Sunday, December 31, 2017

Minn Puck Class AA Power Rankings - 12/31/17

After the Holiday break, the Minn Puck Class AA power rankings return to close out 2017. The three major Holiday tournaments/showcases shook up the top ten this week with the Schwan's Cup and Hockey For Life Classic featuring the majority of the top teams in the state. The Hilltopper Holiday Classic featured teams such as Wayzata, Cloquet, and Duluth Marshall on the bubble trying to secure a spot on the list for a least a week. Without further adieu, here is this week's rankings:

1. Minnetonka

(10-0-2)

Last week:
vs. Edina, W 5-2
vs. Hill-Murray, W 4-2
vs. St. Thomas Academy, T 3-3

In a battle of #1 vs. #2, the Skippers earned a decisive victory over the Edina Hornets at the Schwan's Cup to become the top dog this week. The competition did not stop there as the Skippers were tested against a Hill-Murray team trying to make some noise, and settled with a tie against a St. Thomas team Minnetonka took to overtime and beat over Thanksgiving. The MLK line is clicking right now, but as the results show over the three-day tournament, the difference between the top two teams in the state is razor thin. This week, Minnetonka battles Orono, one of the better teams in Class A, on Tuesday and are at home for a big game against a Duluth East team looking for a signature win this season.

2. St. Thomas Academy

(8-1-1)

Last week:
vs. Burnsville, W 3-0
vs. Eden Prairie, W 5-4
vs. Minnetonka, T 3-3

St. Thomas Academy also faired well at the Schwan's Cup, without a loss in the three games, but both Eden Prairie and Minnetonka took the Cadets to overtime. This was Minnetonka's second overtime game with St. Thomas with the Skippers winning the first meeting, so the results show the two teams are pretty comparable. Payton Matsui had four goals at the tournament. The Cadets get North St. Paul on Tuesday, and Class A's top team right now in Mahtomedi.

3. Edina

(10-1-0)

Last week:
vs. Minnetonka, L 5-2
vs. Centennial, W 5-2
vs. St. Michael-Albertville, W 5-1

Edina slides down to number three this week after the unbeaten streak of eight games comes to an end at the hands of Minnetonka. Edina did not drown in their sorrows as they came back the next two nights, cruising to wins against Centennial and St. Michael-Albertville. The Hornets get a trio of games this week in Burnsville, White Bear Lake, and Holy Angels. The game against White Bear Lake is the next best opponent Edina will play after Minnetonka at this point in the season.

4. Duluth East

(6-0-3)

Last week:
vs. Blaine, T 2-2

Duluth East is at number four this week. Since beating Centennial, two weeks ago, the Greyhounds have struggled with the competition in games that have ended in narrow victories or ties. Duluth East could build some momentum at the end of the week with back-to-back games against a surprising Stillwater team, and concluding the week against top team Minnetonka.

5. White Bear Lake

(8-0-2)

Last week:
vs. Bloomington Jefferson, W 5-0

Coming in at number five is White Bear Lake. White Bear Lake has pulled off pretty convincing victories since tying Cretin Derham-Hall at the beginning of December. The Bears are behind Duluth East because they have yet to pull off a victory against a top ten team, but were very competitive against top teams with draws against aforementioned Cretin and Duluth East.  Edina is the next opponent for White Bear on Thursday, and should be able to pull off a victory against Rochester Century at the end of the week.

6. Holy Family

(10-2-1)

Last week:
vs. Elk River, W 4-2
vs. Benilde-St. Margaret's, W 3-2
vs. Moorhead, W 3-2

Holy Family has rattled off seven straight wins since losing to St. Thomas Academy on December 9, including a clean sweep of the Hockey for Life Classic showcase. The Fire are the one team trending upwards in the power rankings. Quality wins over Elk River and Moorhead make Holy Family worthy of being listed in this portion of the rankings. Holy Family takes on Greenway, a solid Class A team, and then finishes the week against Grand Rapids.

7. Cretin Derham-Hall

(8-2-1)

Last week:
vs. St. Louis Park, W 4-3
vs. Breck, W 5-1
vs. Minneapolis, W 9-2

Cretin Derham-Hall took home the Silver Division championship blowing past Minneapolis, but struggled against St. Louis Park along the way. The Raiders have won four straight games, and played competitively against an injury-plagued Edina team before Christmas. The tie to White Bear Lake at the beginning of December gives them consideration as being a top ten team, but the Wayzata loss pushes them back towards the bottom of the rankings. Cretin has East Ridge and Roseville this week, which should be additional wins.

