Thursday, February 3, 2011

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

By frederick61

With the PeeWee A district playoffs starting in two weeks, which teams are likely to emerge with regional seeds and which teams are likely to provide a strong challenge has been the focus of this blog since November. Now it is time to shift focus to the regional tourneys. Each regional tourney will have the same double elimination format. That format can be found on the Minnesota Hockey website. This format is a change from last year.

Also on that website is the regional draw. That draw is specified each year. It is the same for each region. If you have been following this blog, the district write-ups are listed under the regions in which the district playoff winners will play. Districts 12, 16, and 15 will play in the North Regional; Districts 8, 9, and 4 will play in the South Regional; Districts 2, 10, 11 will play in the East Regional; and Districts 5, 6 and 3 will play in the West Regional.

The order of the districts listed above has meaning in determining the regional first round pairings. D12, D8, D2, and D5 are assigned an A definition for purpose of determining pairings; D16, D9, D10, and D6 are assigned a B definition for purpose of pairings; and D15, D4, D11, and D3 are assigned a C definition. The pairings for all peewee A regionals this year is then A1/C2, B1/A3, C1/B3, and B2/A2.

So based on how the teams are ranked this week, here is a potential draw for all four regional tourneys (remember some of this was determined by coin flips and pulling names out of a paper bag).

In the North Regional, Grand Rapids would open the tourney against Detroit Lakes and Bemidji would play Greenway in the upper bracket of opening round of double elimination play. The Moorhead Black would play Thief River Falls and Roseau would play Hibbing in the lower bracket.

In the South Regional, Farmington would play Lakeville South and Mankato would play Woodbury in the upper bracket. Luverne would play Northfield and Owatonna would play Rosemount in the lower bracket.

In the West Regional, St. Cloud would play Crow River and Eden Prairie would play MAML in the upper bracket. Wayzata would play Edina and Prior Lake would play STMA in the lower bracket.

In the East Regional, Stillwater would play Cloquet and Elk River would play White Bear Lake in the upper bracket. Hermantown would play Blaine and Centennial would play Roseville in the lower bracket.

This draw is based on where the teams are this week. Next week, it could change dramatically. It probably will and it will be updated over the next few weeks until the district playoffs are over.

Playing competitively in any sport is always about the moment, about this week, about the game today. One thing is always certain, there will be a winner and there will be a loser for each moment. And one thing is equally certain, once that moment is gone, people forget. Even players in that “big game” forget. Years later, should the players or coaches or parents involved meet, they remember. But memory is not the feeling of “joy of winning or the agony of defeat”. They remember differently. Those feelings are gone and have been replaced with a happiness or a warm feeling about the big game. It is because they were there.

So on this Super Bowl weekend, who remembers the champions from 2008?

North Regional (D12, D15, D16) - The North Regional is shaping up as follows:
D12 has three seeds to the North this year and only one team, Grand Rapids, that has played well enough to be a clear favorite to take one of the seeds. The remaining two seeds are going begging, looking for another D12 team to grab a seed. Hibbing comes close, but the Bluejackets have had an up and down year. International Falls, Greenway, Virginia, and Mesabi East have played well enough at times to make a move. Only Eveleth has struggled this year.

D15 has two seeds to the North. Moorhead Black remains a favorite for one of those seeds. The regular season D15 champion is already in the North Regional. If Moorhead Black is the champion, the remaining seed is really going begging. Alexandria, Brainerd, Fergus Falls, Little Falls, Moorhead Orange, and Northern Lakes can all contend. The D15 playoffs are in Fergus Falls this year.

D16 has three seeds and five teams (Bemidji, Thief River Falls, Roseau, Crookston, and East Grand Forks) that will battle for those three seeds. Bemidji and Thief River Falls have played strong all year and should make the regionals. Both teams have struggled a little in the past two weeks. Roseau has improved since losing 6 games in a row at the end of December. East Grand Forks have been an up and down team (they lost to Crookston 6-4 in a D16 game last week). Crookston can be dangerous.

The North had one of four peewee A tournaments in the state last week in Warroad. Nine teams entered. Three Minnesota teams (STMA, Roseau, and Warroad), four North Dakota teams (Fargo Angels, Grand Forks Seawolves-#1 ranked North Dakota team, Fargo Raiders, and Devils Lake) and two Canadian teams (Morden and Fort Francis’s BP Royal). STMA, Roseau and Devils Lake won their pools; STMA won the championship.

District 12 - The D12 playoffs are out. Only one team, the #1 seed, will get a first round bye. Grand Rapids has that bye. The Thunderhawks beat Hibbing 8-0 and Mesabi East 10-3 last week. This week they play Bemidji.

Hibbing played Virginia last week in addition to losing to Grand Rapids. The Bluejackets host Orono and play Eveleth this week. Virginia played International Falls and Greenway besides Hibbing last week. Virginia plays International Falls again this week.

Greenway played Proctor besides Virginia last week. They play in Cloquet’s tourney this weekend and draw Hermantown, Sibley, and the Thunder Bay Kings in pool play. International Falls played three D12 games last week, Mesabi East, Virginia, and Eveleth. This week the Bronco’s play two more D12 games Virginia and Mesabi East.
Mesabi East’s only game is with the Falls this week. Last week, the Giants, played Eveleth and the Falls besides losing to Grand Rapids. Mesabi East will host the D12 playoffs in two weeks.

