Class A Rankings Week #5 (12/25/2022)

Class A Rankings Week #5 (12/25/2022). The top teams stay the same with Hermantown and Warroad leading the charge. The Warroad and Orono game will be one to keep a close eye on this week. Follow on Twitter @ClassAHockeyGuy for more Minnesota High School Class A News and Notes……..enjoy the rankings!

1. Hermantown (7A) (4-0-1)

Past Week Results: W 8-1 #12 Duluth Denfeld 

Upcoming Schedule: 12/28 vs #9 Delano, 12/29 @ #6 East Grand Forks, 12/31 vs Shakopee

The Hawks played their first Class A game of the winter and they let Hunters of Denfeld stick around for a bit however 7 goals in the 2nd and 3rd period gave the game a familiar feel for 7A teams of recent years when playing the Hawks as they put the game into running time. The big match up with Orono was wiped out by weather but this coming week presents plenty of good matchups for the Hawks as they take on two Top 10 Class A teams in Delano and East Grand Forks before ending the week with upcoming AA Shakopee all three games should present this Hawks group with good set of tests.

2. Warroad (8A) (6-0-0)

Past Week Results: W 5-1 #15 Thief River Falls

Upcoming Schedule: 12/28 vs Providence Academy, 12/29 vs #4 Orono, 12/30 vs International Falls

The Warriors found themselves in a 0-0 tie after the first period in Thief River Falls. However, they used a familiar formula to put the game away as they scored a shorthanded goal, they are still 100% on the PK, and then rode their Top Line of Murray Marvin-Cordes, Jayson Shaugabay, and Carson Pilgrim to another very convincing road win. Now they will spend the Holiday Tournament season as they will take on a Providence Academy team that can score but the big matchup will be with Orono in what will be a big Class A game with possible State Tournament implications.

3. Mahtomedi (4A) (5-2-0)

Past Week Results: L 1-3 Stillwater 

Upcoming Schedule: 12/30 vs Chisago Lakes

The Zephyrs took on the team they share their rink with in AA Stillwater in front of a big audience on Balley Sports North this week. Stillwater got off to a fast start and built a two goal lead after one period. However, Mahtomedi did show well and cut the game to 2-1 after 2 periods and controlled large portions of the late 2nd and 3rd period. However,  it was not enough though as the AA Ponies took the big win 3-1. Now Mahtomedi will just play one game over the holiday break when they take on a struggling and winless Chisago Lakes team in a rematch of last year’s Section 4A Championship Game.

4. Orono (2A) (7-0-0)

Past Week Results: Idle

Upcoming Schedule: 12/28 vs International Falls, 12/29 vs #2 Warroad, 12/30 vs Providence Academy

The Spartans got the week off due to their big match up with #1 Hermantown getting knocked out due to weather. The Spartans will head into the Holiday Break unbeaten and the favorite to win a very tough Section 2A. They will get tested over Christmas break as they head up to Warroad to take on a very good Warriors team and also take on 2A Providence Academy in an important Section match up. Orono has passed all their tests so far, while some results are closer than preferred, but this Holiday trip up north will prove to be the greatest test so far as they head into 2023.

5. Northfield (1A) (7-2-0)

Past Week Results: W 3-0 #18 New Prague 

Upcoming Schedule: Idle

The Raiders took care of business in their big rematch from last year’s Section 1A Semifinal upset to New Prague. In a game that will go a long way in determining the #1 seed and Section 1A the Raiders took care of business by jumping out to 3-0 lead after 2 periods and not allowing any thoughts of a comeback this time around. Northfield will now take a true Holiday Break as they do not play again till 2023 and they enter the break as the heavy favorite to win their section and with only two losses to #3 Mahtomedi and #4 Orono on the resume this looks like a very solid Class A club.

