Class A Rankings Week #1 (11/26/2023)

The official rankings from the first week of Class Games with a look at the sections. Minnesota Class AA High School Hockey Rankings will be released on Wednesdays this season. Enjoy and remember to follow @ClassAHockeyGuy and @MNHockeyLife on X (Twitter).

1. East Grand Forks (8A) (2-0-0)

Past Week Results: W 5-2 Gentry Academy, W 9-0 #14 Delano

Upcoming Schedule: 11/28 @ Detroit Lakes, 12/1 @ #5 Mahtomedi, 12/2 @ #3 St Cloud Cathedral

The Greenwave looked as good as they had been advertised in their opening weekend sweep at home to start the season. While the news of their starting goalie not returning for his senior year does hurt, they countered that by using waves of depth as line after line produced a heavy forecheck and they were able to frustrate and wear down a very skilled AA Gentry team to pick up a season opening win. They backed that up with another good win when they took down a traditionally strong Delano with ease by using the similar formula of depth and physicality to produce the home sweep. This week they will be tested as they hit the road and head to Detroit Lakes for a big 8A showdown and then follow that up with a back to back roadie vs Top 10 Mahtomedi and St Cloud Cathedral which will be a great test for this teams depth and new goaltenders.

2.            Hermantown (7A) (0-0-0)

Past Week Results: Idle

Upcoming Schedule: 12/1 @ Cretin Derham Hall, 12/2 @ Hill Murray

The Hawks were idle in the opening week but they did take a significant hit with the news of Dallas Vieau not returning which had been expected previously. Without Vieau this version of Hermantown could struggle scoring goals as he was the elite goal scorer of this team. However, as was noted in the preseason preview, the strength of this team lies in their defense and goaltending. They will be tested out of the gate as they hit the road to take on AA Private Powers Cretin Derham Hall and Hill Murray to start the year and that backend will be tested.

3.            St. Cloud Cathedral (5A) (1-0-1)

Past Week Results: T 2-2 #8 Thief River Falls, W 3-2 OT #4 Warroad

Upcoming Schedule: 11/28 vs Providence Academy, 12/2 vs #1 East Grand Forks

The Crusaders went up north and played two very Class A teams from 8A and came home unbeaten. Against Thief River Falls they had to settle for a 2-2 tie, but they would not be denied the win against Warroad as they were able to come away with a huge road victory when they were able to score with just .05 seconds left to pick up a marquee Class A win. This week they have two more very tough games as they have a dangerous Providence Academy team coming to town followed by a visit from the mighty #1 Greenwave. The Crusaders will look to protect their home ice and add it to their resume as they will be a team vying for top 3 seed come State Tournament time. 

4.            Warroad (8A) (1-1-0)

Past Week Results: W 6-3 #14 Delano, L 2-3 OT #3 St. Cloud Cathedral

Upcoming Schedule: 12/1 @ #7 Orono, 12/2 @ #5 Mahtomedi

The Warriors looked exactly as advertised during their opening weekend split. They have the best Top 5 group in Class A as Pilgrim, Marvin-Cordes and Lund were outstanding all weekend carrying them and playing mega minutes. However, there is a lot of work to be done everywhere else as they didn’t look as sharp as normal in their own end, the Will Hardwick injury hurts this D core, and lines two and three and their goaltending will need to work toward more consistency. They will be able to outscore most Class A teams because again the Top 5 are elite and potent but the development of the depth will be critical for this group to get that ultimate prize of State Title. They have two big time tests this weekend when they hit the road vs an Orono team looking for revenge for last year’s State Semi and then the State Champions Game rematch with the Zephyrs will end the week.

5.            Mahtomedi (4A) (1-1-0)

Past Week Results: L 2-5 Centennial, W 5-0 Blaine

Upcoming Schedule: 12/1 vs #1 East Grand Forks, 12/2 vs #4 Warroad

The Zephyrs are going to be tough team to rank as they are a Top 10 team but they play one of the toughest schedules in Class A that will more than likely have them producing a .500 record this winter but it will have them prepared for another Tourney run in March. Case in point taking on a solid AA Centennial to open the year in a game that they did cut deficit to one in the third period before ultimately falling. To their credit they did rebound and pick up a AA win over Blaine the following day which was expected. However, looking ahead, as I noted the schedule does not get any easier this week, and they will be visited by the #1 Greenwave followed by an angry group of Warriors looking for revenge from last year’s State Championship game. 