Grand Rapids keeps the #1 seed to the North Regional this week and Hibbing takes the #2 seed. The third seed this week goes to Greenway. No team is out of this playoff.

District 15 - Things get tight as regular season winds down and every point matters. Moorhead Association chose to have the Moorhead Orange forfeit their two D15 games to the Moorhead Black at the start of the season. With the forfeit, both teams lost their “unfairplay” points. The Black have only a 13 game D15 schedule (the other teams are playing 14 games). One of the 13 games, Northern Lakes, may not have been played.

Currently, the Black are clearly the best team in D15. But they could sweep their remaining games and end up with 33 points. Alexandria can sweep its remaining games and end up with 34 points (despite losing to Detroit Lake this week 4-2). This year the regular season champion gets an automatic seed to the North Regional. It should be the Moorhead Black, but their schedule moves could force them to win the D15 playoff.
Last week, the Black beat Brainerd 10-0 to remain unbeaten in D15. The Black played a second game, losing to Bemidji 6-2. This week they end their D15 season playing Fergus Falls and Little Falls and entertain Thief River Falls.

Things look bleak for the Moorhead Orange two weeks ago after losing to Alexandria 7-2. Last week, things got better. The Orange won three games beating the Grand Forks Golden Eagles 5-4, Red Lake Falls 7-1 and Detroit Lakes 7-2. The Orange play Grand Forks and Winnipeg this week. They have one D15 game left on Feb 12th as part of Hockey Day Minnesota. They play Northern Lakes. Both teams are battling to get out of the D15 cellar. The loser will most likely draw Moorhead Black or Alexandria in the D15 playoffs opening game. The winner will most likely draw Moorhead Black or Alexandria in their playoff opening game.

Alexandria beat Fergus Falls 4-2 and lost to Detroit Lakes 4-2 last week. The loss to Detroit Lakes may have cost the Cardinals the regular season title and an automatic seed to the North Regional. Alex has two D15 games remaining to play.

Alex has their tourney this week. They play Litchfield in the opening game of bracket play. The second ranked North Dakota team, the Bismarck Blades, play New Ulm in the second game of the upper bracket. What really makes this tourney interesting, especially to North Dakota fans, is that the top ranked Grand Forks Greyhounds play Sartell in the first game of the lower bracket. If that isn’t enough, the eighth ranked Bismarck Admirals play Bloomington Kennedy. Alex tourney this year is a preview of the North Dakota State Tourney that will be held the weekend of March 4th. All three North Dakota teams should be in the eight team state tourney field.

Fergus Falls played Brainerd and Northern Lakes last week. The Otters play their last D9 game this week against the Moorhead Black.

Besides losing to the Moorhead Black, Brainerd played Fergus Falls last week. The Warriors have two D15 games remaining (Little Falls and Alexandria). Detroit Lakes completed their D15 season last week. They played Little Falls, beat Alexandria, and lost to the Moorhead Orange.

Northern Lakes plays in the Minneapolis Winter Storm tourney held at Parade Ice Gardens. The Lightning play Moundsview in the opening round of bracket play and will be tested.

Moorhead Black keeps the #1 seed this week; Detroit Lakes takes the #2 seed from Alexandria. The Lakers beat the Cardinals this week and to the victor goes the spoils.

District 16 - Bemidji and Thief River Falls tangled on Sunday with the D16 regular season title at stake. The Lumberjacks won 4-3 in overtime to take top spot and should win the D16 crown easily. They have three D16 games left to play (Warroad, Roseau, and Red Lake Falls). Last week, Bemidji beat Moorhead 6-2. This week, they play Grand Rapids.

Thief River Falls should lock up second place. The Prowlers play Crookston and Red Lake Falls in their final D16 games this season. Thief River also plays Moorhead Black this weekend.

Warroad held a tourney last week with an interesting mix of North Dakota, Canadian and Minnesota teams. STMA, Roseau, and Devils Lake North Dakota made it to the championship round. STMA won the tourney on a tie breaker. Roseau got the championship round by betting the Grand Forks Seawolves 7-4 and the Fargo Raiders 12-4. The Rams beat STMA 3-2, in the championship round but lost to Devils Lake 5-4. STMA beat Devils Lake 9-2 to win the tourney on a tie breaker.

Roseau plays three D16 games this week, entertaining Warroad and traveling to Crookston and East Grand Forks. The EGF beat the Fargo Flyers Gold 7-6 last week and lost to Crookston 6-4. Besides playing Roseau this week, EGF plays the Grand Forks Seawolves.
Crookston had a nice win over EGF. The Pirates have a tough week ahead. They play Red Lake Falls, Roseau, Warroad, and Thief River Falls in D16 games. Four wins could put the Pirates in second place in D16.

No changes in the seeding this week. Bemidji keeps the #1 seed. Roseau moves to the #2 seed and TRF the #3 seed.

