four-goal deficit to beat Shakopee in overtime. Most would have predicted a solid win for the Tornadoes. Shakopee scored a quick goal in the first 15 seconds of the game, lifting a rebound over a sprawled goalie into the net. The teams skated evenly for the next eight minutes, both playing a physical game. Then at the three minute mark, the Sabres scored on a nice back hand shot. Less than 2 minutes later they added a power play goal and twenty seconds later scored the fourth time to take a 4-0 lead at the end of the first period.

Anoka needed the break between periods. It showed. They came whirling back (what else go Tornadoes do) destroying the Sabre’s penalty killing defense to score two power play goals. They added a blazing shot from a forward breaking into the slot and hitting the upper right corner to pull within one goal 4-3. That all happened in the first four minutes of the period. The teams again settled into a physical style of play, closely checking each other, until Anoka evened the score with 2 minutes left in the second period. The game remained tied 4-4 until halfway through the third period. Then Anoka took the lead. The Tornadoes had been pressuring the Sabre defense most of the period. At the 6 minute mark, a forward picked the up puck on the inside the Sabre’s defensive zone, skated to the crease and faked the goalie into a left leg pad save. Instead of shooting, he tucked the puck through the goalies open 5-hole. Nice play against a tough goalie.

Down 5-4 with less than a minute left in the game, the Sabres pulled their goalie and crashed the net finally scoring with 11 seconds left in the game to send the game into overtime. In the first two minutes of the 4 on 4 overtime period, an Anoka forward broke the Sabre defense and drove the winning goal into the upper left corner from the face-off circle to give the Tornadoes a 6-5 win. Though the game was very physical, few penalties were called. It was simply a hard fought game.

In the other bracket game, Mahtomedi played Princeton. Both goalies had an outstanding game. Each had to withstand intense pressure at key times of the game. Princeton was unsettled at the start of the game and the Zephyrs nice passing game took advantage. They scored twice to take a 2-0 lead, the first goal coming when a Zephyr forward split the defense and drove a hard shot into the net. The final score was 2-1.

Princeton showed some strength in the game and has improved for the second year in a row. The Tigers 2-1 loss to Rogers early this year shows that. The Tigers should be an interesting team to watch this season. Most would have predicted a solid win by the Zephyrs, not a close game. The Zephyrs beat a tough Highland team 9-2 two weeks ago in D2 play. To the Zephyrs credit, they played well and really pressured the Tiger defense. They are a contender in D2.

The third game of the opening round matched host Spring Lake Park against Sauk Rapids. Spring Lake Park is improving team and has played some good teams in this early season, most notably beating Osseo/Maple Grove 2-1 last week. Sauk Rapids home ice is the Sports Arena East on the Benton County Fairgrounds. They usually don’t get ice until the weather cools. That means a slow start for the kids playing hockey. This looked to be an easy game for the Spring Lake Park Panthers. It was not.

It was tough game as the Storm kids “hung in.” The score was 4-2 deep into the third period before the Panthers put the game away 6-2. The key to the Storm success was not size or speed, but consistent team play. The Storm held positions and kept their cool. The Panthers played well, so did the Storm.

Waconia and the Omaha Jr. Lancers played in the final game. Waconia won 5-0. The Lancers are a AA PeeWee team that plays in a regional (USA) hockey league and is a good AA team. Anoka beat Mahtomedi 4-1 and Spring Lake Park beat Waconia 4-2 in the semifinals. On Sunday, Anoka beat the host Panthers in the championship game. Sauk Rapids beat Omaha 7-4 and Shakopee beat Princeton 4-1 to gain the consolation finals. Shakopee took the Consolation title, beating Sauk Rapids 6-3.

In the “Colder by the Lake” Superior tourney, Superior hosted two of their D11 league teams (Cloquet and Hermantown) along with Highland, Thunder Bay Kings, Eveleth, Proctor, and the Northwest Stars. Cloquet took the title beating out Hermantown 2-1. The Lumberjacks look to have a solid team once they get rolling. Hermantown is not an easy team to beat. Cloquet got to championship Sunday by beating a tough Thunder Bay 6-4 and Hermantown got there by beating an equally tough Highland 4-3.

North Region (D12, D15, D16) - The districts in this region are testing each other in early season play. Most notably, D15 Moorhead Black beat D16 perennial strong team, East Grand Forks, last week. Alexandria lost two close games, one to East Grand Forks and another to D16 team, Crookston. In a test of D15 and D12 teams, Northern Lakes makes a trip to the Range. As Sherlock always says, “the game is afoot.”

D12 hosted another D8 team this week, Hastings. Grand Rapids beat the Raiders 10-3. Hastings beat Virginia 6-1, lost to Hibbing 4-2, and Duluth 7-3. The Thunderhawks are off this week as they prepare for a foray into D10 in two weeks (playing Andover, Blaine, Centennial and Elk River). Mesabi East begins play hosting Superior and opening D12 league play against Virginia on the weekend at the Hoyt Lakes arena. Greenway hosts St. Francis in addition to Northern Lakes in a round robin set of games Virginia will be the fourth team. The Blue Devils also plays Hermantown this week.

Eveleth played in Superior’s tourney last week. The Golden Bears lost to Thunder Bay Kings 10-0, to Proctor 7-1, to Cloquet, and to the Northwest Stars 3-1. That is a tough way to open your season. This week they travel down Highway 53 to play Proctor (to Bob Dylan fans, Highway 61 goes to Thunder Bay; but “Highway 53 via Highway 61 Revisited” would probably not sell vinyl in the 60’s). Hibbing plays Hermantown, Proctor and the Duluth Lakers this week as the Bluejackets get their season going. International Falls also begins season play this weekend hosting Hermantown and Fort Francis.

This week the top D12 seed this week is Grand Rapids. The #2 seed seems to be firmly in Hibbing’s grasp based on the win over Hastings. That leaves the #3 seed wide open. Greenway, Mesabi East and the Falls are just opening their season this weekend. Virginia continues to develop and will be tested by a good Hermantown team. But Eveleth-Gilbert opened their season by playing in a tough Superior tourney. The Golden Bears deserve the #3 seed this week.

D15 - Northern Lakes makes a foray in D12 next week playing Virginia and Greenway. This week the Lightning split two league games, losing to Fergus Falls 3-2 and beating Little Falls 2-1. All the league games the Lightning have played have been close scores. Their trip to D12 should be an interest early season test of strength between D12 and D15.

Early in November, the two Moorhead A played their first two D15 games against each other. The Moorhead Black beat the Moorhead Orange twice by identical 1-0 scores. Last week, the Black added D15 wins over Fergus Falls 10-3 and Brainerd 5-0. The Black also beat East Grand Forks 5-3. This week the Black plays Duluth East, Detroit Lakes, and Alexandria. The Orange were off last week. They play Alexandria this week. Brainerd beat Sartell 6-1 last week. The Warriors are off to a good start losing only to Moorhead Black and Cloquet. This week they play the Fargo Angels.

Alexandria lost to East Grand Forks 6-3 and to Crookston 6-4 last week. The Cardinals also played the Grand Forks Seawolves. This weekend they host the Moorhead Black and the Moorhead Orange in two early season key D15 games. Detroit Lakes beat Thief River Falls 3-2 and tied Fergus Falls 6-6 last week. This week, they play the Moorhead Black and the Fargo Angels. Fergus Falls hosts the Grand Forks Greyhounds this week. Little Falls travels to the St. Cloud area to play Sauk Rapids. Prairie Centre beat the Flyers 6-1 last week. Park Rapids and Wadena are each entering a B-team in D15 play and will not play A-level.