6.            Northfield (1A) (2-0-0)

Past Week Results: W 5-4 Providence Academy, W 7-1 #13 Hibbing

Upcoming Schedule: 11/28 vs #7 Orono, 11/30 @ Rochester Century/JM

The Raiders had an adventure at the TRIA Rink over the turkey break weekend and were able to come away with two very big wins. In the season opener they fell behind twice by 2 goals to Providence Academy. However, to their credit they were able to dig themselves out the hole twice to pick up a very nice comeback win. They followed that up by beating up on a very good young Hibbing crew to leave the cities with a statement win. The weekend showed that Northfield can score in bunches and should be contenders all year in Class A. They will be tested again this week with a big rematch of the State Quarterfinal Overtime Classic with Orono followed by a trip into the Big 9 to take on a tough Rochester co-opt.

7.            Orono (2A) (1-0-0)

Past Week Results: W 5-0 #12 Monticello

Upcoming Schedule: 11/28 @ #6 Northfield, 12/1 vs #4 Warroad, 12/2 vs #16 Little Falls

The Spartans were impressive in their one showing over the weekend as they controlled a good Monticello team from start to finish in a convincing 5-0 win. Highlights for Orono were getting multiple goals from underclassmen and their new starting goalie picking up a good shutout win. Now the Spartans will prepare for a monster week as they head south to take on #6 Northfield in a State Quarterfinal rematch before coming home and hosting #4 Warroad and #16 Little Falls to wrap up what will be a week of big tests early in the season.

8.            Thief River Falls (8A) (0-0-1)

Past Week Results: T 2-2 #3 St. Cloud Cathedral

Upcoming Schedule: 11/28 vs Roseau, 12/1 vs Sauk Rapids

The Prowlers had one of the more impressive results of the opening weekend in Class A when they tied preseason favorite St Cloud Cathedral. In a game where they led 2-1 late they showed they are going to be a tough and physical team to play against all winter. Thief River Falls is full of Seniors and Juniors who all have experience and all the pieces appear to be in place for this to be a Top 10 Class A team all year long and make Section 8A even more of a gauntlet. This week they have a major test when they get a visit from the high powered Rams before wrapping up the week with a game vs Sauk Rapids. 

9.            Alexandria (6A) (1-0-0)

Past Week Results: W 4-0 Chisago Lakes

Upcoming Schedule: 11/28 vs #16 Little Falls, 11/30 @ Brainerd

The Cards made sure there was no slow start to the season this year as they took care of business on the road. Alexandria jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and never let Chisago Lakes back into the game. They got scoring from multiple lines and their goaltender picked up a big shutout in his first varsity start of the year, all good signs for this club. Now the Cards will turn their attention to their home opener when they take on longtime rival #16 Little Falls. They will then head to Brianerd to start their CLC Conference slate as they will be looking to continue their strong start to the season.

10.         Cloquet/Esko/Carlton (7A) (0-0-0)

Past Week Results: Idle

Upcoming Schedule: 11/28 vs #13 Hibbing/Chisholm, 12/2 @ Bloomington Jefferson

The Lumberjacks were another one of the few Top Class A Teams that took the opening weekend off as they were idle in Week #1. They will start their season off in a big way this upcoming week as they took on the young up and coming Hibbing team that now has three games under their belt. This is a big early season 7A match up and could have implications on the #2 seed as it will be their only head-to-head meeting this winter. They will also take on AA Jefferson to end their week on the road.

11.         Northern Lakes (6A) (0-0-0)

Past Week Results: Idle

Upcoming Schedule: 11/28 @ Prairie Centre, 11/30 @ #18 Fergus Falls, 12/2 vs North Shore

The Lightning appear to have on paper their best team in program history, but we were forced to wait a week as they were idle to see this group play. They will kick their season off this week with three games and the first two having Section 6A Seeding implications. The game vs Top 20 Fergus Falls sticks out as very important as it’s the only time this year they face the Otters, a team who has ended their season the last two winters, making it a critical game for both teams battling over the top seeds in 6A. They will then wrap up their week with the home opener when they take on an improved North Shore team.

12.         Monticello (5A) (1-1-0)

Past Week Results: W 5-4 #16 Little Falls, L 0-5 #7 Orono

Upcoming Schedule: 11/30 vs Litchfield/Dassel/Cokato

The Moose had a very impressive opening season win and a good weekend overall as they took on two Top 20 Class A teams and showed a lot of promise and potential for this winter. They won the most important game of the weekend when they protected their home ice and took down #16 Little Falls in a very big 5A seeding game which could give them home ice in the playoff rematch. They followed that up by dropping a tough one to a fresh Top 10 Orono and while that loss did hurt it was a tough back-to-back game to play on the road very early in the year. This week just one game as they host Litchfield/Dassel/Cokato which they should be able to cruise in.

