Class A Guy’s Rankings Week #13 (2/18/2024)

Class A Rankings Week #13 (2/18/2024):

The Final A Ranking and after 13 weeks we are back to the same Preseason Top 10. Due to it being the last rankings usual format change here: a top 25 presented with shorter explanation, followed by a breakdown of each section including descriptions of each team. Let the Playoffs Begin!

1. Hermantown (7A) (15-8-2)

Past Week Results: W 4-1 Grand Rapids

Upcoming Schedule: Section 7A Playoffs

The Hawks wrapped up the regular season with a nice win over the 7AA #1 seed Grand Rapids and they will now prepare to try to win their 14th 7A Title in the last 15 years as the Section’s #1 seed.

Class A Resume: Key Wins: #2 SCC, #3 EGF, #5 Maht, #7 Delano, #10 CEC, #11 Hibbing, #14 Proctor OT  Key loss: #4 Warroad

2. St. Cloud Cathedral (5A) (20-4-1)

Past Week Results: W 3-2 #15 Little Falls, W 3-0 #12 Monticello

Upcoming Schedule: Section 5A Playoffs

The Crusaders went on the road and beat their two main 5A rivals in #15 Little Falls and #12 Monticello this week to wrap up the #1 seed. SCC will now enter the playoffs red hot having won 12 of their last 13 games.

Class A Resume: Key Wins: #3 EGF, #4 Warroad OT,  #6 Orono, #8 NFLD, #9 Alex, #10 CEC, #12 Monti #15 LF x2 & #17 NL x2  Key Losses: #1 Hawks & #7 Delano

3. East Grand Forks (8A) (16-8-1)

Past Week Results: W 3-1 #13 Thief River Falls, L 0-5 Roseau

Upcoming Schedule: Section 8A Playoffs

The Greenwave got the win they needed over #13 Thief River Falls to earn the #1 seed in the Section 8A Playoffs. However, the shutout loss to the Rams does raise an eyebrow a bit but EGF will now head into sections looking to end the Warrior reign on 8A.

Class A Resume: Split #4 Warroad Key Wins: #5 Maht, #7 Delano, #143 TRFx2  Key Losses:, #1 Hawks, #2 SCC & #9 CEC

4. Warroad (8A) (20-5-0)

Past Week Results: W 4-3 Bemidji, W 3-0 #17 Northern Lakes

Upcoming Schedule: Section 8A Playoffs

The Warriors picked up two wins to finish out the year and get to 20 wins. They were as predicted given the #2 seed in Section 8A and that really doesn’t matter too much as they will be on their home ice for the Sectional and will look to get back to state for the 3rd straight year.

Class A Resume: Split: #3 EGF Key Wins: #1 Hawks, #3 EGF OT, #5 Maht OT, #6 Orono, #7 Delano, #13 TRF x2 Key loss: #2 SCC OT

5. Mahtomedi (4A) (14-11-0)

Past Week Results: W 2-1 OT Cretin Derham Hall, W 5-3 Woodbury

Upcoming Schedule: Section 4A Playoffs

The Zephyrs had a nice finish to the year as they were able to pick up two more wins this week, an OT victory over CDH and then Woodbury to end the regular season. Mahtomedi went (11-4-0) in last 15 games and look in good shape as the #1 seed in Section 4A to get back to State to try and defend their title.

Class A Resume: Key Wins: #6 Orono & #10 CEC Key Losses: #1 Hawks, #3 EGF, #4 Warroad OT & #7 Delano OT

6. Orono (2A) (17-8-0)

Past Week Results: W 4-1 Bloomington Jefferson, W 7-1 Chaska

Upcoming Schedule: Section 2A Playoffs

The Spartans finished the season on a good note winning two games against the lower tier of the Metro West Conference. They will be the #1 seed in Section 2A and should have an excellent shot at returning to state in 2 weeks as they appear to be back at full strength up front and rolling heading into playoffs.

Class A Resume: Key Wins: #7 Delano, #8 NFLD, #9 Alex, #12 Monti & #15 LF Key Losses: #2 SCC, #4 Warroad & #5 Maht

7. Delano (2A) (16-8-1)

Past Week Results: W 4-1 #18 Southwest Christian/Richfield, W 2-1 OT #8 Northfield

Upcoming Schedule: Section 2A Playoffs

The Tigers finished the year on a very strong note as they took down #18 Southwest Christian/Richfield and then picked up a big overtime win over #8 Northfield to head into the playoffs feeling very good. They will now be named the #2 seed in Section 2A and get ready to try and make a run to state with a very young team.

Class A Resume: Key Wins: #2 SCC, #5 Maht OT, #8 NFLD OT, #18 SWC x2 Key Losses: #1 Hawks, #3 EGF, #4 Warroad & #6 Orono

8. Northfield (1A) (19-4-2)

Past Week Results: W 8-0 Faribault, L 1-2 OT #7 Delano

Upcoming Schedule: Section 1A Playoffs

The Raiders ended the year by dismantling 1A Faribault to lock up the #1 seed in 1A. However, the overtime loss to #7 Delano at the end of the week really puts a big dent into their chances at being seeded at State should they get there. They just still have not been able to get that win vs a Top 10 Class A team. 

Class A Resume: Key Wins:#11 Hibbing & #12 Monti Key Losses: #2 SCC, #6 Orono #7 Delano OT

9. Alexandria (6A) (15-9-1)

Past Week Results: W 5-2 #17 Northern Lakes, W 6-3 Fergus Falls

Upcoming Schedule: Section 6A Playoffs

The Cards move back into their preseason spot of #9 in the rankings. They showed this week they are the favorite to 3 peat in 6A with wins over #17 Northern Lakes & Fergus Falls this week and they have currently won 11 of their last 13 games to be playing their best hockey now.

