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December 18, 2014

High School Hockey Today | Thursday, Dec. 18

Posted by: Feldman

A couple of quick notes before we get into today's games.

* Rochester Lourdes has again been picked to play at the host site of Hockey Day Minnesota. The Eagles will face St. Paul Academy at 7:30 p.m. at Holman Field, the airport near downtown St. Paul. The game will not be televised on FSN, as it will take place at the same time as the Minnesota Wild play host to the Arizona Coyotes at The X as the final live televised game of HDM '15. But it will be a great experience for the Lourdes players, who will participate in the fourth and final game of the day at Holman Field. Here is a link that provides more info about the day's games and ticket pricing. Lourdes lost to Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 4-1 at HDM '14, at the historic Handke Pit in Elk River.

* The Duluth News-Tribune reports today that perennial Class A boys hockey power Duluth Marshall will move up to Class AA beginning next winter. Marshall, a private school with an enrollment of less than 300, will become the smallest Class AA team in the state. It will be required to stay in AA for at least four seasons, but, the school's activities director says "There may be some challenges along the way, but after four years we don’t think we’re going to look back. We’re committed to double A."

* * *


7 p.m., Graham Arena 4
Records: Winona 1-5-0 Big Nine, 1-6-0 overall; Century 3-1-0, 4-2-1.
Coaches: Winona, Fran McDevitt (14th season); Century, Josh Klingfus (4th season).
Last meeting: Century beat Winona 1-0 on Jan. 23, 2014, at Winona. Century D Riese Zmolek scored the game's lone goal, a short-handed tally midway through the third period. Winona G Matt Schoh made 41 saves; Century's Joey Pundt had a 21-save shutout.
Last game: WIN -- Sr. Michael Lubahn (5-2--7); Soph. Ty Mannor (2-2--4); Sr. Cal Thompson (3-1--4); Jr. G Matt Schoh (1-4-0, 4.10 GAA, .888 save pct.). ... CENT -- Sr. Jake Roth (8-8--16); Sr. Riese Zmolek (7-5--12); Sr. Sam Batterson (5-3--8); Sr. Pat Bower (4-3--7); Sr. G Joey Pundt (1-2-1, 2.82, .878); Fr. Cole Walter (3-0-0, 1.33, .939).
Notes: Century averages 5.0 goals per game and allows 2.3 per game. ... Winona scores 2.3 goals per game and allows 4.4. ... The Winhawks are on a five-game losing streak since their only win, a 3-2 victory at Austin on Nov. 22. ... Schoh has faced an average of 37.6 shots per game. ... Century's Roth leads the Big Nine Conference in points (16).

7 p.m., Prairie Island Arena
Records: Mayo 4-1-0 Big Nine, 4-2-0 overall; Red Wing 0-5-1, 0-9-1.
Coaches: Mayo, Lorne Grosso (48th season); Red Wing, Bob Rajanen (2nd season).
Last meeting: Mayo defeated Red Wing 11-0 on Dec. 14, 2013, at Graham Arena I. Logan Haskins (3G, 1 A) and Tommy Hanson (1G, 3 A) had 4-point games for Mayo.
Last game: Mayo beat Rochester JM 6-2 on Saturday; Red Wing lost 6-2 at South St. Paul on Tuesday.
Team leaders: MAYO -- Sr. Ethan Moore (3-6--9); Sr. Logan Haskins (4-4--8); Soph. Anthony Oliveto (5-3--8); Sr. G Chris Wileman (4-2-0, 2.17 GAA, .899 save pct.). ... RW -- Soph. Tyler Defore (8-5--13); Jr. Sam Hanson (4-5--9); Sr. Dylan Goggin (4-4--8); Sr. G Adam Defore (0-9-1, 4.28 GAA, .875 save pct.).
Notes: Red Wing has lost five games by one goal, including four in overtime. ... Mayo forward J.T. Rein scored his first two varsity goals in the win against JM last Saturday. ... Wileman has played every minute in goal for Mayo this season. ... Tyler Defore is tied for 2nd in the Big Nine Conference in goals scored (8).

7:30 p.m., Northfield Ice Arena
Records: JM 2-2-0 Big Nine, 2-6-0 overall; Northfield 3-1-1, 5-2-1.
Coaches: JM, Jay Ness (4th season); Northfield, Mike Luckcraft (1st season).
Last meeting: N/A
Last game: JM lost to Rochester Mayo 6-2 on Saturday; Northfield won 4-3 at Rochester Lourdes on Tuesday.
Team leaders: JM -- So. Cory Checco (4-7--11); Jr. Brady Dahl (5-4--9); Sr. Jake Dravis (2-2--4); Jr. G Brady Meyers (2-5-0, 4.06 GAA, .881 save pct.). NFLD -- Jr. Ryan Torbenson (6-4--10); Sr. Tanner Ruppe (1-5--6); Sr. Ben Papke (2-4--6); Jr. Erik Bartho (6-0--6); So. G Ryan Bielenberg (3-0-1, 1.97, .931).
Notes: Checco was held without a point in JM's loss to Mayo on Saturday, snapping his streak of 13 consecutive games with a point. ... JM has surrendered the first goal of the game in all eight of its games so far this season. ... Bielenberg and junior Matt Foss have split time evenly in goal so far this season for the Raiders. ... Northfield is 4-0-1 in its past five games with four one-goal victories and a tie.