13.         Hibbing/Chisholm (7A) (1-2-0)

Past Week Result: L 2-5 Grand Rapids, W 3-2 Two Rivers, L 1-7 #6 Northfield

Upcoming Schedule: 11/28 @ #10 Cloquet/Esko/Carlton, 12/1 @ Albert Lea, 12/2 @ Mankato East

Hibbing opened the season with expected “growing pains” for this young team that has 9 sophomores and 2 freshmen in the lineup learning varsity hockey. They started that week by having a slow start out of the gate and digging a deep hole vs a good AA Grand Rapids club that they could not recover from. However, they did rebound over the Thanksgiving weekend when they picked up their first win of the year against Two Rivers before getting beat up by a good Northfield team. The Bluejackets will continue their road show this week with three more games away with the biggest being their only meeting of the season with new 7A foe Cloquet/Esko/ Carlton, a game that could have major implications on the #2 seed in 7A.

14.         Delano (2A) (0-2-0)

Past Week Results: L 3-6 #4 Warroad, L 0-9 #1 East Grand Forks

Upcoming Schedule: @ Buffalo

The Tigers took their young team up north and showed that there is some definite promise but also, they will need some time to build up their young core and learn varsity hockey to begin the year. They opened the road trip by playing Warroad tough in a back-and-forth game but ultimately the Warriors top end elite skill was too much for Delano to contain in the loss. They followed that up with tough back-to-back and they were physically overmatched by a deep and experienced EGF team that sent the Tigers home without a win on the young season. This team will be back in the Top 10 later this winter I believe but for now they drop down and they will have another tough one when they take on AA rival Buffalo this week on the road.

15.         Minneapolis (2A) (0-0-0)

Past Week Results: Idle

Upcoming Schedule: 11/28 @ St. Paul Academy, 12/1 vs Duluth Denfeld, 12/2 vs Hutchinson

The 612 crew was idle in their opening weekend but the news of their top Dman Hank Davis choosing not to return was a blow coming into the season. Minneapolis will be busy this week as they open their season with a three game slate that includes traveling to St Paul Academy and hosting, now AA, Duluth Denfeld. They wrap up the week with a very important Section 2A Seeding game when they take on Hutchinson that could serve as an important Section 2A sending game later in the year as we get closer to February.

16.         Little Falls (5A) (0-1-0)

Past Week Results: L 4-5 #12 Monticello

Upcoming Schedule: 11/28 @ #9 Alexandria, 11/30 @ Princeton, 12/2 @ #7 Orono

The Flyers opened their season on the road in a very important 5A seeding game. Little Falls showed they will again be a contender in Class A as they gave the Moose all they could handle before eventually falling by one goal in what was a really good high school hockey game. That loss will hurt as they dont play Monticello again in the regular season however Little Falls will need to regroup quickly as they have a very busy tough week upcoming playing Top 10 Alexandria and Orono with trip to 5A Princeton in the middle, a place they never play well, all on the road this week. 

17.         Proctor (7A) (2-0-0)

Past Week Results: W 9-0 Wadena Deer Creek, W 6-3 Rochester Lourdes

Upcoming Schedule: 11/30 @ Greenway, 12/1 @ Breck

The Rails did exactly what they needed to do in their opening weekend games. They took care of two lesser opponents to pick up two wins. They started the weekend by routing a WDC team and the score could have been worse if not for 60 plus save effort by the Wolverine goaltender. They then backed that up with a solid win over an improved Lourdes team to head into Week #2 with momentum. However, the injury to goaltender AJ Reylets is concerning and they will look to get him back in the net fast. This week they have a big 7A game with Greenway followed by a trip to Breck which could serve as a good test for this Proctor team.

18.         Fergus Falls (6A) (1-0-0)

Past Week Results: W 4-2 Detroit Lakes

Upcoming Schedule: 11/30 vs #11 Northern Lakes

The Otters picked up a minor upset when they went into Detroit Lakes and knocked off the Lakers to open their year. Fergus Falls has a nice scoring attack returning from last year and they were able to win round one of their rivalry with the Lakers. Now this week they will have only one game and the home opener is a huge Section 6A showdown as they take on ranked Northern Lakes. It is the only time they will play in the regular season so this game will have massive seeding implications and should give us a better idea on where both teams are at in this young season.  