6. East Grand Forks (8A) (5-4-0)

Past Week Results: L 2-3 Bemidji, L 1-7 Grand Forks Red River

Upcoming Schedule: 12/29 vs #1 Hermantown 

The Greenwave dropped a surprising game at home to AA Bemidji which is one I don’t think many people saw coming. East Grand Forks had the 2-1 lead going into the third period but a game tying Power Play goal for the Jacks changed the momentum of the game and the Greenwave were upset on their home ice. They followed up the upset loss by getting blown out by Grand Forks Red River and finished the week (0-2). I won’t drop them below Detroit Lakes as they own the head to head win over the Lakers but with Hermantown up next the Greenwave most likely .500 heading into 2023.

7. Detroit Lakes (8A) (6-1-1)

Past Week Results: W 9-2 Morris/Benson

Upcoming Schedule: 12/27 vs Fort Francis, 12/28 vs #16 New Ulm, 12/29 @ #14 Fergus Falls

The Lakers went on the road and picked up a convincing Conference win against Morris/Benson in their only game of the week. They blew open the game with a five goal second period and routed the Storm on their home ice.  Now they head to Fergus Falls over the Holiday Break with an interesting matchup vs now ranked and still unbeaten New Ulm looking to prove they are for real and a matchup with rival and the now 6A favorite Otters who will be looking for revenge after losing in the first meeting.

8. Hibbing (7A) (6-3-1)

Past Week Results: W 5-2 Proctor

Upcoming Schedule: 12/28 vs Rock Ridge, 12/29 vs Cambridge, 12/30 vs #9 Delano

Hibbing picked up another critical Section 7A win when they took down Proctor 5-2 in their only action of the week. A good third period allowed for the Bluejackets to pull away and remain unbeaten in 7A and also vs Class A teams on the year so far.  Nothing flashy about this team but they have shown a blue collar hard work mentality that has worked for them so far they deserve to be in the Top 10. Big tests over Christmas as they host an important Section 7A game vs rising Rock Ridge before taking on a decent Cambridge squad and they wrap up the week with their biggest test of the year facing the team ranked right below them in #9 Delano. We will find out a lot more about Hibbing after next week. 

9. Delano (2A) (3-3-0)

Past Week Results: W 2-1 St Cloud Cathedral

Upcoming Schedule: 12/28 @ #1 Hermantown, 12/29 @ Greenway, 12/30 @ #8 Hibbing

Delano continued their string of good play of late when they took down the Crusaders on the road to pick up their third straight win now and move back to .500. Using their formula of great defensive structure and getting a 30 save effort from Drew Dorsey helped the Tigers pick up a very solid 2-1 road win. The Tigers enter the holiday break feeling good about themselves after a slow start to the year. Some big challenges await them this coming week as they head north to take on the #1 Hawks, an improving Greenway squad,  and the team that sits right above them in the rankings in #8 Hibbing.

10. Litchfield Dassel/Cokato (2A) (6-0-1)

Past Week Results: W 3-2 Waconia

Upcoming Schedule: 12/28 vs River Lakes, 12/29 vs Sartell, 12/30 vs Sauk Rapids

The Dragons continued their hot start to the year and remained unbeaten as they picked up a crucial road Section 2A win at Waconia. In a game that they took over in the second period, outshooting the Wildcats 20-1 in the period and extending the lead to 3-0 and then hung on from there to claim another critical 2A win. This week they get a rematch with the team they tied in River Lakes and should take care of Sauk Rapids but the game vs AA Sartell will be a very good test and give us a better indication if this team is a true Top Ten contender this winter.

11. Little Falls (5A) (3-3-1)

Past Week Results: L 2-3 OT Brainerd

Upcoming Schedule: 12/28 vs #19 Northern Lakes, 12/29 vs Wadena Deer Creek

The Flyers continued their up and down play this year this past week when they dropped their road game to AA Brainerd. In a game that showed both the bad in good of this Little Falls team as they had another slow start on the road, much like the Rock Ridge game, and fell behind 2-0 but they showed character in coming back to tie up the game however, they ultimately lost the game in overtime to fall back to .500 on the year. This week they host their own holiday classic with two solid 6A teams who they can’t afford to trip up with when they play Northern Lakes and Wadena Deer Creek.