This week the seeds remain the same. The Moorhead Black still holds the #1 seed and Alexandria the #2 seed. The Black win over the EGF Green Wave is a good start for D15. Northern Lakes play on the Range should be another indicator.

D16 has three seeds to the North Regional and seven teams contending. Red Lake Falls opened their D16 beating Warroad 7-6. They play the Fargo Flyers this week. Bemidji opens their D16 season at Crookston and then hosts Duluth East this week. Crookston opened their season last week in style, beating Alexandria and the Grand Forks Seawolves 5-4. The Pirates play the Grand Forks Greyhounds this week in addition to Bemidji.

Roseau is a team that goes from 0 to 100 mph in one week. They opened their season last Sunday beating Grafton, ND 4-3 and this week they travel to Eden Prairie to play in their Turkey day tourney. They play Wayzata, Chaska, and Eagan in pool play. East Grand Forks hosts a peewee A tourney over the Thanksgiving holidays. Teams entered besides the Green Wave are the APHA Rangers, Bismarck Blades, Winnipeg East, Bismarck Admirals and Pembina Trail. Thief River Falls hosts Duluth, the Grand Forks Golden Eagles and Crookston this week.

Crookston’s play last week gives the Pirates the #1 seed this week. But with the rest of the D16 still just getting their seasons underway, it is a guess for #2 and #3. Roseau’s performance in the Eden Prairie tourney will clear some uncertainly, but until that happens, history prevails. The #2 seed goes to East Grand Forks and the #3 seed to Bemidji.

South Region (D4, D8, D9) - D4 has two seeds to the South Regional and three teams playing PeeWee A this year. Two teams are playing in District 5 and one team in District 9 this year. D8 looks to dominate this region as a result of last week’s play. The Mankato tourney will be interesting test of four D9 teams and Rochester Black will tested in the Hopkins tourney. But the real debate after the Eden Prairie and Burnsville tourneys are over this week will be “is D8 better then D6?”

But returning to D4 teams; Luverne is playing a D9 schedule while Marshall and Redwood Falls are playing D5. Luverne and Marshall played each other in their opener two weeks ago. Luverne opened with wins over Owatonna, Austin, and New Ulm. The Cardinals lost to Mankato 4-2. Marshall lost to River Lakes 9-0 and Litchfield/Cokato/Dassel 11-1 last week. Redwood Falls lost to Hutchinson 9-1 last week. The #1 seed here goes to Luverne and the #2 to Marshall.

Rosemount and Farmington continued their great play as D8 league play went into full swing this past week. Rosemount beat Eagan and Woodbury. The Irish played a hard aggressive checking game against Woodbury and jumped out to a 2 goal lead in the first period. Woodbury lost their “unfairplay” point at the end of the first period on a 2 and 10 minute penalty and struggled in the second period. The Irish added a goal to take a 3-1 lead into the third period. The Predators came alive at the start of the third period and cut the Irish lead to 3-2. But another Predator penalty put the Irish on the power play. They scored quickly to take 4-2 lead and less than a minute later added a fifth goal to put the game away.

Rosemount has improved in the past few weeks and Woodbury has slowed. Woodbury beat Sibley 6-2 earlier in the week. The Predators play in the Burnsville Turkey Day tourney this week. They draw St. Louis Park, Jefferson, and Blaine in pool play. Rosemount, Eastview and Apple Valley play at Burnsville also. The Irish and the Lightning are in the same pool with Waconia and the Fargo Flyers. Apple Valley draws host Burnsville, Roseville and Centennial in pool play. Woodbury and Rosemount could meet again on this coming Sunday.

Farmington beat Eastview 7-0 and Inver Grove Heights/South St. Paul. In the Eastview game, Farmington jumped out to a 4-0 lead at the end of the first period in beating the Lightning. Against the IGH/SSP, Farmington ran into an outstanding goalie that stopped shot after shot from close in and kept the Spartans in the game until the Spartans switched goalies at the halfway mark. The score was 1-0. It is hard for a goalie to come in cold against a good team, and the Tigers quickly scored three goals to take a 4-0 lead into the final period. Farmington plays Armstrong this week.

Lakeville North lost a close game to a tough Burnsville team 5-3, then beat Apple Valley 5-2 and Johnson/Como 5-1 to open D8 play. The Panthers play in the Eden Prairie tourney this week drawing Edina, STMA and Stillwater. They should do well in tourney play this week. Lakeville South beat Eastview 2-1 and lost to Prior Lake 7-6 last week. They are playing in the Eden Prairie tourney also and draw Rochester Red, Eden Prairie and Mpls Storm in pool play. They should do well also especially if they have a good game against Eden Prairie.

Hastings always starts late with their peewee team and usually they become tougher after the first of the year. They won one game (Virginia) and lost two games (Grand Rapids and Hibbing) on their northern swing through D12. This week the Raiders have a home and home games with Sibley (non-conference) that should be an interesting match-up for both teams. Hastings has an early season win over Rochester Red 3-1.

Sibley, besides losing to Woodbury, beat Eagan last week. Apple Valley lost to IGH/SSP last week and showed improvement in their game against Lakeville North. IGH/SSP plays Highland and Johnson/Como this week. Johnson/Como plays in the Super Rink tourney this weekend, drawing Mahtomedi in the opening game. The Devils lost to Irondale 3-0 last week. Eagan plays in the Eden Prairie tourney drawing Chaska, Roseau and Wayzata in pool play.

The seeds remain the same this week. Farmington takes the #1 seed; the Irish take the #2 seed; and Woodbury takes the #3 seed. Lakeville North, Lakeville South and Eastview are challengers. All three teams have opportunities this week to show improvement in their tourney play. Add to those top 6 teams, Sibley and Inver Grove Heights/South St. Paul are playing well. If the D8 teams do well at Eden Prairie, Burnsville and the Super Rink, D8 maybe the tough district this year.

The story in D9 is Rochester. The Rochester Red team is playing an independent schedule and not playing in either of the D9 divisions. Instead, there are two Rochester teams are in the same division (East) with Northfield, Austin, Red Wing and Dodge County. The West division has Owatonna, Luverne, New Ulm, Faribault, Albert Lea and Mankato.

The Rochester Red was beaten by Wayzata last week 11-1. This week the Red play at Eden Prairie drawing Lakeville South, Mpls Storm and Eden Prairie in pool play. The Rochester Black hosted Coon Rapids and Red Wing on the weekend losing both games 8-2 to Rapids and 3-2 to the Wings. The Black play in the Hopkins Tourney this weekend. They open against Mound/Westonka in bracket play. The Rochester Gold lost twice to Coon Rapids, 7-2 and 7-0 on the weekend. They tied Austin 1-1 in their first D9 game. They play in the Mankato tourney this weekend and draw New Ulm, Kansas City Stars and the Sioux Falls Blue.

Red Wing has gotten off to a good start in division play. The Wings own a 4-3 win over Dodge County, have tied Faribault 2-2, and played Northfield besides beating Rochester Black. This week they host Mason City, Iowa and Owatonna. Dodge County lost to Northfield 5-4 last week and plays Owatonna this week. The East Division will be tough this year.

The D9 story shifts to Mankato and the West Division this week. Three teams, Luverne, Owatonna and Mankato, have jumped out to an early lead. First the Mavericks ran off three straight D9 wins beating Albert Lea 7-0, Owatonna 7-6 and Luverne 4-2. Second Mankato hosts an interesting Thanksgiving tourney. The Mavericks play Forest Lake, Luverne and Shakopee in pool play. That pool will be a tough one and the winner likely to play the Kansas City Stars, a tough peewee team. The Stars have a 16-5 record and are ranked in the top 30 their level in the nation.

