Hockey Day Minnesota has now come and gone and that usually signals that the playoffs are near. In Class A there were a bunch of chaotic scores to make sense of this week. The Top 5 are solid and have separated from the rest. I tried to go by resume as we have played ten weeks of games and I tried to slot teams of their full body of work with justifications below.
1. Warroad (8A) (18-0-0)
Past Week Results: W 5-2 Roseau, W 4-2 Moorhead
Upcoming Schedule: 1/31 vs Bemidji, 2/3 vs #20 Thief River Falls, 2/4 vs Grand Forks Central
Another great week for the Warriors who went into Roseau to start their week and picked up the big season sweep over their rivals. Mr. Hockey favorite Shaugabay led the way with 2 goals on the night and Warroad picked up big bragging rights for the remainder of the year up North. They then went over to AA Moorhead and took down the Spuds and stayed unbeaten on the year, however the injury severity of Pilgrim could be devastating news. This week they host three games vs 8AA Bemidji and then a Section 8A game vs Thief River Falls before finally welcoming Grand Forks Central to town from across the border as the Warriors continue to pursue perfection.
2. Hermantown (7A) (15-2-1)
Past Week Results: W 10-0 Superior, W 7-0 Proctor, W 6-3 #3 Mahtomedi
Upcoming Schedule: 2/1 vs #4 Orono, 2/2 vs Cloquet, 2/4 vs Totino Grace
The Hawks started their busy week by routing the team right across the border when they beat Superior by double digits. They followed that with another shutout win when they beat up on 7A neighbor Proctor in the middle part of their week. Hermantown finished the week by winning a big State seeding game over Mahtomedi when they won the Hockey Day Minnesota contest in an entertaining game. Now they can lock up the 2 seed at state with a big match up with highly ranked Orono this week.
3. Mahtomedi (4A) (11-6-0)
Past Week Results: L 2-4 Hill Murray, L 3-6 #2 Hermantown
Upcoming Schedule: 1/30 @ Hill Murray, 2/2 vs St Thomas Academy, 2/4 vs Simley
The Zephyrs dug themselves a big 3-0 hole vs Hill Murray at home to start their week and while they were able to cut the deficit to one the Pioneers were able to put the game away in the third period. The loss while not a bad one does sting a little more than normal due to this Pioneer team not being nearly as strong as normal. They finished the week dropping a back and forth contest with a good Hermantown team in a game we hope to see a rematch of at State. This week the schedule doesn’t get any easier with a rematch with AA Hill Murray and St Thomas Academy to start the week before a winnable game vs 4A Simley at the end of the week.
4. Orono (2A) (16-2-0)
Past Week Results: W 3-2 #17 New Prague, W 3-2 Waconia
Upcoming Schedule: 1/31 vs St Louis Park, 2/1 vs #2 Hermantown, 2/2 @ St. Louis Park
The Spartans had another week of close calls. The first game where vs New Prgaue trailed after 1 period but to their credit another good 2nd period gave them the lead and they won another tight hockey game. The Spartans then won another 3-2 game over Waconia to end their week. In what is a familiar pattern they fell behind after 1 period for the 8th straight game and used a good 2nd period to pull ahead and held on to win. This week they will get an opportunity to move up the rankings when they take on #2 Hermantown as well as heavy does of AA St Louis Pak.
5. East Grand Forks (8A) (12-6-0)
Past Week Results: W 6-1 Greenway
Upcoming Schedule: 1/31 vs Moorehead, 2/2 @ Grand Forks Central
The Greenwave took care of business in the only game of the week as they beat Greenway on the road to continue their streak of good play of late and win their 7th game in a row. Now this week they have two good challenges on their schedule when they take on a good AA Moorhead team and then face off against border rival Grand Forks Central to end the week. With the Warroad back to back series looming every game EGF plays is working on building to that as they have been very impressive in the 2nd half of the season this winter.
