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February 04, 2016

High School Hockey Today | Feb. 4, 2016, The 'She did WHAT?!' edition

Posted by: Feldman

We have a big rivalrly game in Rochester tonight, all four Rochester boys hockey teams play, AND there is a game in Lakeville that could help settle the seeding process for the top three teams in Section 1AA, or it could turn that process basically into a coin flip.

We'll get to all of that, but first...
 
It is most definitely playoff time.
 
Section girls hockey playoffs started Wednesday night. Some games were blowouts, others were history-making.
 
Speaking of which, we'll start in Woodbury, where there was what we'd call a, uh, close game between the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds in Section 3AA.
 
The box score looks like it came from a baseball game. After 121 minutes, 58 seconds, No. 4 seed East Ridge came away with a beyond-dramatic 3-2 six-overtime victory against No. 5 Apple Valley. East Ridge senior Anya Hafiz scored the game-winner at 12:58 of the sixth OT. The winning goal came on East Ridge's 115th shot.
 
Let me repeat that: East Ridge had 115 -- ONE-HUNDRED FIFTEEN -- shots on goal. 
 
Know what else that means? Apple Valley goalie Taylor DeForrest made 112 -- ONE-HUNDRED TWELVE -- saves. The box score says she made 111 saves, but all reports that came out last night and today say 112, so we'll go with that for now. Here's a link to the Minnesota Hockey Hub report on the game, which indicates DeForrest shattered the previous record for saves in a game, set by Lakeville North's Cassie Alexander in 2013, when she made 59 saves in a 4-3 six-OT loss to Minnetonka in the state tournament.
 
* In Section 1AA, I was in Kasson to watch No. 2 seed and No. 13-ranked Dodge County move along in the postseason with an 8-0 victory against Rochester Century.
 
* Section 1AA would have had the game of the night had it not been for the East Ridge-Apple Valley marathon. In 1AA, No. 4 seed Lakeville North survived against No. 5 John Marshall/Lourdes, 4-3 in double-OT. Morgan Manes scored 3:51 into the second overtime for North to win it. No. 3 seed Farmingotn also brought No. 6 Mayo's season to an end with an 11-0 victory at Farmington.
 
Here's a roundup of those two games, and one from the Section 1A quarterfinals, which saw No. 5 seed Austin beat No. 4 Faribault 3-1, and No. 2 Red Wing roll past No. 7 Albert Lea 9-1.
 
The Section 1A and 1AA semifinals are scheduled for Saturday, with the higher seeds playing host to the lower seeds.
 
* * * * *
 
Back to the boys game, where we're still two weeks out from the start of the postseason.
 
A game in Rochester tonight has some big implications for the Big Nine Conference championship race. Rochester Mayo plays at Rochester John Marshall, at 7:30 p.m. at the Rec Center. I'm told these two teams have met a time or two, or 112, before. JM has four regular-season games remaining. A victory by the Rockets tonight would basically make their game next Tuesday at Northfield for the Big Nine Conference championship. 
 
It's a full slate of boys games tonight, so let's get to it...
 
MAYO at JOHN MARSHALL
7:30 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Records: Mayo 9-4-0 Big Nine, 13-8-0 overall; JM 12-0-0, 16-5-0.
Coaches: Mayo, Lorne Grosso (49th season, 706-443-28 overall); JM, Jay Ness (5th season, 63-58-4)
Last meeting: JM defeated Mayo 5-2 on Dec. 12 at Graham Arena.
Last game: Mayo beat Mankato West 3-2 on Saturday at Graham Arena; JM shut out South St. Paul 6-0 on Saturday at the Rec Center
Team leaders: MAYO -- Jr. F Anthony Oliveto 17-20--37; Sr. F Veikko Weckman 18-15--33; Sr. F Max Billings 15-10--25; Sr. D Nick Norby 7-15--22; So. G Liam Claton 12-5-0, 3.41 GAA, .874. JM -- Sr. F Brady Dahl 21-23--44; Sr. F Isaac Lamppa 21-18--39; Sr. F Conner Lee 8-23--31; Sr. D Josh Frerks 7-23--30; Sr. G Brady Meyers 16-5-0, 1.32 GAA, .934 save pct., 4 SO.
Notes: JM's victory against Mayo back on Dec. 12 snapped the Spartans' 10-game winning streak in the series. ... JM's Meyers continues to be ranked among the top goalies in the state. He is tied for 5th in victories (16), is 7th in goals-against average (1.62), is tied for 3rd in save pct. (.934), and is tied for 6th in shutouts (4). ... Four of the top eight scorers in the Big Nine are in this game -- JM's Dahl (2nd, 44 pts.) and Lamppa (5th, 39); and Mayo's Oliveto (6th, 37) and Weckman (T-8th, 33). ... This will likely be the final JM-Mayo game in which Grosso is the Spartans' head coach. He has been on Mayo's bench for 110 of the previous 112 rivalry matchups. ... Mayo is still mathematically alive for the conference championship, though it needs to win its final four games, have Northfield lose out and have JM beat Northfield, but lose its other remaining games.
 
LOURDES at BRECK
7:15 p.m., Breck School Anderson Ice Arena, Golden Valley
Records: Lourdes 5-15-0 overall: No. 2 Breck 18-3-0
Coaches: Lourdes, Josh Spaniol (103-86-8 overall); Breck, Les Larson
Last meeting: Breck won at Lourdes 7-0 on Jan. 24, 2015.
Last game: Lourdes lost at Blake 5-2 on Saturday; Breck defeated Minnehaha Academy 10-1 on Wednesday
Team leaders: LOU -- Jr. F Tucker Chapman 16-10--26; Jr. F Montana Streit 8-17--25; Sr. F Peter Alexander 6-11--17; Sr. F Mason Carstens 7-5--12; Jr. G Adam Renn 3-12-0, 4.29 GAA, .864 save pct., 1 SO. BRECK -- Sr. F Chase Ellingson 25-29--54; Jr. F Mitch Machlitt 23-19--42; Sr. F Tyler Scott 15-25--40; Sr. F Will Blake 16-21--37; So. G Linden Olness 16-3-0, 1.82 GAA, .905 save pct., 3 SO.
Notes: Breck is ranked No. 2 in the state, behind only Hermantown. ... The Mustangs have not lost in 2016. Their last loss came on Dec. 30, a 6-1 loss to St. Michael-Albertville. ... Breck is on an 8-game winning streak, outscoring opponents 57-9 in that stretch. ... Lourdes, despite its record, is in line for a top-three seed in the Section 1A playoffs, though it likely will have to beat Albert Lea and Red Wing next week to secure that positioning. The Eagles have played the toughest schedule of any Section 1A team this season. ... Lourdes' Chapman has seven points in the past five games.
 
CENTURY at AUSTIN
7:30 p.m., Riverside Arena
Records: Century 5-9-0 Big Nine, 8-12-1 overall; Austin 3-10-0, 5-11-1
Coaches: Century, Josh Klingfus (5th season, 61-58-10 overall); Austin, Erik LaRock (4th season, 17-72-5)
Last meeting: Century defeated Austin 2-0 on Dec. 12, 2015, at Graham Arena IV in Rochester.
Last game: Century beat Winona 3-1 on Monday; Austin lost at Red Wing, 3-2 in OT, on Saturday.
Team leaders: CENT -- Jr. D John Schmitz 5-9--14; Jr. D Will Zmolek 5-8--13; So. F Ben Haas 3-10--13; So. F Jon Thorvilson 6-7--13; So. G Cole Walter 6-9-1, 3.62 GAA, .884 save pct., 2 SO; So. G Jackson Killinger 2-3-0, 2.92, .909. AUST -- Jr. F Isaac Arnold 12-10--22; Jr. D Jace Greenman 8-14--22; Jr. F Brayden Merritt 9-7--16; Sr. D Jason Stoulil 3-13--16; So. G Noah Bawek 4-10-1, 3.08, .873.
Notes: Century is seeking its second three-game winning streak of the season. ... Century's Schmitz has four points in the past five games. ... Austin's Arnold has 13 of his 22 points in the past seven games. ... Austin has lost four consecutive games, but has played well in them, taking Red Wing -- a team that could be a top-4 seed in the Section 1A playoffs -- to OT on Saturday.
 
-----
 
AREA GAMES 
 
 Mankato East (6-5-1, 11-9-1) at Red Wing (9-4-0, 9-12-0); time, location: East defeated Red Wing in their first meeting of the season, 7-3, at Mankato on Dec. 19. ... East is 3-2-1 in its past six games, on the heels of an eight-game winning streak. ... East senior F Judd Schulz is the Big Nine's leading scorer (21-30--51). ... Red Wing is battling for a top-three finish in the Big Nine.
 
-----
 
SECTION 1 SHOWDOWN
 
No. 8-AA Lakeville North (14-5-1) at No. 20-AA Lakeville South (13-6-1), 7 p.m.: Follow the bouncing puck here. Three teams are jockeying for position atop the Section 1AA playoff seedings. Farmington has beaten Lakeville North twice. Lakeville South has defeated Farmington twice. And if North can win this game tonight, it will have defeated South twice this season. So ... coin flip for the top seed? Probably not; it would likely go to North by virtue of having the best record among the three (as of now), but who knows? If South wants that top seed, I'd think a win tonight would put it in the driver's seat for it. South is 11-1-1 in its past 13 games; North is 9-1-0 in its past 10. Get to Hasse Arena early if you want a seat.