* St. Paul Como Park (8-0-0) at Dodge County (2-6-0) (7 p.m., Dodge Co. Ice Arena, Kasson): Como Park has allowed a total of seven goals in eight games this season, with four shutouts. ... Como is led by Jr. Ian Tully (13-5--18) and Jr. Eliot Berven (8-4--12). ... Sr. G Carter McCoy has played every minute for Como. He is 8-0-0 with a 0.87 GAA and a .962 save pct. ... D.C.'s leading scorer is soph. F Daytin Freerksen (1-4--5). The Wildcats have seven players with four points each.

December 13, 2014

High School Hockey Today | Saturday, Dec. 13

Posted by: Feldman

All four Rochester teams are in action today, with Century and Lourdes hitting the road for non-conference games, while Mayo and JM meet at the Rec Center for the 110th time in the history of the rivalry.

Lots of big games going on across the state today, too, so read all the way to the bottom.

Here's a look at today's games:


2:30 p.m., Richfield Ice Arena
: Lourdes 1-3-1 overall; Holy Angels 4-3-0.
Coaches: Lourdes, Josh Spaniol (6th season, 93-55-7); Holy Angels, Trent Palm (2nd season, 14-17-2)
Last game: Lourdes lost at No. 7-ranked New Prague, 2-1, on Thursday; Holy Angels won at Buffalo, 5-2, on Thursday.
Last meeting: Holy Angels beat Lourdes 5-2 on Dec. 14, 2013, at Graham Arena I.
Lourdes leaders: F Tucker Chapman (4-1--5); D Dakota Streit (1-1--2); F Nick Roth (0-2--2); F Peter Alexander (0-2--2); F Mason Carstens (1-1--2); G Jack Burkel (1-3-1, 1.68 GAA, .943 save pct.).
Holy Angels leaders: F Marshall Barnes (5-10--15); D Cooper Sande (4-9--13); C Joseph Sullivan (3-8--11); F Owen Larson (7-3--10); G Jake Fleming (2-1-0, 3.90, .843).
Notes: Stars head coach Trent Palm played in 127 games for Minnesota-Duluth between 2006-2011, recording 20 career points. ... Holy Angels has won two in a row after a three-game losing streak. ... The Stars' three losses are all against teams ranked in the Class AA state polls (No. 5 St. Thomas Academy, No. 14 Cretin-Derham Hall, No. 16 Holy Family Catholic). ... AHA's Barnes played in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League in the fall, as did Lourdes' Griff Slightam and goalie Jack Burkel. ... Lourdes' three losses have come by a combined four goals. ... The Eagles play host to Section 1A rival Northfield on Tuesday.

3 p.m., Victoria Recreation Center
: Century 4-2-0 overall; Chanhassen 2-3-1.
Coaches: Century, Josh Klingfus (4th season, 41-40-4); Chanhassen, Chris Wilson (5th season, 51-52-7).
Last game: Century beat Austin, 7-3; Chanhassen lost to No. 6-A Breck, 6-0.
Last meeting: n/a
Century leaders: F Jake Roth (7-8--15); D Riese Zmolek (7-4--11); F Sam Batterson (5-3--8); F Pat Bower (3-3--6); G Cole Walter (3-0-0, 1.33, .939); G Joey Pundt (1-2-0, 3.23, .857).
Chanhassen leaders: F Benny Bjerken (2-5--7); F Jake Bever (1-4--5); F Jake Theis (1-4--5); G Calvin Green (1-3-0, 4.63, .861).
Notes: The Storm have had 11 players score at least one goal this season. ... Chanhassen's three losses are to ranked opponents (No. 12-A Delano/Rockford; No. 10-AA Prior Lake and No. 6-A Breck). ... The Storm beat No. 19-AA Hopkins 4-2 on Nov. 29. ... Century snapped a two-game losing skid at Austin on Thursday with a 7-3 victory. ... After this game, the Panthers don't leave Rochester until a Jan. 8 game at Owatonna. ... Century has outscored its opponents by a combined 33-14. ... Three Panthers have scored five or more goals.