South Regional (D4, D8, D9) - The South Regional is shaping up as follows:
D4 has Luverne as the likely #1 seed with Marshall and Redwood Falls challenging.
D8 has Farmington, Rosemount, Woodbury and one of the Lakeville teams being seeded into their double elimination portion of their tourney. The remaining teams (one of the Lakeville teams, Eastview, Hastings, Sibley, IGH/SSP, Johnson/Como, Apple Valley and Eagan) play a single elimination round for entry into the double elimination tourney.
D9 playoff draw is solidifying with Northfield, Rochester Black, Dodge County, and Rochester Gold winning the East seeds; and Mankato, Owatonna, New Ulm and Albert Lea winning the West seeds.

Eight D9 teams will play in Rochester March 4-6. It should be quite a tourney.
D9 playoffs will start Thursday, February 17th and will finish the following Sunday, February 20th. D8 playoffs will begin Sunday, February 20th and will finish Sunday, February 27th. The fourth place finishers in both tourneys will meet for a play-in game to the South Regional. The D8 fourth place finisher will be decided around 1:00 February 27th. The site of the play-in game is unknown.

District 4 - Luverne lost to Mankato 8-4 last Sunday. As a result, Mankato takes the D9 West title and the Cardinals have to settle for a second place finish. Luverne beat Austin 9-2 in D9 last week and have finished their D9 schedule.

The Cardinals host a peewee A tourney this week. Sioux Falls Blue, Johnson/Como, Austin, Freemont Nebraska, and Marshall are entered. The Cardinals play the Sioux Falls Blue and Austin in pool play.

Marshall also plays in the Luverne tourney. The Tigers draw Johnson/Como and Fremont Nebraska in pool play. Marshall lost last week to the Sioux Falls Blue 7-2. At the Watertown North Dakota Jamboree, the Tigers lost to Watertown 5-2.

This will be Fremont’s second trip to Minnesota this year. The Flyers played in the Northfield tourney losing to Austin 6-3, beating Red Wing 5-2 and losing to Faribault 4-2 in the consolation championship.

The Sioux Falls Blue took second two weeks ago at the Fergus Falls tourney beating River Lakes 5-3 and Mesabi East 4-3 before losing to Fergus Falls in the championship game 9-2.
Redwood Falls has an off week. Luverne keeps the #1 seed this week.

District 8 - Farmington and Rosemount continued their march toward February 12th game by extending their D8 winning streaks. The Tigers beat Hastings 4-0 and Sibley 5-0 over the weekend. They play IGH/SSP this week. Rosemount beat Lakeville South twice, 7-1 and 7-1, and beat Apple Valley. The Irish play Woodbury this week. Both Farmington and Rosemount remain unbeaten and untied in D8 play. Farmington has kept two more “unfairplay” points.

In their game against Lakeville South, a Rosemount forward scored a funky goal. He swooped in going left to right a couple feet in front of the goalie but was too close to lift the puck over the goalie. Instead he softened the shot and went for the goalie’s blocker (the goalie had it down low) and rolled the puck off the blocker using the blocker’s angled leather to direct the puck upward into the net.

Woodbury won three D8 games last week, beating Hastings twice, 7-0 and 6-1, and Lakeville North 5-4. This week, the Predators play in the White Bear Lake tourney. They draw OMG, Minnetonka, and Centennial in pool play. Woodbury has three D8 games remaining. They return from White Bear to play Rosemount this week and finish their D8 season playing Farmington and Apple Valley. The Predators should finish third.

The two Lakeville teams had a tough week. North is still playing with a short bench. They lost to Chaska 4-2 and lost to Woodbury 5-4. The Panthers now have extended their losing streak to four games in D8. The Panthers play IGH/SSP this week. The South had three tough D8 games to play last week. The Cougars lost to Farmington and twice to Rosemount. They play in White Bear’s tourney drawing Duluth East, Eden Prairie, and Elk River in pool play.

Both the North and the South have two D8 games left; the North plays IGH and Lakeville South; and Lakeville South has a make-up with Johnson/Como and play Lakeville North. Both teams are tied with 29 points each. The Lakeville teams seemed to be destined to play each other in the opening round of the double elimination part of the D8 playoffs unless the Lakeville team finishing fifth is upset in the single elimination round.

Hastings had a rough week losing to Woodbury twice, tying Eagan 2-2, and losing to Farmington. The Raiders have two games left, Sibley and Eastview. Eastview beat IGH/SSP and beat Eagan 1-0 last week. The Eagan game was a fun game for the fans to watch. But it probably gave both coaches ulcers.

Both teams skated hard and maintained a fast pace. Both teams would make a bad play only to make a great play to recover. The Lightning scored the only goal early in the third period and hung on. With the clock winding down and Eagan on a power play (skating 6 on 4 after pulling their goalie), a melee resulted in three of the four Lightning forwards on the ice being given penalties.

That actually worked to Eastview’s advantage. The hour clock ran out before the refs could sort the penalties out. Both teams lost their “unfairplay” point.

Hastings and Eastview will meet in the last D8 game of their season. They should be playing for 6th or 7th place in the standings. The two teams may meet sooner. Both are playing in the New Hope tourney this weekend. Hastings draws Armstrong in the opening game of bracket play; Eastview draws MAML.

Sibley had been playing well, but were upended by Johnson/Como 3-2 and lost to Farmington last week. The Generals play Hastings this week and can make a move to take sixth or seventh place by stringing wins together over Hastings and IGH/SSP. Johnson/Como plays in the Luverne tourney this week. The Devils draw Marshall and Freemont Nebraska in pool play.