January 21, 2016

High School Hockey Today | Jan. 21, 2016 (The 'Due For A Sweep' edition)

Posted by: Feldman
 
Pop quiz: When was the last time all four Rochester hockey teams won a game in the same night?
 
Answer coming soon. I'll give you a little time to ponder it (if you want the answer NOW, it's listed right before the breakdowns of tonight's games.)
 
This could be a night where Rochester goes 4-for-4, though as we've seen this season, nothing is guaranteed.
 
Winona plays at Century, JM (undefeated in Big Nine play) plays host to Albert Lea, Lourdes plays at Dodge County and reeling Mayo plays at suddenly surging Austin. 
 
Austin is playing very well, having won three in a row and five out of six, so don't be shocked if it gives Mayo a battle. The Spartans have struggled to generate offense in the past week, but having leading scorer Anthony Oliveto back should help that issue. Oliveto returned in Mayo's 9-0 loss to red-hot Owatonna on Saturday. 'Tonna has won four consecutive Big Nine games by a combined score of 32-0. That's an impressive roll and it has the Huskies in position to pounce at the Big Nine title if JM and Northfield trip up at all.
 
Elsewhere tonight, a couple of big games to watch with Section 1 seeding implications: No. 7-ranked Lakeville North plays host to Farmington (receiving votes in state poll), and No. 20 Lakeville South plays non-section rival Prior Lake (ranked No. 18). That game doesn't directly impact the Section 1 seeding process, but it would be another good win for South when it comes time to argue for seeding position with North and Farmington.
 
North, South and Farmington will be the top three seeds in Section 1AA, in some order. JM likely will be No. 4, though Owatonna and Mayo both still have an outside shot at earning a home game. They both play JM once more, so if either wants to pass the Rockets, they'll have to beat them and hope JM loses a couple more sometime during this home stretch. I'd say Owatonna has the inside track, slightly, on Mayo right now for the No. 5 seed. The teams split their regular-season series, with Mayo winning at Owatonna by a goal and the Huskies rolling to a 9-0 win at Mayo last Saturday.
 
Century will likely be the No. 7 seed and Dodge County the No. 8 in the section playoffs, which begin exactly four weeks from today.
 
We'll break down the Section 1A and 1AA races a little more in the coming weeks, but for now, we're back to the present.
 
Quiz answer: Feb. 9, 2013. That's the last time Rochester's four boys hockey teams all won on the same night. Mayo beat Faribault 4-1, JM beat Owatonna 5-2, Century beat Mankato East 3-0, and Lourdes beat New Prague 4-1. All four Roch teams winning on the same night actually occurred twice that season; it also happened on Jan. 31.
 
Onto tonight's games...
 
ROCHESTER TEAMS
 
WINONA at CENTURY
7:30 p.m., Graham Arena IV
Records: Winona 0-13-0 Big Nine, 1-15-0 overall; Century 3-8-0, 6-11-1.
Coaches: Winona, Fran McDevitt; Century, Josh Klingfus (5th season, 59-57-10 overall)
Last meeting: Century won at Winona 7-0 on Dec. 17, for its first conference win this season. Cole Walter had an 11-save shutout.
Last game: Winona lost to Austin 6-0 on Tuesday; Century lost at Northfield 8-1 on Tuesday.
Team leaders: WIN -- Jr. D Ty Mannor 7-1--8; Jr. F Joe Brinkman 0-5--5; Jr. F Andre Russeau 2-2--4; Sr. G Matt Schoh 1-10-0, 6.38 GAA, .842 save pct. CENT -- Jr. D John Schmitz 5-7--12; Jr. D Will Zmolek 4-8--12; So. F Ben Haas 3-8--11; So. F Jon Thorvilson 5-6--11; So. G Cole Walter 6-9-1, 3.74, .882.
Notes: Century has dropped two consecutive games, but both were against the top two teams in the Big Nine, JM and Northfield. ... Century G Cole Walter has faced an average of 40 shots in his past four games. ... Winona earned its first victory of the season on Saturday, a 5-1 win at Worthington. ... The Winhawks scored five goals in their victory; in their 15 losses, they have totaled 11 goals and have been shut out nine times.
 
ALBERT LEA at JOHN MARSHALL
7:30 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Records: Albert Lea 4-9-0 Big Nine, 5-11-0 overall; JM 9-0-0, 12-5-0.
Coaches: Albert Lea, Roy Nystrom; JM, Jay Ness (5th season, 59-58-4 overall)
Last meeting: JM won at Albert Lea, 4-3 in OT, on Jan. 22, 2015. JM's Josh Frerks scored the game-winning goal at 2:49 of OT.
Last game: Albert Lea lost to Red Wing 4-3 on Tuesday; JM beat No. 12-A St. Paul Johnson 3-1 on Saturday.
Team leaders: A.L. -- Sr. F Foster Otten 9-7--16; Sr. F Jack Pulley 6-9--15; Jr. F Austin Dulitz 4-11--15; So. F Bergen Lundak 10-2--12; Jr. G Ben Witham 4-11-0, 3.62 GAA, .872 save pct., 1 SO. JM -- Sr. F Brady Dahl 13-19--32; Sr. F Isaac Lamppa 20-10--30; Sr. D Josh Frerks 5-21--26; Sr. F Conner Lee 6-17--23; Sr. G Brady Meyers 12-5-0, 1.77, .930, 2 SO.
Notes: JM G Brady Meyers ranks in the top 10 in the state in wins (12, T-9th), GAA (1.77, T-8th) and save pct. (.930, T-9th). ... This is the only meeting of the season between these teams and is worth 4 points in the Big Nine Conference standings. ... Albert Lea has lost four in a row and five of its past six, since the start of January. ... The Tigers have scored a total of five goals in their past four games.
 
MAYO at AUSTIN
7:30 p.m., Riverside Arena
Records: Mayo 6-4-0 Big Nine, 10-8-0 overall; Austin 3-6-0, 5-7-1.
Coaches: Mayo, Lorne Grosso (49th season, 703-443-28 overall); Austin, Erik LaRock (4th season, 17-68-5).
Last meeting: Mayo beat Austin 5-3 on Jan. 22, 2015, at Graham Arena in Rochester. 
Last game: Mayo lost to Owatonna 9-0 on Saturday; Austin won at Winona, 6-0, on Tuesday.
Team leaders: MAYO -- Jr. F Anthony Oliveto 14-18--32; Sr. F Veikko Weckman 15-13--28; Sr. D Nick Norby 6-12--18; Sr. F Max Billings 12-6--18; So. G Liam Claton, 9-5-0, 3.63 GAA, .869 save pct. AUST -- Jr. F Isaac Arnold 11-9--20; Jr. D Jace Greenman 6-13--19; Jr. F Kory Potach 2-11--13; Jr. F Brayden Merritt 7-6--13; So. G Noah Bawek 4-6-1, 2.89, .874.
Notes: Austin has won five of its past six games and three in a row after an 0-6-1 start to the season. ... The Packers have won three consecutive Big Nine games. ... Freshman G Ryan Flanders earned his first career victory in the Packers 6-0 shutout at Winona on Tuesday. ...  Mayo is just 1-3-0 in its past four games. The Spartans' first-liners have combined four just four points in those games, though leading scorer Anthony Oliveto missed three of those games with an injury. ... Mayo has seven games remaining in the regular season, five of them are on the road.
 
LOURDES at DODGE COUNTY
time, location
Records: Lourdes 4-13-0 overall; Dodge County 3-14-0.
Coaches: Lourdes, Josh Spaniol (7th season, 102-84-8 overall); Dodge County, Chris Ernest (1st season, 3-14-0)
Last meeting: Lourdes beat Dodge County 11-0 on Feb. 3, 2015, at Graham Arena in Rochester.
Last game: Lourdes lost to No. 7-A St. Paul Academy 8-1; Dodge County won at Waseca, 3-2.
Team leaders: LOU -- Jr. F Tucker Chapman 13-8--21; Jr. F Montana Streit 6-15--21; Sr. F Peter Alexander 6-10--16; Sr. F Mason Carstens 6-4--10; Jr. F Logan Olson 2-8--10; Jr. G Adam Renn . D.C.-- Sr. F Max Blaisdell 8-7--15; Sr. D Ethan Strunk 5-7--12; Sr. F Isaac Thoe 7-2--9; Sr. F Drew Kirmse 4-5--9; Fr. G Cole Kundert 3-11-0, 5.54 GAA, .843 save pct.
Notes: Dodge County's win at Waseca on Tuesday snapped a seven-game losing streak. The Wildcats had won two consecutive games prior to that losing skid. ... Five of Dodge County's losses have been by one goal. ... Lourdes has faced five of the top 10 teams in this week's Class A state poll, as well as the Nos. 2- and 5-ranked teams in Wisconsin.
 