Class A Resume: Spilt #15 LF Key Wins: #12 Monti & #17 NL x2 Key Losses: #2 SCC & #6 Orono

10. Cloquet/Esko/Carlton (7A) (12-13-0)

Past Week Results: Idle

Upcoming Schedule: Section 7A Playoffs

The Lumberjacks took the week of and found out they earned the #2 seed in the Section 7A playoffs. They will now begin their first ever venture through the Class A Playoffs when they host #7 seed Ely.

Class A Resume: Key Win: #3 EFG, #11 Hibbing, #14 Proctor  Key losses- #1 Hawks, #2 SCC & #5 Maht

11. Hibbing/Chisholm (7A) (17-8-0)

Past Week Result: L 1-7 Rock Ridge

Upcoming Schedule: Section 7A Playoffs

Hibbing took a tough loss at the end of the year and dropped outside the Top 10. They may have also lost key players to injury in a  physical game with Rock Ridge. We will have to see the lineup card vs #6 seed Greenway this week in the &7A Quarterfinals.

Class A Resume: Key wins: #14 Proctor & #13 TRF Key Losses: #1 Hawks, #8 NFLD, #9 CEC & #15 LF

12. Monticello (5A) (19-5-1)

Past Week Results: W 4-3 OT Minneapolis, L 0-3 #2 St Cloud Cathedral

Upcoming Schedule: Section 5A Playoffs

The Moose had a very nice comeback win over Minneapolis to start the week but they were unable to get anything going vs the Section’s top team #2 St Cloud Cathedral to end the regular season. The loss drops them to the #2 seed as they get ready for the 5A Playoffs.

Class A Resume: Key Win: #15 LF Key Losses: #2 SCC, #6 Orono, #8 NFLD & #9 Alex

13. Thief River Falls (8A) (14-10-1)

Past Week Results: L 1-3 #3 East Grand Forks, W 3-0 Bemidji

Upcoming Schedule: Section 8 Playoffs

The Prowlers finished the regular season by getting beat in a close game by #3 East Grand Forks but then turned around and beat a red hot Bemidji team. They will have the #3 seed in Section 8A and will have to score some goals in big games if they want to advance past the Semifinal round.

Class A Resume: Key Win: #15 LF Key Losses: #3 EGF x2, #4 Warroad x2  #11 Hibbing & #17 NL Key Tie: #2 SCC

14. Proctor (7A) (18-7-0)

Past Week Results: L 1-4 #17 Northern Lakes

Upcoming Schedule: Section 7A Playoffs

The Rails stumbled to end the year as they dropped the rematch vs #17 Northern Lakes at home. Now they turn their attention to the playoffs where they will be the #4 seed and get their shot at a rematch with the mighty Hawks in the Section Semis.

Class A Resume: Split: #17 NL Key Wins: #15 LF Key Losses: #1 Hawks OT, #10 CEC & #11 Hibbing

15. Little Falls (5A) (16-9-0)

Past Week Results: L 2-3 #2 St Cloud Cathedral

Upcoming Schedule: Section 5A Playoffs

The Flyers may have dropped the season finale to highly ranked 5A #2 St Cloud Cathedral but they showed they can play with the Crusaders and they have to feel good about their chances if they meet again. For the Section 5A #3 seed will focus on Princeton who is a scary 6 seed.

Class A Resume: Spilt #12 Alex Key Wins: #11 Hibbing, #16 Luverne, #17 NL x2  Key Losses: #2 SCC x2, #6 Orono,  #12 Monti, #13 TRF, #14 Proctor, #21 DL

16. Luverne (3A) (23-2-0)

Past Week Results: W 11-3 Fairmont, W 6-2 Waseca, W 6-2 #19 La Crescent

Upcoming Schedule: Section 3A Playoffs

Roll Cards Roll had a very impressive finish to the year as they won all three games and capped it off with a very nice win over a red hot #20 La Crescent squad. They will now head into the Section 3A playoffs as the #1 seed and will be a favorite to get back to St Paul.

Class A Resume: Key Wins: #19 Dodge County, #20 LaC, #22 New Ulm x2  Key loss- #15 LF

17. Northern Lakes (6A) (16-9-0)

Past Week Results: L 2-5 #9 Alexandria, W 4-1 #14 Proctor, W 6-0 Lake of the Woods, L 0-3 #1 Warroad

Upcoming Schedule: Section 6A Playoffs

The Lightning had a (.500) finish in their busy 4 game week to finish out the year. They were swept by #9 Alexandria to put them into the #2 seed but they should get a 3rd shot at them in the 6A Final. The revenge win over #14 Proctor, who beat them over the holidays, was nice but they were not able to muster much vs #4 Warroad to end the regular season.

Class A Resume: Split: #14 Proctor Key wins: #13 TRF &  #18 SWC Key Losses: #2 SCC x2 , #9 Alex x2, #15 LF x2

18. Southwest Christian/Richfield (4A) (15-10-0)

Past Week Results: L 1-4 #7 Delano, L 1-5 Holy Family

Upcoming Schedule: Section 4A Playoffs

The Stars went (0-2-0) to finish up the season vs the best two WCC teams but that should not hurt their section seed as they will most likely be the #2 seed in Section 4A and have a good shot to make program history and advance to their first ever Semifinal and possibly Section final over the next two weeks.

Class A Resume: Key wins: #19 DC & #23 MPLS Key Losses: #6 Orono, #7 Delano x2, #14 Proctor, #17 NL & #22 NU

19. Dodge County (1A) (17-7-1)

Past Week Results:  W 6-2 Winona, L 0-8 Minnesota River

Upcoming Schedule: Section 1A Playoffs

The Wildcats won the most important game of the week over Winona which secured them a top 3 seed and their head to head win over La Crescent should give them the #2 1A seed. However, the end of the week meltdown vs Minnesota River does not make one feel inspired about this team making a deep playoff run.

Class A Resume: Key wins: #20 La Crescent & #21 DL  Key Losses: #16 Luverne & #18 SWC

20. La Crescent-Hokah (1A) (23-2-0)

Past Week Results: L 2-6 #16 Luverne

Upcoming Schedule: Section 1A Playoffs

The Lancers dropped their finale of the year vs a very good #16 Luverne squad. The lose does raise some question heading into the Section 1A Playoffs where they will likely be the #3 seed and look to make school history and advance to their 1st every Section Final.