Sibley and Apple Valley head north to play in Cloquet’s tourney. Sibley draws St. Cloud, Greenway and Superior in pool play. Apple Valley draws Cloquet, Waconia, and Mankato in pool play. Apple Valley lost a D8 game to Eastview 8-1 and lost to the Mpls Storm 6-1 last week. The Eagles host Northfield after they return from Cloquet.

Eagan joins Eastview and Sibley at New Hope. They draw Champlin Park in opening round of bracket play. Last week the Wildcats tied Hastings and lost to Eastview. IGH/SSP had a good tourney two weekends ago, but lost Woodbury and Eastview last week. Against Woodbury, the Spartans were trailing 2-1 halfway through the game when their defense failed them. IGH/SSP plays Farmington and Lakeville North this week.

There are no changes in the D8 seeds this week. Farmington keeps the #1 seed this week. Rosemount keeps the #2 seed. Woodbury keeps the #3 seed. For the D8 playoffs, the seeding looks something like this: #1 Farmington or Rosemount, #2 Farmington or Rosemount, #3 Woodbury, and #4 Lakeville North or Lakeville South. The four teams likely to survive the single elimination round are #5 Lakeville North or Lakeville South, #6 Eastview or Hastings, #7 Eastview or Hastings, #8 Sibley or IGH/SSP. Note that Apple Valley, Eagan, or Johnson/Como can still overtake IGH/SSP (or Sibley) giving any of these three teams a better chance to get to the double elimination part of the D8 playoffs. Four of the eight teams in the double elimination will advance.

District 9 - Mankato had a great week last week beating New Ulm twice 8-3 and 7-4 besides beating second place Luverne 8-4. Mankato has a single game left with Faribault. They will take the #1 West seed to the D9 playoffs. But all the Mavericks need to do is to show up for game against Faribault next week and collect their “unfairplay” point to win the title outright to win the D9 West title.

The Mavericks travel to Cloquet this week to play in the Lumberjacks tourney. They draw Coon Rapids, Spring Lake Park, and Apple Valley in pool play.

Owatonna continues to roll. The Huskies are 12-2 in the last six weeks. Last week, they beat Mason City 4-2, Northfield 4-1 and the Rochester Gold 5-0. Owatonna is locked in third place in the D9 west and will take the #2 West seed into the D9 playoffs. The Huskies play in Willmar’s tourney this week. They play Fargo Flyer Black, Detroit Lakes, and Willmar. When they return home, they will play Faribault to end their D9 season.

New Ulm opened their week optimistically beating Faribault 3-2 before losing twice to Mankato to end their D9 season. New Ulm takes the #3 West seed. The Eagles play in Alexandria this weekend. They draw the Bismarck Blades in the opening round of bracket play. New Ulm will face a tough team. The Blades are 12-0 leading the North Dakota South League and are ranked #2 in North Dakota.

Albert Lea plays their last D9 game this week, hosting Dodge County. The Tigers hold a 3 point lead over Faribault for the last D9 West seed to the playoffs. A win will put Faribault’s back to the wall and force the Falcons to sweep their last two games. The Falcons lost to Northfield last week. They finish their season this week playing Owatonna and Mankato.

Faribault played in the Red Wing tourney over the weekend. They lost to Sauk Rapids, beat Albert Lea and lost to Tartan 6-1 in the consolation championship. Albert Lea lost to Red Wing and played Rochester Black in the same tourney.

In the D9 East, Northfield finished their D9 season beating Dodge County 7-0 and beating Faribault 4-2 last week. They still had a tough week losing to Owatonna and Mankato. But the Raiders win the D9 East title and will take the D9 East #1 seed to the D9 playoffs. This week the Raiders host St. Louis Park, play at Albert Lea and play at Apple Valley.

Rochester Black and Dodge County are in a battle for the #2 and #3 seeds in the D9 East. The two teams play this Sunday to decide that. Dodge County lost to Northfield last week. This week they play Albert Lea in addition to the Rochester Black to end their D9 season.

Rochester Gold lost to Austin 6-5 and to Owatonna 5-0 last week to complete their D9 season. The Gold will most likely take the #4 East. Austin made a great effort to try to overtake the Gold and gain the #4 seed last week, but came up short. The Packers beat Dodge County 4-2 besides beating the Gold. Austin ran out steam against Luverne losing 9-2.

Red Wing had a short bench going into their tourney last weekend. The Wingers beat Albert Lea in the opening game but lost in the semifinal game to Sauk Rapids. Red Wing lost the third place game 11-0 to Shakopee. The Wingers are out of the D9 playoffs. After going 5-2-1 in their opening eight D9 games, Red Wing lost their last five D9 games playing with a short bench. Over the D9 season, they lost 6 of their first 13 “unfairplay” points.

The draw for the D9 playoffs should be Northfield/Albert Lea and Owatonna/ (Rochester Black or Dodge County) in the upper bracket. In the lower bracket Mankato/Rochester Gold and New Ulm/ (Rochester Black or Dodge County) play. It is a double elimination tourney. Teams making it to the finals will be seeded #1 and #2; the team that wins the loser bracket takes the #3 seed and the runner-up in the loser bracket plays seed #4 from D8 for the D4 #2 seed to the South Regional.