Owatonna split two league games last week, losing to Mankato and beating Albert Lea 10-1. Luverne first D9 loss was to Mankato. The Cardinals have a tough draw in the Mavericks tourney, playing Shakopee, Forest Lake and Mankato. The pool results should be interesting. Albert Lea has the week off. New Ulm plays in the Mankato tourney drawing the Kansas City Stars, Rochester Gold and the Sioux Falls Blue.

Mankato takes the #1 seed this week by virtue of winning their first three games. Both Rochester teams have gotten off to a slow start. The Black team draws a tough D3 team in Mound/Westonka at the Hopkins Tourney. The next two seeds are wide, wide, open. For this week, Red Wing has earned the #2 seed and Luverne the #3 seed. With four D9 teams (Mankato, Luverne, New Ulm and Rochester Gold) playing at Mankato, D9 will be “shaken and stirred” after this week.

East Region (D2, D10, D11) - Almost all the D2 teams are in tourneys this week. Roseville is at Burnsville. White Bear Lake and Stillwater are at Eden Prairie. Mounds View hosts its own tourney and is joined by Mahtomedi and Tartan. Forest Lake is playing at Mankato. Top D10 teams Centennial and Blaine are in the Burnsville tourney. Their entry along with Roseville makes that tournament the toughest this weekend.

In D2, Roseville sits on top of the D2 standings this week after beating Stillwater 6-1 last week. They play in the Burnsville tourney this week in a very tough pool, drawing the host Blaze, Centennial and Apple Valley. Hudson is tied with the Raiders this week after beating Forest Lake 3-1 and Tartan 3-0. Hudson hosts their own tourney in two weeks; Eau Claire, Tartan, Mahtomedi, Sibley, Johnson/Como, Superior, Fox Valley, Mason City and West Madison are entered.

But the D2 tourney this week has Mounds View hosting their Super Rink extravaganza with non-stop hockey on multiple rinks for three days. In the PeeWee A tourney, which Tartan draws co-host Irondale in the opener of bracket play. Johnson/Como and Mahtomedi play in the second game. In the other bracket, Mounds View plays Cloquet and Champlin Park plays Litchfield/Cokato/Dassel.

Forest Lake went 1-2 in their first three D2 games and had to play three tough D2 teams on the weekend. The Rangers opened with a Friday loss to Mounds View 3-1, but put things together to beat White Bear 5-4 and Stillwater 3-2 to keep themselves in contention for the D2 title. The Rangers play a tough defensive game. They play at Mankato this week, drawing Shakopee, Mankato and Luverne. Last week, Mahtomedi took third at the Spring Lake Park tourney beating Waconia in the third-place game.

Highland lost the third place game to the Thunder Bay Kings 6-2 at the Superior tourney. The Caps take it easy this week, playing one game against IGH/SSP. White Bear Lake plays a tough pool at the Eden Prairie tourney, playing Osseo/Maple Grove, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. This week, Tartan, besides playing in the Super Rink tourney, plays Hudson on Monday. Stillwater, after losing two D2 games on the weekend, plays at Eden Prairie. The Ponies draw Edina, Lakeville North and STMA.

Roseville sits on top the D2 standings and takes the #1 seed this week. White Bear Lake’s loss to Forest Lake drops the Bears to the #3 seed. Both Roseville and White Bear will be challenged in weekend tourneys. Hudson (though not eligible for district playoffs) takes the #2 seed this week. Forest Lake, Mahtomedi, Moundsvew, Stillwater, Tartan and Highland are so closely matched at this point in the season, that it is a coin flip on which of these six teams will come out on top.

D10 opened league play on Nov. 21. Irondale playing their first D10 game beat Coon Rapids 3-1. The Knights lost to Rogers 4-1. This week, they play Champlin Park in a D10 game and co-host the Super Rink tourney this week. Irondale plays Tartan in opening bracket play. Elk River beat Tartan 10-1 last week. This week the Elks play Princeton in their first D10 game and travel to Eden Prairie. In pool play the Elks draw White Bear Lake, Minnetonka and Osseo/Maple Grove. Elk River is the sole D10 rep in the Eden Prairie tourney.

Centennial and Blaine play at Burnsville. Centennial draws Burnsville, Roseville and Apple Valley in pool play. Blaine draws Woodbury, St. Louis Park and Jefferson in their pool play. Centennial has an early season win over Stillwater 4-0 and a loss to Rosemount 6-1. They opened D10 play beating Andover 3-2. Blaine has played some tough teams in the early going. The Bengals have beaten Lakeville North 9-7 and lost to Edina 5-2 in their last two games.

After winning the Spring Lake Park tourney, Anoka opens D10 action this week playing Andover and Spring Lake Park. Andover also plays Coon Rapids this week. Champlin Park plays in the Super Rink tourney drawing Litchfield in the opening game of bracket play. Coon Rapids had a good trip to Rochester on the weekend, beating Rochester Black and Rochester Gold twice.

Spring Lake Park, after losing to Anoka in their tourney’s championship game, opened D10 play with a 3-1 over St. Francis. The Panthers get another shot at Anoka this week. Rogers plays in the Hopkins turkey day tourney, playing Orono in opening game of bracket play. St. Francis travels to Greenway to play Virginia, Greenway and Northern Lakes.

Centennial takes the #1 seed this week. They beat Andover, a team that has played well. Elk River takes the #2 seed. Blaine takes the #3 seed. Elk River will have their hands full at Eden Prairie on the weekend, but Blaine and Centennial will be in a shootout with top teams from D6, D2 and D8 plus the Fargo Flyers Gold.

D11 sends Cloquet to the Super Rink tourney. The Lumberjacks open against a physical Moundsview team in one of the more interesting games in the weekend. Cloquet took the Superior tourney last weekend beating Hermantown 2-1 in the championship game. They also played Duluth East on Monday. The Lumberjacks look to be the favorite at the Super Rink to make it two tournament championships in a row. The Lumberjacks return to play Proctor in D11 action this week. Duluth East has a swing through D16 this weekend. The Hounds will play Warroad, Thief River Falls, Moorhead Black, Fargo Flyers Black and Bemidji. They play the Duluth Lakers when they return.

Hermantown beat the Duluth Lakers 4-2 last week. The Hawks also took second place at the Superior tourney. This week they travel through D12, playing Virginia, Hibbing and International Falls. They play Superior in D11 action when they return. The Duluth Lakers play Hibbing in addition to East next week. Besides Cloquet, Proctor plays Hibbing, Princeton and Eveleth this week. The Rails lost to Cloquet 6-1, beat Eveleth 7-1, lost to Thunder Bay 11-1 and beat Superior on Sunday 2-1. Go Rails.

With two East Regional seeds available, Cloquet takes the #1 seed because they won the Superior tourney. Hermantown takes the #2 seed (they hold a league win over Duluth East).

West Region (D3, D5, D6) - D3 and D5 teams meet in the Hopkins tourney this week. STMA mixes it up with D6 and D3 teams at Eden Prairies tourney. And Burnsville’s tourney has the top teams from D2, D6, D8, and D10 playing in a 12 team, three pool, tourney that uses a modified Silver Stick scoring system to determine who advances to championship Sunday.

D3 regular season looks to become the exclusive property of Wayzata and Osseo/Maple Grove. OMG and the Trojans are both undefeated in league play and are on top of the standings. Wayzata played Mound/Westonka last week and will play the Mpls Storm this week. In between those two games, the Trojans play in Eden Prairie’s turkey day tourney. They draw Chaska, Eagan and Roseau in pool play. OMG beat Orono 4-1 and Armstrong 7-2 last week to stay atop D3 with a 5-0 record. This week they play at Eden Prairie drawing Minnetonka, Elk River and White Bear Lake in pool play.