12. Duluth Denfeld (7A) (4-4-1)

Past Week Results: L 1-8 #1 Hermantown, L 0-6 Grand Rapids

Upcoming Schedule: 12/27 vs Irondale, 12/28 TBD, 12/29 TBD

The Hunters took on the top two programs in Northeast Minnesota and got a firm reality check that while they do have one of the State’s best players and one of Class A’s most potent top lines they lack the depth and blue line to contend with those elite teams. They did hang around a bit in both games but ultimately were worn down and beat up by both Hermantown and Grand Rapids. Now they host their own Holiday Tournament and will look to rebound and show some of the lessons learned from playing the State’s best and get back into the win column.

13. Monticello (5A) (3-3-1)

Past Week Results:  W 4-3 OT Pine City

Upcoming Schedule: 12/28 vs St Cloud, 12/29 vs Sauk Rapids, 12/30 vs River Lakes

The Moose return to the rankings this week although they did make it far too interesting with Pine City needing overtime to put the Dragons away. However, Monticello is now currently unbeaten in their last 4 games to move back to .500 and with three 1 goal losses to #5 Northfield, #10 Litchfield Dassel Cokato and #11 Little Falls their resume looks sound enough to be included as a top 15 team and add in the fact that they are also Class A State Tournament regular make them a good fit here. They have a good test vs AA St Cloud Public and then two must win Section 5A games against Sauk Rapids and River Lakes over the holiday break. 

14. Fergus Falls (6A) (3-2-0)

Past Week Results: W 4-1 River Lakes

Upcoming Schedule: 12/27 vs #16 New Ulm, 12/28 vs Fort Francis, 12/29 vs #7 Detroit Lakes

The Otters make the move up the rankings this week as they appear to be the favorite in thin Section 6A this winter. They picked up a very convincing home win over River Lakes in their only action this week to move back above .500. With losses to #7 Detroit Lakes and AA Sartell as their only blemishes so far this year,this Fergus Falls team, while less heralded then last year’s group, seems to be in good spot using their veteran defense and superb Senior goaltender Ben Swanson to their advantage. This week they have two good tests at home with New Ulm who sits below them in the rankings and  a rematch with Detroit Lakes.

15. Thief River Falls (8A) (2-5-1)

Past Week Results: 1-5 #2 Warroad

Upcoming Schedule: 12/28 vs. Tartan, 12/29 vs. Fargo North

The Prowlers showed while they have a good team they are not on the same level as their 8A counterparts from Warroad. They were able to keep the game tight for a while but giving up a shorthanded goal in the 2nd period was the crack the Warriors needed and before the period would end Thief River Falls would find themselves down three goals and unable to mount much of a comeback and drop a Section 8A game at home. Right now the record is ugly but the 5 losses are to 4 AA schools and the #2 rated Class A team. For now I will leave them here. They have a must win vs Tartan and I am not sure where Fargo North would compare to Minnesota teams but they really need to go (2-0) at their Christmas Tournament to start to build some momentum into 2023.

16. New Ulm (3A) (7-0-0)

Past Week Results: W 2-1 Hutchinson

Upcoming Schedule: 12/27 vs #14 Fergus Falls, 2/28 vs #7 Detroit Lakes, 12/29 vs Fort Francis

The Eagles won a big game over a solid Hutchinson squad on the road to finally get a win outside of the Big South Conference and show they have a team that can contend for a 3A title. This week the strength of schedule picks up immensely as they take on #14 Fergus Falls and #7 Detroit Lakes while two losses will not drop them totally out of the Top 20 I am curious to see how competitive they are as that should give us a better judgment of this team. I put them ahead of Two Rivers due to their better result in their game vs common opponent Luverne, who they beat while the Warriors tied, but again we will know more about this group after a trip North this coming week. 