8. Centennial

(6-2-2)

Last week:
vs. Hill-Murray, T 4-4
vs. Edina, L 5-2
vs. Burnsville, W 6-3

This is the part of the power rankings that starts to get a little bit messy as there is a group of teams all looking to be part of the next few spots. Centennial had a rather uninspired Schwan's Cup as they managed a tie against Hill-Murray, a young team trying to establish itself, and allowed four goals to Edina during the 2nd period of the second night of the tournament. Centennial needs to find some additional offense outside of Lucas McGregor in order to make a push as being one of the elite teams in the state. Their losses have been to teams above them, so that has helped their cause for remaining in the top ten. This week, Centennial plays Brainerd, a sneaky team that could cause some issues for Centennial, and then have Maple Grove, and Andover.

9. Moorhead

(9-4)

Last week:
vs. Chaska, W 3-1
vs. Prior Lake, W 5-1
vs. Holy Family, L 3-2

Moorhead had a nice showing at the Hockey for Life Classic, but could not finish the deal against Holy Family in the 3rd period to claim the showcase championship. The lack of depth has shown for this team. If Moorhead's top line can not produce, then the team will struggle. The loss to Cloquet raises some questions, but the other three losses have been to teams above them. Moorhead faces St. Michael-Albertville and Wayzata - two games on paper Moorhead should win, but the results will dictate whether they belong in the rankings.

10. Eden Prairie

(5-4-1)

Last week:
vs. St. Michael-Albertville, W 5-1
vs. St. Thomas Academy, L 5-4
vs. Hill-Murray, T 4-4

Eden Prairie played well in the Schwan's Cup, winning over St. Michael-Albertville quite handily, and facing a tough opponent in St. Thomas Academy and putting in a strong showing, losing in overtime. The tie to Hill-Murray was puzzling, but on the third day of consecutive games anything can happen with another top 20 team as fatigue starts to set in. Like Centennial, Eden Prairie lacks depth offensively with one player on a different level than the rest. Jack Jensen has as many points as the next two highest scorers combined. The Eagles will need to find more options if opponents contain Jensen. Eden Prairie is on the road this week against Lakeville South and Prior Lake.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Hockey For Life Showcase - Day 3

Holy Family 3, Moorhead 2


A battle of top ten teams took place at the Dakotah! Ice Center as part of the final day of the Hockey for Life showcase put on by Youth Hockey Hub. The Holy Family Fire came into the game ranked number seven in the coaches' poll and Moorhead Spuds was ranked number eight. The Minn Puck power rankings had the Fire at number six and Moorhead at number nine. This was the one game I had circled as a must see in the showcase and first time seeing both teams in-person as opposed to online streaming. My Minn Puck colleague was excited about this Holy Family team, so I was anxious to see what they were about. Ben Almquist and Garrett Pinoniemi are the main scorers for the Fire. The Spuds have the explosive Carter Randklev, or "Randle", as the Moorhead faithful refer to him, and Jack Stetz. A solid crowd for a noon game was on hand to watch this marquee matchup.

The first period had no scoring with the two teams playing pretty evenly, although I gave Moorhead the slight edge in terms of scoring opportunities. Holy Family's John Simon had a breakaway to break open the scoring, but was stopped by Lance Leonard.

Lance Leonard made 20 of 23 saves against Holy Family (Photo by Brianna Burnham)
John Simon had another chance to get Holy Family on the board in the second period on a snipe shot from just inside the blue line that ring off the crossbar. Isaac Henkemyer-Howe (which sounds like a law firm) got the first goal for Moorhead on a wrist shot that beat Holy Family goaltender Conan Hayton in the top corner. Moorhead had the better period again offensively, but could not muster any additional goals during the second session.

Conan Hayton in net for Holy Family stopping 29 of 31 shots (Photo by Brianna Burnham)
Based on the first two periods, it was looking as if Moorhead was going to leave the Twin Cities undefeated in the showcase, but the third period is when the star of the game came through. Brady Ziemer, the two-way defenseman for Holy Family, perhaps recognizable for this shoulder-length hair if not for his play, finally got the Fire's first goal on a shot off the faceoff that beat Leonard bottom corner. Ziemer, the first player that grabbed my attention defensively and offensively, would get his first of two assists on the next goal from Ben Hankinson to put the Fire in the lead, 2-1. The momentum that Moorhead carried was neutralized by Holy Family. Nolan Westra tied the game for the Spuds from shot at the right faceoff circle. With two minutes left to play, Holy Family got the game-winning goal on a rebound in front of the goal that was put in by Cole Wilson. Shots were registered in the arena as 31-23 in the Spuds favor, but MN Hockey Hub reported Moorhead with 32 shots to Holy Family's 27.