7:30 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
: Mayo 3-1-0 Big Nine, 3-2-0 overall; JM 2-1-0, 2-5-0.
Coaches: Mayo, Lorne Grosso (48th season, 680-428-27); JM, Jay Ness (4th season, 36-45-4).
Last game: Mayo lost at Albert Lea on Thursday, 2-1; JM beat Winona on Thursday, 3-1.
Last meeting: Mayo beat JM 6-3 on Jan. 25, 2014, at Graham Arena I.
Mayo leaders: F Logan Haskins (3-4--7); F Ethan Moore (3-4--7); F Anthony Oliveto (3-2--5); G Chris Wileman (3-2-0, 2.20 GAA, .899 save pct.).
JM leaders: F Cory Checco (4-7--11); F Brady Dahl (5-4--9); G Brady Meyers (2-4-0, 4.07, .884).
Notes: This is the 110th meeting all-time between the rivals. ... Mayo leads the series 55-53-1. The Spartans have won nine consecutive meetings against JM. Last season, Mayo gained the lead in the all-time series against JM for the first time ever. ... JM's last victory against Mayo came on Dec. 10, 2011, a 4-3 win at Graham Arena. ... Mayo's Haskins has all seven of his points in the past four games. ... Checco, a sophomore, is tied with Century's Riese Zmolek as the current second-leading scorer in Rochester. Checco has had at least one point in all seven games this season.

* * * * * 


Dodge County (2-5-0) at Minneapolis (3-2-0), Parade Ice Garden, 2 p.m.: Three of Dodge County's five losses have been by two goals or less, including a 3-2 setback against Faribault on Tuesday. ... Seven players are tied for the Wildcats' lead in scoring with four points each. ... Dodge County has rotated three goalies -- Mitch Sobotta, Joe Biwer and Gus Kirsch. ... Junior F Connor Fulco leads Minneapolis in goals (3), assists (6) and points (9). ... Junior Will Graves is Minneapolis' top goalie. He is 2-2-0 with a 2.68 GAA and an .815 save pct.

Mankato East (2-3-0 Big Nine, 2-4-0 overall) at Red Wing (0-4-1, 0-7-1), Prairie Island Arena, 3 p.m.: Red Wing has come oh-so-close to victory a handful of times this season, including its most recent game, a 5-5 tie against Austin on Thursday. ... Four of the Wingers' losses have been by one goal. ... Red Wing is led by the Defore brothers, sophomore F Tyler (5-3--8) and senior G Adam (0-7-1, 4.16 GAA, .877 save pct.). ... Senior F Grayson Gavin is East's leading scorer (5-6--11). He has seven points in the past three games.

* * * * *


* No. 1-AA Lakeville North (4-0-0) at No. 12-AA Grand Rapids (4-1-0): North has earned its top ranking, with wins at No. 18 Farmington and against No. 2 Edina. This will be yet another very difficult pre-Christmas road test for the Panthers.

* No. 4-A Mahtomedi (5-0-0) at No. 3-AA Hill-Murray (3-0-0): Something has to give in the only matchup today between unbeaten teams. Unless they tie. Then nothing gives.

* No. 13-AA Blaine (3-2-0) at No. 6-AA Elk River/Zimmerman (5-1-0): Elk River has two of the state's top goal-scorers in Reggie Lutz (11) and Jacob Jaremko (9). Jaremko is second in the state with 23 total points.

* No. 2-A Hermantown (4-2-0) at No. 8-A Thief River Falls (2-3-0): TRF is trying to bounce back from consecutive one-goal losses, to No. 6-A Breck and Class AA Bemidji. Hermantown's two losses are to ranked Class AA teams, No. 4 Wayzata and No. 19 Hopkins.

* No. 9-A Orono (0-4-0) at No. 13-A St. Cloud Cathedral (2-3-0): Orono is the only winless team ranked in the state polls. Its losses are to Class AA Stillwater, No. 2-A Hermantown, No. 3-A Duluth Marshall and 14-A Blake.

* No. 1-ND Grand Forks Red River at No. 5-A Warroad (6-1-0): Red River shut out top-ranked East Grand Forks last week. Warroad, which scored an impressive win at Grand Rapids a week ago, will have to work for win No. 7.

December 06, 2014

High School Hockey Today | Saturday, Dec. 6

Posted by: Feldman

Before we get into today's games, the brackets have finally been released for this year's Kiwanis Festival.

It will again feature a 12-team varsity field, with a Gold Division (8 teams, elimination-format) and a Blue Division (4 teams, round-robin format).

Here's how the field stacks up for this year's tourney, which runs Dec. 29-31:

(Games at Graham Arena I)
Quarterfinals, Dec. 29
Dodge County vs. New Richmond (Wis.), 12:30 p.m.
Park-Cottage Grove vs. Rochester John Marshall, 3 p.m.
Northland Pines (Wis.) vs. Rochester Century, 5:30 p.m.
Ashwaubenon (Wis.) vs. Rochester Mayo, 7:45 p.m.