Class A Resume: Key wins: 23 wins in 25 games  Key Losses: #16 Luverne & #19 DC

Next Five Notable Teams-

•              Detroit Lakes (8A) (11-13-1)- The Lakers took the last week of the season off to tune up for the 8A playoffs. They hope the tougher schedule, while it may have hurt their record, will pay off and help them make a deeper playoff run. 

•              New Ulm (3A) (20-5-0)- The Eagles Went (.500) on the week to end the regular season and they were able to pick up their 20th win on the year which is no small feat. They should be the #2 seed in Section 3A and have a good shot at making it to State.

•              Minneapolis (2A) (10-15-0)- The 612 crew dropped a prime opportunity to get a big win when they blew a 3-1 lead vs #12 Monticello in the regular season finale only to fall in overtime. They are still the #3 seed in 2A and they will look to surprise everyone and make a run.  

•              Providence Academy (2A) (10-15-0)- The Lions showed again this week what they are capable of when they took down Chisago Lakes with a big seven goal effort. Now they will head into a very tough 2A Quarterfinal game with Breck in what may be the best quarterfinal of the Class A Playoffs.

•              Chisago Lakes (4A) (11-13-1)- The Wildcats ran into the “Louie Show” in their last game of the year as his 5 pts were too much to overcome and they dropped the regular season finale. However, they will be the top 3 seed in 4A with a chance to make a run.

BHS Class A 2023-24 Section Playoff Preview:

Below are the section previews; some of these seeds (1A, 2A, 3A & 4A) are projections as of now. 

Section 1A

Play In 2/19 High Seed

QF 2/21 High Seed

SF 2/24 Rochester Rec Center

F 2/28 Rochester Rec Center

Section 1A Projected Seeding

1- Northfield (19-4-2)

2- Dodge County (17-7-1)

3- La Crescent-Hokah (23-2-0)

4- Albert Lea (13-11-1)

5- Rochester Lourdes (9-16-0)

6- Winona (16-7-1)

7- Waseca (14-11-0)

8- Faribault (9-15-0)

9- Red Wing (6-18-1)

10- Austin (4-21-0)

The Favorite- Northfield who is the defending Section 1A champion comes into this sectional looking like the heavy favorites. Seniors Jake Geiger, Cayden Monson & Kam Kaiser give Northfield a trio of big time forwards  and they have accounted for a huge chunk of the team’s goals this year though they have split them up late in the year. The Raiders also have a good blueline led by Senior Ty Frank who missed half the year due to injury and in his absence youngsters Freshman Ben Geiger & Sophomore Bridger Riley played well and have developed into big time defenders. Goaltending would appear to be the biggest question if there is one surrounding this team but Senior Trey Shimota & Junior Max Frank have split the net right down the middle on the year and both have played well when given their opportunities.

The Challengers-  The two main contenders to the Raiders appear to be a pair of programs led by dynamic scoring duos who are looking to make a big run in the section. Dodge County had a fantastic regular season and they are led up front by one of more dangerous scoring duos in the State of  Junior Brett Ludvigsen & Senior Gryffon Funke who each had massive years and been a force in every game they played. On the blue line Senior Bronson Freerksen & Sophomore Jeremiah Peterson-Gordon have been excellent and highly productive from the back end. Add to them Goaltender Senior Jackson Roethler who has been absolutely fabulous in the net down the stretch and the Wildcats look like a team that is ready to make a serious section run.

La Crescent-Hokah, the other main section contender, comes into the playoffs having a record setting year and they now look to go where no previous Lancer teams has gone before them the Section Finals. They are led by their superstar duo of their own in Seniors Wyatt Farrell & Noah Gillette each have put up video game like numbers this year. Add to them foreign exchange Senior Michael Stojka and there is scoring depth within their lineup.Add in Seniors Colton Holzer & Tobias Sajdok on the back end who can add instant offense and the puck out of their end and the Lancers have a potent lineup. Senior Collin Morken & Sophomore Charlie Wieser have split the net all year and both have had impressive seasons as La Crescent knows it’s now or never for this team to make some serious program history over the next two weeks.

The Dark Horse- Winona would win the luck of the draw by getting the 6 seed which puts them on the opposite side of the bracket from the heavily favored Raiders. However, going on the road and Quarterfinals and getting through the semis will not be an easy feat. The powerful trio of Seniors Teis Larsen & John Vail along with Junior Aven Prodzinski give the Winhawks the scoring ability to match up with the offensively gifted Lancer and Wildcat teams. Add in Senior Michael Dubek in net, who is one of top goalies in the Big 9, and the pieces would appear to be in place for Winona to make a low seed run in 1A.

Section Scary- Section 1A does not have the depth of providing many section upsets but Waseca could be your best bet for a big first round upset at the 7 seed. This is a very good young team and as they are lead by 9th graders Griffin Storey & Cash Lynch and Juniors Brayden Hesch-Priem & Hunter Anderson and host of other underclassman who could give us a playoff surprise and they did play Dodge County tight during the regular season. .