Nothing changes this week. Mankato keeps the #1 seed this week and Owatonna takes the #2 seed. Northfield takes the #3 seed. Austin and Red Wing are out of the D9 playoffs, Faribault is barely hanging in.

East Regional (D2, D10, D11) - The East Regional is shaping up as follows:
D2 has Roseville as a strong candidate, though the Raiders lost 2-1 to Stillwater last week. Stillwater is looking stronger and White Bear Lake has shown some late season improvement. Moundsview look tough against Stillwater ten days ago and Tartan has been a dangerous team. No guarantees in D2 this year.

D10 had the Elks running away with the title last week and that hasn’t changed. Centennial has come on strong and can still catch the Elks. Blaine continues to play steady hockey. Rogers has shown improvement. Only one thing is certain in D10 this week and that is Coon Rapids, St. Francis, and Irondale will not be in the district playoffs. Andover may be the fourth team out of the D10 playoffs.

D11 remains a jumble as the teams have been quiet the past few weeks. At this point, Cloquet, Hermantown and Duluth East are the strongest teams chasing for the two D11 seeds to the North Regional.

District 2 - Roseville split their two D2 games last week, beating Mahtomedi 4-1 and losing to Stillwater 2-1. The Raiders have two D2 games left (Hudson and Tartan) and need to win one to take the regular season title and the #1 seed. Roseville plays in the New Hope tourney and open bracket play against Hopkins this weekend. They play Hudson in one of their last two games the Monday after the New Hope Tourney.

Stillwater beat Roseville in their only D2 game this week. The Ponies tied Rochester Red 0-0 last week. Stillwater and Hudson remain in a battle for second place. The Ponies play Forest Lake in their only D2 game this week. Hudson added two D2 wins last week beating Forest Lake 3-0 and Moundsview 4-3. Hudson plays Mahtomedi and Roseville this week.

Forest Lake, White Bear Lake, and Tartan are in a battle for third place in D2. Forest Lake beat Highland 4-2 last week besides losing to Hudson. This week, the Rangers have a single D2 game with Stillwater.

White Bear Lake has their Moose Goheen tourney this week at the new Vadnais Heights facility. Twelve teams are entered. White Bear Lake is in a pool with Blaine, Edina, and Winnipeg. Duluth East, Eden Prairie, Elk River, and Lakeville South are in a second pool. Centennial, Minnetonka, OMG, and Woodbury are in the third pool. The Bears beat Duluth East 5-4 and Rochester Red 4-3 last week. They play Stillwater in D2 action after the tourney.

After Tartan lost to White Bear Lake last week, they played in the Red Wing tourney taking the consolation title. The Titans lost to Shakopee 4-2, beat the Rochester Black 11-0 and Faribault 6-1. They play Highland and Moundsview in D2 games this week.
Moundsview plays in the Winter Storm tourney on the weekend at Parade Ice Gardens. The Mustangs open bracket play against Northern Lakes. The Mustang play Tartan in a D2 game after the tourney.

Mahtomedi plays Highland besides playing Hudson this week. Highland plays three D2 games this week, Tartan, Mahtomedi, and White Bear Lake to end their D2 season.
Stillwater’s win over Roseville last week was a good win for the Ponies. They take the #1 seed from the Raiders. Roseville takes the #2 seed. White Bear takes the #3 seed.

District 10 - Elk River beat Blaine 4-2 and Rogers 5-2 last week to bring their D10 league leading record to 19-2; however, Centennial (14-2-3) can still tie the Elks by winning their remaining D10 games. Elks have lost too many “unfairplay” points. If the teams tie in points, Centennial looks to have the tie breaker, more “unfairplay” points. Elk River’s final D10 game is in two weeks against Anoka.

Last week, Centennial added two more D10 wins beating Princeton 7-1 and St. Francis 10-0. The Cougars play Spring Lake Park and Andover in their final two D10 games. Both Centennial and Elk River play in the White Bear Tourney on the weekend. The Elks draw Duluth East, Eden Prairie, and Lakeville South in pool play. The Cougars draw Minnetonka, OMG, and Woodbury in pool play.

Blaine beat Spring Lake Park 3-1 and beat Irondale 4-2 last week in addition to losing to Elk River. The Bengals join Elk River and Centennial at White Bear Lake. They draw Edina, White Bear Lake and Winnipeg in pool play. After the tourney, they return to play Rogers in their last D10 game.

Champlin Park and Rogers are tied for fourth in D10. Champlin Park beat Coon Rapids 6-2 and lost to Anoka 5-1 last week. They played Centennial to end their season. Rogers beat St. Francis 7-0 and Irondale 2-1 besides losing to Elk River. Rogers end their D10 season with games against Coon Rapids, Princeton, and Blaine. Rogers can still catch Blaine by sweeping their last three games. They can’t catch Centennial or Elk River. Champlin Park plays Eagan in the opening round of the New Hope tourney this weekend.
Spring Lake Park had a busy week. The Panthers beat St. Francis 7-0, tied Princeton 4-4, beat Coon Rapids 5-1, lost to Irondale 2-1 and lost to Blaine 3-1. The Panthers play their last two D10 games this week (Centennial and Princeton). The loss to Irondale really hurt Spring Lake Park. Last week, Anoka beat Andover 4-0 and played St. Francis in addition to beating Champlin Park. The Tornadoes have three D10 games left, all at home, against Princeton, Coon Rapids, and Elk River. Anoka is looking good to overtake Spring Lake Park for the sixth seed to the D10 tourney.