(Games at Graham IV)
First day, Dec. 29
Eau Claire (Wis.) Memorial vs. Verona (Wis.), 3 p.m.
Rochester Lourdes vs. Fargo (N.D.) South, 7:30 p.m.

* * * * *


No. 10-A St. Cloud Cathedral at Rochester Lourdes
2 p.m., Graham Arena I
: Cathedral 0-3-0; Lourdes 1-1-1.
Last meeting: Cathedral topped Lourdes 3-0 on Dec. 7, 2013, at the Municipal Athletic Complex in St. Cloud.
Head coaches: Cathedral, Eric Johnson (11th season, 187-66-9 overall); Lourdes, Josh Spaniol (6th season, 93-53-7).
Players to watch: Senior F Matt Fritz was the Crusaders second-leading scorer last season with 44 points in 32 games. He leads the team this season with two goals. He had eight points in six postseason games last year as Cathedral placed fourth at the Class A state tournament. ... Lourdes junior F Peter Alexander had a strong sophomore season and could be one of the breakout players for the Eagles this season. He has the ability to be a scorer; he had just nine points last season, but now has a full year of varsity hockey under his belt.
Notes: Cathedral is 0-3-0 to start the season, but its losses have come against three of the best teams in the state -- No. 7 New Prague, No. 1 East Grand Forks and No. 6 Mahtomedi. ... Cathedral didn't come close to beating any of those teams, though. It lost all three by at least four goals and by a combined total of 19-5. ... Cathedral has four of its top six scorers back from last season. ... Lourdes F Mason Carstens missed Thursday's win at Mound-Westonka with an illness, but could be back in the lineup today. ... This is the home opener for Lourdes, which plays seven games in the next 17 days.

Rochester Century at Northfield
2 p.m., Northfield Ice Arena
: Century 2-0-0 Big Nine Conference, 3-1-0 overall; Northfield 1-1-0, 2-2-0.
Last meeting: This is the first meeting between the teams as Big Nine Conference foes and according to a check of Century's records, appears to be the first meeting ever between these teams in boys hockey.
Head coaches: Century, Josh Klingfus (4th season, 40-39-4 overall); Northfield, Bryce Barry (8th season, 85-101-4).
Players to watch: It's an obvious choice, but Century senior F Jake Roth is on fire early this season. He is tied for ninth in the state with 13 points through four games (including six goals) and has recorded three or more points in three of Century's four games. ... Northfield junior Erik Bartho, a 6-foot-2 junior forward, has scored in three of his team's four games. He has nearly matched his goal total from a year ago (5) already.
Notes: Century plays four of its next five games on the road. ... Nine players have already scored at least one goal for the Panthers, while an incredible 16 players have at least one point. ... Northfield has played four close games, the past two decided by one goal. ... The Trojans hold wins against Albert Lea (4-2) and Bloomington Kennedy (2-1). They lost to Rochester Mayo (3-0) and New Prague (3-2). ... Trojans goalies Ryan Bielenberg and Matthew Foss have split time equally.

Richfield at Dodge County
3 p.m., Kasson Ice Arena
: Richfield 1-2-0 overall; Dodge County 1-4-0.
Head coaches: Richfield, Mark Johnson (3rd season, 17-37-1 overall); D.C., Eric Hofmann (5th season, 37-65-6).
Notes: This is the first of three scheduled meetings between these teams this season. They'll play again on Dec. 20 at Richfield and on Jan. 10 at Kasson. ... These teams split two meetings last season; Dodge County won at home 11-7, while Richfield won at home 6-5. ... Richfield is led by a pair of players with four points each -- Maxwell Krueger (2-2--4) and Bailey Olson (1-3--4). ... Eight players have recorded at least a point for Dodge County this season. ... The Wildcats are led by Drew Kirmse (3-0--3).

December 05, 2014

High School Hockey Rewind | Thursday, Dec. 4

Posted by: Feldman

I was traveling and didn't get a chance to do a High School Hockey Today today, so I figured I'll play catch-up tonight after a decent night for Rochester's boys puck teams.

Game roundups:

Farmington 5, Century 3

This was a good early test for Century to see just where it's at as a team. The answer: It's right where it wants to be at this stage of the year. Granted, the Panthers are just four games into their season, but they have some high hopes for a team that has 18 seniors on the roster. 

It's way to early to judge teams by comparing scores, but... I'm going to do it anyway. Farmington, ranked No. 19, pushed No. 2-ranked Lakeville North to OT last week before losing 6-5. Century was right with Farmington into the third, with the score tied 3-3 entering the final 17 minutes. The Panthers showed some resiliency, too, battling back from an early 2-0 deficit to build a 3-2 lead.