The Rest- The 4 vs 5 game should be a great contest however, the probability of either knocking off the mighty Raiders seems very low in the semifinals. Albert Lea had a strong second half of their season fishing on a strong note after starting the year (3-7-1) and they are led by Seniors Eli Farris & Junior Connor Pirsig who both had very productive seasons. Rochester Lourdes record is not great but they have played a tough schedule and shown that they can be an upset pick, like when knocked off Dodge County earlier this year, on any given night. Seniors Peyton Loeslie & AJ Ritter lead the way for the Eagles as both have had good years. Faribault has had a tough year that included a coaching change mideason but the Falcons are led by Senior Oliver Linnemann & Sophomore Tommy Kunze who have been their big goal scorers on the season. Red Wing hasn’t won many games but they are kept in it most nights thanks to the efforts of Goaltender Senior Ellis Petersmeyer who routinely sees 30 to 40  plus shots a game. Austin had a fast start to the year but really struggled late. They are led by Juniors Gahvin Schaefer & Grady Carney who are leading the team in scoring again this winter for the second straight year

Section 2A

QF 2/21 High Seed

SF 2/24 St Louis Park Rec Center

F 2/28 St Louis Park Rec Center

Section 2A Projected Seeding

1- Orono (17-8-0)

2- Delano (16-8-1)

3- Minneapolis (10-15-0)

4- Providence Academy (10-15-0)

5- Breck (14-10-1)

6- Mound Westonka (12-12-1)

7- Hutchinson (7-16-2)

8- Litchfield Dassel-Cokato (4-19-1)

The Favorite- Orono the defending 2A champion comes into the sectional as the favorite to defend their title. A big Senior class has helped carry the Spartans all year, though injuries have had an impact on them, they appear to be getting healthy late in the year. They have actually been led up front by a pair of Sophomores Jackson Knight & Rory Kvern, who lead the team in goals, and they along with Seniors Easton Sankey, Tommy Lewin, Cayden Effertz and Junior Trey Landa have led the offense for a team that struggles at times putting the puck in the net. Their strength lies in their back end as their defensive core when healthy is as good as you will see in Class A anchored by Seniors John Engebretson, Joey Mugaas, Rylan Schultz & Sophomore Luca DeCubellis. In the net, Goaltender Senior Peyton Anderson appears to be the main guy as he took charge late in the year and Orono will look to make a return trip to state.

The Challengers-  The two main challengers to the Spartans’ repeat attempt are familiar opponents who play vastly different styles. Delano is a young team that has gotten progressively better as the year has gone on and that is not surprising knowing their coaching staff. The Tigers appear to be primed for a playoff run like always playing their tight lock down structure built for playoff success. Senior Teague Collings and Juniors Mason Hargarten, Joseph McCabe & Bryce Peterson have led the way front and they have been great mentors to a really good core of growing Sophomores Daniel Halonen, Andrew Bruett, Brody Geislinger & Jacob Parlich. The Tigers are always strong in their own end and Seniors Brayden Coppin & Vinny Cappelleri along with Junior Aaron Halonen have been the leaders on the blueline. A midseason injury to Senior Ethan Engelmann has opened the door to Sophomore Evan Geyen becoming the guy in net. This is a scary team that can definitely make a run.

Minneapolis is the other contender that has really struggled with consistency all year and the record shows that season long hardship. However, the strength of the 612 crew is upfront as they have some serious scoring power as Seniors Ozzie Snodgrass & John Bebler and Juniors Nick Anderson & Johan Krasean and Sophomore Eli Milinkovich can all put the puck in the net. The issue for this team has been on the blueline and keeping the puck out of their own net. They will need to defend better but they have shown late in the year a better commitment to their own end and if they are willing to play defense they have the scoring prowess to cause issues and make a serious section run.

The Dark Horses- As noted earlier the winner of the 4 vs 5 game definitely can make a run and win this section as a dark horse pick. Providence Academy has one of the state’s most lethal scorers in Senior Louie Wehmann and he and linemate Senior Sammy Lewis can cause problems for their opponents. However, for the Lions to make a run they will need to defend better in their own end as they often try to outscore teams which against 2A’s best won’t get the job done. Breck is the other darkhorse at play in 2A as the Mustangs have shown all year they can play with just about anyone. Seniors Nate Miller & Paddy Greene along with Junior Ben Amato & Sophomore Garrett Trench have all had really good years offensively. This is a team with a big senior core and they have shown at times this season the pieces needed to make a section run.

Section Scary- Section 2A had the biggest quarterfinal upset of the year last year in Class A and if there was going to be one this year Mound Westonka appears to be the best bet. The Whitehawks have been one Class A’s most improved teams and Sophomores Liam Grant & Collin Hagen along with Junior Blake Decker lead a very young team that could be a scary 6 seed for the 612 team to face in the Section Quartinals.

The Rest- It been a disappointing year for Hutchinson as they never really captured the momentum built off last year and returning their core of Juniors Manny Pearce, Emmett Reiter, Toren Miller & Nathan Thode who have all had nice years but the depth just hasn’t been there to compete with the sections best and now they will have third go around with Delano who has beaten them twice this year. Litchfield Dassel Cokato came into the year knowing it was going to be a large rebuilding effort and that is exactly how the season has played out. Junior Kasey Melquist along with Sophomore Anton Haataja have been some of the bright spots for this young team that has spent the year learning varsity hockey and should be better for it next season

Section 3A

Play In 2/20 High Seed

QF 2/22 High Seed

SF 2/24 Gustavus

F 2/28 Gustavus

Section 3A Projected Seeding

1- Luverne (23-2-0)

2- New Ulm (20-5-0)

3- Mankato East (12-11-2)

4- Mankato West (8-15-2)

5- Marshall (14-11-0)

6- Minnesota River (14-11-0)

7- Windom (6-19-0)

8- Worthington (7-17-0)

9- Fairmont (2-23-0)

10- Redwood Valley (1-23-0)

The Favorite- Luverne comes in as the heavy favorite to head to State for the 4th time in the last 10 years and for the first time ever to make a back to back State Tourney appearance. There is a lot to like about Roll Cards Roll as they have an explosive and deep scoring lineup as Seniors Patrick Kroski, Owen Sudenga, Elliot Domagala and Sophomores Landyn Lais & Maddux Domagala have all had big offensive seasons. Add in Senior Henry Hasrtquist, Junior Blaik Bork, Sophomore Jaxon Lais & 9th grader Ben Hartquist on the blueline are all having big years and there are plenty of scorers up and down the line up card. Senior Tyler Arends is in his 3rd full year as the starter in net and he back boned the teams run to State last year and this team looks locked and loaded for a return trip to State.