17. Two Rivers (4A) (8-0-1)

Past Week Results:  Idle

Upcoming Schedule: 12/26 vs Princeton, 12/27 vs TBD, 12/28 TBD

The Warriors had their only game of the week wiped out and they head into the holiday break still unbeaten. While their schedule doesn’t have a big win on it yet they have won all their games besides Luverne, whom New Ulm beat why they dropped a bit. However, the opportunities to prove themselves will be there come 2023 as their January schedule picks up in strength significantly. Before that though they play in the bottom division of the Herb Brooks Classic and should continue to win before strength of schedule picks up significantly.

18. New Prague (1A) (3-3-0)

Past Week Results: L 0-3 #5 Northfield

Upcoming Schedule: 12/27 vs Proctor, 12/28 vs Osseo, 12/29 vs Superior

The Trojans dropped a tough game at home in a critical Section 1A Matchup that will most likely give Northfield the number 1 seed now. The Trojans hung around but don’t have the high end type scoring that the Raiders have; they fall back to .500. Don’t discount New Prague though as they have shown like in their game against Orono they can compete with the Top teams in Class A. This week they take a trip North and play three games that will be tough but they should be able to win to solidify their spot in the rankings come 2023.

19. Northern Lakes  (6A) (3-2-0)

Past Week Results: W 7-4 Alexandria

Upcoming Schedule: 12/28 @ #11 Little Falls, 12/29 vs. Becker/Big Lake

The Lightning picked up a big program win and Section 6A win when they took down Alexandria 7 to 4 this past week. This is a team to watch as they could make a run in a very thin and winnable Section 6A. This week they head to Little Falls with a big match up vs a Flyers team that embarrassed them over the Holidays last year. They also take on Becker Big Lake and they could start to put together a win streak and make a move up not only in Section 6A Rankings but the Class A overall rankings as well.

20. Mankato East (3A) (4-4-0)

Past Week Results: W 8-3 Minnesota River

Upcoming Schedule: 12/27 @ Roseau, 12/28 vs Minot, 12/29 vs Alexandria

The Cougars were the preseason favorite in Section 3A to return to state for the fourth time in the last 6 years. However, they went (0-4) out of the gate against an exclusive AA schedule. They return to the rankings this week after winning 4 in a row and looking the part of the 3A favorite. However, now they dive back into the tough schedule as they head up north this holiday break to take on the AA host Rams of Roseau as well as taking on Minot from North Dakota and the defending 6A Champions struggling Alexandria. The Cougars will find out a lot about themselves after the 7 hour journey up to the northern border. 

The Next 5 in Class A Week #5-

Hutchinson (2A) (5-3-0)- The Tigers dropped a tough one at home to New Ulm to drop in the rankings as they have now dropped two in a row and that win over Providence Academy doesn’t seem as impressive as it did two weeks ago. I will keep them just ahead of Providence Academy due to their head to head win over the Lions for now.

Providence Academy (2A) (5-3-0)-  The Lions got routed again this week as they gave up 8 more goals in a game. Holy Family is a very good AA team so the loss was not surprising but the way they are giving up goals is concerning. They will need to right the ship fast as they head to Warroad this week and could be in for a long weekend up north.

Albert Lea (1A) (5-3-0)- The Tigers have now won 3 games in a row and they have the head to head win over Rock Ridge on their home ice. Albert Lea looks locked into a top 3 seed in Section 1A and they play in Rochester over the Holiday Break with an intriguing matchup vs Luverne which will help create more order in the lower 20 of the Class A rankings.

Rock Ridge (7A) (4-3-1)- The Wolverines picked up another nice win over Superior last week and are currently on a nice 3 game unbeaten streak. Big week for them as they head to Hibbing with an opportunity to jump back up in Section 7A rankings as well as these Class A rankings.

Luverne (3A) (3-1-1)- The Cardinals have a tie and a one goal loss to two Top 20 Class A teams otherwise they have taken care of business so far. This week they will head to Rochester where an intriguing matchup with Albert Lea looms.