It was an entertaining game, and was the best game I have seen in person so far this season. These are the kind of games I enjoy - the 2-1, 3-2, or 4-3 affairs where you have some offense and defense. Both teams used the boards quite a bit to move the puck up ice and relied less on tape-to-tape passes. It was also another visit to an arena I have not been to before, and enjoyed the Dakotah Ice Center. It has an expansive lobby and the main rink has two floors for viewing the action.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 Schwan's Cup Gold - Day 1

I attended the evening session of the opening day of Schwan's Cup Gold games at Ridder Arena. Here are some notes from the pair of games I saw on Tuesday night. Got to my seat just as the puck dropped for Centennial and Hill-Murray.

Centennial 4, Hill-Murray 4

While I was primarily interested in the nightcap between Edina and Minnetonka, a battle of #1 vs #2 in state, a matchup of the two top teams that occurs infrequently during the regular season, Centennial was still a mystery team of all the teams in the top ten to me. They had beaten Elk River and give Duluth East a competitive game. Coming into the season, my expectations were high for Hill-Murray, but the team struggled out of the gate going from a pre-season top ten team to being out of the top twenty entirely in the coaches poll. With a private school, there are the transfers in and out, so the experience level of playing together is not there.

Expecting Centennial to handle Hill-Murray rather handily, what I was given between Centennial and Hill-Murray by the conclusion was an entertaining back-and-forth affair that required a shootout to determine which team advances in the championship bracket. After the first period, the score was tied at 2. Lucas McGregor and Joshua Hermes scored for Centennial and Michael Fleischhacker and Brett Oberle scored for Hill-Murray. Hill-Murray had a slight edge in shots and also controlled the puck more in the attacking zone, so advantage Pioneers after one. Centennial came out and controlled play in the second period, creating more scoring opportunities, but the frame finished with both teams trading goals and the score tied at 3. McGregor got his second goal for the Cougars, and Charle Strobel scored for Hill-Murray. The three period was pretty even and did not feel any real advantage for either team, however, McGregor got the hat trick, or "hatty" to be hip, in the period on a nice move to get around the goaltender and go backhand, making a case to be Minnesota's Mr. Hockey this year. This kid is the heart and soul of Centennial's offense. Without him, this feels like an average team offensively. The game went to overtime as both teams traded goals yet again with the other goal in the period being scored by Fleischhacker of Hill-Murray. Overtime was pretty even as well, and after the eight minutes session, the game went to a shootout. Hill-Murray moved on to the semi-final around by scoring twice and McGregor got the lone goal in the shootout, making him the only player on Centennial to beat Hill-Murray's Wyatt Vint all night. As Hill-Murray celebrated the shootout victory (officially recorded as a tie), the Centennial bench stood in disbelief as they came to the realization they would be finishing the tournament in the consolation bracket. Lucas McGregor was the best player on the ice this game.

What I learned from watching Centennial is that they need to play a more defensive style of hockey against higher caliber opponents to give themselves a chance to win since Lucas McGregor is the primary offensive threat on this team. They need to keep opponents to two or three goals and not get into high scoring track meets. On the other hand, Hill-Murray has a nice collection of skilled players, but they do not have that one explosive guy, or difference maker on the roster like Centennial has with McGregor, a terrific playmaker. One thing to watch the second half of the season will be whether the Pioneers begin to gel as a team and start to trend upwards and be the team to beat in Section 4. Stillwater will be the primary competition in section play and have played well this season.


Minnetonka 5, Edina 2

Now onto the main event that fans had been eagerly awaiting. Like two heavyweights in a boxing match getting ready to collide. Ridder Arena was nearing capacity after a disappointing crowd for the earlier contest. All season long, I was reading all the hype on Edina and the questions that came up by those in the high school hockey community on whether they would have an undefeated season and the comparisons already being made to the great Bloomington Jefferson teams of the 1990s. Edina had played top level teams in Holy Family, Cretin, Elk River, and Edina, but certainly had not faced anyone in the top five. Now we finally got to see that opportunity. They were left vulnerable at the Edina Classic when Elk River managed to score seven goals on them. In the warm-ups, I saw Demetrios Koumontzis and Lewis Crosby for Edina on the ice, both of whom missed time in the previous game due to injuries, so it was a good sign both teams would have their full rosters available.

The first period was an even duel between the two schools as they traded a pair of goals. The Joe Molenaar, Luke Loheit, and Matt Koethe line, nicknamed the "MLK line", came to play. Molenaar had one of the Skippers goals during the period. Josh Luedtke got Minnetonka on the board first. Jett Jungels and Sammy Walker got Edina's next two goals. While at intermission, I wanted to check out the lone concession stand at Ridder Arena, which was surprising considering the building holds 3,400 fans. There was quite the line, which was not moving real fast. By the end of the first intermission, I had moved less than 10 feet. The second period started and I was pretty much stuck listening to the action, unable to see around people in the standing room area above the bowl. Minnetonka scored twice in the first five minutes of the period, both goals I missed. Koethe scored both. Wanting a brat and hot chocolate, both of which were sold out, I settled for a hot dog and watched the rest of the game standing up and walking around to get different perspectives of the action. The second period was all Minnetonka, and that was the difference in this game. Edina didn't score in the period or for the rest of the game. In the third period, you could sense the urgency from Edina to get back into the game. They had some opportunities, including a shot that rang off the pipe by Sammy Walker in an attempt to close the lead, but the Hornets could not get anything to go as Charlie Glockner came up with big saves. Minnetonka clearly deserved to be #1 after this game. It was such a big game, I momentarily forgot there was still more hockey to be played the next two nights. Hopefully Minnetonka was able to enjoy the sweet taste of victory for a little while.