The Challenger-  New Ulm appears to be the main challenger in the way of Luverne making back to back State tournament trips. The Eagles have fought through the injury bug but are hoping to be at full strength for the playoff run unlike last year. The Eagles have plenty of firepower of their own in Seniors Austin Uecker, Kaden Larson, & Bryer Lang along with Junior Ian Brudelie & Brecken Neuman to be able to match up with the offense of the section favorite. Also, they have great experience of their own net as Senior Bryer Hoffmann can steal a game on any given night and is one the top goaltenders in all of Southwest Minnesota to make New Ulm a legit contender to get to State.

The Dark Horses- The two main dark horses in 3A reside in the same city as both Mankato schools play tougher schedules during the year to prepare them for a deep playoff run. Mankato East is looking to get back to State after falling short in their repeat attempt last winter. The Cougars have had a very nice finish to the year going (4-1-1) in their last 6 games. Seniors Christian Theuninck & Owen Quist and Junior Caden Hansen will need to lead the way as they have done all season and this could be a very dangerous sleeper team to win Section 3A. Mankato West has struggled all season with scoring but they play a very tough in your face physical style that most in 3A teams are not accustomed to and could cause teams issues. They will need big physical Senior Gage Schmidt to lead the way and hope that by the playoffs their most skilled player Junior Jaeger Zimmerman will hopefully have found his hockey legs after missing the majority of the season due to injury. They will be in every game as Sophomore Mason Schreiber has been rock solid in net and if they can average 3 goals for three straight games watch out for the Scarlets.

Section Scaries- Section 3A’s toughest low seed opponent could be Minnesota River as the Bulldogs are an experienced group who have shown at times they can get hot and go on a win streak. Seniors Drew Simonette & Travis Kotek along with Junior Cole Goecke and Sophomore Riley Kamm have carried the offense. They are a team full of experience and will be a tough Quarterfinal opponent. Marshall is the other road playoff team that could have an upset or two within this section.  Senior Talen Plante is as good as they come and provides a ton of offense from the back end while Junior Owen Renslow has had a big year up front for the Tigers. Senior Gavin Welsh has had a very good year in the net and Marshall does have the pieces to get back to Gustavus this year and cause the high seeds some issues. 

The Rest- Worthington is much improved this year and they have grown throughout the season. The Trojans have gotten big years out of their Junior duo of Spenser Nickel & Easton Newman who both have had big goal scoring years. Windom has had a down year compared to the teams they have had recently but that hasn’t stopped Seniors Sonny Heil & Wriley Haugen from having big offensive years. Fairmont has had a tough season as well but youngster Sophomore Gavin Kester has been a bright spot as the team’s leading goal scorer. Redwood Valley was only able to win one game this year but give credit to 9th grader Jacob O’Halloran in net as he shows up every night and competes while facing 50-60 shots nightly.

Section 4A

QF 2/22 & 2/23 Aldrich

SF 2/26 Aldrich

F 2/29 Aldrich

Section 4A Projected Seeding

1- Mahtomedi (14-11-0)

2- Southwest Christian/Richfield (15-10-0)

3- Chisago Lakes (11-13-1)

4- St Paul Highland Park (12-13-0)

5- St Paul Academy (9-15-0)

6- South St Paul (8-16-1)

7- Simley (5-18-2)

8- Bloomington Kennedy (4-21-0)

The Favorite- Mahtomedi again on paper appears to be the heavy favorite to win 4A for the 6th time in the last 7 years. The Defending State Champs have been a source of debate all year as to just how good this team is due to their pedestrian record but a deeper look will show they don’t have a bad loss all year. Sophomore Jimmy Egan who along with Seniors Patrick Egan & Jake Hodd-Chlebeck and Junior Gene Wegleitner do most of the scoring. The Zephyrs defensive core led by Junior Sam Harris and Seniors William Brummel, Wyatt Tarnowski & Cole Swanson all have experience and were key pieces to last year’s state title run. In net Senior Charlie Brandt is back but he has split time with Junior Wes Strub and both have up and down years. This team does appear more vulnerable than normal but it will take a big effort for the rest of 4A to keep them out of the X in a few weeks.

The Challenger-  Southwest Christian/Richfield would appear to be the main challenger in their new section hom this year. Up front they have experience and have gotten good scoring depth from Seniors Jared Greiner, Eli Hoffman, Kaden Feltmann, Owen Zick & Junior Paul Hornor and add to them an elite defenseman in Sophomore Tate Hardacre who along with their veteran leader Senior Kael Lundquist give the Stars s good core of talent to make a run. Their X factor may be in net as big 6 ‘7 goaltender Senior Jannes Kamp keeps the Stars in every game they will be tough out and potential upset pick to win Section 4A.

The Dark Horse- Chisago Lakes has been in the 4A final the last two years but this season has been a struggle at times due to a rash of injuries to key pieces all season. Despite all that it appears that the Wildcats could be  pretty healthy for the playoffs and could be a good darkhorse pick to make a run in Section 4A. Senior Jack Bakken & Joseph Alexander along with Juniors Ben Kerkow & Max Bobrowski have all had good offensive campaigns. The issue has been the back end as Seniors Andrew Swanson & Nolan Purdy have both missed time due to injury but both are hoping to back to help stabilize the blueline for playoffs and help out their young goaltending to make another run in Section 4A.

Section Scary- South St Paul is a low seed that no one in 4A wants to see in the first round. A new coach has injected some life into this historic program this year. They appear to be the best bet for a low seed section upset in the first round with the section. In order for that to happen they will need big games from leading goal scorer Junior Roddick Simons and a standout game goaltender Senior Wyatt Cheney who seems to be at his best when he is getting a massive amount of shots in the net.