 
AREA GAMES 
 
 Red Wing (7-3-0 Big Nine, 7-10-0 overall) at Northfield (12-1-0, 12-5-0), 7:30 p.m., Northfield Ice Arena: Northfield is on a six-game winning streak; its last loss occurred on Jan. 2 against Rochester Lourdes. ... The Raiders haven't won by less than three goals on their current winning streak. They have outscored those six opponents 46-9. ... Raiders G Ryan Bielenberg is 6-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and 2 shutouts in the past six games. ... Northfield senior F Ryan Torbenson is equally hot, recording 5 goals and 18 points during the six-game win streak. ... Northfield won at Red Wing a week ago, 3-0, outshooting the Wingers 48-27. ... Red Wing is 3-2-0 in January, on the heels of a five-game losing streak to close 2015.
 
 
SECTION 1 GAMES TO WATCH
 
 Farmington (9-6-1) at No. 7-AA Lakeville North (11-4-1), 7 p.m.: The Section 1AA and South Suburban Conference rivals meet for a second time this season. Farmington beat North 5-3 on Dec. 10. ... Defending state champion North is on a six-game winning streak. Farmington has lost three of its past five.
 
 No. 18-AA Prior Lake (11-6-0) at No. 20-Lakeville South (9-5-1), 7 p.m.: Prior Lake took it to South in the first meeting of South Suburban rivals this season, winning 7-1 at home on Dec. 10. ... P.L. has won four of its past six, losing only to No. 17 Duluth East (3-1) and No. 7 Lakeville North (3-2). ... South is among the state's hottest teams, going unbeaten in its last eight games (7-0-1) after a 2-5-0 start. ... Former Rochester JM standout Cory Checco is seventh in scoring for South with 4-8--12.
 
 
AROUND THE STATE
 
 No. 13-AA Wayzata at No. 2-AA Minnetonka (13-4-0), 7 p.m.: Tonight's premier matchup in Minnesota features a Wayzata team that has won once in its past four games (1-2-1) against Minnetonka, which has won five in a row and nine of its past 10.
 
 North Shore (13-3-0) at No. 3-A Greenway (16-3-0), 7:30 p.m.: How much fun are they having in hockey-rich Coleraine right now? Greenway is 16-3-0 and ranked No. 3 in the state. The program has made nine trips to state, including winning state titles in 1967, 68 and 92. It hasn't been to state since 2001. Greenway gets an unranked North Shore team that is quietly having a nice season (13-3-0).
 
• No. 1-N.D. Grand Forks Red River (13-0-0) at No. 11-A East Grand Forks (11-6-1), 7:30 p.m.: The top team in North Dakota travels across the Red River to face the two-time defending Minnesota Class A state champion.

January 14, 2016

High School Hockey Today | Jan. 14, 2016 (The 'One Last Go-'Round' edition)

Posted by: Feldman
 
It's tough to believe, but there is just one month left in the boys high school hockey regular season. The last regular-season games will be played Saturday, Feb. 13, with first-round playoff games set for Tuesday, Feb. 16.
 
The end of a sports season always brings lots of "lasts" -- the last home games for seniors, last road games, last practices and, ultimately, last games.
 
But a very different kind of "last" will occur tonight in Albert Lea. 
 
Lorne Grosso, Mayo's head coach for 49 seasons will coach for the final time opposite Albert Lea's Roy Nystrom, who has been with the Tigers for more than 40 years. The two played college hockey together at Minnesota, where they were on the same line. Then, after seven seasons of coaching in North Dakota, Nystrom took the job in Albert Lea. 
 
Mayo won the first meeting of the season between the teams, 6-2 on Dec. 10 at Graham Arena in Rochester.  
 
Mayo is in Section 1AA, Albert Lea in Section 1A, which means there's no chance they'll meet in the postseason. It will be an interesting stop on Grosso's unofficially-titled "Farewell Tour." (He won't call it that, but others of us will). He has been presented with plaques, food, handshakes and recognition from coaches, players and fans at road games this season.
 
But this one is different. It's Albert Lea. It's his long-time friend. Neither Grosso or Nystrom will tell you just how much these games mean to them, but trust me, they do. Who doesn't even want bragging rights over their buddy? Maybe if Albert Lea wins tonight, Grosso will have to come back for another season.
 
Here's a look at tonight's games:
 
ROCHESTER TEAMS
 
CENTURY at JOHN MARSHALL
7:30 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Records: Century 3-6-0 Big Nine, 6-9-1 overall; JM 8-0-0, 10-5-0.
Coaches: Century, Josh Klingfus (5th season, 59-55-10 overall); JM, Jay Ness (5th season, 57-58-4).
Last meeting: JM defeated Century 4-0 on Dec. 22 at the Rec Center. Isaac Lamppa scored twice and Brady Meyers had a 17-save shutout for the Rockets.
Last game: JM lost to Tartan 2-1 on Tuesday; Century defeated Albert Lea 4-1 on Tuesday behind 52 saves from sophomore goalie Cole Walter.
Team leadersCENT -- Jr. D Will Zmolek 4-8--12; So. F Ben Haas 3-8--11; So. F Jon Thorvilson 4-6--10; Jr. John Schmitz 4-6--10; So. G Cole Walter 6-7-1, 3.28 GAA, .895 save pct. JM -- Sr. F Brady Dahl 13-16--29; Sr. F Isaac Lamppa 19-9--28; Sr. D Josh Frerks 4-17--21; Sr. F Conner Lee 3-17--20; Sr. G Brady Meyers 10-5-0, 1.73, .929.
Notes: Five of the last six games between these teams have been decided by a goal or less (one tie). ... Century has a 12-game lead in the all-time series and has led the series since 2001. ... Four of JM's five losses this season have come by one goal and all in non-conference play. ... JM has outscored Big Nine opponents 55-9. ... Walter has been Century's backbone since taking over as the starter midway through last season. He has stopped 40 or more shots in a game three times this season, including a career-high 52 saves in Tuesday's 4-1 win at Albert Lea (the initial report from A.L. showed Walter with 47 saves, but it was later corrected to 52). He is 14-10-2 as a varsity starter.
 
MAYO at ALBERT LEA
7:30 p.m., Albert Lea City Arena
Records: Mayo 5-3-0 Big Nine, 9-7-0 overall; A.L., 4-6-0, 5-8-0.
Coaches: Mayo, Lorne Grosso (702-442-28); A.L., Roy Nystrom (688 career wins, 594 in Minnesota)
Last meetingMayo defeated Albert Lea 6-2 on Dec. 10, 2015, at Graham Arena I. Veikko Weckman had a hat trick for Mayo, while linemate Anthony Oliveto had five assists.
Last gameMayo lost to Northfield 6-1 on Saturday; Albert Lea lost to Rochester Century 4-1 on Tuesday.
Team leaders: MAYO -- Jr. F Anthony Oliveto 14-18--32; Sr. F Veikko Weckman 15-11--26; Sr. F Max Billings 12-6--18; Sr. D Nick Norby 4-12--16; So. G Liam Claton 8-4-0, 3.39 GAA, .877 save pctA.L. -- Sr. Foster Otten 8-7--15; Jr. Austin Dulitz 3-11--14; Sr. Jack Pulley 5-8--13; So. Bergen Lundak 10-2--12; Jr. G Ben Witham 4-8-0, 3.78, .858.
NotesMayo will likely be without its leading scorer once again. Oliveto has been out since Dec. 30, when he suffered an upper-body injury in the fifth-place game of the Kiwanis Festival. He missed last week and Grosso said he expected him to miss at least all of this week, too. ... The Tigers have had an up-and-down season. It is 3-3-0 in its past six games after a four-game losing streak. ... A.L. put 53 shots on goal in its 4-1 loss to Rochester Century on Tuesday. ... Albert Lea had defeated Mayo three consecutive times until the Spartans beat the Tigers on Dec. 10.
 
NEW ULM at LOURDES
7 p.m., Graham Arena
Records: N.U. 8-6-2 overall; Lourdes 3-12-0.
Coaches: N.U., Ryan Neuman (1st season, 8-6-2 overall); Lourdes, Josh Spaniol (7th season, 101-83-8)
Last meetingLourdes defeated New Ulm 5-2 on Jan. 15, 2015, at the New Ulm Civic Center. Five players scored once each for Lourdes in the game.
Last gameNew Ulm won at Worthington, 14-2, on Tuesday. Lourdes lost at Mankato West 3-2 on Tuesday.
Team leaders: N.U. -- Jr. F Brandon Mehlhop 11-25--36; Sr. F Ethan Kraus 13-18--31; Fr. F Landon Strong 8-7--15; Sr. F Noah Webb 7-8--15; Sr. G Cody Banal 5-4-1, 3.66, .833; Sr. G Adam Larson 3-2-1, 4.28, .859LOURDES -- Jr. F Tucker Chapman 11-8--19; F Jr. F Montana Streit 5-11--16; Sr. F Peter Alexander 6-8--14; Jr. F Logan Olson 2-8--10; Jr. G Adam Renn 2-9-0, 4.22, .871.
NotesNew Ulm qualified for the Class A state tournament last season. It beat Willmar and Hutchinson, then upset state-ranked Luverne in the Section 3A title game. ... New Ulm snapped a seven-game winless streak with the win at Worthington on Tuesday. It started the season 7-1-0. ... Mehlhop ranks 8th in the state with 25 assists. The 5-foot-8 junior has 14 points in the past four games. ... Lourdes is searching for some consistency on offense. It has just two players with more than five goals -- Chapman (11) and Alexander (6). ... Lourdes has played just two games against Section 1A opponents this season, but has done well in both, beating likely top seed Northfield 4-2, then playing likely No. 2 seed Mankato West to a one-goal game on Tuesday.
 