Century hits Big Nine Conference play in full force now, with four of its six games left before Christmas against conference opponents. With a strong two-and-a-half week stretch, the Panthers could set themselves up well for the second half.

Lourdes 3, Mound-Westonka 0

Lourdes notched its first victory of the season to improve to 1-1-1, beating a M-W team that had shut out two of its first four opponents and outscored them 11-5. Jack Burkel recorded the shutout and sophomore Tucker Chapman scored twice.

Lourdes coach Josh Spaniol said before the season that he wants Chapman to elevate his game this season and be a vital cog in the offense. It looks like that's happening. This team could and should be a Section 1A contender, especially when forward Montana Streit returns from an injury sometime around the Kiwanis Festival.

Spaniol said the Eagles also played without top-line forward Mason Carstens on Thursday. He was out with an illness, but hopes to be back for Saturday's 2 p.m. home opener against No. 10 St. Cloud Cathedral.

Mayo 6, Winona 3

Mayo showed some mental toughness in this win. The Spartans were down 3-2 on the road to a team that -- let's be honest -- they should beat. But Winona goalie Eric Schoh was playing well, and Mayo beat up the goalposts a bit during the first two periods.

The Spartans stuck to their game, though, and scored four times in the third to win.

The really likeable thing about this game, and this team: Six players scored one goal each and nine guys got on the scoresheet. If Mayo wants to challenge for titles in the Big Nine and Section 1AA, it will need that balance to hold up. Mayo has been pretty sound in its own end, allowing just 21.3 shots per game.

Owatonna 5, JM 4, OT

It's a frustrating thing for the JM coaching staff to figure out and probably frustrating for the Rockets' players, too: In most of their six games this season, they've had good stretches and confounding stretches of subpar play.

The Rockets have hung with every opponent they've faced when they've played their game. But, again tonight, they were off their game for the first 10 minutes and it took them almost a full period to recover. They did show some perseverance by briefly taking a lead in the third period, then rallying to force OT after giving that up.

There's a lot of talent on this Rockets team and, though they're 1-5-0 overall, they're just 1-1-0 in the Big Nine, so they have plenty of opportunities and plenty of time to develop into a solid 51-minute team.


* Lakeville North 3, Edina 1: This was the grand-daddy of hockey games tonight, and maybe for the regular season, a rematch of last year's Class AA state championship game. No. 2-ranked North earned a bit of revenge against top-ranked Edina and, barring a loss to Apple Valley next Tuesday, will be the new No. 1 team in Class AA next week.

* New Prague 6, Mankato West 0: A rematch of last year's Section 1A championship game ended with the same result: The No. 7-ranked Trojans topped the No. 14-ranked Scarlets.

* Grand Forks (ND) Red River 5, East Grand Forks 0: Two nights after knocking off the No. 1-ranked team in North Dakota, the defending Minnesota Class A state champion Green Wave received a reality check from the No. 2-ranked team in North Dakota. No, I'm not just including this here because I'm a Red River grad, though it is nice to see the boys from the west side of the Red River show up against EGF.

* Some other scores of interest:
     * No. 17-AA Minnetonka 3, No. 9-AA Burnsville 1
     * No. 13-AA Blaine 6, No. 11-A Totino-Grace 1

December 04, 2014

PHERSY AND FATIS SHOW: Lakers, sunk, edition

PHERSY: The Phersy and Fatis Show returns today as we break down this weekend's games and all the Ice Hawks news and notes.

It's a huge weekend for the Ice Hawks. They host the Forest Lake Lakers at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Why is that a big game? I mean, the Lakers are 13-8 ... but they are the only team in the league to beat the Ice Hawks this season. Revenge isn't the right word, but the Ice Hawks certainly have had this game marked on the calendar for quite some time.

The Ice Hawks are home Saturday as well ... against the lowly Owls. I'm assuming they're double-digit favorites in that one. Over/under on Owls goals, as always, is one.

OK, enough jokes ... enjoy the show!



December 02, 2014

High School Hockey Today | Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014

Posted by: Feldman

It's still quite early in the season, but we've already seen some big matchups and have others coming up this week. 

In looking at the big picture for Section 1AA, we'll soon have a pretty good idea of where the Rochester teams stand. Farmington, last year's section runner-up, pushed defending section champion and 2014 state runner-up Lakeville North to OT last week before falling 6-5. Five of North's six goals came from the all-Poehling line (brothers Nick, Jack and Ryan). 

This week, Farmington plays host to Rochester Mayo tonight and plays at Rochester Century on Thursday. Neither Mayo nor Century has lost yet and both teams have been stout defensively. Something has to give. I'd love to see both of those games, but unfortunately won't be able to be at either. Thank goodness for Twitter, eh? 