Mound/Westonka has played well in the first month of the season. They play Rochester Black in the opening game of the Hopkins turkey day tourney. St. Louis Park plays in the Burnsville tourney. The Orioles draw Jefferson, Woodbury and Blaine in pool play. They lost 4-0 to the Mpls Storm last week and played Mound/Westonka. The Mpls Storm lost to Farmington 8-0 last week and play in the Eden Prairie tourney drawing Eden Prairie, Rochester Red and Lakeville South. The Storm has showed some toughness in early season play. Orono played Armstrong and Buffalo last week. This week they play in Hopkins tourney.

Hopkins hosts their Turkey Day tourney this week. The Royals open the tourney playing MAML. Rochester Black plays Mound/Westonka in the other side of the bracket. In the lower bracket, Orono and Rogers play each other and St. Cloud draws a tough Prior Lake team that won the Tommy Williams tourney two weeks ago.

With two seeds available, Wayzata and OMG seems poised to run away with the seeds. The #1 seed goes to Wayzata and the #2 seed to OMG this week.

D5 - St. Cloud has won their first three D5 games by shutouts. They beat Litchfield 13-0 and Sartell 6-0 last week and sit on top of D5. St. Cloud plays in the Hopkins tourney this weekend and will be tested by Prior Lake in their opening game. St. Michael/Albertville kept pace beating Hutchinson 8-0 and shutting out Willmar last week. The Knights play at Eden Prairie this weekend. They play Edina, Stillwater, and Lakeville North in pool play.

Sartell beat Buffalo 2-1 last week. This week the Sabres play Sauk Rapids and River Lakes. Sauk Rapids also play St. Cloud this week. The Storm are coming off a good showing at the Spring Lake Tourney. MAML play Hopkins in their tourney over the weekend in their first real challenge of the season. The Moose (formerly the Stars) are still just getting their season going.

With three regional seeds available, STMA gets the #1 seed. St. Cloud gets the #2 seed. The #3 seed is up for grabs and this week goes to the 11 kids from Sauk Rapids for their gutty play in the Spring Lake Park tourney.

D6 - Burnsville moved to a 5-0 record in D6 play beating Edina 5-4 and Eden Prairie 4-1 last week. The Blaze look poised to run away the D6 crown by the end of December. They are hosting a tough tourney this weekend. In pool play, they have drawn Roseville, Apple Valley and Centennial. Roseville is rated on top of D2 this week and Centennial is rated on top of D10 this week. Apple Valley and Burnsville are neighbors and longtime hockey rivals. It will be an interesting tourney.

Eden Prairie has put together a 16-team, four pool tourney for Thanksgiving. Four D6 teams, Chaska, Edina, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie each have their own pool. Chaska draws Eagan, Roseau and Wayzata; Edina draws STMA, Lakeville North and Stillwater; Minnetonka draws OMG, Elk River, and White Bear Lake; and the host draws Mpls Storm, Lakeville South and the Rochester Red.

With Jefferson (drawing St. Louis Park, Woodbury and Blaine) and Waconia (drawing Rosemount, Fargo Flyers Gold and Eastview) also play in the Burnsville tourney. Prior Lake plays in Hopkins tourney and Shakopee is plays at Mankato. Only Kennedy is taking the holiday off this year.

Burnsville continues to impress with their wins over Edina and Eden Prairie last week. The Blaze deserves the #1 Seed. Last week, Prior Lake beat Waconia 9-0, Blaine 4-0 and Lakeville North 7-6. Prior Lake takes the #2 seed. Edina beat Chaska 7-3 and Blaine 5-2 besides losing to the Blaze. That is good enough to move the Hornets into the #3 seed.

Happy Thanksgiving. I bet you thought this post would never end.

Friday, November 19, 2010

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

By frederick61

District play began in most districts last week and Duluth hosted the first peewee A tourney with Prior Lake emerging as the “Tommy Williams” champions. One thing is clear from the first few weeks play is that nothing is clear. If comparing scores is a way of figuring out who should be on top that will only get you a headache. Is this a year of “parity”? More than one coach may feel that way after winning a big game and losing a “strange” game.

The teams in the East Region have gotten off to a fast start, playing each other and competing against each other in the Tommy Williams tourney. With D3 and D6 usually playing each other in the West Regional for two state tourney berths and no dominant team emerging elsewhere, this year’s State Tourney is very wide open. So with that in mind, here are the initial ratings by Regional Tourney (North, South, East and West) for each district.

North Region (D12, D15, D16) - This region is so wide open that Moorhead hosting the Regional maybe just enough of an advantage to give one of the Spuds two peewee A teams a North ticket to the state.

D12 got rolling last week. Rosemount visited. The Irish beat Grand Rapids 7-4, Hibbing 15-1, and Virginia 13-1. This week, D12 teams host another D8 team, Hastings. The Raiders will play Grand Rapids, Virginia and Hibbing. Grand Rapids also hosts Cloquet on Monday in the battle of the saw mills. The Thunderhawks will make foray into D10 in the next few weeks. Greenway opens their season this week playing the Duluth Lakers.

Eveleth travels to Superior to play in their tourney. The Golden Bears draw Thunder Bay Kings, Proctor and Cloquet in pool play. International Falls and Mesabi East won’t get rolling until next week. With three North Regional seeds, the top D12 seed this week is Grand Rapids. The #2 and #3 seeds are wide open. Clearly the team that develops the best over the season will have a shot at these two seeds. For now, Hibbing takes the #2 seed and Eveleth-Gilbert the #3 seed. It would be nice to see the Bears play well at Superior.

D15 has undergone some changes this year. This year Moorhead has two peewee A teams in D15. The Spuds have designated Moorhead A and Moorhead A2 (normally that means the A team is the top 15 or so players and the A2 is the next 15 or so players). Park Rapids and Wadena have combined to form a single A team. Little Falls is playing A level this year and Prairie Centre and Northern Lakes are back. That makes D15 a 9-team league and should provide for good competition for all the teams in the league especially if Moorhead split their top players.

Alexandria opened their season last week beating the Fargo Angels 7-2 and Northern Lakes 2-0. This week the Cardinals make a trip to Grand Forks to play East Grand Forks, Grand Forks and Crookston. Moorhead A and A2 teams played Little Falls and Eagan last week. The A Spuds also beat Fergus Falls 10-3. This week the A Spuds host East Grand Forks and Brainerd. The A2 Spuds host Detroit Lakes.

Fergus Falls lost to the Fargo Flyers Gold 11-4 in their second game of the week. But for the Otters, it is early season and they usually play well when it counts. The Otters play Little Falls, Northern Lakes and Detroit Lakes this week. Northern Lakes and Detroit Lakes also played each other last week. This week the Lightning host Fergus Falls and travel to Little Falls. Detroit Lakes hosts Thief River Falls in addition to D15 teams Moorhead A2 and Fergus Falls.

Last week, Little Falls returned to D15 peewee A play by losing to Brainerd 9-0 in an opener for both teams and playing both Moorhead teams. This week the Flyers play Prairie Centre. It is good to see the Flyers back at the A level. For those who wonder why they are called the Flyers? It is Charles Lindbergh’s home. Lindbergh’s real feat was not flying solo across the Atlantic, but driving his mother from Little Falls to Los Angeles in the mid-1910s when he was 15 years old. He didn’t have a driving license. Of course, he didn’t need one. There were few roads and no maps. How did he cross the Mojave Desert?