Minnetonka would go on to play Hill-Murray the next night. The Skippers are a talented team with no one individual player that sticks out from the rest. Perhaps that is the beauty of the team, they just have the chemistry and play well together. Certainly not a collection of individual stars. As for Edina, it perhaps was a good thing to get this loss out of the way early in the season to bring the team and supporters back down to earth. It also created the notion that this season is up for grabs. Edina was not going to just simply run away with the title this year.

Between the two games, I certainly felt that I got my ten dollars worth. This was my first visit to Ridder Arena, and aside from the concession issue, it has a nice, intimate feeling to it. It is definitely a great venue for high school sports with ample seating for all but the larger section tournaments, where Mariucci Arena would be required.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Mr. Hockey Tracker

As we approach the halfway point of the high school hockey season, here is an early look at how Minnesota Mr. Hockey candidates stack up thus far with current scoring statistics among the top seniors in the state.

1. Sammy Walker, Edina, Minnesota commit - 9 goals, 13 assists, 22 points (2.75 PPG)

The only player to be drafted by an NHL team on this list (Tampa Bay), the highlight of the season so far for Walker is the five goal performance against Elk River, scoring half of the team's goals. Walker takes over games with his speed, zipping by defenders, and setting up scoring opportunities. This kid is a lot of fun to watch, whether you are a fan of Edina or the opposition. At this point in the season, Minn Puck believes that it is Walker's award to lose.

2. Ben Almquist, Holy Family, Wisconsin commit - 15 goals, 12 assists, 27 points (2.70 PPG)

The speedy and patient playmaker, Almquist, is Holy Family's scoring leader with 27 points over 10 games, as the Fire look to be a contender in Section 2AA this season despite much offseason movement. Almquist netted his first hat trick of the season in a lopsided 15-2 victory against Waconia, while scoring three assists.

3. Lucas McGregor, Centennial, uncommitted - 9 goals, 9 assists, 18 points (2.57 PPG)

McGregor decided to return to Centennial for this senior year just before the season started, and it has paid off so far as the Cougars have been ranked in the top ten in the statewide coaches poll all year long. He possesses strong skating ability and awareness on the ice.

4. Demetrios Koumontzis, Edina, Arizona State commit - 5 goals, 11 assists, 16 points (2.29 PPG)

Koumontzis returns back to Minnesota to finish his prep hockey career.  He left for Arizona after playing bantams in Edina. The crafty Koumontzis has scored at least a point in the games played so far this season. He suffered an injury on an away-from-the-play hit against Eden Prairie, believed to be in retaliation to a five-minute major penalty he was assessed early in the contest for contact to the head of an Eden Prairie player in what became an emotionally-charged third period. He missed the game versus Cretin Derham-Hall from the injury, as reported by Tony Scott of Youth Hockey Hub's HS Hockey Podcast on 12/20/17. His return is unknown as of the date of this post.

5. Ray Christy, St. Thomas Academy, Colorado College commit - 5 goals, 10 assists, 15 points (2.14 PPG)

Christy is good at creating scoring opportunities with his awareness on the ice, leading the Cadets with 15 points as he as scored points in every game. He and his teammate Payton Matsui will likely battle it out for St. Thomas' goals and overall point total this season as the team makes a strong push to be a contender for the state title this year sitting in the top tier of the rankings.

6. Garrett Worth, Duluth East, uncommitted - 11 goals, 6 assists, 17 points (2.13 PPG)

Worth, one of the scoring weapons on the WMD Line that has the majority of the points for the Hounds this season, shares his success with linemates Ryder Donovan and Ian Mageau, another candidate on this list. The Duluth East boys probably will not win the award since they like to spread the wealth around, but having the team chemistry in place gives Duluth East a very good chance of making it to state this year and playing for a championship.