 
AREA GAME
 
 Winona (0-11-0 Big Nine, 0-13-0 overall) at Austin (0-6-0, 2-7-1), 7:30 p.m., Riverside Arena: Something has to give between the only two winless teams in Big Nine Conference play. ... Austin is 2-1-0 in its past three games. ... The Packers have scored 16 goals in those three games after scoring 14 goals in their first seven games. ... Austin junior F Isaac Arnold has four points in the past four games. ... Winona hasn't come closer than two goals to any opponent this season. The Winhawks have scored just nine goals this season and have been shut out eight times.
 
 Northfield (9-1-0 Big Nine, 9-5-0 overall) at Red Wing (6-2-0, 6-9-0), 7:30 p.m., Prairie Island Arena: This is the first meeting this season between the two newest teams in the Big Nine Conference; they'll play at Northfield a week from today. ... Red Wing is led by senior F Tyler DeFore, the second-leading goal scorer in the conference (18). ... Northfield beat Red Wing three times last season, each time by three goals. The Raiders won 3-0 and 5-2 in the regular season, and again 4-1 in the Section 1A quarterfinals.
 
 
AROUND THE STATE
 
 No. 12-AA Grand Rapids (11-5-1) at No. 4-A Hibbing/Chisholm (14-0-0), 7:30 p.m.: Grand Rapids takes its three-game winning streak to Hibbing to attempt to top one of the two unbeaten teams left in the state. H/C outscores its opponents by an average of 3.93 goals per game, but has won four games by one goal.
 
 No. 10-A East Grand Forks (11-4-1) at No. 11-AA Bemidji (11-2-2), 7:30 p.m.: The two-time defending Class A state champion EGF is on a roll, unbeaten in seven of its past eight games. It goes against a ticked-off Bemidji team that had a four-game winning streak snapped in OT on Tuesday against unranked Moorhead.
 
 No. 17-AA Centennial (8-5-1) at No. 2-AA Blaine (12-2-0), 7 p.m.: Blaine has won five in a row since a 6-3 loss to Anoka on Dec. 19. It's led by two of the state's best forwards and best scorers, Luke Notermann (17-28--45) and Riley Tufte (25-19--44).
 
 No. 20-A Minneapolis (10-6-0) at No. 12-A St. Paul Johnson (11-3-1), 7 p.m.: The Civil War of the Twin Cities takes place at Phalen Arena in St. Paul. Johnson is 6-1-1 in its past eight games, Minneapolis is 5-2-0 in its past seven.

PHERSY AND FATIS SHOW: Back where we belong

PHERSY: FINALLY I caught back up with Ice Hawks coach Nick Fatis for another edition of the Phersy and Fatis Show.

We had a lot to catch up on, so this is a long episode. But we break down what's been going on with the Ice Hawks, some roster moves, last weekend's games and the games coming up this weekend.

The Ice Hawks are at Alexandria on Friday and at home Saturday against Alexandria at the Rec Center at 7:05 p.m.

Enjoy the show!

January 05, 2016

High School Hockey Today | Jan. 5, 2016, The Back To Reality Edition

Lots to talk about today, so let's get right to it.
 
Time to get back into a normal routine after the hubbub of holiday tournament time.
 
First, the Minnesota Wild have launched a new initiative that is meant to be a sort of Hockey Day Minnesota 365 days a year type of deal. You can read about the new State of Hockey TV show and StateOfHockey.com here
 
Speaking of which, be sure to tune in tonight, or set your DVRs, to record Epsiode 5 of Season 1 of State Of Hockey TV. It's on Fox Sports North at approximately 9 p.m., following the Wild's game at Columbus. Tonight's episode will feature stories from Dodge County and Rochester.
 
Rochester Mayo and Rochester Century jump right into the second half of the season tonight with a rivalry game at the Rochester Rec Center. Mayo, 8-5-0, visits Century for the first matchup of the season between these teams.
 
Perhaps surprisingly, none of the three Rochester schools faced each other during last week's Kiwanis/Cambria Festival at Graham Arena. I could be wrong -- I'm sure it's happened maybe once before -- but I can't remember a Festival in the 10 years I've covered boys hockey going by without two Rochester teams meeting somewhere along the way. 
 
Anyway, Mayo and Century meet for the 52nd time tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Rec Center. Century holds a slim two-game lead in the all-time series and has won two consecutive games against Mayo, including a 4-3 win in last year's Section 1AA quarterfinals, a game that saw the Panthers score three times in the last 2:19 of the third period to rally from a 3-1 deficit.
 
One thing to keep an eye on: Will Mayo's leading scorer, junior F Anthony Oliveto, be in the lineup? He was injured (upper-body) during the second period of the fifth-place game of the Kiwanis Festival and did not return, after scoring two of his team's three goals in a 3-2 win over New Richmond (Wis.).
 
Let's take a look at tonight's games:
 
 
MAYO at CENTURY
7:30 p.m., Rochester Recreation Center
Records
: Rochester Mayo 4-2-0 Big Nine, 8-5-0 overall; Rochester Century 2-4-0, 5-7-1
Coaches: Mayo, Lorne Grosso (49th year, 701-440-28); Century, Josh Klingfus (5th year, 58-53-8)
Last meeting: Century defeated Mayo 4-3 on Feb. 19, 2015, in a Section 1AA quarterfinal playoff game at Graham Arena I. Century scored three goals in the final 2:19 of the game to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win. Connor Davies scored the game winner with exactly a minute to go.
Last game: Mayo defeated New Richmond (Wis.) 3-2 in the fifth-place game of the Kiwanis/Cambria Festival at Graham Arena on Dec. 30. Century defeated Dodge County 7-4 in the seventh-place game of the Kiwanis Festival on Dec. 30.
Team leaders: MAYO -- Jr. F Anthony Oliveto 14-18--32; Sr. F Veikko Weckman 14-11--25; Sr. D Nick Norby 3-12--15; Sr. F Max Billings 10-4--14; So. G Liam Claton 7-2-0, 2.67 GAA, .906 save pct. CENT -- Jr. D Will Zmolek 4-8--12; Jr. F John Schmitz 4-4--8; So. F Jon Thorvilson 3-5--8; Jr. F Eric St. Marie 5-3--8; So. G Cole Walter 5-5-1, 3.18 GAA, .884 save pct., 2 shutouts.
Notes: This is the 52nd matchup all-time between the teams. Century holds a slim two-game advantage in the all-time series and has won two in a row against Mayo. ... The Spartans are 7-3-0 in the last 10 meetings against the Panthers, though. ... Mayo's leading scorer, junior F Anthony Oliveto, was injured in the fifth-place game of the Kiwanis Festival on Dec. 30. He suffered an upper-body injury in the second period, after scoring his team's first two goals, and did not return. He has 16 points in the past five games. ... Century's victory against Dodge County snapped a four-game winless streak that started with a 1-1 tie on Dec. 19 against Chanhassen, the team that won the Kiwanis Festival.
 
 
AREA GAMES 
 
 Faribault (2-6-0 Big Nine, 3-8-0 overall) at Red Wing (4-2-0, 4-8-0), 7:30 p.m., Prairie Island Arena: Red Wing beat Faribault 3-0 in the season opener on Nov. 21. Tyler DeFore, Spencer Kronbeck and Cam Blue scored for the Wingers in that game, and Zachariah Harding had a 15-save shutout. ... The Wingers have lost five games in a row since a 4-3-0 start. Three of their losses have come by one goal; Red Wing lost seven games by one goal last season. ... Faribault snapped a three-game losing streak on Dec. 30 with a 2-1 win against Lake of the Woods at the Roseau Holiday Tournament. ... The Falcons have scored just 18 goals in 11 games and have been shut out three times.
 
 South St. Paul (4-6-0 overall) at Dodge County (2-11-0), 7 p.m., Dodge County Ice Arena: South St. Paul has lost five of its last six after starting the season 3-1-0, including a 4-2 win against Rochester Century. ... The Packers are led by junior F Cameron Buhl, who has 12 goals and 20 points through 10 games. ... Only two other SSP players are in double digits in scoring. ... The Wildcats have dropped four consecutive games since winning back-to-back games against St. Paul Como Park and Bagley/Fosston on Dec. 17 and 18. ... Senior F Max Blaisdell leads D.C. in scoring (7-7--14).
 
 
AROUND THE STATE
 
 No. 14-AA St. Thomas Academy (7-2-3) at No. 1-AA Benilde-St. Margaret's (12-0-1), 7 p.m.: STA didn't officially drop a game at the Schwan's Cup, going 1-0-2. It is unbeaten in six consecutive games. Top-ranked BSM is the lone Class AA unbeaten left in the state and is coming off consecutive wins against No. 9 Elk River and Maple Grove.
 