Brainerd also beat Superior 4-0 and lost to Cloquet 5-1. This week, besides playing the Moorhead A’s, the Warriors host Sartell. Prairie Centre opens their season with two D15 games playing Little Falls and Park Rapids/Wadena. The Northstars should some potential last year. Last year Wadena struggled at the peewee A level. This year, they lost their ice arena and are combined with Park Rapids. Little Falls, Park Rapids/Wadena, Northern Lakes, Prairie Center, and Fergus Falls fosters a very competitive situation.

With two seeds to the North Regional and a number of tough teams fighting for the seeds, D15 top teams are sure to change as the season progresses. This week Moorhead A1 takes the #1 seed and Alexandria the #2 seed.

D16 has three seeds to the North Regional and seven teams contending. Red Lake Falls returns to A level and opens the D16 season playing at Roseau and Warroad this week. The Falls have to be a favorite to most hockey fans; their schedule flatly states no hockey-“deer hunting”. D16 teams are just getting going. Thief River Falls beat Detroit Lakes 5-2 two weeks ago. Using last year as a guide, the #1 seed goes to East Grand Forks, the #2 seed goes to Bemidji.

South Region (D4, D8, D9) - D4 has two seeds to the South Regional and three teams playing Peewee A this year. Sometimes these anomalies occur because Minnesota Hockey presets their schedule for peewee A/B and bantam A/B regional tournaments for four years and that is a good thing. When these situations occur then there is usually some adjustment made late in the season that resolves seeds. That will most likely happen this year.

Unfortunately Rochester has introduced a different wrinkle in the formation of the new D9. They have three Rochester A teams this year. Two are playing a D9 schedule and one is playing an independent schedule against some of the toughest peewee A teams. One has to assume the independent team is comprised of the best Rochester players. The Rochester Association has in effect created a super team that can focus its efforts on a tough schedule of selected teams while ignoring the normal peewee A district level competition. If they use a loop hole to allow that team to enter the state competition, Minnesota Hockey has a problem.

Rochester will have defined a level of play that is AAA like, but fits within the current rules. Soon the larger associations could follow (the Edinas and Wayzatas) and the Minnesota model of which we are so proud would be fractured. The teams in D8 should be angry. The better teams there are constrained by a 16 game schedule that really improves the ability of all 12 D8 teams to compete. Now the D8 teams would have to accept a backdoor entry of a Rochester super team in the South Regional. Something is wrong.

But returning to D4 teams; Luverne is playing a D9 schedule while Marshall and Redwood Falls are playing D5. Luverne and Marshall played each other in their opener two weeks ago. Luverne played Owatonna and Austin last week. This week the Cardinals play New Ulm and Mankato. Marshall played River Lakes last week and play River Lakes and Litchfield/Cokato/Dassel this week. Redwood Falls opened their D5 play (as guests meaning results do not count in standings) losing to Willmar 9-7. Redwood Falls plays Hutchinson this week. The #1 seed here goes to Luverne and the #2 to Marshall.

D8 has twelve teams competing and like last year, the top four places will likely get byes in the first round of the district playoffs. That means every point counts. Last year, seven points separated the top seven teams in the final standings and the top four places were undecided until the last week of play. This year will likely be the same, especially with two of the teams, Farmington and Rosemount meeting in their only game as the final game on the D8 schedule.

Rosemount has gotten off to a great start, beating Eastview 11-1, Centennial 6-1, Edina 3-2, Chaska 8-1, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, Virginia, and Hermantown. They have only lost to Burnsville 5-4 and Minnetonka 2-1. This week the Irish open D8 play against Eagan and Woodbury.

Farmington has been equally busy in the preseason. The Tigers beat Roseville 4-2, Duluth East twice 4-0 and 9-1, Cloquet 8-0, Superior 12-1, Hermantown 4-1, Prior Lake 4-2, Lakeville North 8-0, and Centennial 6-2. Their only loss was to Eden Prairie 3-2 (the Tigers ran into a good goalie). Farmington opens D8 play at Eastview this week. They also play Inver Grove Heights/South St. Paul and Mpls Storm.

While Rosemount and Farmington played an aggressive early season schedule, Woodbury Predators (no longer the Royals) played four games. They played Blaine, beat White Bear Lake 5-1, tied Edina 4-4 and lost to Edina 5-3. This week, Woodbury opened D8 play beating Johnson/Como 9-0. The Predators play Sibley and Rosemount this week.
Both Lakeville teams (North and South), deliberately delayed the start of their season until Nov. 1 and are just getting rolling. Lakeville North lost preseason games to Farmington and Blaine 9-7. The Panthers play Burnsville and open their D8 play against Johnson/Como this week. Lakeville South traveled to St. Cloud two weekends ago, 5 days after selecting their team, and fared well. They beat Spring Lake Park 7-5, tied St. Cloud 3-3 and lost to Stillwater 5-3 and STMA 4-2. The Cougars play Prior Lake and open D8 play against Eastview this week.

Apple Valley and Eastview joined D8 this year after playing in D6. The Eagles have struggled in the early season and opened D8 play this week losing to Sibley 8-1. They play IGH/SSP and Lakeville North this week. The Lightning opened D8 play this week with a 7-0 win over Johnson/Como. Eastview plays Lakeville South in addition to Farmington this week. Besides beating Valley, Sibley lost to Prior Lake 5-1 last week. The Generals play Woodbury and Eagan this week.

Hastings lost to Mahtomedi 7-2 and Irondale 5-2 in their first two games. This week they travel north to play Grand Rapids, Virginia and Hibbing. Besides losing to Eastview and Woodbury, Johnson/Como tied Forest Lake 3-3 and lost to Wausau Warjacks 6-3 last week. They play an old D1 foe, Irondale, and play Lakeville North this week.

D8 opens with three top teams and three seeds to the South Region. Farmington has a tough defense, one of the best peewee A defenses in sometime and they have a rugged set of forwards to match that defense. Unlike Tiger teams of the past, half of the team played last year in the Regional Tourney and have played with poise this year. Their 9-1 record is no illusion; the Tigers are good and potentially the best team in the state. The Tigers take the #1 seed. Rosemount will challenge. In other years the Irish would easily be the best D8 team, but this year they will not only have Farmington, but they will have Woodbury who possible has the best set of forward lines in the state to contend with. The Irish win over Edina was earned. The Irish take the #2 seed. Woodbury takes the #3 seed. If the Predators defense develops, they could become top dog.

D9 is new has gone to a two division set-up with six teams in each division. Rochester has gone with two teams, Rochester Black and Rochester Gold, entered in D9. The third team, Rochester Red, is playing an independent schedule. The two Rochester teams are in the same division (East) with Northfield, Austin, Red Wing and Dodge County. The West division has Owatonna, Luverne, New Ulm, Faribault, Albert Lea and Mankato. Each team will play 14 league games. Luverne’s (D4) games will count in the standings, but they are still guests (not eligible for D9 playoffs?). St. Peter and Waseca are not fielding A level teams this year.

Dodge County opened their D9 season beating Austin 5-1 and losing to Red Wing 4-3. This week, they play Northfield. Red Wing this week will play Rochester Black and Northfield. Austin lost to Luverne 10-0 also. This week they play the Rochester Gold team. In the West, Owatonna beat Albert Lea 7-2 and Faribault 6-1 in opening week’s play. They lost to Luverne 8-6. The Falcons play Albert Lea and Mankato this week. Luverne plays New Ulm and Mankato this week. In addition to Luverne, Mankato opens D9 play against Albert Lea and plays Owatonna in a key early season match-up.