The Rest- St Paul Highland Park has had a very nice year especially within Section 4A. The Scots have used a very balanced attack as Junior Isaac Johnson along with Seniors Benny Waud, Will Warner & Oscar Andestic all have nearly double digit goals on the year and they will be looking to get some revenge as they fell in the 4 vs 5 game a year ago. They will get a rematch with St Paul Academy again this year and it’s been a little bit of a disappointing year for the Spartans. SPA just has not gotten much offense this year and if they want playoff success they will need that to change and they will look to Senior Will Black & Junior Ethan Peltier who are the teams two leading scorers. Simley is another team that has had a disappointing year considering all the letterwinners they brought back. Things just have never seemed to click this year but the return of Senior Matt Milner who missed over half the year has sparked this group a little bit of late. Bloomington Kennedy has had a tough year but they will look to goaltender Senior Rohr Brockman for some playoff magic as he has some huge games this year and he can stand on his head to hold his team in the game.

Section 5A

Play In 2/17 High Seed (BBL defeated Mora/Milaca 6-4)

QF 2/20 High Seed

SF 2/24 High Seed

F 2/28 Furniture and Things Community Event Center

Section 5A Seeds

1- St Cloud Cathedral (20-4-1)

2- Monticello (19-5-1)

3- Little Falls (16-9-0)

4- River Lakes (14-9-2)

5- Pine City (12-13-0)

6- Princeton (11-12-2)

7- Sauk Rapids (9-13-3)

8- Becker/Big Lake (16-9-0)

9- Mora/Milaca (14-11-1)

The Favorite- St Cloud Cathedral has been excellent all year and they come into the 5A sectional red hot having won 12 of their last 13 games. Cathedral is led by their big line of Senior Andrew Dwinnell and Juniors John Hirschfeld & Joey Gillespie who are one of the scariest trios that you will see in all of Class A. They have gotten some depth scoring as the year has gone on from Senior Cole Hwang & Junior Jaeger Wood. On the blueline Sophomore Griffin Sturm is one of the top young defenseman in the state. Then you factor in that SCC is unbeaten when goaltender Senior Nick Hansen is in net and plays a full game. It all adds up to a very complete team that will be very difficult to knock off as the Crusaders looked primed to defend their 5A title.

The Challengers-  The two main contenders to the Crusaders would appear to be two very traditionally strong Class A programs in their own right. Monticello comes in having had a fantastic regular season and they are led by their big line of Seniors Roman Thompson, Gunnar Simon & Junior Landen Scherber who have put up massive numbers for the Moose. Defensively, Junior Aidan Widmark & 9th grader Nicklas Nelson are very smooth and are able to get the puck out of their own end efficiently. Goaltender Senior Owen Soderholm has been very strong again this season in the net and all pieces are in place for Monticello to make a serious competitive run at a return trip to state.

Little Falls is the other main contender as they come into the playoffs having played the many of the best in Class A and are a tough and rugged group that will be hard to knock off in the 5A sectional. They are led up front by Senior Carter Oothoudt & Juniors Ryan Oothodt along with Juniors Joey Welinski & Luke Avery who have formed the core of their two lines by year’s end to try and give the team some scoring punch. However, the defense has been an issue at times as they have been shuffling people back to the blueline throughout the year. The reason though to like this team is in net as Sophomore Izaak Kalis is as good as they come in Class A and he can steal a game or two for the Flyers and help them make a run back to St. Paul.

The Dark Horses-  The 4 vs 5 Quarterfinal game will feature a pair of dark horse teams. River Lakes  has shown they can surprise teams as evidenced by their upset win over ranked Alexandria late in the year. The Stars are led by Junior Blake Schultz & Sophomore Parker Welz who along with Seniors Matthew Dotzler & Anthony Fink have all had big years offensively. Junior Jace Griffin has patrolled the blueline again this year and leads the defense as the Stars could be another really good darkhorse pick in 5A. Pine City is another dark horse pick as they have the ability to pull a big upset or two within the 5A playoffs. Sophomore McCall Leger & Senior Gavin Broz have put up massive numbers offensively to and are dangerous vs anyone they play. Defensively Senior Hunter Haug has had a very productive year and the Dragons are a very dangerous low seed that has been able to play with teams and stay close in most games and could pull a shocker and make a section 5A run.

Section Scary- Princeton has shown the ability to surprise some teams as evidenced with their win over ranked Thief River Falls and tie with Monicello during the year. If the Tigers are gonna do damage in the playoffs they will need their Trio of Juniors Lane Olson & Brody Kok up front and Dominic Patnode on the blueline to have a big postseason as they have led the way all year and this is a very scary 6 seed for the Flyers to face third time.

The Rest- Sauk Rapids has gotten very good production out of their trio of Seniors Teagan Dodge & Nick Anderson along with Sophomore Elijah Fitch that gives the Storm some serious scoring punch to put a scare into teams. Becker Big Lake has had one of their better years in their programs history as Seniors Brayden Graning & Jase Tobako and Sophomore Tate Spilde have all put up huge numbers to allow the Eagles to compete more and they have upsets over Pine City and River Lakes to show they should not be overlooked. Mora/Milaca has also had a very solid year and they get most of their offense from the back end as Senior Trenton Fore & Junior Charlie Kritzeck lead the team in scoring as defenseman not something you see much of but it has worked well for the Mustangs.

Section 6A

QF 2/20 High Seed

SF 2/24 MAC

F 2/29 MAC

Section 6A Seeds

1- Alexandria (15-9-1)

2- Northern Lakes (16-9-0)

3- Fergus Falls (8-17-0)

4- Morris Benson (14-11-0)

5- Prairie Centre (10-14-1)

6- Willmar (7-17-1)

7- Wadena Deer Creek (7-15-0)

8- Breckenridge/Wahpeton (5-19-0)

The Favorite- Alexandria comes into the 6A playoffs looking to three-peat and return to St Paul again. For many in their senior class they don’t know much different as every year of varsity has been spent ending at the X. This team does have its flaws as they have had struggles scoring at times this year but up front Seniors Leo Kompelien, Gavin Olson, Evan Anderson have been their big scorers and as the team improved in the second half they got good depth scoring from youngsters Sophomores Evan Klimek & Brody Berg and 9th grader Grady Olson.On defense Seniors Jack Lamski & Gage Castle along with Sophomore Niklas Schultz & 9th grader Grady Suchy have played big minutes and provided stability in their own end. Senior Brady Metcalf has become the main guy in net this year and Alexandira looks to be again the favorite in Section 6A having not lost a section game yet this year.