 No. 18-AA Farmingon (6-3-1) at No. 7-AA Wayzata (9-4-1), 7 p.m.: Farmington, one of the favorites in Section 1AA, will test itself against one of the best teams in the state, Wayzata, which has just one win in its past four games.
 
 No. 3-A St. Cloud Apollo (11-1-0) at Brainerd (6-3-1), 7 p.m.: Highly ranked Apollo will see what it can do against one of the top teams in Section 8AA.
 
 No. 1-A Hermantown (10-1-1) at No. 11-AA Grand Rapids (8-4-1), 7:30 p.m.: Hermantown has won five in a row after suffering its lone loss, at No. 12-AA Minnetonka, on Dec. 18. 

December 28, 2015

High School Hockey Today | Dec. 28, 2015 (The Going-for-700 edition)

Posted by: Feldman

What's better? Spending all day putting toys and games together and having a little bag of important-looking parts left over while kids run and scream and make a giant mess? Or spending all day at the hockey rink watching the Kiwanis Festival? I'm not sure what's better, but I know spending all day at the Graham Arena complex will be quieter than spending all day with a 9-year-old and a 4-year-old who are overloaded with new gadgets and toys.

I kid, of course. Christmas was great; it doesn't get better than watching kids rip into their gifts and seeing their excitement. 

But the Kiwanis Festival is like a present for local hockey fans -- 12 teams, 2 rinks, 3 days. 

There are plenty of reasons to check out this year's Festival:

All four Rochester teams are there, as usual. We'll get into them in a bit. 

Why not open the tournament with perhaps the best matchup? The No. 1-ranked team in Wisconsin, Appleton United (9-0-0) will open Blue Division play today at 3 p.m. against three-time defending Festival champion Verona (Wis.). 

The Gold Division actually gets going in just more than an hour, when Dodge County faces Chanhassen in the first game of the Gold Division.

Before we talk a bit about the Rochester teams, here are some links to our tournament preview coverage:

* Here is a team-by-team look at all 12 teams in the Festival

* Notebook: A young Century team enters the Festival with growing confidence, and some tournament storylines to watch

* That No. 1 team from Wisconsin? It's led by some talented players, none moreso than senior forward Trenton Bliss, who is committed to the University of Wisconsin.

Appleton will certainly be a team to watch this week, but there are reasons to keep an eye on the Rochester schools, too.

Mayo is 6-4-0 overall and has one of the best lines -- if not the best -- in the tournament. Its top line of Veikko Weckman, Anthony Oliveto and Max Billings has combined for 58 points through 10 games. If the Spartans can find some scoring from their other lines, they'll be a threat in this tournament, and in the Big Nine Conference the rest of this season.

Another storyline to watch with Mayo: Its next victory will be No. 700 for head coach Lorne Grosso. He has more wins than any other high school hockey coach in Minnesota history and is second in career wins in the U.S. No. 700 could come as soon as this afternoon; Mayo plays Park-Cottage Grove (1-8-1) at 3 p.m.

As mentioned in the story we linked to above, Rochester Century is coming in with some confidence. It's a team with 20 sophomores and six freshmen on its combined varsity/JV roster, but it's also beginning to learn what it takes to play at the varsity level. Century is 3-1-1 in its past five after a 1-4-0 start.

Rochester John Marshall has high hopes at this year's Festival. With 15 seniors on the varsity roster, JM brings a 7-3-0 record into the tournament. The Rockets have only won the tournament once in its 22-year history (1997), a year before most players on this year's team were born. JM will have a tough first-round matchup, though, against Festival mainstay New Richmond (Wis.). The Tigers were ranked No. 9 in the Wisconsin state poll early in the season; they're 5-3-0 coming into the tournament. 

That's about it for now.

Follow me on Twitter (@PBFeldy) for updates from the Festival this week and watch PostBulletin.com and pick up the print edition for more coverage of the Festival.

Enjoy the games! We'll end this with a look around the state today.

* * * * *

AROUND THE STATE

• Schwan Cup, Gold Division: The annual holiday tournament to watch begins today at Ridder Arena and the Schwan Super Rink. It features eight teams all ranked in the top 20 in Class AA. Perhaps the most intriguing first-round matchup features the two teams that fans around the state love to hate more than any others -- No. 16 St. Thomas Academy vs. No. 7 Edina. Today's other quarterfinals: No. 14 Hill-Murray vs. No. 6 Wayzata; No. 20 Burnsville vs. No. 2 Eden Prairie; and No. 15 Centennial vs. No. 13 Minnetonka. The championship is set for 8 p.m. Wednesday.

• Granite City Classic (St. Cloud): Three of the top 13 teams in the Class A state poll are in this tournament: No. 13 Sartell-St. Stephen, No. 9 St. Cloud Cathedral and No. 3 St. Cloud Apollo. Cathedral and Sartell-St. Stephen meet at 7:15 p.m. today.

• Sports Authority Holiday Classic (St. Louis Park): Five teams ranked in the latest Class AA state poll are in this event, which begins today and runs through Wednesday. There are two marquee matchups in today's opening round: No. 11 Elk River/Zimmerman meets No. 9 Prior Lake at noon, and No. 10 Holy Family Catholic faces No. 3 Stillwater at 5 p.m. Other matchups today include Maple Grove vs. Moorhead (2:30 p.m.) and Benilde-St. Margaret's vs. No. 8 Lakeville North (7:30 p.m.).

• Duluth Marshall Hilltopper Holiday Tournament (Duluth): This tourney begins Tuesday and features three outstanding first-round matchups: No. 6-A Delano/Rockford vs. No. 2-A Hermantown (3:15 p.m.); Duluth Marshall vs. No. 8-WI Notre Dame (5:45 p.m.) and No. 4-AA Bemidji vs. Cloquet (8 p.m.). Roseville meets Superior (Wis.) in the tournament opener tomorrow at 1 p.m.

December 19, 2015

High School Hockey Today | Dec. 19, 2015 (The 'Busy Saturday' edition)

Posted by: Feldman

Lots of games and not much time (3 minutes to be exact) before games begin today. So let's get right to it.

The 6-1-0 JM Rockets passed one test Thursday night by beating Northfield in a battle of teams that were unbeaten in conference play. Today, the Rockets have a bigger test — at home against St. Paul Academy, the No. 7-ranked team in Class A.

Century faces Chanhassen — two teams who could face each other in the Kiwanis Festival — at 7:30 p.m. tonight. The Panthers have a three-game winning streak and a two-game shutout streak going.

And Mayo concludes its Up-North roadie with a game at the historic Hippodrome in Eveleth against Eveleth-Gilbert.

TODAY'S GAMES

ST. PAUL ACADEMY at ROCHESTER JM
3 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Records: SPA 4-3-0 overall (ranked No. 7 in Class A); JM 6-1-0 overall
Coaches: SPA, Matt Funk; JM, Jay Ness
Last meeting: SPA beat JM 6-1 on Jan. 31, 2015, at Drake Arena in St. Paul.
Last game: SPA lost to No. 2-ranked Breck 6-0 last Saturday; JM defeated Northfield 5-3 on Thursday.
Team leaders: SPA -- Jack Johnston 6-6--12; Matt Dahlseide 5-6--11; Justin Jallen 6-4--10; G Andy Beran 4-3-0, 3.09 GAA, 887 save pct. JM -- Isaac Lamppa 10-6--16; Brady Dahl 6-9--15; Josh Frerks 4-7--11; G Brady Meyers 6-1-0, 1.78 GAA, .933 save pct.
Notes: SPA is ranked No. 7 in the state in Class A. ... JM's victory over Northfield on Thursday leaves it as the only unbeaten team in Big Nine Conference play. ... The Rockets' lone loss this season is a 3-2 OT loss at Spring Lake Park. ... SPA's three losses this season came against Bloomington Kennedy, No. 4-A Mahtomedi and No. 2-A Breck. ... JM concludes its challenging pre-Christmas stretch with games at rival Rochester Century onTuesday and at No. 17-ranked Farmington on Wednesday.

• • •

CHANHASSEN at ROCHESTER CENTURY
7 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Records: Chanhassen 5-3-0 overall; Century 4-4-0 overall.
Coaches: Chanhassen, Chris Wilson; Century, Josh Klingfus
Last meeting: Chanhassen and Century tied 2-2 on Dec. 13, 2014, at the Victoria Rec Center.
Last game: Chanhassen lost to No. 14-AA Minnetonka 6-3 on Tuesday; Century shut out Winona 7-0 on Thursday.
Team leaders: CHAN -- Jake Theis 9-5--14; Eric Worre 4-7--11; G Taylor Thompson 4-2-0, 2.84 GAA, .901 save pct. CENT -- Will Zmolek 4-6--10; Eric St. Marie 5-3--8; Nick Aney 4-2--6; Ben Haas 1-5--6; G Cole Walter 4-2-0, 2.50 GAA, .886 save pct.
Notes: Walter has backstopped the Panthers to back-to-back shutouts. He has allowed two or less goals in four of his six starts. ... Zmolek has four points in the past three games. ... Chanhassen returns to Rochester in nine days to play in the Kiwanis Festival. ... Two of Chanhassen's three losses have come against ranked teams -- No. 14-AA Minnetonka and No. 6-A Delano/Rockford.