The Rochester Red team will not play a D9 schedule, but will play an independent schedule against top teams (Edina, Stillwater, Eden Prairie, etc.) In effect Rochester has taken the opportunity to develop hockey in their region and turned D9 into at best a development that fits Rochester Hockey Association’s personal agenda. The question is, “how does the Rochester Red team become eligible to play in D9 district playoffs?” Moorhead, faced with a similar situation this year in D15, plays a D15 schedule. Somebody in D9 (or in D8 or D4) should file a grievance with Minnesota Hockey.

Rochester Red can’t be ranked as a D9 seed as this point. With the D9 teams just getting rolling, history prevails. The #1 seed this week goes to Mankato, the #2 seed to Luverne and the #3 seed to Owatonna.

East Region (D2, D10, D11) - D2 teams Roseville and White Bear Lake played two D11 teams (Duluth East and Duluth Lakers) in the Tommy Williams Tourney. Roseville has the toughest road losing to Duluth East 5-4, Prior Lake 6-0, and Minnetonka 6-4. They played the Duluth Lakers on Sunday. White Bear Lake started their week end Thursday tying Highland in a D2 game 1-1, they then traveled to Duluth. The Bears beat Chaska, the Duluth Lakers 4-3 and Thunder Bay 7-6 before losing to Duluth East 3-2 in Sunday’s semifinal game. They beat Chaska for third place on Sunday. Monday they returned home to beat Mahtomedi 4-2 in a D2 game. Roseville and Stillwater play each other this week in a key early season match-up between two tough teams.

Stillwater went 2-2 in early season games losing to Eden Prairie 3-1 and Centennial 4-0; beating Spring Lake Park 5-1 and Lakeville South 4-3. The Ponies played Moundsview, Rochester, and lost to Tartan 2-1. Tartan has been an early D2 season surprise winning three of their first four games; beating Mahtomedi 3-1, Forest Lake 2-0 in addition to the Ponies. The Titans single loss was to Roseville 4-2. This week the Titans play Andover and Hudson.

Highland got off to a tough D2 start losing to Hudson and Mahtomedi before tying White Bear Lake. This week, the Caps travel to Superior to play in their tourney. Last year they battled a tough Dryden team for the championship game, the Caps winning. This year they return and draw Hermantown, Northwest Stars (Winnipeg), and host Superior in pool play. Forest Lake opened their D2 season beating Mahtomedi 2-1, losing to Tartan and losing to Hudson 3-1. This week the Rangers play Moundsview, White Bear Lake, Eagan and Stillwater. Mahtomedi opened their D2 season beating a tough Highland team 9-2; then the Zephyrs lost to Tartan, Forest Lake and White Bear Lake. This week they play in the Spring Lake Park tourney drawing Princeton in the opening game.

D2 looks to be a very balanced league this year. The normal top teams Roseville, White Bear Lake, and Stillwater will be competitive, but Highland, Tartan, Mahtomedi, and Hudson will all compete. Forest Lake and Moundsview are not easy teams to beat. Hudson has gotten off to the best start, beating Highland and Forest Lake, tying Roseville 2-2 and playing Moundsview. The Raiders sitting on top of D2 this week, deserve the #1 seed. White Bear Lake takes the #2 seed. The Bears went 5-1-1 in a five day period against good teams. Tartan takes the #3 seed. The Titans might be the surprise team in D2 this year.

D10 has posted the Peewee schedules. League play will open Nov. 21. There are twelve teams competing in a single league each playing a 22-game schedule. Elk River was one of the top teams last year, this year they opened play with two tie games, STMA 2-2 and Minnetonka 2-2. They have beaten St. Cloud 3-2 and lost to Edina 3-1. Andover and Centennial challenged the Elks last year. Andover made it to the State tourney with the Elks. The Huskies beat Duluth East 4-3 two weeks ago. They beat Tartan 2-0 this week and then open D10 play against Centennial and Anoka. Centennial beat Stillwater 4-0 and lost to Rosemount 6-1 in the opening weeks.

Anoka, Spring Lake Park and Rogers all have had a good start this year. A very interesting tourney this week is the Spring Lake Park’s tourney at Fogerty. Friday’s opening round games (bracket play) matches Anoka/Shakopee, Princeton/Mahtomedi, Spring Lake Park/Sauk Rapids, and Omaha Jr Lancers/Waconia. The Anoka/Shakopee game should be a good one. The Tornadoes tied Osseo/Maple Grove last week 4-4. Shakopee beat Chaska 7-3, split a home and home series with Spring Lake Park and lost their last game to Waconia 5-4. Anoka usually plays well in early season tourneys so they should be favored.

Spring Lake Park beat OMG last Sunday 2-1 and lost three tough games on a St. Cloud swing to Stillwater, St. Cloud and Lakeville South. The Panthers should do well in their tourney, opening against Sauk Rapids. Rogers has early season wins over STMA 3-1, OMG 2-1 and Hopkins 6-1. They play Armstrong and then open their D10 season against Irondale this week.

Blaine opened their season losing to Wayzata 5-1 and in the past week they tied STMA 1-1 and beat Lakeville North 9-7. Irondale is just getting going, they beat Hastings 5-2 last week in their season opener and play Johnson/Como before opening D10 play on Sunday against Rogers. Champlin Park has had a good early season. Last week they beat Armstrong 6-2 and Buffalo 4-0. This week the Rebels play Crow River.

Coon Rapids is off to a slow start. This week they play Armstrong and then travel to Rochester to play three games on the weekend. They return to Cook Arena to play Irondale in their D10 opener. St. Francis opens their D10 season against Blaine and Princeton opens their D10 season against Elk River this week.

The third district, D11, has four teams contending for two East Regional Seeds. Duluth East has played well opening their season against Roseville, White Bear Lake, Blaine, and Andover in an early season test of how they would fare in the East Regional. East has also beaten the Thunder Bay Kings 4-3 and tied the Kings 4-4. The Duluth Lakers have played a similar schedule but have struggled in their opening season play. They lost to the Kings 10-2, White Bear Lake 4-3 and Chaska 3-2 in the Tommy Williams tourney. Early last week, the Lakers beat Proctor 7-0 in their D11 opener. Proctor is often overlooked in the D11, playing their second consecutive year at the peewee A level. The Rails made an early season trip to Little Falls, beating Little Falls and losing 5-2 to Princeton. They lost this week to Superior 6-4. The Rails will join Cloquet and Hermantown and play in the Superior’s “Colder by the Lake” tourney this week.

In Superior’s tourney, Cloquet draws Thunder Bay Kings, Proctor and Eveleth-Gilbert in pool play. Hermantown draws Highland, Northwest Stars (another Thunder Bay team), and host Superior. Hermantown lost to Rosemount 7-3 on the weekend and beat the Duluth Lakers 4-2. Cloquet lost a very early season game to Farmington 8-0. Both these teams will improve and this tourney will be a good test. With two seeds up for grabs to the East Regional, Duluth East takes the #1 seed. The Hounds are off to a good start. But the #2 seed is a tougher call. Hermantown gets the nod this week, but Cloquet could be the better team by the time the season ends. The Lakers may have lost in the Tommy Williams, but they pushed some good teams down to the wire before losing. It would be something if both Proctor (and Eveleth) had a good Superior tourney that would really turn D11 into a season long battleground.

West Region (D3, D5,D6) - It will be like an old Western shootout in the West Region this year. Osseo/Maple Grove, Wayzata, St. Michael/Albertville (STMA), St. Cloud, Burnsville, Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, and Prior Lake just to name a few teams will be firing away trying to be one of the last two teams standing.