The Challenger-  Northern Lakes appears to be the main challenger to Alex’s 3-peat attempt. As the Lightning have had a very nice year and this is a young and growing program that is on the doorstep of becoming a regular Class A contender. .Up front they have plenty of scoring punch as they are led by Seniors Taylor Berg & Logan Verville who along with Juniors Drew Paulback, Easton Anderson & Jerome Martin all have been productive this year. On blueline Senior Isaac Peterson is as smooth as they come and Junior Wyatt Balmer is tough nosed heavy shot defenseman and young playmaking 9th grader Grant Vershey leads their group from the backend. Goaltender Senior Nigel DeSanto has plenty of experience and they will need him at the top of his game if they want to break through in 6A.

The Dark Horse- Fergus Falls has had a rough year overall as the Otter overall have plodded along with a sub .500 record. However, as they showed in their upset over Sartell & St. Cloud Public, they can be a dangerous team and could make a surprising run in 6A. If they are going to do that they will need a big playoff performance out of their main forwards forwards Senior Kellen Stenstrom, Shane Zierden & Junior Jack Welde along with defenseman Senior Leighton Buckmeier as beyond those four depth has been pretty limited for the Otters and they haven’t been able to find a guy in net to replace their 4 year starter from a season ago. While a 4th straight section final appearance does not appear likely if there was one team to crash the party in 6A Fergus Falls appears to be it.

Section Scary- Prairie Centre would appear to be the best bet to make noise as a lower seed. The North Stars do have some good scoring up front as underclassman Sophomore James Rieland & 9th Grader Leyton Fuchs along with Seniors Jesse Williams & Zac Bick have all put the puck in the back of the net regularly on the year. However, depth and the back end have been the issue for this team but if they can play a tough hard nosed game in their own end they could pull an upset and reach the final four for the first time ever in program history.

The Rest-  Morris Benson has had another decent year and the Storm will be looking to make the Section Semifinals for the 2nd time in the last 3 years after previously never being in a semifinal in program history. The Storm go as Seniors Charlie Goff & Tucker Blume along with Junior Zach Wrobleski go as those three are catalysts to their attack and they will need to score as they have struggled with consistency in the net. Willmar was a once proud program that has really hit tough times over the recent years. There does appear to be optimism for the future as they are led by Sophomore Gibson Horyza & 9th grader Aden Jacobson to give them hope for more competitive years in the future. Wadena Deer Creek has done well just surviving the year as low numbers have been the theme of their year. The Wolverines will rely on their duo of Juniors Cooper Ness & Carson Davis to carry the load as they have done for much of the year. Breckenridge/Wahpeton has played one of the youngest lineups in the state and while the results were not overwhelming they got a ton of experience and made progress this year. The Blades are led by 9th graders Jaxson Lopez & Isaiah Bruechert and Sophomores Kai McDonald & Isaiah Bruechert to give this program lots to look forward to in the coming years.

Section 7A

Play In 2/17 High Seed (Ifalls defeated Moose Lake 8-4)

QF 2/20 High Seed

SF 2/24 Amsoil

F 2/28 Amsoil

Section 7A Seeds

1- Hermantown (15-8-2)

2- Cloquet/Esko/Carlton (12-13-0)

3- Hibbing/Chisholm (17-8-0)

4- Proctor (18-7-0)

5- North Shore (12-10-3)

6- Greenway (5-17-3)

7- Ely (14-11-0)

8- International Falls (6-18-2)

9- Moose Lake (6-19-0)

The Favorite- Hermantown as usual enters the 7A playoffs as the heavy favorite to win the section again. The strength in this group is from the net out as Senior Dane Callaway has been outstanding and enters his 3rd playoff run as the starting goalie with a wealth of prior success and he knows how to play well in the big games. Add to him a Defensive core in front of him that is one of the deepest you will see regardless of Class as Seniors Will Esterbrooks, Drew Nelson, Weston Bohlman and Junior Henry Peterson  have been tremendous on the blueline all year. The issue with this team has been scoring goals as beyond the top end of  Senior Joshua Kauppinen, Junior River Freeman & Sophomores AJ Francisco & Ford Skytta the goals have been tough to find. This is still a very deep team and they are built for playoff success looking at their backend but there does appear to be a blueprint as if you can score 3 or more you will have a chance to win. The question is does anyone in 7A have the ability to get that done.

The Challengers-  Cloquet/Esko/Carlton pay no attention to the Lumberjacks overall record as they played a mainly AA Schedule all year and will be prepared for what the Hawks will feature. They have shown in wins over EGF, Hibbing, Proctor and Sartell that they can beat good teams. If they are going to make a run it will be on the backs of their very solid underclassman as their of Juniors Bobby Thornton, Niko Gentilini & Grady Knutson up front and Karson Young on the blueline lead this team and have been productive all year. They will need to settle on a goalie as they have rotated between four this year but the main two appear to be Sophomore Jacob Iallonardo & Junior Jamis Halverson and they will need to get consistency if they want to make a run beyond the semis in this very top heavy touch sectional.

Hibbing/Chisholm is the other main contender that came into the year with a ton of hype based on their youth hockey accolades. As expected they did get off to a rough start but they have heated up and played very well heading into the playoffs. They are led by a bunch of youngsters as Sophomores Tate Swanson, Kelin Elsner, Isaiah Hildenbrand, Benny Galli lead the way up front and 9th grader Jackson Strukel & Sophomore Ethan Sundvall anchor the blueline. In the net Sophomore Gavin Lamphere & Junior Rex Walli have split the net during their red hot 2nd half and there are a ton of good young hockey players up and down this lineup card that are ready to make a big first impression in their first high school hockey sectional.