• • •

ROCHESTER MAYO at EVELETH-GILBERT
2 p.m., Hippodrome, Eveleth
Records: Mayo 4-4-0 overall; E-G 3-5-1 overall.
Coaches: Mayo, Lorne Grosso; E-G, Jeff Torrel.
Last meeting: Mayo and E-G tied 1-1 on Jan. 10, 2015, at Graham Arena I.
Last game: Mayo lost at No. 16-A Hibbing/Chisholm 9-2 on Friday; E-G lost to Albert Lea 5-3 on Friday.
Team leaders: MAYO -- Anthony Oliveto 4-11--15; Veikko Weckman 10-5--15; Max Billings 7-1--8; G Liam Claton 3-2-0, 3.41 GAA, .866 save pct. E-G -- Nick Przybylski 9-11--20; Cody Hendrickson 11-8--19; Aaron Koivunen 1-13--14; G Thomas Koskela 2-2-0, 3.96 GAA, .865 save pct.; G Danny Niemi 1-3-1, 4.83, .846.
Notes: Mayo has lost two consecutive games since a four-game winning streak. ... The Spartans play at Hastings on Tuesday in their final game before a short Christmas break. ... Eveleth-Gilbert is 0-3-1 in its past four games, after going 3-1-0 in its previous four. ... E-G's Przybylski has 11 points in the past five games.

• • • • •

AREA GAMES

Bagley/Fosston (1-6-0) at Austin (0-6-1), 1 p.m., Riverside Arena: Austin is still looking for its first win of the season, coming off an 8-2 loss to Mankato East on Thursday. ... The Packers are led by senior F Dan Bollingberg (6-0--6) and G Noah Bawek (0-5-1, 2.90 GAA, .876 save pct.). ... B/F made a more than 350-mile trip to play Dodge County and Austin this weekend. Fosston is approximately halfway between Grand Forks, N.D., and Bemidji on US Highway 2.

Red Wing (4-1-0 Big Nine, 4-5-0 overall) at Mankato East (2-4-0, 3-6-0), 7:30 p.m., All Seasons Arena: East has won two consecutive games after starting the season 1-6-0. ... The Cougars are led by senior F Judd Schulz, one of the top scorers in the Big Nine (8-8--16). ... Red Wing is led by senior F Tyler DeFore, one of the leading goal-scorers in the state (12-2--14). DeFore's 12 goals tie him for 11th in the state. ... The Wingers are 0-4-0 in non-conference play and have been outscored 22-6 in those four games.

• • • • •

AROUND THE STATE

No. 2-AA Eden Prairie (6-1-0) vs. No. 5-AA Edina (6-3-0), 8:30 p.m., Braemar, Edina: The second game of a star-studded double-header at Braemar features two of the top five teams in the state. Edina showed its strengths at both ends on Friday, shutting out No. 13 Elk River 4-0, while E.P. beat No. 9 Grand Rapids 6-3. E.P. and Edina are scheduled to meet twice more this season: Jan. 28 at Eden Prairie and again in the regular-season finale, Feb. 13 at Edina.

No. 13-AA Elk River/Zimmerman vs. No. 9 Grand Rapids, 6 p.m., Braemar, Edina: Grand Rapids looks to get back on track after losing two of its past three against tough opponents. Elk River looks to snap a three-game losing skid.

December 17, 2015

High School Hockey Today | Dec. 17, 2015 (The 'May The Force Be With You' edition)

A long time ago, in an ice arena far, far away...

(CROSS)BAR WARS
HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY TODAY
Episode III
Return of the Rockets and Raiders

Parity has engulfed the galaxy of southeastern Minnesota. 

There is no clear-cut favorite in the Big Nine Conference. But two rogue squadrons, loaded with battle-tested veterans are threatening to take it over.

Neither the Rockets from the village of John Marshall on the planet of Rochester, nor the Raiders from the somewhat-distant planet of Northfield have been defeated on a Big Nine battlefield yet this year. The time has come for the squadrons to battle head-to-head on the icy surface of the Rochester Recreation Center.

The Rockets are led by one of the top defense specialists in the galaxy, Senior Goaltender Brady Meyers (That's not much of a Star Wars name. How about Brady-Wan Meyersolo? ... We'll work on it). He is 4th among all defense specialists in the Minnesota galaxy, with a save percentage of .939. His counter part on the opposite side of the ice surface, Ryan Bielenberg, has been almost equally difficult for opposing attackers to solve.

The battle for early-season supremacy in the Big Nine will commence at 19:30 hours and is one of several battles expected to take place in our galaxy...

---

OK, my apologies, but it IS the opening night of the new Star Wars movie and you're reading the work of a Star Wars fanatic. If anyone looked at the text messages on my phone today, the level of Star Wars nerdery they would see would be at an embarrassingly high level.

So we'll come back to Earth to finish out this edition of High School Hockey Today. 

In addition to JM and Northfield battling to remain the only unbeaten in Big Nine play, Rochester Century looks to extend its winning streak to three, and Red Wing and Dodge County play non-conference games.

TONIGHT'S GAMES

NORTHFIELD at ROCHESTER JM
7:30 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Records
: Northfield 5-0-0 Big Nine Conference, 5-2-0 overall; John Marshall 5-0-0, 5-1-0
Coaches: Northfield, Mike Luckcraft (2nd season, 21-12-2); JM, Jay Ness (5th season, 52-54-4)
Last meeting: JM beat Northfield 5-3 on Feb. 10, 2015, at the Rec Center. Sam Streiff and Josh Frerks scored third-period goals to lift the Rockets.
Last game: Northfield won at Mankato East, 4-1, on Saturday; JM won 4-0 at Faribault on Tuesday.
Team leaders: NFLD -- Jr. F Nicholas Kvernmo 3-7--10; Sr. F Ryan Torbenson 4-6--10; So. F Jacob Halvorson 5-2--7; Jr. G Ryan Bielenberg 5-2-0, 2.29 GAA, .908 save pct. JM -- Sr. F Isaac Lamppa 9-5--14; Sr. F Brady Dahl 5-7--12; Sr. D Josh Frerks 4-5--9; Sr. F Conner Lee 1-7--8; So. F Xander Lamppa 3-5--8; Sr. G Brady Meyers 5-1-0, 1.56 GAA, .939 save pct.
Notes: JM's Meyers is 4th in the state in save percentage (.939) and 7th in the state in goals-against average (1.56). ... Meyers and Northfield G Ryan Bielenberg are tied for 9th in the state with five wins each. ... JM is loaded with seniors (15 on its varsity roster), Northfield is loaded with juniors (eight). ... Northfield played in the Section 1A championship game last season, falling to New Prague 2-1. ... Northfield is on a three-game winning streak after a two-game losing skid. The Raiders have outscored their past three opponents 20-5.
 
CENTURY at WINONA
6:30 p.m., Bud King Ice Arena
Records
: Rochester Century 1-3-0 Big Nine, 3-4-0 overall; Winona 0-4-0, 0-5-0.
Coaches: Century, Josh Klingfus (5th season, 56-50-7); Winona, Fran McDevitt
Last meeting: Century defeated Winona 7-1 on Jan. 22, 2015, at Winona. Jake Roth had three points and Will Zmolek had two assists for Century.
Last game: Century beat Austin 2-0 on Saturday; Winona lost at Faribault 5-0 on Saturday.
Team leaders: CENT -- Jr. D Will Zmolek 2-5--7; So. F Nick Aney 4-2--6; So. F Ben Haas 1-4--5; Jr. F Eric St. Marie 3-2--5; So. G Cole Walter 3-2-0, 3.00 GAA, .876 save pct. WIN -- Jr. F Joe Brinkman 0-3--3; Jr. F Andre Russeau 2-1--3; Jr. F Justin Waldera 1-1--2; Sr. G Matt Schoh 0-3-0, 7.12 GAA, .855 save pct.
Notes: Century is on a two-game winning streak after a four-game losing streak. A win would get the Panthers back to .500 for the first time since Nov. 24. ... The Panthers have a total of 37 points this season; 23 of those (62.2 percent) are from their large sophomore class. ... Winona has scored a total of five goals this season, none in its past two games. The Winhawks are on a scoreless skid of 140 minutes, 15 seconds. ... Winona hasn't scored more than one goal in a game since its season opener on Nov. 19. 
 
 
AREA GAMES
 
 Dodge County (0-7-0) at St. Paul Como Park (4-5-0), 7:30 p.m., Oscar Johnson Arena, St. Paul: Dodge County's record is a bit deceiving. The Wildcats have lost four games by one goal and another by two. ... Dodge County appears to have found solid goaltending from diminutive freshman Cole Kundert (4.60 GAA, .890 save pct.). He has made at least 30 saves in each of his five starts, including a total of 125 in his past three starts (an average of 41.7 per game). ... Senior F Max Blaisdell leads D.C. in scoring (3-4--7). ... Como is 4-5-0, but has lost four of its past six games. It averages 3.7 goals per game and allows 4.7. ... Senior F Ian Tully leads Como in scoring (10-11--21), while junior F Peter Dadlez has 7-7--14.
 