Spring Lake Park, Princeton, and Andover all are in a battle for the last two seeds to the D10 playoffs. The Panthers can get to 42 points, but play two tough games. Princeton can beat the Panthers total, but need to win two of their remaining four games. If they get only one tie in the four games, they will move ahead of Andover. With three games remaining, Andover can get to 38 points. Spring Lake Park does hold the tie breaker with Andover, tying Andover 4-4 and beating Andover 3-1 in D10 play.

Princeton beat Irondale last week in addition to tying Spring Lake Park, losing to Centennial, and losing to Blaine. This week the Tigers play Anoka and Andover before finishing their D10 season against Rogers and Spring Lake Park. The big game in D10 this week is Spring Lake Park and Princeton. This game (the game ends the D10 season for both teams) could have the #7 seed to the D10 playoff seed going to the winner and the #8 seed going to the loser. But Andover could change that when they play Centennial the next day.

Andover beat St. Francis 8-1 and Coon Rapids 4-2 last week after losing to Anoka. This week, the Huskies play Irondale and Princeton and finish their D10 season against Centennial. Irondale had an outside chance to make the D10 playoffs, but the Knights are out of the playoffs. The Knights lost seven D10 games in a row before beating Spring Lake Park.

Spring Lake Park plays in the Cloquet tourney over the weekend. They draw Waconia, Mankato, and Coon Rapids in pool play. Coon Rapids plays Mankato and Cloquet in addition to the Panthers in the tourney. St. Francis plays in the Minneapolis Winter Storm tourney. They draw the Mpls Storm in the opening round of bracket play.

The seeds don’t change this week. Elk River keeps the #1 seed. Centennial’s gets the #2 seed and Blaine takes the #3 seed this week. Centennial has been improving, but the Cougars showed the same improvement at this time last year only to struggle in the playoffs. Rogers, Champlin Park, Anoka and Spring Lake Park look to be the challengers. Princeton remains in the middle of the mix.

District 11 - Cloquet and Hermantown played each other last week. The two teams are tied for first place in D11. Cloquet hosted Armstrong on the weekend in their only game. The Lumberjacks beat Armstrong 6-5. Hermantown lost to Armstrong 4-1 in their only game. White Bear Lake beat Duluth East 5-4 and Proctor beat Greenway 5-3. In the only other games involving D11 teams, the Duluth Lakers played Superior.

Cloquet holds a 12 team tourney this weekend. Cloquet has grouped the 12 teams into two six team pools. Each team plays three pool games and then are seeded into a single game on Sunday. The #1 seeds play for the Championship.

Three D11 teams (Cloquet, Hermantown, and Superior Wisconsin) are entered. Cloquet draws Apple Valley, Coon Rapids, and Waconia in pool play. Hermantown draws Greenway, the Thunder Bay Kings, and St. Cloud in their pool play. Superior Wisconsin draws the Thunder Bay Kings, Mankato, Sibley in their pool play.

The D11 playoffs are shaping up. #1 seed (either Cloquet or Hermantown) will play the winner of the #4 seed Duluth Lakers and #5 seed Proctor. The #2 seed (Cloquet or Hermantown) will play the #3 seed Duluth East.

Hermantown keeps the #1 seed, but will be tested at the Cloquet tourney this week. Cloquet take the #2 seed. The Lumberjacks still remain a mystery. They will be playing some tough teams two weekends from now when the take a quick tour of the cities before the D11 playoffs began.

West Regional (D3, D5, D6) - The West Regional is shaping up as follows:
In D3, Wayzata appears to have a lock on one seed. Crow River and Mpls Park are challenging OMG for the second seed.

In D5, St. Cloud continues playing perfectly and STMA continues playing well. MAML, Sartell, Buffalo, and River Lakes are tangling for the last seed. MAML continues to improve.

In D6, Eden Prairie beat Burnsville in a key match-up. The Blaze have two tough D6 games left and Edina has made their mover. Prior Lake beat Minnetonka twice and the Skippers lost a third game to drop out of contention for the two top spots. Prior Lake is hanging in there.

District 3 - The “soap opera” ended with a thud. There is no suspense in D3 after last week. After being pushed to their limit by Armstrong the week before, Wayzata strung three D3 wins together beating Mound Westonka 5-0, OMG 6-4, and Orono 7-0. The Trojans can call it “a wrap”. They lead their nearest competitor by 5 points with a single game to play this week against Hopkins. No other D3 team can catch the Trojans. The suspense is over. Like that plucky Rocket J. Squirrel, the brainy half of that dynamic duo of Rocky and Bullwinkle, the Trojans have swooped down and saved true heart Tess. She is now safe in Frostbite Falls, Mn, and Boris Badenov can’t get her (at least until next season).

By the way, rumor has it that Frostbite Falls is an alias for International Falls. But that story can wait tell next year.