Let's get to tonight's games, and start with one we've already mentioned:


7:30 p.m., Schmitz-Maki Arena
Records: Mayo 2-0-0 overall, 1-0-0 vs. Section 1AA; Farmington 1-1-0 overall, 1-1-0 vs. Section 1AA.
Last meeting: Farmington beat Mayo 6-3 at Graham Arena on Dec. 7, 2013. 
Head coaches: Mayo, Lorne Grosso (48th season; 679-426-27 overall); Farmington, Greg May (1st season, 1-1-0).
Players to watch: Mayo senior G Chris Wileman hadn't played a minute of varsity hockey prior to this season, but he has been solid through his first two starts. He has stopped 43 of the 45 shots he's faced and has a 1.00 GAA and a .956 save pct. ... Farmington senior G Gage Overby was a big reason why the Tigers had an 18-game winning streak last season and set a program record with 23 victories. He was 14-3-1 overall with a 2.57 goals-against average and an .882 save percentage. He has played every minute of both of the Tigers' first two games so far this season.
Notes: Farmington won 23 games last season and reached a section championship game for the first time as a Class AA school. ... May replaced Keith Revels, who coached Farmington for six seasons. ... The Tigers beat Rochester John Marshall 5-1 in the season opener on Nov. 20. ... Farmington is in a tough stretch of schedule, with games against Mayo and Century this week, followed by games against Eden Prairie, Apple Valley, Rosemount, Lakeville South and Eagan before Christmas. ... Mayo has outscored its two opponents 7-2 this season. ... The Spartans rallied with three third-period goals in their last game to beat Owatonna 4-2. ... Mayo's next victory will be career win No. 680 for head coach Lorne Grosso.

7:30 p.m., Phalen Arena
Records: John Marshall 1-2-0 overall; St. Paul Johnson 1-0-1 overall.
Last meeting: JM defeated SPJ 5-3 at the Rochester Rec Center on Dec. 3, 2013. Paul Cyr had two goals and an assist for the Rockets.
Head coaches: JM, Jay Ness (4th season, 35-42-4); S.P. Johnson, Moose Younghans.
Players to watch: JM sophomore F Cory Checco leads the team in scoring (1-3--4) early in the season, after breaking out in the second half of his freshman season. Checco had 11 goals and 23 points last season, inlcuding four goals and eight assists in his final six games. ... S.P. Johnson junior goalie Sam Moberg has played every minute of both of the Governors' games this season. He has stopped 44 of 47 shots and has a 1.39 GAA with a .936 save pct.
Notes: The teams have met every year since 2009, when they faced each other outdoors at Phalen Park in St. Paul on Fox Sports North as part of Hockey Day Minnesota. Johnson won that game. ... Younghans is the cousin of former Minnesota North Star Tom Younghans. ... Johnson has a young team, with just four seniors on its roster. ... The Governors opened their season with a 1-1 tie against Simley, followed by a 6-2 victory against Waconia. ... Junior Christian Sanda (1-2--3) and senior Justin Howell (1-2--3) are Johnson's leading scorers. 

7 p.m., Wakota Arena
Records: Dodge County 1-2-0 overall; South St. Paul 0-0-0.
Head coaches: Dodge County, Eric Hofmann (5th season, 37-63-6); SSP, Scott Macho (3rd season, 20-32-2)
Notes: This is the season opener for South St. Paul. ... Dodge County went a long way to pick up its first win of the season. The Wildcats won at Bagley/Fosston last Friday, 6-5, holding on after building a 6-2 lead. The trip to Bagley, from Kasson, is close to 350 miles one way. ... SSP was 11-15-1 last season and nearly upset Totino-Grace in the Section 4A semifinals, falling just 1-0 to the Eagles, who went on to win the section title. ... Dodge County has used a different goalie in each of its three games, with Mitch Sobotta, Joe Biwer and Gus Kirsch all receiving one start so far. ... Wildcats junior F Drew Kirmse had a hat trick in the win at Bagley/Fosston. ... SSP has both of its goalies back from a year ago. Junior Tanner Johnson and senior Kyle Jacobs split time a year ago, with Johnson playing about twice as much as Jacobs.

7:30 p.m., Waseca Community Arena
Records: Austin 0-3-0 overall; Waseca 0-2-0 overall.
Head coaches: Austin, Erik LaRock (3rd season, 11-41-2); Waseca, Chris Storey (2nd season, 6-18-1)
Notes: The Packers have scored a total of just three goals through three games. ... Five players have one point each for Austin. Kenny Ree, Blake Halsey and Dan Larson have scored the team's goals. ... Senior Jacob Johnson has started all three games in goal for the Packers. He has a 4.67 GAA and an .833 save pct. ... Waseca opened its season with a 7-1 loss to a 2014 Class A state tournament participant, Luverne. The Blue Jays then lost at Redwood Valley, 4-3. ... Blue Jays senior F Cody Ulfers has three of his team's four goals and four of its six points this season.