6. Northfield (1A) (15-4-0)
Past Week Results: W 8-3 Mankato East, W 3-0 Albert Lea, W 3-0 Rochester Mayo
Upcoming Schedule: 2/2 vs Rochester John Marshall, 2/4 @ Owatonna
The Raiders started their week off fast when they took it to Mankato East and put 8 goals on the road to pick up the Big Nine Conference victory. The Raiders then locked up the #1 seed in Section 1A when they shut out Albert Lea on the road in the middle of their week. Northfield finished the week by avenging their loss to Rochester Mayo from the week prior by winning a good hockey game at home. The Raiders sit comfortably at six in the rankings and have resume wins over Delano, Albert Lea, New Prague and Monticello and no real bad Class A losses. This week two more AA Big Nine Conference games they should be favored to win when they take on Rochester John Marshall and Owatonna.
7. Delano (2A) (10-8-0)
Past Week Results: W 4-2 Litchfield Dassel Cokato, L 2-3 Holy Family
Upcoming Schedule: 1/31 vs Hutchinson, 2/2 vs Holy Family, 2/4 vs #16 Minneapolis
Delano got their week started off on the right foot when they went on the road and picked up the big season sweep of Section 2A Litchfield Dassel Cokato. However, the Tigers were unable to overcome their Holy Family Curse as the Fire continued what seems like decades long domination over Delano and beat them in a tight 2-3 game. The Tigers resume is simple, they play a tougher schedule than anyone below them and only own losses to 5 of the top 6 teams in Class A or AA opponents. No one else in Class A has beat them. They have wins over SCC, Hibbing and sweep of LDC right now and still have some important games left but based on their resume they are a solid 7 in the Class A rankings compared to the rest of the field. This week Delano will get a chance for revenge vs the Fire but the Section 2A games are more important with the finale of the week vs 2A defending champion Minneapolis looking like a great game.
8. Detroit Lakes (8A) (13-4-1)
Past Week Results: W 3-2 OT Northern Lakes, W 6-2 Lake of the Woods
Upcoming Schedule: 1/31 vs Breckenridge/Wahpeton, 2/4 @ Brainerd
The Lakers found themselves in a surprising Mid State Conference battle with Northern Lakes to begin the week as they needed overtime to pull out the win. They then won their 4th game in a row to finish out the week picking up a Section 8A win over Lake of the Woods. To Detroit Lakes credit they are winning the games they should currently. The resume of the Lakers is the biggest questionable one of the current Top 10. They don’t own any big wins but they don’t have any terrible losses either. I will put them here for now as next week they do have one of the few question mark games left where they are not the heavy favorite to win when they take on Brainerd on the road at the end of the week to give them a test as they enter February.
9. Hibbing (7A) (13-6-1)
Past Week Results: W4-0 Duluth Marshall, L 1-2 Superior, W 4-2 #20 Thief River Falls
Upcoming Schedule: 1/31 @ International Falls, 2/3 @ North Shore
Hibbing started off their busy week by shutting out a struggling Duluth Marshall team at home. However, the road loss to Superior did sound off some alarm bells on this team for some of the doubters who exist on this team. They did rebound strongly with a good win over Thief River Falls, a team that tied Detroit Lakes, and the Bluejackets ended the week on a winning note. Overall Hibbing owns wins over Rock Ridge, MPLS and TRF, all who beat a team like Cathedral, and tie with Denfeld they have a solid schedule and they right now resume wise are still a Top 10 Class A team. This week they have two Section 7A games they should win as they look to lock up the #2 seed.
10. Rock Ridge (7A) (12-5-1)
Past Week Results: 3-4 OT Cloquet, W 6-1#13 Duluth Denfeld
Upcoming Schedule: 2/3 @ Brainerd, 2/4 @ Sartell
The Wolverines lost a heartbreaker in overtime to start their week in a game they battled back to tie up and they held the advantage in overtime but they missed two golden chances to score and right after that CEC went down and put the game on ice. Rock Ridge did rebound though to dominate 7A Duluth Denfeld at home and pick up a critical 7A second win and that should assure them a higher seed then the Hunters come playoffs. Rock Ridge now owns wins over MPLS, SCC, Providence Academy and a split with Denfeld and tie with Little Falls slots them in right around the 10th spot in these rankings This week they hit the road to take on two 8AA teams when they head to Brianerd and Sartell both should present good tests for the Wolverines.