D3 has undergone significant change this year. The core teams over the years (Wayzata, Orono, Hopkins, OMG, and Armstrong) are still going strong. North Metro decided not to skate A level this year.
Two years ago, Mpls Park and Mpls Washburn joined D3. Last year, Washburn joined Mpls Park. This year, St. Louis Park split on its own and is fielding a team. What was Mpls Park is now the Mpls Storm. In addition, two D5 teams (Crow River and Mound/Westonka) joined D3 this year.

D3 action opened the first week in November. Wayzata is off to a fast start beating Orono 9-2, Hopkins 7-0 and St. Louis Park 8-0 in their first three D3 games. Wayzata’s only loss is to Edina 3-1. The Trojans play Rochester Red and Mound/Westonka this week. OMG has beaten Hopkins 6-0, St. Louis Park 4-0, Mpls Storm 4-1, and Orono 4-1 in D3 action. OMG has also beaten Roseville 7-4, tied Anoka 4-4, and lost to Spring Lake Park 2-1. They play Armstrong this week.

Armstrong opened their season losing to STMA 6-2. They then beat Crow River 2-1 and lost to Mound/Westonka 6-2 in their two D3 games. Armstrong has played steady hockey, tying a tough Rogers team 4-4, tying Champlin Park 2-2, and beating Coon Rapids 10-0. Armstrong plays Orono this week. Mound/Westonka beat Hopkins in their D3 opener 6-2. They play three tough D3 games this week, Crow River, St. Louis Park and Wayzata.

Orono, after a successful season last year making the State Tourney, have struggled this year, losing to Wayzata, OMG, and to Crow River 5-4 in D3. This week they play Buffalo in addition to Armstrong. Hopkins played Kennedy and Crow River last week. This week the Royals have off before their big Thanksgiving Tourney. The Royals have gone 0-8 this season, but they are too good a team, not to turn that around before years end. St. Louis Park is also team that is working hard to improve. The Orioles have played OMG twice, Wayzata, and Burnsville so far this year.

With only two seeds to the West Regional tourney for the D3 teams, Wayzata takes the #1 seed and OMG the #2 seed. But seven other teams know what to shoot for in the West.

D5 is another changed district. There are 10 peewee A teams this year competing for three West Regional seeds. Crow River and Mound/Westonka are gone. St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids are new. The team drawing the most interest in D5 is St. Michael/Albertville (STMA). The Knights came close to making the state last year. They opened D5 play beating River Lakes 11-1 last week. They have beaten Armstrong 6-2, Orono 8-1, Lakeville South 4-2, Hopkins 12-1 and tied Elk River 2-2 and Blaine 1-1 in early season play. Their single loss was to Rogers 3-1. This week they play Hutchinson and Willmar.

Hutchinson had a good run last year making it to the Regional Finals before losing to Orono. The Tigers opened their D5 season last week playing Sartell and losing to MAML 5-1. This week, they play Litchfield and Redwood Falls. Sartell is just getting rolling, the Sabres play St. Cloud, Buffalo and Brainerd this week.

Sartell and Sauk Rapids are part of the St. Cloud area. Their boundaries touch and often going from one part of the St. Cloud to either goes unnoticed. The St. Cloud/Sartell game should be the start of a good D5 rivalry. St. Cloud played their first D5 game last week beating Buffalo 2-0. In early season games, St. Cloud beat Spring Lake Park 3-0 and tied Lakeville South 3-3. Besides playing Sartell, St. Cloud plays Litchfield this week. Buffalo beat Litchfield 6-2 last week. The Bison host Orono this week.

River Lakes beat Marshall 9-0 in their opener. They play Marshall again and Willmar this week. Willmar played Redwood Falls and tied Sauk Rapids 2-2 last week. They play STMA and MAML this week.

The first two seeds this week are easy to pick, #1 STMA and #2 St. Cloud. The #3 seed is more difficult because most D5 teams are just getting started. Buffalo and MAML appear to be the choices this week. After flipping the old zinc penny, the MAML takes the #3 seed. D5 gets more and more competitive as the season progresses.

D6 is the “big gun” district every year. Season play opened this week. Burnsville and Eden Prairie “came out blazing”. Eden Prairie beat the “new kids” this year, Shakopee 8-2 and Waconia 9-0 last week. The Eagles also played Minnetonka. This week they play Kennedy and Burnsville. Burnsville opened with two wins also, beating Waconia 6-0 and Kennedy 8-2. The Blaze will need their guns “blazing” this week. They play Edina in addition to Eden Prairie.

Defending State Champs, Edina, have gotten off to a slow start. They beat Shakopee 6-2 and lost to Minnetonka 4-3 and beat Chaska 7-3 in their first three D6 games. Sandwiched around those games, the Hornets beat Elk River 3-1, tied Woodbury 2-2 and beat Woodbury 5-3. Besides playing Burnsville this week, the Hornets play Blaine at the Super Rink.

Minnetonka struggled in the Tommy Williams tourney last week, losing to Duluth East 5-1 and Prior Lake 5-2 before beating Roseville 6-4. The Skippers play D6 games against Kennedy and Shakopee this week. Chaska also played in the Tommy Williams tourney, beating the Thunder Bay Kings 5-4 and the Duluth Lakers 3-2. But they lost twice to White Bear Lake to finish fourth. They have lost their first three D6 games, to Shakopee 7-3, Edina and Prior Lake/Savage 9-1. Prior Lake won the Tommy Williams tourney, beating Minnetonka 5-2, Roseville 6-0, Duluth East 3-1, Chaska 3-1 and Duluth East 6-3 in the championship game. They tied Kennedy 1-1 in their D6 opener. This week they play Waconia.

Waconia and Shakopee are playing A level this year. They have gotten off to a reasonable start beating Shakopee 5-4 and tying Jefferson 3-3. They have lost to Kennedy 6-3 besides Burnsville and Eden Prairie. Waconia and Shakopee are in the Spring Lake Park tourney this week this week end. Waconia plays the Omaha Jr. Lancers AA peewee team from Nebraska in their opening game and Shakopee draws a tough Anoka team in their opening game.

Jefferson beat Kennedy 5-0 in the battle of the Bloomingtons last week. The Jags play Chaska this week. The Eagles have a tough week ahead playing Eden Prairie and Minnetonka.

Last year, it was not tough to pick the top three teams in D6 (Edina, Burnsville, and Eden Prairie). This year is different. Prior Lake deserves to be in the top three if for no other reason, then they won a tough Duluth tourney. Minnetonka beat Edina and Rosemount and has played well. But Burnsville was impressive in their win over a tough Rosemount team and deserves the #1 Seed. Prior Lake takes the #2 seed. Eden Prairie’s team needed to play outstanding defense to beat Farmington 3-2 two weeks ago and they take the #3 seed. It is hard to imagine that Minnetonka and Edina won’t be in the top three at some point this season. That is why the games are played.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

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

By frederick61

It is that time again. Tryouts are over. Players have been placed, parents have left their tryout anxieties behind, coaches are setting practices, and associations sorting through the fallout. This week, district play officially begins for approximately 100 PeeWee A teams. Each team’s goal is to be on the ice 4 ½ months from this week at the Bloomington Ice Gardens (BIG). That means they will be playing for the state championship.

Edina, the defending 2010 champion, would have to travel the 10 miles from Braemar Arena to get to BIG. But to get there, the Hornets will play 50 or so games, win or place in the D6 playoffs to get a seed to the West Regional, and win one of the two West Regional seats (a tough regional this year with Wayzata, Osseo/Maple Grove and St. Michael/Albertville likely to be in the same tourney) before the Hornets can travel those 10 miles.