Meanwhile, Wayzata is skipping the White Bear Tourney. They have a quiet week before heading to Moorhead to play the Moorhead Black in a Hockey Day in Minnesota game.
OMG has entered the White Bear Tourney. This will be the only tourney that OMG will play in without Wayzata being there. OMG draws Centennial, Minnetonka, and Woodbury in pool play. OMG had a tough week. Besides losing to Wayzata, they tied Orono 1-1. They have two D3 games remaining, Mound Westonka and Crow River. Crow River beat St. Louis Park 9-3 and the Mpls Storm 2-1 last week. Crow River has three games remaining. The Tigers play the Mpls Storm again, Armstrong and close out the D3 season against OMG. OMG may be in a Valentine’s Day battle with Crow River for second place.

The Storm’s loss to Crow River put a dent in their chances to overtake OMG. But it is a small dent if they can beat Crow River this week. It will put the Storm on track to tie OMG if both teams win their remaining games. The Mpls Storm beat Orono 7-1 last week.

The Storm has their tourney this week at the Parade Ice Gardens (the facility is too nice to abbreviate). They play St. Francis in the opening game. Shakopee/Buffalo meet in the other bracket game. In the lower bracket, Moundsview plays Northern Lakes and Rogers play the Rochester Gold.

Armstrong continues to improve. They took a quick trip (are gasoline stations road worthy?) north. They lost to Cloquet 6-5 and beat Hermantown 4-1. The Spartans could raise havoc with Crow River and the Mpls Storm by beating them in their last two games. It could also move Armstrong up in the standings.

Armstrong hosts their tourney in New Hope. They play Hastings in opening round of bracket play. Champlin Park plays Eagan in the other bracket game. Roseville plays Hopkins and Eastview plays MALM in the other bracket.

Orono started last week on an up note, tying OMG 1-1, but then lost to Wayzata and the Mpls Storm. This week the Spartans play Mound Westonka and then head north to play Hibbing and Proctor. Mound Westonka beat St. Louis Park 4-0 besides losing to Wayzata last week. The Whitehawks end their D3 season playing OMG.

St. Louis Park goes south and west this week, playing Hutchinson and Northfield. Hopkins goes a few miles north to play in the New Hope tourney. The Royals draw Roseville in the opening round of bracket play.

Wayzata keeps the #1 seed. The loss of the “unfairplay” points didn’t slow the Trojans march to the D3 title. Crow River beat the Storm and gets the #2 seed. OMG and Armstrong are playing well. Too bad this year D3 gets only two seeds to the West. The fight for the #2 seed will be fierce.

District 5 - St. Cloud beat Sartell 6-2 and beat Willmar 7-1 last week. The Huskies remain perfect after playing 14 D5 games. They head to Cloquet to play in the Lumberjacks tourney. The Huskies play Sibley, Superior, and Hermantown in pool play. They return to play Hutchinson.

STMA had a good trip “up north” last weekend. They traveled to Warroad to play in Warroad’s tourney. The Knights beat Thief River Falls along the way 3-2. At Warroad, STMA beat the Fargo Angels 5-2 and Warroad 12-0 to win their pool. STMA won the championship on goal differential by beating Devils Lake North Dakota 9-2 and losing to Roseau 3-2.

STMA returns to D5 action this week in a battle with St. Cloud for first place. St. Cloud has four games left and STMA has three games left. St. Cloud holds a three point lead over the Knights. The two teams meet again, but not this week. St. Cloud plays a single game against Hutchinson and STMA plays a single game against River Lakes this week. St. Cloud ends their season next week with games against Sauk Rapids, STMA, and River Lakes. The Knights end their D5 against Buffalo.

MAML strung three D5 wins together beating Willmar 6-2, Litchfield 4-3, River Lakes 2-1. They also played Sartell. Those wins moved the Moose into third place. The Moose play Buffalo in their only D5 game this week. They are playing in the New Hope tourney this week. They play Eastview in the opening game of bracket play.
Besides playing MAML and losing to St. Cloud, Sartell beat Hutchinson 4-2 in D5 last week. The Sabres travel west on Interstate 94 to Alexandria to play in what amounts to a North Dakota State Tourney preview. They play the #1 ranked North Dakota team, Grand Forks Greyhounds, in the opening game of bracket play.

Buffalo beat River Lakes 5-3 in their only D5 game last week. The Bison play Sauk Rapids in D5 this week and then play in the Minneapolis Storm tourney at Parade this weekend. They draw Shakopee in the opening round of bracket play. River Lakes lost to Buffalo and MAML last week. The Stars play three D5 games this week (STMA, Hutchinson, and Sauk Rapids).

Willmar had a good week beating Sartell 4-3 and Hutchinson 5-2 besides losing to MAML and St. Cloud. They have their tourney this weekend, a round robin tourney with Detroit Lakes, Fargo Flyer Black, and Owatonna entered. The Fargo Flyer Black are currently 2-9 in the North Dakota Peewee A South League.

Sauk Rapids played at Red Wing last week in the Winger’s tourney. The Storm had a good tourney beating Faribault in opening round of bracket play and beating Red Wing in the semifinals before losing to Mason City Iowa in the championship game. Sauk Rapids has two D5 games this week, Buffalo and River Lakes.

St. Cloud takes the #1 seed; STMA takes the #2 seed; and the Moose (MALM) keeps the #3 seed.