7 p.m., Prairie Island Arena
Records: New Prague is 2-0-0 overall, 1-0-0 vs. Section 1A; Red Wing 0-3-0 overall, 0-1-0 vs. Section 1A.
Head coaches: New Prague, Chris Lonke (7th season, 103-55-11; 13th season overall, 161-177-14); Red Wing, Bob Rajanen (2nd season, 4-26-0).
Notes: New Prague, the defending Section 1A champion, opened the season with two good victories, a 6-2 win against St. Cloud Cathedral, followed by a 3-2 win vs. Northfield. ... The win against Cathedral was a rematch of last year's Class A state tournament third-place game, which New Prague won 5-2. ... Junior F Alex Gregor leads the Trojans in scoring, with six points through two games. ... New Prague has nine seniors on its roster. ... Senior G Conner Wagner backstops the Trojans, after playing nearly every minute in goal for them last season. ... Red Wing opened its season with a one-goal loss to Section 1A foe Faribault. The Wingers have since lost to quality opponents Duluth Denfeld and Rochester Century. ... Adam Defore has been solid in goal, posting an .873 save pct. ... Senior Tristan Rehder is the only Winger with multiple points this season; he has two goals through three games.


* No. 5-AA Elk River (1-1-0) at No. 14-AA Maple Grove (0-3-0): Elk River started on a high note, beating No. 3 Wayzata 6-5, then fell to No. 7 Benilde-St. Margaret's 5-3. Maple Grove has been beaten soundly by Wayzata and No. 8 Eden Prarie.

* No. 3-A Breck (1-1-0) at No. 18-AA Holy Family Catholic (1-1-0): After an impressive 6-0 win against No. 12 Delano/Rockford to open the season, Breck was slowed by No. 6 Duluth Marshall in a 2-0 loss.

* No. 13-AA Cretin-Derham Hall (1-1-0) at No. 1-AA Edina (3-0-1): The Hornets have looked every bit the No. 1 team in the state already. They had a 3-3 tie vs. No. 3-ranked Wayzata, but in their three wins (two against state-ranked Class AA teams), they've outscored their opponents 26-1. 

* No. 1-A East Grand Forks (3-0-0) at No. 1-N.D. Grand Forks Central (1-0-0): Defending Class A state champion East Grand Forks makes the 5-minute drive across the Red River to face the top-ranked team in North Dakota.

* No. 8-A St. Cloud Cathedral (0-2-0) at No. 5-A Mahtomedi (1-0-0): Cathedral is 0-2-0, but its losses are against defending state champion East Grand Forks and the team that placed third at state last year, New Prague.


November 28, 2014

Junior Hockey | Bear Tracks: The weekend ahead for the Austin Bruins

Posted by: Feldman

The Austin Bruins face a big two-game series this weekend on the road against a division rival. This is about the time of year where we start finding out just what this young team is made of.

It's probably not fair to call them young or inexperienced anymore. They've been through three months of practices and games and the long road trips and overtimes and shootouts. Heaven knows they've been through some shootouts (0-5 in those creatures this season). 

In other words, there's not much more that North American Hockey League life can throw at these guys, so there's not much left that can surprise them. 

That includes this weekend's opponent, the Aberdeen (S.D.) Wings. The Bs and Wings are now tied for second place in the NAHL Central Division Standings, four points behind division-leading Minot. Considering last-place Brookings is just six points behind the Bs and Wings, every point a team earns is crucial.

Let's take a look at this weekend's series:

at Odde Ice Center; 7:15 p.m. tonight, 7:15 p.m. Saturday

Records: Austin 10-7-7, 27 points, T-2nd Central Division; Aberdeen 13-10-1, 27 points, T-2nd Central Division.
Head coaches: Austin, Chris Tok (5th season, 167-100-25 overall); Aberdeen, Francis Anzalone (1st season, 13-10-1 overall).
Bruins top scorers: F Trevor Boyd (5-12--17); F Tony Uglem (9-7--16); F Nico Sturm (3-10--13); D Ian Scheid (8-3--11); F Brian Bachnak (6-5--11); F Alex Pettersson (2-9--11); F Luke Dietsch (4-6--10); F Luke Forfar (4-6--10); D Cory Dunn (0-10--10).
Bruins goalies: Jake Kielly (6-2-4, 2.53 GAA, .894 save pct.); Zach Driscoll (4-5-3, 2.46, .912).
Wings top scorers: F Michael Soucier (8-11--19); F Kyle Haak (6-13--19); F Ronnie Hein (7-8--15); F Bjorn Sigurdarson (7-4--11); F Colin O'Neill (1-10--11). 
Wings goalies: Andrew Shortridge (8-5-1, 2.18 GAA, .922 save pct.); Chad Catt (5-5-0, 2.86, .888).