7. Carter Randklev, Moorhead, North Dakota commit - 12 goals, 9 assists, 21 points (2.10 PPG)

Despite Moorhead's recent woes that have knocked the Spuds out as one of the top five teams in the state, Carter Randklev is a tough player, and sensational on creating scoring opportunities with such ease to get around defenders. An example of this is the game against Brainerd in which one of his goals made SportsCenter's Top 10 list of excellent plays. Check it out for yourself below. The ceiling is high for Randklev, as he is capable of finishing in the top three of finalists.
8. Ian Mageau, Duluth East, uncommitted - 7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points (1.88 PPG)

Mageau brings physicality to the top line for Duluth East, while contributing offensively by being second on the team in goals. While it is unclear who the standout player is for Duluth East, the prize for them is the state championship and not an individual award.

9. Payton Matsui, St. Thomas Academy, uncommitted - 7 goals, 5 assists, 12 points (1.71)

Second in points to Ray Christy, Matsui is a smart hockey player with a great two-way presence on the ice. He is not the biggest player, which creates difficulty being recognized by scouts, but manages to be an offensive contributor, leading the Cadets in goals with seven, to be noticed on the ice.

10. Luke Loheit, Minnetonka, Minnesota-Duluth commit - 6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points (1.50 PPG)

Loheit's size and playmaking ability makes him one of the stars for the Skippers. He does not stand out above other teammates, but as one of the top offensive seniors on the roster, he is not a player to be overlooked.

Other notables:


Luke LaMaster, Duluth East, Wisconsin commit - 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points (1.38 PPG)

The only defenseman to make the list, which is quite an accomplishment in itself since the Mr. Hockey award tends to be given to forwards. While the WMD line may get all of the attention in Duluth, LaMaster is one of the top blueliners in the state, who is sure-handed with the puck in the offensive zone.

Colin Schmidt, Wayzata, Minnesota commit - 4 goals, 4 assists, 8 points (1.00 PPG)

As Wayzata's biggest scoring threat with his size, puck-handling, and play-making ability, Schmidt began the season in a bit of a slump, correlating with the Trojans slow start. His first points of the season finally come in the fourth game against Duluth East with a goal and assist. He followed up that performance with at least a goal and assist in the next two games against Benilde-St. Margret's and Cretin-Derham Hall. A strong second half will help Schmidt get back into serious Mr. Hockey contention.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Minnetonka 5, Chaska 2

By Michael Platzer

Minnetonka 5, Chaska 2

Pagel Activity Center was packed on the eve of Christmas Eve for #2 Minnetonka versus Chaska, with an impressive showing of Hawks' fans on the Skippers' home ice. The Skippers ultimately lived up to their #2 ranking.

Tonka came out fast, featuring crisp, precise passing, slowed only by an early penalty. In the defensive zone and neutral ice, they turned over the Hawks and transitioned quickly to odd-man rushes and often held the offensive zone for extended shifts.

The Hawks, meanwhile, played a conservative defensive style, packing in down low, protecting goaltender Justin Bach, who was exceptional in net. Nick Olmscheid, Rhett Pitlick, and Shane LaVelle headlined the play for the Hawks, with Michael Koster making several single-handed rushes late in the game. It wasn't enough for the Hawks. In the third period Tonka's Bobby Brink circled the offensive zone with speed for a-lap-and-a-half before hitting Jack Bayless cross ice, who buried the shot, sealing the victory for the Skippers.

Chaska is young and talented--a team to be reckoned with in the near future, quite like Minnetonka a year ago.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Boys Hockey Game Schedule