19.         Southwest Christian/Richfield (4A) (0-0-0)

Past Week Results: Idle

Upcoming Schedule: Idle

In one of the oddest schedules you will see the Stars not only were idle for Week #1 but they will also stay idle for week two as they dont play their first game until December 7th of week three. Southwest Christian will be well rested and will be hoping the weather cooperates much better than it did last year as any reschedules will be coins possible 4 game weeks late in the year. Until then we will leave the Stars here based on the promise of what looks like theri programs best ever team on paper. 

20.         Luverne (3A) (0-0-0)

Past Week Results: Idle

Upcoming Schedule: 11/28 vs Marshall, 11/30 @ Redwood Valley, 12/2 vs Waseca

Roll Cards Roll was off the first week of the season but they are ready to jump into action this week as they have three games on the upcoming slate. They open the season with two 3A opponents and a Big South Conference team when they take on Marshall and Redwood Valley to start the week before finishing up with Waseca to end a busy opening week to the year for the Cardinals.

Next Five Notable Teams-

•              Dodge County (1A) (2-0-0)- The Wildcats had a very nice opening week as they took down Section 1A foe Red Wing with ease before beating a good veteran Simley squad to win the Spartan Turkey Tourney Championship. The Wildcats are a team to keep an eye on down south they can score and bunches and have lots of weapons up and down their line up.

•              Providence Academy (2A) (0-2-0)- The Lions showed they are dangerous, building up a two goal lead in the third period against Top 10 Northfield. However, that pesky leaky defense showed it head again and they dropped an opportunity to get a big win. They then dropped the following game to Two Rivers to show why this team is hard to trust or rank. A game with St Cloud Cathedral this week gives this group a great chance to make another big splash.

•              Detroit Lakes (8A) (0-1-0)- The Lakers are a younger team and that showed in their home opener when they dropped a tough one to their long trim rivals Fergus Falls. This is a group that will build its way back up and they have a great opportunity this week when they take on #1 East Grand Forks to make a big statement to the rest of the state.

•              New Ulm (3A) (0-0-0)- The Eagles were idle on the opening weekend but they will get going this week taking on two Section 3A and Big South Conference foes when they take on Worthington and Marshall both games that they will be favored to win to get their season off to a good start.

•              Hutchinson (2A) (0-0-0)- The Tigers were idle and their Football team won the Prep Bowl which means many young men have not been skating until this week. I would expect a slow start from the Tigers as they will be trying to catch up to everyone else now to start the year.

Class A 2023-23 Section Break Downs (11/26/23)

Section 1A Rankings (11/26/23)

1- Northfield (2-0-0)

2- Dodge County (2-0-0)

3- Albert Lea (0-0-0)

4- La Crescent (0-0-0)

5- Rochester Lourdes (0-1-0)

6- Winona (0-0-0)

7- Faribault (0-0-0)

8- Waseca (1-0-0)

9- Red Wing (1-1-0)

10- Austin (0-0-0)

Section 1A Outlook- Northfield had very good showing at the TRIA Rink with 2 nice wins Dodge County picked up a big 1A win over Red Wing on their way to winning the Thanksgiving Tourney in Simley. Rochester Lourdes dropped a tough one to a good Proctor team. Waseca was able to get their first win and beat Redwood Valley. All other 1A teams were idle in week #1.

Section 2A Rankings (11/26/23)

1- Orono (1-0-0)

2- Delano (0-2-0)

3- Minneapolis (0-0-0)

4- Hutchinson (0-0-0)

5- Providence Academy (0-2-0)

6- Breck (0-1-0)

7- Mound Westonka (0-0-0)

8- Litchfield Dassel-Cokato (0-0-0)

Section 2A Outlook- Orono picked up a very nice Class A win over Monticello to start their year. Delano challenged their young team playing to Class A best teams from 8A and went 0-2. Providence Academy got off to a nice start but lost a two goal lead and then ended up going winless on the weekend. Breck got beat by AA Armstong/Cooper in overtime and all other 2A teams were idle in week #1.