 Red Wing (4-4-0) at Monticello (3-4-0), 7 p.m., Moose Sherritt Ice Arena: Monticello has won two of its past three after a 1-4-0 start. ... It is led by Sr. F Nate Maas (5-6--11), Sr. F Ville Salovaara (7-2--9) and Jr. F Jaden Jarmuzek (2-7--9). Senior Connor Bird (3-4-0, 2.29 GAA, .930 save pct.) has played every minute in goal. ... Red Wing is in the midst of a five-game road trip. After tonight's game, it plays at Mankato East on Saturday and then is off until playing at Champlin Park on Dec. 29. Its next home game is Dec. 30 against Shakopee. ... Wingers F Tyler DeFore is tied for ninth in the state in goals scored (11). 
 
 
AROUND THE STATE
 
 No. 2-AA Eden Prairie (4-1-0) vs. No. 13-AA Elk River/Zimmerman (5-1-0), 6 p.m., Braemar, Edina: Both teams looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season. Elk River lost 5-2 to Blaine; E.P. lost 6-5 to Benilde on Saturday.
 
 No. 3-AA Blaine (6-1-0) at No. 14-AA Minnetonka (4-2-0), 7 p.m.: Minnetonka is on a three-game winning streak, while Blaine is playing for the first time after a loss (4-3 at Benilde-SM on Tuesday). Blaine's Luke Notermann (8-15--23) and Riley Tufte (14-8--22) are off to red-hot starts.
 
 No. 6-AA Wayzata (6-2-0) at No. 10-AA Holy Family Catholic (7-2-0), 7 p.m.: HFC is on a five-game winning streak, including wins against Minnetonka (2-1) and St. Thomas Academy (7-3). Wayzata has won four in a row since dropping consecutive games to Hermantown (5-3) and Duluth East (4-1).
 
 No. 9-AA Grand Rapids (5-2-1) at No. 5-AA Edina (5-2-0), 8:30 p.m.: Edina looks to rebound from a 4-3 loss to No. 3 Blaine on Saturday, while Grand Rapids, led by senior F Mitchell Mattson (4-11--15), looks for a victory after losing to No. 8 Lakeville North 4-3 on Saturday. 
 No. 12-AA Prior Lake (4-1-0) at No. 20-AA Burnsville (2-3-1), 7 p.m.: Burnsville's three losses -- in its first three games of the season -- came against No. 11 Hill-Murray, No. 5 Edina and No. 1 Benilde-SM. Its tie was against No. 17 Farmington.
 
 No. 9-A St. Cloud Cathedral (5-3-0) at No. 2-A Breck (6-1-0), 7:30 p.m.: Breck's lone loss came against No. 6-AA Wayzata, 2-1 on Dec. 10. The Mustangs have five players in double figures in scoring, led by senior F Chase Ellingson (9-11--20).

December 12, 2015

High School Hockey Today | Dec. 12, 2015 (the 'Rivalry Renewed' edition)

Posted by: Feldman
 
Who's ready for a rivalry game?
 
Rochester Mayo and Rochester John Marshall meet on the ice for the 112th time tonight (7:30 p.m., Graham Arena I). 
 
Doing a quick look back at recent history between these teams I came across a somewhat surprising number: JM has never had a 10-game winning streak against Mayo. Considering all of the dominant Rockets teams of the 1970s, I thought for sure they would have had a double-digit win streak in there somewhere. But the longest streak JM has had against Mayo is nine (from the 1974-75 season through the 1977-78 season). 
 
I bring this up because Mayo is currently on a 10-game win streak against JM. That surprised me, too, because the teams have been relatively equal over the past few years. 
 
Another surprising number: Mayo has won the past five games against JM by at least three goals. The combined score in those five games: Mayo 33, JM 9.
 
I would expect something significantly different tonight. With JM's experience and depth -- and maybe a chip on its shoulder -- I'd look for a strong effort from JM.
 
The matchup to watch: Mayo's top line vs. JM's defense and senior goalie Brady Meyers. He has been lights-out this season, posting an outstanding 1.86 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. The latter number ranks eighth in the entire state, regardless of class. 
 
Mayo will counter with the line of Veikko Weckman-Anthony Oliveto-Max Billings. That trio has combined for 37 points; Oliveto is tied for 6th in the state with 11 assists, and Weckman's 10 goals are tied for 9th in the state.
 
I'd expect a more traditional JM-Mayo game, say 4-3 or something close like that. Who wins? I'll leave the predictions to you. (Yeah, I'm totally copping out, without shame).
 
Some quick notes before we break down today's matchups:
 
* No. 2-AA Benilde-St. Margaret's knocked off No. 1-AA Eden Prairie 6-5 in OT last night on a goal by Zach Risteau 1:17 into overtime. Benilde pretty heavily outshot Eden Prairie, 42-26 for the game, including 12-4 in the first period and 1-0 in OT. B-SM's Auggie Moore had 2-3--5 in the game and forced OT with a short-handed goal with 5:34 to go in the third period. The player in the box when Moore scored? Risteau. B-SM and E.P. are scheduled to play again on Feb. 6.
 
* Former Mayo forward Logan Haskins got a look with the USHL's Chicago Steel last night, dressing for their game at Cedar Rapids. Haskins, a former Mayo and Rochester Ice Hawks standout forward -- and current Austin Bruins forward -- was able to play with the Steel as the Bruins are idle this weekend. Haskins played against former Century/Austin Bruins standout d-man Riese Zmolek, who plays for Cedar Rapids.
 
TODAY'S GAMES
  
AUSTIN at ROCHESTER CENTURY
3 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Records: Austin 0-3-0 Big Nine, 0-4-1 overall; Century is 0-3-0, 2-4-0
Coaches: Austin, Erik LaRock; Century, Josh Klingfus
Last meeting: Century beat Austin 4-2 on Feb. 4, 2015, at the Rochester Rec Center.
Last game: Austin lost to Red Wing 5-4 in OT on Thursday; Century defeated Dodge County 2-1 on Tuesday 
Team leaders: AUST -- Sr. F Dan Bollingberg 5-0--5; Jr. F Brayden Merritt 2-3--5; Jr. F Isaac Arnold 2-2--4; So. G Noah Bawek 0-4-1, 3.62 GAA, .876 save pct. CENT -- Jr. D Will Zmolek 2-5--7; Jr. F Eric St. Marie 3-2--5; So. F Nick Aney 3-2--5; So. G Cole Walter 2-2-0, 3.75 GAA, .854 save pct. 
Notes: Austin has played two OT games, suffered one regulation loss by one goal and another by two. ... Bawek averages 27 saves per game. ... Bollingberg has five goals for Austin, the rest of the Packers have combined for seven. ... Century's win over Dodge County on Tuesday snapped a four-game losing skid. ... A young Panthers team has eight total goals since scoring seven in its season opener. ... These teams are scheduled to meet again at Austin on Feb. 4.
 
ROCHESTER JM at ROCHESTER MAYO
7:30 p.m., Graham Arena I
Records: JM 3-0-0 Big Nine, 3-1-0 overall; Mayo 4-1-0, 4-2-0
Coaches: JM, Jay Ness; Mayo, Lorne Grosso
Last meeting: Mayo defeated JM 5-1 in Feb. 5, 2015, at Graham I.
Last game: JM won at Winona, 12-0, on Thursday; Mayo defeated Albert Lea 6-2 on Thursday
Team leaders: JM -- Sr. F Isaac Lamppa 5-4--9; Sr. F Brady Dahl 4-5--9; Sr D Josh Frerks 3-4--7; So. F Xander Lamppa 3-3--6; Sr. F Conner Lee 1-5--6; Sr. G Brady Meyers 3-1-0, 1.86 GAA, .935 save pct. MAYO -- Jr. F Anthony Oliveto 4-11--15; Sr. F Veikko Weckman 10-5--15; Sr. F Max Billings 6-1--7; Sr. D Nick Norby 1-5--6; So. G Liam Claton 3-1-0, 3.25 GAA, .863 save pct.
Notes: JM expected to be balanced and deep, and it has been. Sixteen players have already recorded a point for JM this season, 14 of those players have recorded multiple points. ... JM goalie Brady Meyers' .935 save pct. is eighth in the entire state. ...  Isaac Lamppa had 20 points last season for JM. He already has nine through four games this year. ... Mayo junior F Anthony Oliveto is tied for 6th in the state with 11 assists. ... After allowing seven goals to state-ranked Farmington in the season opener, Mayo sophomore G Liam Claton has allowed just two goals in each of his three subsequent starts. 

 

December 10, 2015

High School Hockey Today | Dec. 10, 2015 (The 'Welcome Back' edition)

Posted by: Feldman

We're three weeks into the high school hockey season and I'm just now getting back into the HSHT routine. Well, I suppose we have to do this more than once to call it a routine, eh? But, it's definitely past the time to get "Today" going again.