Games for the remainder of the week


Thursday, December 21

Morris/Benson Area
 - 
Prairie Centre
 - 
Sauk Centre Civic Arena, Sauk Centre
5:15 PM CST
Superior
 - 
Duluth Denfeld
 - 
Heritage Center, Sill Arena, Duluth
5:15 PM CST
Roseau
 - 
Bemidji
 - 
Bemidji Community Arena, Bemidji
6:00 PM CST
Monticello
 - 
Rogers
 - 
Rogers Ice Arena, Rogers MN
7:00 PM CST
Wadena-Deer Creek
 - 
Bagley/Fosston
 - 
Albert Kaiser Arena, Bagley
7:00 PM CST
Andover
 - 
Blaine
 - 
Fogerty Arena, Blaine
7:00 PM CST
Spring Lake Park
 - 
Champlin Park
 - 
Ice Forum at Champlin, Champlin
7:00 PM CST
Princeton
 - 
Chisago Lakes
 - 
Chisago Lakes Ice Arena, Lindstrom
7:00 PM CST
Duluth Marshall
 - 
Duluth East
 - 
Heritage Center - Sill Arena, Duluth
7:00 PM CST
Anoka
 - 
Elk River
 - 
Elk River Ice Arena, Elk River
7:00 PM CST
Marshall
 - 
Fairmont
 - 
Martin County Arena, Fairmont
7:00 PM CST
Eagan
 - 
Lakeville South
 - 
Hasse Arena, Lakeville
7:00 PM CST
Worthington
 - 
Luverne
 - 
Blue Mound Ice Arena, Luverne
7:00 PM CST
Holy Family
 - 
Maple Grove
 - 
Maple Grove Community Center, Maple Grove
7:00 PM CST
Orono
 - 
Minneapolis
 - 
Parade Ice Garden, Minneapolis
7:00 PM CST
Park Rapids
 - 
Northern Lakes
 - 
Breezy Point Ice Arena, Breezy Point
7:00 PM CST
Becker/Big Lake
 - 
Pine City Area
 - 
Pine City Civic Center, Pine City
7:00 PM CST
Chanhassen
 - 
Prior Lake
 - 
Dakotah Ice Center, Prior Lake
7:00 PM CST
Lake of the Woods
 - 
Red Lake Falls
 - 
Cardin-Hunt Arena, Red Lake Falls
7:00 PM CST
Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato
 - 
Redwood Valley
 - 
Redwood Area Community Center, Redwood Falls
7:00 PM CST
Mahtomedi
 - 
South St. Paul
 - 
Doug Woog Arena, South St. Paul
7:00 PM CST
Dodge County
 - 
St. Francis
 - 
East Bethel Ice Arena, East Bethel (Saints Arena)
7:00 PM CST
North Branch
 - 
STMA
 - 
STMA Arena
7:00 PM CST
Holy Angels
 - 
St. Paul Johnson
 - 
Phalen Arena, St. Paul
7:00 PM CST
Hill-Murray
 - 
St. Thomas Academy
 - 
St. Thomas Ice Arena, Mendota Heights
7:00 PM CST
Osseo
 - 
Totino-Grace
 - 
Brooklyn Park Community Center, Brooklyn Park
7:00 PM CST
La Crosse Logan/Central
 - 
La Crescent
 - 
La Crescent Community Arena
7:00 PM CST
Hopkins
 - 
Eastview
 - 
Apple Valley Hayes Arena
7:00 PM CST
Brainerd
 - 
Alexandria
 - 
Runestone Community Center, Alexandria
7:15 PM CST
St. Cloud
 - 
Fergus Falls
 - 
Fergus Falls Community Arena, Fergus Falls
7:15 PM CST
Hutchinson
 - 
Minnesota River
 - 
Le Sueur Community Center, Le Sueur
7:15 PM CST
Rochester Lourdes
 - 
New Prague
 - 
New Prague Community Center, New Prague
7:15 PM CST
Waseca
 - 
New Ulm
 - 
New Ulm Civic Center, New Ulm
7:15 PM CST
Faribault
 - 
Red Wing
 - 
Prairie Island Arena, Red Wing
7:15 PM CST
Sauk Rapids-Rice
 - 
River Lakes
 - 
Richmond Arena
7:15 PM CST
Farmington
 - 
Rochester Century
 - 
Graham Arena, Rochester
7:15 PM CST
Mankato East
 - 
Winona
 - 
Bud King Ice Arena, Winona
7:15 PM CST
Forest Lake
 - 
East Ridge
 - 
Cottage Grove Ice Arena, Cottage Grove
7:30 PM CST
Simley
 - 
Hastings
 - 
Hastings Civic Arena, Hastings
7:30 PM CST
North St. Paul
 - 
Henry Sibley
 - 
West St. Paul Arena, West St. Paul
7:30 PM CST
Armstrong/Cooper
 - 
Irondale
 - 
Schwan Super Rink, Blaine
7:30 PM CST
Cretin-Derham Hall
 - 
Mounds View
 - 
Vadnais Sports Center, Vadnais Heights
7:30 PM CST
Albert Lea
 - 
Northfield
 - 
Northfield Ice Arena, Northfield
7:30 PM CST
Tartan
 - 
Rochester John Marshall
 - 
Rochester Recreation Center, Rochester
7:30 PM CST
White Bear Lake
 - 
Roseville
 - 
Roseville Skating Center, Roseville
7:30 PM CST
Woodbury
 - 
Stillwater
 - 
St. Croix Rec Center, Stillwater
7:30 PM CST
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton
 - 
Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl
 - 
Miners Memorial Arena, Virginia
7:30 PM CST
Breckenridge/Wahpeton
 - 
Jamestown (N.D.)
 - 
John L. Wilson Arena, Jamestown
7:30 PM CST
Thief River Falls
 - 
Crookston
 - 
Crookston Sports Center, Crookston
7:30 PM CST
Warroad
 - 
East Grand Forks
 - 
East Grand Forks Civic Arena
7:30 PM CST