The Dark Horse- Proctor it is weird to put the Rails as a dark horse just based off the amazing regular season they have had. However, they did not have nearly the expectations or hype of the three above them coming into the year and all they have done is quietly put together a very impressive year. They are led up front by Senior Wyatt Mineheine and Juniors Tanner Ross & Austin Bryant along with Sophomore Breckin Ross. On the blueline they have a wealth of experience that is led by Senior Carson Pavlowich, Nolan Okstad & Junior Cooper Annala. However, what makes this team a great pick to make a surprising dark horse run to state is in the net as Senior AJ Reyelts has been outstanding all year and he is capable of stealing every game he starts and he will be looking to carry the Rails to only their 2nd ever Tourney.

Section Scary- Ely the Timberwolves have had a tremendous year as this program that is short of numbers has really put together a nice year. They have won 14 games after winning just 8 the year before. If Ely is going to shock the hockey world and reach a semifinal in 7A or beyond they will need their scoring duo of Seniors Deegan Richards & Drew Marolt to carry the load as they have done for much of the year.

The Rest-  North Shore has had a nice year and they will go as far as Senior Jake Stadler & Junior Ayden Althaus will take them as the Storm showed throughout the year they were much more competitive this year but struggled against the big four. Greenway struggled most of the year with a young team but Senior Thomas Vekich has been a bright spot and will look to carry them in the playoffs. International Falls is another team that had a young lineup and just an overall tough year. The Broncos will look to Junior Cooper Crandall &  Sophomore Zach Youso to provide scoring punch if they are to make any kind of a playoff push. Moose Lake had another tough year but they got good seasons out of Seniors Dalton Slama & Jaxsyn Schmidt who both had double digit goals for the Rebels this winter. 

Section 8A

Play In 2/20 High Seed

QF 2/22 High Seed

SF 2/24 Warroad Gardens

F 2/28 Warroad Gardens

Section 8A Seeds

1- East Grand Forks (16-8-1)

2- Warroad (20-5-0)

3- Thief River Falls (14-10-1)

4- Detroit Lakes (11-13-1)

5- Crookston (15-10-0)

6- Red Lake Falls (19-5-1)

7- Park Rapids (14-8-3)

8- Lake of the Woods (14-9-0)

9- Bagley/Fosston (7-16-0)

10- Kittson County Central (2-23-0)

The Favorites-  Warroad yes I know they are the #2 seed but I am still giving them the slight edge as the favorite due to this year the 8A playoffs being played on their home ice. This may also be the last time the Warriors have a chance to win 8A with what their rival has coming up through the youth ranks. Warroad has been led all year by their tremendous top line of Seniors Carson Pilgrim,  Murray Marvin Cordes & Junior Taven James and they have also see the development of Sophomores Dominic Anthony & Ryan Shaugabay to give them some needed depth if that want get back to state for a third straight year. On the Blueline Seniors Ryan Lund, Will Hardwick & Sophomore Broden Hontvet give the Warriors a good core to get them out of their own end. Goaltender Senior Ben Norris has been very steady in the net and Warroad would appear to have all the pieces to make a strong run to get back to state and finally win the championship this year.

East Grand Forks is the primary challenger to the Warriors 8A reign as they showed just a few weeks ago they can beat Warroad by wearing out their top groups with their tremendous depth. The Greenwave have been able to split up their top two Seniors Brock Schultz & Landon Jamieson to center their top lines because of the development of depth aided by Senior Jace Fore and Juniors Jace Van Eps, Cooper Hills & Hunter Varnson along with youngsters Sophomores Tucker Lovejoy, Nolan Meulebroc & 9th grader Jace Panzer give EGF three deep line of Depth. Senior Grady Magner and Juniors Cole Bies, Nick Corbett & Judd Pesch  lead the blueline crew. If they can get some steady goaltending for all three games they will be a very dangerous team and tough out in 8A.

The Challenger-  Thief River Falls is the other member of the Big Three and while they have yet to be able to beat Warroad or EGF this year they would be the best bet to be a darkhorse and get two upsets to shock many and get to state. The Prowlers are led by Seniors Max Arlt, Cooper Anderson & 9th grader Spencer Anderson up front and defender Senior Jace Erickson on the back end. They also have Senior Braydin Lund back again for the playoffs to give them more depth. However, if TRF is really going to make a serious run and be a dark horse out of 8A it will fall on the shoulders of Goaltender Senior Connor Roff to steal some games which he is fully capable of doing.

The Dark Horse- Detroit Lakes has struggled with consistency but they have played a much tougher schedule to be better built for a playoffs run. The Lakers finished on a very strong note and they are led by their defensive unit of Senior Dalton Songstad and Juniors Thomas Suckert & Jace Fields and Sophomore Hudson Pettit who have really been the engine of their team all year and they could be a dark horse to come through 8A.

Section Scary- Crookston the Pirates have had a nice resurgent year and could be a very dangerous low seed if you’re looking for an upset bet in 8A. Sophomores Jay Reese, Garrett Fischer & Greyson Ecker lead the charge for a young and promising Crookston team that will look to be only better for years to come. They have been very competitive in all their games and they will look to shock many and pull a big upset in the Quarterfinal Round.

The Rest-  Red Lake Falls has put together a tremendous year and they can score with anybody as depth has been an issue but Senior Blake Breiland & Junior Gavin Girdler have been a potent duo all season and Junior Brock Seegerhas been lethal from the blueline adding to RLF’s production. Park Rapids after a slow start to the year had a red hot middle stretch before sputtering near the end of the year. The Panthers are dangerous though as Seniors Jeron Pinoniemi, Parker Vinge & Junior Kale Ravnaas have been dangerous scoring threats all winter. Lake of the Woods has had a great resurgent year after only winning 5 games the previous year and they have been carried by their excellent senior scoring duo of Seniors Randy Wood & Jordan Kvernen who both went over 100 career points this winter. Bagley/Fosston has had a tough season but their future is bright as 9th grader Logan Dillich has been excellent this year leading the team in scoring and giving them hope for the future. Kittson County Central has one of the smallest rosters in the state but they are making it work and the Bearcats have gotten good scoring from Senior Morgan Muir & 9th grader Wyatt Samuelson.