District 6 - Burnsville and Eden Prairie clashed last Sunday in a key D6 game. The Eagles won in a tense affair where both coaches and their teams pulled out all their tricks. Eden Prairie started an outstanding goalie who contained the fiery Blaze in the first period. With the Blaze trailing 1-0 and still trying to solve the Eagles goalie, the Blaze caught a break when a puck went vertical about 20 feet in the air in front of the crease. With the Eagle goalie scrambling and choosing to look right, the puck hit the ice in left side of the crease in front of a Blaze forward who banged it in to tie the score.

The third period started with the Blaze on the power play and they dusted off an old trick. After getting the power play established in the Eagles zone, two Blaze wingers crossed behind the Eagle’s net. The one carrying the puck left it for the other forward and went on to play a wrap around attempt. The Eagles goalie went for the fake and the other Blaze winger had an easy goal to give the Blaze a 2-1 lead.

The Eagles looked beat over the next few minutes and it seemed almost out desperation that the Eden Prairie coach skipped sending his best playing line out on the ice. Instead he sent a line that had been struggling to take the faceoff in the Eagles zone to play against a Burnsville line that had been playing well. It looked as if the coach had picked this moment to gamble that he could hold the Blaze in check and bring back his best line to his advantage.

Maybe he knew something else, because 30 seconds later, a forward top shelved the puck past the Blaze goalie to tie the score. Then he brought out the big line. They dominated play in the Burnsville zone for the next two minutes and didn’t score. Over the next few minutes, the sequence of lines did not change, setting up another mismatch for the Eagles. The line scored again to give the Eagles a 3-2 lead. They added an empty netter to make it a 4-2 game. It was one of the more interesting games of the season.

Burnsville still controls their destiny. The Blaze have three games left (Kennedy, Edina, and Prior Lake) and can get 48 points with a sweep. The Eagles have two games left (Chaska and Edina) and can get 47 points with a sweep. The Blaze play no D6 games this week.

Eden Prairie plays at White Bear Lake on the weekend. The Eagles draw Duluth East, Elk River and Lakeville South in pool play. They return to play Chaska.

Last week Edina was set to make their move in D6. The Hornets did. They beat Kennedy 6-0, Jefferson 10-0, and Waconia 12-0. With three games left, the Hornets can get 46 points. They have three tough games to play Minnetonka, Burnsville, and Eden Prairie. Beating Burnsville will not be enough. If the Hornets and Blaze tie at 46 points, head to head would be used in the tie breaker (head to head includes “unfairplay” play points). With the teams splitting their two games, the “unfairplay” will be used to break the tie and that would appear to favor the Blaze who have yet to lose an “unfairplay” point.

Edina plays in the White Bear tourney on the weekend. They draw Blaine, White Bear Lake, and Winnipeg in pool play.

Last week, Minnetonka beat Waconia 6-2 in D6 action, but then took a second loss to Prior Lake 6-1 in the last two weeks. That leaves the Skippers with two D6 games left, Edina and Jefferson. The best Minnetonka can do is to hit the 43 point mark and that will likely fall short of the total needed to take the D6 championship or second place and their associated first round byes. The Skippers play at White Bear, they draw Centennial, OMG, and Woodbury in pool play.

Prior Lake can make a move this week. They play Shakopee and Jefferson. Next week the Lakers end their season playing Waconia and Burnsville. With a sweep, they would end up with 43 points and need help to make the top two. With Edina, Burnsville and Eden Prairie playing each other, it could happen and the Lakers could eke out a first or second place finish. Prior Lake have been playing well and have won their last 9 games.

Shakopee beat Jefferson 4-1 last week and then went on to take third place in the Red Wing tourney. They beat Tartan 4-2, lost to Mason City Iowa 3-2 in overtime, and beat Red Wing 11-0 for third place. They also played Chaska last week. This week, the Sabres play Prior Lake and then play in the Winter Strom tourney at Parade. They draw Buffalo in the opening game of bracket play. Jefferson plays Prior Lake this week.

Waconia travels to Cloquet to play in their tourney. They draw Spring Lake Park, Apple Valley, and Cloquet in pool play. Besides losing to Minnetonka 6-2 last week, Waconia beat Chaska 5-4. Kennedy had a tough week last week losing to Edina 9-0 and to Prior Lake 6-1 in D6 play. This week, the Eagles head to Alexandria to play one of the top ranked North Dakota teams, the Bismarck Admirals, in opening round of bracket play.

Chaska played Shakopee last week in D6. This week they play Eden Prairie. The Hawks play Jefferson and Kennedy in the last week of the season. One of the hardest things to understand this year is the Chaska Hawks. They have tied Roseau, beaten Lakeville South, beaten STMA, tied Bemidji, beaten Woodbury, and beaten Lakeville North. Their D6 record is a bottom dwelling 2-12 with four games left. The Hawks are a puzzle. They certainly have put themselves in a playoff hole. They have been a good playoff team and they will need that to advance.

D6 continues to be in turmoil. Eden Prairie beat Burnsville so that give the Eagles the #1 seed this week. Edina looks strong for a period against Eden Prairie, tying the Eagles two weeks ago. But Prior Lake is doing their thing (while winning 9 straight). The Lakers take the #2 seed. Edina takes the #3 seed. And even after losing to Eden Prairie, Burnsville remains the slight favorite to take the D6 title. This analysis should make everything perfectly clear.

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