Friday, December 22, 2017

Thief River Falls
 - 
Hermantown
 - 
Hermantown Arena, Hermantown
6:00 PM CST
St. Louis Park
 - 
Benilde-St. Margaret's
 - 
St. Louis Park Recreation Center
7:00 PM CST
Fairmont
 - 
Dodge County
 - 
Dodge County Ice Arena, Kasson
7:00 PM CST
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton
 - 
Moorhead
 - 
Moorhead Sports Center, Moorhead
7:00 PM CST
Blake
 - 
Wayzata
 - 
Plymouth Ice Center, Plymouth
7:00 PM CST
WSFLG
 - 
Cambridge-Isanti
 - 
Isanti Ice Arena, Isanti
7:00 PM CST
Grand Rapids
 - 
Brainerd
 - 
Essentia Health Sports Center, Brainerd
7:15 PM CST
Mound Westonka
 - 
Delano
 - 
Delano Area Sports Arena, Delano
7:15 PM CST
Willmar
 - 
Sartell-St. Stephen
 - 
Bernick's Arena, Sartell
7:15 PM CST
St. Paul Academy
 - 
St. Cloud Cathedral
 - 
Municipal Athletic Complex, St. Cloud
7:15 PM CST
Shakopee
 - 
Rochester Mayo
 - 
Graham Arena, Rochester
7:15 PM CST
Greenway
 - 
Eveleth-Gilbert
 - 
Eveleth Hippodrome, Eveleth
7:30 PM CST
Moose Lake Area
 - 
Legacy Christian
 - 
Schwan Super Rink, Blaine
7:30 PM CST
Luverne
 - 
Totino-Grace
 - 
Brooklyn Park Community Center, Brooklyn Park
7:30 PM CST
Bloomington Jefferson
 - 
Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl
 - 
Miners Memorial Arena, Virginia
7:30 PM CST
Fort Frances (Ontario)
 - 
International Falls
 - 
Bronco Arena, International Falls
7:30 PM CST

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Bloomington Jefferson - Hibbing/Chisholm - Hibbing Memorial Ice Arena, Hibbing 2:00 PM CST
Eden Prairie - Blaine - Fogerty Arena, Blaine 3:00 PM CST
Lakeville North - Duluth East - Heritage Center - Sill Arena, Duluth 3:00 PM CST
Burnsville - Prior Lake - Dakotah Ice Center, Prior Lake 3:00 PMCST
Minnehaha Academy - River Falls - Wildcat Centre Arena, River Falls 3:00 PM CST
Owatonna - North St. Paul - Polar Arena, North St. Paul 3:30 PM CST
Grand Rapids - Moorhead - Moorhead Sports Center, Moorhead 5:00 PM CST
White Bear Lake - Hill-Murray - Aldrich Arena, Maplewood 7:00 PM CST
Chaska - Minnetonka - Pagel Activity Center, Minnetonka 7:00 PM CST

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Holy Family Catholic Fire 4, Delano Tigers 2

By Michael Platzer, Minn Puck Contributor

Holy Family Catholic Fire 4, Delano Tigers 2

Saturday's game between ranked 2A and 1A west metro teams was not as close as the score might suggest, as HFC was in control throughout, with Delano's 2nd goal coming relatively late in the matchup.

Highlights of Delano's performance include excellent goaltending by Jackson Hjelle, while Jack Paulson led the Tiger forwards and 6-foot 7-inch Tanner Glasrud anchored the defense. Despite a somewhat slow start this season, HFC's talented roster skated to a much-needed win on Saturday. Ben Almquist's patient playmaking, Joe Hankinson's quick-release wrister, and Garrett Pinoniemi's precision puck-handling make for a formidable offense. Savy, offensive-minded defenseman Michael Spinner's forays into the offensive zone put additional pressure on the opposition's defense. Fiesty 8th grader Trey Fechko without question belongs on the varsity squad. John Simon is also capable of racking up points, while defenseman Brady Ziemer quarterbacks the transition offense. With continued improvement, this squad should be a tough out in March.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Top 20 Scoreboard

Scores from around the State of Hockey/Let's Play Hockey Top 20 this week:

Tuesday, December 19

Class A:
(1) Mahtomedi 5 (14) Northfield 1, Final
Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato 0, (2) Orono 10, Final
Eveleth-Gilbert 1, (4) Greenway 7, Final
Bemidji 2, (5) East Grand Forks 3, Final OT
Duluth Denfield 1, (6) St. Cloud Cathedral 4, Final
(8) Sartell-St. Stephen 2, St. Cloud 5, Final
(9) Delano 5, Minneapolis 2, Final
Fergus Falls 1, (10) Alexandria 2, Final OT
Windom 1, (12) Luverne 7, Final
Becker/Big Lake 0, (13) Monticello 9, Final
South St. Paul 5, (15) St. Paul Johnson 1, Final **UPSET**
Mankato East 1, (16) Mound Westonka 1, Final OT
(17) St. Paul Academy 0, St. Louis Park 7, Final
Park Rapids 3, (19) Crookston 6, Final
(20) North Branch 3, Pine City Area 2, Final OT