Before we get into today's games, there have already been a few highlights from our southeastern Minnesota teams in the early going:

* Rochester Mayo coach Lorne Grosso recorded his 696th career victory, moving him into 2nd on the all-time high school hockey coaching wins list in the United States. The leader is far out of reach, even if Grosso decides not to retire at the end of this season (no, not trying to plant a seed in his head; his wife, Joni, would not be happy if I tried that). Bill Belisle of Mt. St. Charles Academy in Woonsocket, R.I., has more than 970 career victories. His lead is safe until Minnesota decides to let high school teams play 50-game regular season schedules.

* Red Wing junior forward Tyler DeFore is off to a red-hot start for the 3-3-0 Wingers. DeFore has 9 goals already, which is tied for 6th in the state. He has at least one point in all of the Wingers games so far, highlighted by his 4-goal effort in a 5-4 OT win against Albert Lea. The only goal he didn't score that night? The winner in OT. That was scored by Joe Renshaw. DeFore also has one assist, giving him 10 points for the season. He was Red Wing's leading scorer with 21 goals and 34 points last season. He leads the Big Nine in scoring and is tied for third in points.

* Rochester Mayo's top line has been on fire to start the season. The 3-2-0 Spartans have received 28 points from the Veikko Weckman - Max Billings - Anthony Oliveto line. Weckman is second in the Big Nine with 7 goals and 12 points. Oliveto is tied for third in the conference with 10 points, while Billings is second on the team in goals (6). The line has accounted for 17 of Mayo's 20 goals. 

* Three players from southern Minnesota are among the top 10 in the state in goals scored. La Crescent junior Carter Schmitz is tied with Luverne's Jaxon Nelson atop the list, with 12 goals. Schmitz has two hat tricks and two other two-goal games already this season. Red Wing's DeFore is tied for sixth place in the state with 9 goals, as is Isaac Westphal of LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter. Westphal, a junior, has scored in five of the Bulldogs' six games, including a hat trick on Nov. 28 at Worthington.

Let's get into tonight's games:

ALBERT LEA at ROCHESTER MAYO
7:30 p.m., Graham Arena I
Records: Albert Lea 2-2-0 Big 9, 2-2-0 overall; Mayo 3-1-0, 3-2-0
Coaches: Albert Lea, Roy Nystrom; Mayo, Lorne Grosso
Last meeting: Albert Lea beat Mayo 9-1 on Jan. 15, 2015, at Graham Arena. Three Tigers players scored two goals each in that game.
Last game: Albert Lea lost to Red Wing 5-4 in OT on Dec. 3; Mayo beat Winona 9-1 on Dec. 3 at Graham Arena.
Team leaders: A.L. -- Soph. F Bergen Lundak (7-1--8); Soph. F Micahel Savelkoul (0-7--7); Jr. F Austin Dulitz (2-5--7); Jr. G Ben Witham (2-2-0, 3.22 GAA, .889 save pct.). MAYO -- Sr. F Veikko Weckman (7-5--12); Jr. F Anthony Oliveto (4-6--10); Sr. F Max Billings (6-0--6); Soph. G Liam Claton (2-1-0, 3.67, .863)
Notes: There likely won't be a matchup between two coaches with more combined victories than these two coaches. Grosso (696) and Nystrom (685) have combined for 1,381 career wins. They were linemates at the University of Minnesota in the 1960s and have coached against one another at their current schools for about 40 years. Grosso started at Mayo when the school opened in 1966. Nystrom spent some time coaching in North Dakota before coming to Albert Lea. ... Albert Lea is loaded with underclassmen. The top three and four of the Tigers' top five scorers are underclassmen. ... Mayo's Weckman is an exchange student from Finland. 

LOURDES at NEW PRAGUE
7:15 p.m., New Prague Community Center
Records: Lourdes 1-4-0 overall; New Prague 2-4-0.
Coaches: Lourdes, Josh Spaniol; N.P., Chris Lonke
Last meeting: Top-seeded New Prague edged eighth-seeded Lourdes 2-1 in a Section 1A playoff quarterfinal game on Feb. 19, 2015, at the N.P. Community Center. Lourdes led 1-0 early in the 2nd period, but N.P.'s Zach Davis scored twice -- including just 11 seconds after Lourdes' goal -- to lift the Trojans.
Last game: Lourdes lost at No. 6-ranked St. Cloud Cathedral 5-1 on Saturday; New Prague beat Red Wing 3-2 on Tuesday.
Team leaders: LRDS -- Jr. F Tucker Chapman (3-2--5); Jr. F Montana Streit (1-3--4); Sr. F Peter Alexander (1-2--3); Sr. F Logan Olson (0-3--3); Jr. G Adam Renn (1-3-0, 4.86 GAA, .845 save pct.). N.P. -- Sr. F Alex Gregor (7-3--10); Sr. F Zach Davis (1-8--9); Sr. F Nathan Simon (2-3--5); Sr. D Connor Pint (0-5--5); Jr. G Graydon Skok (2-3-0, 3.92, .884).
Notes: This will be the only meeting of the season between these non-conference rivals -- barring both making the Class A state tournament. New Prague, which won the past two Section 1A championships, has moved to Section 2A this season, while Lourdes remains in a balanced and competitive Section 1. ... Producing offense has been an issue for both teams so far. Lourdes averages 2.0 goals per game while New Prague averages 2.5 goals per game.

JOHN MARSHALL at WINONA
6:30 p.m., Bud King Ice Arena
Records: JM 2-0-0 Big Nine, 2-1-0 overall; Winona 0-2-0, 0-3-0
Coaches: JM, Jay Ness; Winona, Fran McDevitt
Last meeting: JM won at Winona 5-0 on Jan. 27, 2015
Last game: JM lost at Spring Lake 3-2 in OT on Saturday; Winona lost 4-1 at Owatonna on Tuesday
Team leaders: JM -- Sr. F Brady Dahl (3-4--7); Sr. F Isaac Lamppa (3-2--5); So. F Xander Lamppa (2-1--3); Sr. F Conner Lee (1-2--3); Sr. D Josh Frerks (1-2--3); Sr. G Brady Meyers (2-1-0, 2.27 GAA, .929 save pct.). WIN -- Jr. F Joe Brinkman (0-3--3); Jr. F Andre Russeau (2-1--3); Sr. G Matt Schoh (0-3-0, 7.12 GAA, .855 save pct.).
Notes: Just three games into its season, JM has had 14 players record at least one point. ... Meyers has allowed just seven goals through three games. ... JM averages 4.3 goals per game and allows 2.3. ... Winona averages 1.7 goals per game and allows 6.3. ... JM has 15 seniors listed on its varsity roster.

* * * * *

AREA GAMES 

* Red Wing at Austin (7:30 p.m., Riverside Arena): Red Wing is 3-1-0 Big Nine, 3-3-0 overall; Austin is 0-2-0, 0-3-1. ... The Wingers are led by junior F Tyler DeFore, who has the sixth-most goals in the state (9). He has 10 total points this season. ... Sophomore Zachariah Harding has played every minute in goal this season for the Wingers. He is 3-3-0 with a 3.15 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage. The latter stat is fourth-best in the Big Nine and he is one of two goalies in the conference to record a shutout this season. ... Austin has played four close games this season. The Packers tied La Crescent, lost to Faribault by one goal and LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter by two. ... Austin is searching for scoring. It has scored a total of four goals in its three losses.

* * * * *

AROUND THE STATE

* No. 8-AA Lakeville North (1-1-0) at No. 20-AA Farmington (2-2-1), 7:30 p.m.: In a matchup that will go a long way to determining the top seed in the Section 1AA playoffs, North goes on the road for a second consecutive game. Defending state champ North lost its opener to Stillwater, but bounced back with a big 10-1 win at Shakopee on Saturday. Farmington will provide a stiffer test.

No. 4-AA Blaine (4-0-0) at No. 16-AA Centennial, 7 p.m.: Blaine opens Northwest Suburban Conference-North Division play by putting its unbeaten record on the line in Circle Pines. Centennial's only loss came against No. 6 Edina, 4-1, on Dec. 3. 

* No. 2-A Breck (5-0-0) at No. 7-AA Wayzata (4-2-0), 7 p.m.: Breck's offense has been nearly unstoppable, putting up 32 goals through five games. Its defense has been shaky, though, allowing seven goals to No. 9-A Delano/Rockford in a 9-7 win, and four goals to Totino-Grace in a 7-4 win. Wayzata's two losses have come against a pair of state powers from up north, No. 1-A Hermantown and No. 3-AA Duluth East.

* Lakeville South (0-1-0) at No. 14-AA Prior Lake (2-1-0), 7 p.m.: South is playing for just a second time this season, and the first time since a tragic car accident resulted in the deaths of two South students late last week. That accident caused South's game against Rochester Mayo last Saturday to be postponed. 

No. 15-A Duluth Denfeld (4-2-0) at No. 1-A Hermantown (3-0-1), 7:30 p.m.: The top-ranked Hawks are coming off a 4-4 tie against unranked Hopkins. Hermantown rallied for two third-period goals in that game to force OT.