Section 3A Rankings (11/26/23)

1- Luverne (0-0-0)

2- New Ulm (0-0-0)

3- Mankato East (2-0-0)

4- Mankato West (0-0-0)

5- Marshall (1-1-0)

6- Minnesota River (0-0-0)

7- Windom (1-0-0)

8- Fairmont (0-0-0)

9- Worthington (0-0-0)

10- Redwood Valley (0-1-0)

Section 3A Outlook- Mankato East had a very nice start their year picking up two wins at the TRIA rink. Marshall went .500 at their Thanksgiving Tournament going 0-2. Redwood Valley dropped a tough opener to Waseca and all other 3A teams were idle in week #1.

Section 4A Rankings (11/26/23)

1- Mahtomedi (1-1-0)

2- Southwest Christian (0-0-0)

3- Simley (1-1-0)

4- Chisago Lakes (0-1-0)

5- St Paul Academy (0-1-0)

6- St Paul Highland Park (0-2-0)

7- South St Paul (0-0-0)

8- Bloomington Kennedy (1-1-0)

Section 4A Outlook- Mahtomedi got off to a .500 start as they split in Centennial. Simley went .500 at their own Thanksgiving Tournament. Chisago Lakes got shut out by a good Alexandria team. St Paul Academy got roughed up by Duluth Denfeld.  St. Paul Highland Park went (0-2-0) in their TRIA Thanksgiving Tournament. Bloomington Kennedy went .500 in Wisconsin. All other 4A teams were idle in week #1.

Section 5A Rankings (11/26/23)

1- St Cloud Cathedral (1-0-1)

2- Monticello (1-1-0)

3- Little Falls (0-1-0)

4- River Lakes (0-0-0)

5- Princeton (0-0-0)

6- Pine City (1-1-0)

7- Sauk Rapids (0-0-0)

8- Mora (0-0-0)

9- Becker/Big Lake (0-0-0)

Section 5A Outlook- St Cloud Cathedral went unbeaten up north picking up a huge win over Warroad. Monticello went .500 on the week while picking up a big 5A win over Little Falls. Pine City showed they are improved going 1-1 down in Marshall for Thanksgiving. All other 5A teams were idle in week #1.

Section 6A Rankings (11/26/23)

1- Alexandria (1-0-0)

2- Northern Lakes (0-0-0)

3- Fergus Falls (1-0-0)

4- Morris Benson (0-2-0)

5- Prairie Centre (0-0-0)

6- Wadena Deer Creek (0-2-0)

7- Willmar (0-0-0)

8- Breckenridge/Wahpeton (0-1-0)

Section 6A Outlook- Alexandria got theri season off to a good start with a win over Chisago Lakes. Fergus Falls picked up a good win in their opener at rival Detroit Lakes. Morris Benson dropped both games in the Marshall Thanksgiving Tournament. Wadena Deer Creek took two losses in their northern swing to start the year. Breckenridge/Wahpeton dropped its opener to Bagley Fosston. All other 6A teams were idle in week #1.

Section 7A Rankings (11/26/23)

1- Hermantown (0-0-0)

2- Cloquet/Esko/Carlton (0-0-0)

3- Hibbing (1-2-0)

4- Proctor (2-0-0)

5- International Falls (0-0-0)

6- Greenway (0-1-0)

7- North Shore (1-0-0)

8- Ely (2-0-0)

9- Moose Lake (0-0-0)

Section 7A Outlook- Hibbing dropped two of their first 3 games of the year to good opponents.Proctor picked up 2 nice wins over the weekend. Greenway had a rough opening week losing a lead late in a loss. North Shore got a good opening season win over WDC. Ely swept the opener over KCC to get off to a good (2-0-0) start. All other 7A teams were idle in week #1.

Section 8A Rankings (11/26/23)

1- East Grand Forks (2-0-0)

2- Warroad (1-1-0)

3- Thief River Falls (0-0-1)

4- Detroit Lakes (0-1-0)

5- Red Lake Falls (0-0-0)

6- Park Rapids (0-1-1)

7- Crookston (0-0-0)

8- Lake of the Woods (0-0-0)

9- Kittson County Central (0-2-0)

10- Bagley/Fosston (1-0-0) Section 8A Outlook- East Grand Forks picked up two good wins on its opening weekend of the year over Gentry and Delano. Warroad went .500 in their opener but picked up a nice win over Delano. Thief River Falls picked up a very good tie with St Cloud Cathedral. Detroit Lakes lost to its rival Fergus Falls.  Park Rapids went (0-1-1) at the Simley Thanksgiving Tournament. Kittson Central got swept by Ely. Bagley/Fosston won its opener to start (1-0). All other 8A teams were idle in week #1.