Class AA:

(1) Edina 5, (10) Cretin-Derham Hall 2, Final
(2) Minnetonka 11 Bloomington Jefferson 1, Final
(5) Centennial 3, (3) Duluth East 5, Final
(8) Holy Family 15, Waconia 2, Final
Buffalo 0, (9) Wayzata 4, Final
(17) Maple Grove 5, (11) Elk River 4, Final **UPSET**
(14) Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 2, Hibbing/Chisholm 7, Final
(20) Eastview 5, Farmington 2, Final

Minn Puck Class AA Power Rankings - 12/17/17

Here is this week's Minn Puck power rankings for the top ten Class AA teams:


1. Edina
(7-0)


Last week:

vs. Grand Rapids, W 11-0
vs. Elk River, W 10-7
vs. Eden Prairie, W 7-1

No surprises this week as the Hornets just keep rolling along, sweeping the Edina Classic. Great week by Sammy Walker, who had six goals over the three game showcase. It appeared Elk River might give Edina difficulties, but scored enough insurance goals in the third period to hold onto the lead and win. Edina gets Cretin Derham-Hall this week on Thursday before facing Minnetonka the day after Christmas to close out 2017.

2. Minnetonka
(6-0-1)


Last week:

vs. Chanhassen, W 7-0
vs. Moorhead, W 4-1



Minnetonka moves one spot in this week's power rankings as they get a big road win over Moorhead, defeating the Spuds decisively to create more division among the top teams in the state. The Skippers battle southwest metro opponents Chaska and Bloomington Jefferson this week before number one Edina awaits them after Christmas.


3. Duluth East
(3-0-2)

Last week:

vs. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, T 6-6


Duluth East slides down one spot after struggling to get past Cloquet, tying them in a game that featured an unusual five-minute overtime period. The Greyhounds have a big game against Centennial this week as they start a four game homestand to finish out the calendar year.



4. St. Thomas Academy
(5-1)

Last week:
vs. Benilde-St. Margret's, W 5-3

The Cadets defeating Benilde last week, and finish the private school tour this week against Hill-Murray, a team that has not played up to it's full potential this season. St. Thomas is playing well defensively as they have only three goals against or less per game in December.





5. Centennial
(5-0-1)

Last week:

vs. Osseo, W 5-1


Centennial moves up to number five this week with Moorhead being uncompetitive at home against Minnetonka. Lucas McGregor got the hat trick against Osseo last week to double his goal total on the season. Duluth East awaits the Cougars this week in a game that has top five ramifications.


6. Moorhead
(6-2)

Last week:

vs. East Grand Forks, W 4-2
vs. Minnetonka, L 4-1


Moorhead had a hiccup last week against Minnetonka. The Spuds now have two losses against top five teams, so they have hit the ceiling in terms of upward movement the power rankings unless teams above them lose. Moorhead has Cloquet, a team that battled Duluth East to a tie, and finish out the week with Grand Rapids.


7. White Bear Lake
(5-0-2)


Last week:

vs. Mounds View, W 8-0
vs. East Ridge, W 8-2



White Bear Lake pulled off two impressive wins with a pair of eight goal games against Mounds View and East Ridge. The Bears have allowed four goals in the last four games. They stay in the east metro this week, facing Roseville and Hill-Murray.

8. Holy Family
(5-2-1)

Last week:

vs. STMA, W 8-0
vs. Delano, W 4-2



Holy Family gets back into the muddied section of the power rankings where the number eight through ten spots have become a revolving door this season. Wins over St. Michael-Albertville and Delano are an indication that Holy Family may be getting back on track after sputtering out the gate. Joe Simon scored the hat trick against STMA. Waconia and Maple Grove await the Fire this week.

9. Elk River
(5-2)

Last week:

vs. Eden Prairie, W 5-4
vs. Edina, L 10-7
vs. Grand Rapids, W 5-1



Elk River had a nice showing at the Edina Classic, battling back to tie it's game late in regulation against Eden Prairie before eventually winning in overtime. The Elks hung with Edina the next night for one and a half periods. The performance in those two games indicate that Elk River is worthy of a spot towards the bottom of the top ten. This is a team with not a lot of star power, but play well together. Maple Grove and Anoka are the opponents this week.

10. Wayzata
(3-2-1)

Last week:

vs. Benilde-St. Margret's, W 5-0
vs. Cretin-Derham Hall, W 5-4


Wayzata finishes out the top ten power rankings this week with an overtime win against Cretin-Derham Hall. Now that the Trojans have a winning record, combined with the win over Cretin, they are worthy of being included in this week's list. The Trojans take on a pair of smaller schools in Buffalo and Blake this week.