All 100 teams have to travel a similar route to get to BIG. And that is why this column is titled “Another Way to Look at PeeWee A Hockey”. This column groups the teams and districts by each regional tourney they will potentially play. Each week, coverage of one of the four regions (North, South, East or West) will appear in the printed version (starting in the Nov. 11 issue). All four regions will be covered in the online electronic version at

The regional/district alignment for 2010/2011 has Districts 12, 15 and 16 in the North, Districts 4, 8 and 9 in the South, Districts 2, 10 and 11 in the East and Districts 3, 5 and 6 in the West. Moorhead will host the North Regional, Rochester the South Regional, Anoka the East Regional and St. Cloud the West Regional.

North Region - Last year, D2 teams dominated the North and sent two teams to the state. This year D2 moves to the East. D12 stays in the North and had seven teams (Grand Rapids, Hibbing, Virginia, Eveleth/Gilbert, International Falls, Mesabi East and Greenway) and will send three teams to the North Regional this year. The past few years, Grand Rapids has been top dog in D12 with Hibbing and Virginia threatening. Virginia struggled last year. The Falls always struggles during the season, but comes on during districts to make it to the regional. Mesabi East is moving up to A-level this year after making the North Regional B tourney last year. D12 does not get rolling until after deer season. Next Saturday, deer season opens.

D15 sees an interesting change in the teams. Moorhead has two A-level teams playing in D15 (Moorhead Orange and Moorhead Black). These teams are joined by Little Falls (back to the A-level after a couple years at B), Brainerd, Northern Lakes, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Alexandria and Park Rapids/Wadena. Wadena lost their ice arena in the tornado that tore through their town this past summer. Those wishing to help can donate through their web site ( Wadena has posted pictures of their flattened arena. Overall, play in this district has been up the past few years. With only two seeds this year to the North, it will be a scramble by the time D15 playoffs start in February.

D16 will have seven teams in their district this year. D16 lost two teams this year (Hallock and Lake of the Woods are skating B-level) and gained Red Lake Falls. East Grand Forks, Bemidji, Roseau, Thief River Falls, Crookston and Warroad are returning this year. Three North seeds are up for grabs in D16. East Grand Forks came close to making it to the state for the third time in a row last year, losing in the regional finals. Roseau was state champ in 2009.

South Region - The three districts most affected by re-alignment last year, D4, D8 and D9, find themselves competing with each other in the South Region. The allocation of seeds for this region could be a problem. Currently, D8 and D9 will have three seeds. D4 has two seeds, but D4 has three PeeWee A teams this year, Marshall, Redwood Area and Luverne. The three teams will play each other, but Marshall and Redwood Area are playing an independent schedule focusing on D5 teams. Luverne is playing a D9 schedule. D4, at the PeeWee level, lost the bulk of their PeeWee A teams to the new D9.

In D8, Apple Valley and Eastview will be joined by Johnson/Como as new additions to a group consisting of Eagan, Farmington, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights/South St. Paul, Lakeville North, Lakeville South, Rosemount, Sibley and Woodbury. The Johnson-based St. Paul Saints last year are the J/C Devils this year. D8 regular season play starts November 15. Woodbury has changed their youth hockey nickname from the Royals to the Predators. The old blue and white uniforms are gone.

In some key early season matchups, Rosemount lost to Burnsville 5-4. Farmington beat Roseville 4-2, Duluth East 4-0 and Cloquet 8-0. Woodbury beat Blaine and beat White Bear Lake 5-1. Lakeville North/South and Hastings selected their PeeWee A teams late (Halloween weekend) and have yet to play. Woodbury looks tough this year. D8 could be decided by how well Woodbury’s forwards match-up against Farmington’s defense in their only D8 game in February.

D9 is totally new and is a combination of teams that played in D8 and D4 last year. D9 play is scheduled to kick off this week with 14 teams currently planning to play A-level. Current teams planning to play D9 are Albert Lea, Austin, Faribault, Mankato, New Ulm and Owatonna (all last year D4 teams); Dodge County, Northfield, Red Wing, Rochester Red, Rochester Black, Rochester Gold and Winona (all last year D8 teams); and Luverne from D4. Though D9 play starts this weekend, associations will have until December 1 to designate team level of play.

East Region - D2 also has some changes this year. Two part-time D2 teams from last year(Johnson/Como) and Irondale have moved to D8 and D10, respectively. The third part-time D2 team, Highland Central, stayed. Hudson (Wisconsin) joined D2, leaving D8. These two teams join Forest Lake, Tartan, Stillwater, White Bear Lake, Roseville, Mahtomedi and Mounds View to make D2 a nine-team league. North St. Paul will not field an A level team this year. D2 will get three seeds to the East. Hudson beat Highland 3-1 in their D2 opener. Both teams look tough.

D10 has also changed. Last year they had a Blue and Green PeeWee A divisions. Elk River, Centennial, Andover, Blaine, Anoka, Coon Rapids and Chisago Lakes all played in the D10 Blue and will be fielding PeeWee A teams this year. Rogers, Spring Lake Park, St. Francis, Champlin Park and Princeton all played in the Green Division. St. Cloud has moved to D5 and Cambridge/Isanti/North Branch split this year and each will field a B1 level team. Irondale moves from D1 to D10. D10 will get three regional seeds.

D11 consists of six teams, Duluth East, Duluth Lakers, Hermantown, Cloquet, Proctor and Superior (Wisconsin). With two regional seeds available, it should be a donnybrook in D11 this year. The D11 teams hosted Farmington, Thunder Bay Kings and Jefferson last weekend. Farmington beat East 4-0, Cloquet 8-0 and Hermantown. East beat and tied the Thunder Bay Kings 4-3 and 4-4. This week, Duluth East travels south to play Eden Prairie, Blaine, Andover and Farmington before returning on Monday to play Hermantown. Cloquet and the Duluth Lakers host Eastview this week.

West Region - Districts 3, 5 and 6 will compete next March in the West Regional in what will be the toughest regional tourney this year. D3 has undergone some significant changes over the past three years that has resulted in D3 going from six teams (Armstrong, Hopkins, North Metro, Orono, Osseo/Maple Grove or OMG and Wayzata) to nine teams with the addition of Mound/Westonka and Crow River from D5, the Minneapolis Storm from D1, St. Louis Park deciding to play A level this year. North Metro decided not to field an A team this year.

D5 may have lost Mound/Westonka and Crow River, but they added Sauk Rapids and St. Cloud PeeWee A teams to last year’s group (Buffalo, Hutchinson, Litchfield/DC, MAML, River Lakes, Sartell, STMA and Willmar). STMA tied Elk River 2-2, beat Armstrong 6-2 and Orono 8-1 last week.

D6 has also undergone change, losing Apple Valley and Eastview to D8 and adding two teams; Waconia who decided to field an A-level team and Shakopee who returned to the A-level after a year’s absence. These two teams will join Chaska, Edina, Eden Prairie, Jefferson, Minnetonka, Kennedy and Prior Lake to form a nine-team district. Edina has beaten two tough D3 teams (Osseo/Maple Grove 7-4 and Wayzata 3-1). Tuesday they lost to Rosemount 3-2. The Hornets have only 47 or so games to go.

Good luck to all 100 teams. Hope to see you at BIG in March.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Minnesota-Grown College Commitments

Click here for a link to a PDF of Minnesota natives who have committed to an NCAA Division I or III hockey program. Know another Minnesotan that should be on this list? Let us know at