Record (Points): Austin 10-7-7 (24), Aberdeen 13-10-1 (24).
Advantage: Even.

Head to head: Aberdeen 3-1-0; Austin 0-1-3.
Advantage: Wings.

Offense: Austin 2.83; Aberdeen 2.46.
Advantage: Bruins.

Defense: Austin 2.83; Aberdeen 2.54.
Advantage: Wings.

Power play (league rank): Austin 11.61 percent (23); Aberdeen 16.13 (16).
Advantage: Wings.

Penalty kill (league rank): Austin 88.33 percent (1); Aberdeen 87.95 percent (2).
Advantage: Bruins.

Goaltending (save pct.): Austin .894; Aberdeen .907.
Advantage: Wings.

This series, as noted in the stats above, matches the top two penalty killing teams in the entire NAHL against one another. Neither team excels on the power play, so expect these games to be determined by 5-on-5 play. ... The Bruins have found some balance; they have nine players with 11 or more points this season. ... Veteran F and team leader Brian Bachnak returned last weekend against the Minnesota Wilderness after missing nearly six weeks due to injuries. He has two points in three games since returning. ... Afer this weekend's games, the Bruins don't face a Central Division opponent again until a home-and-home series with Brookings on Jan. 2-3. ... Aberdeen is a much better team at home than on the road. The Wings are 9-4-0 at home, 4-6-1 away from Odde ice Center. ... Austin is 5-2-3 at home, 5-5-4 on the road. ... Eight of the Wings' last 10 games have been decided by one goal. ... These teams both entered the league in the 2010-11 season. Austin is 167-100-25 all-time, while Aberdeen is 124-122-23.

These teams are extremely even in most statistical categories, and their four previous meetings have shown that, with Aberdeen winning twice in OT and once in a shootout, while Austin won a one-goal game in regulation. It's been an odd week for the Bruins, playing a game Wednesday night (a 6-3 loss at home against Janesville), followed by Thanksgiving on Thursday and a quick-turnaround road trip to Aberdeen. With the number of close games both teams have played this season, I don't see any 7-0 or 9-6 games, nothing like that. I like the addition of Tony Uglem to the Bruins lineup (he was acquired earlier this week in a trade that sent Brady Jones to the Minnesota Magicians). Uglem scored in his first game as a Bruin, which gives him a total of nine goals this season, the most of any Bruins player. Perhaps he can help the Bs get their power play on track this weekend. The call: Austin 3-2, Aberdeen 4-2 (en).

November 25, 2014

High School Hockey Today | Tuesday, Nov. 25

Posted by: Feldman

I'm a little late today with this, but games haven't actually started yet, so I guess that still makes me early, right? I spent most of the morning attempting to not tick off the bats in the caves at Quarry Hill, with young daughter Feldman's 2nd grade class.

Let's get to the games, lots of 'em around the state tonight.


7:30 p.m., Graham 4
Records: Red Wing 0-1-0 Big Nine, 0-1-0 overall; Century 1-0-0 overall, 0-0-0 Big Nine Conference
Coaches: RW, Bob Rajanen (2nd season, 4-24-0); Century, Josh Klingfus (4th season, 38-38-4 overall)
Players to watch: Century Fr. goalie Cole Walter played like a varsity old-timer on Saturday, earning a 19-save shutout in his first varsity start, a 7-0 win at Dodge County. Klingfus said he'll ride the hot hand in goal. It's just one game, but right now, that's Walter. ... Century Sr. F Sam Batterson had a goal and an assist against Dodge County. He had 12 points last season, but is one of the seniors who Klingfus is looking at to be a bigger part in the Panthers' offense. ... The Wingers will likely go as Sr. G Adam Defore goes. He played nearly every minute in goal for Red Wing last season and is off to a good start this year. He stopped 35 of 38 shots he faced in the Wingers' season-opening 3-2 OT loss to Faribault.
Notes: Red Wing is in a tough stretch of schedule. It faces Century, plays host to Duluth Denfeld on Saturday, then faces defending Section 1A champ New Prague on Tuesday. ... The Wingers held a 2-1 lead late into the third period in their loss to Faribault, but gave up a goal with 43 seconds to go in the third period, then lost in OT. ... Century received at least one point from nine different players in its win at Dodge County on Saturday. ... Three Panthers -- soph. D Will Zmolek (2 goals), senior F Nick Pearson and senior F Eric St. Marie -- all scored their first varsity goal against Dodge County.

7:30 p.m., Graham 1
Records: Owatonna 0-0-0 (15-10-2 last season); Mayo 1-0-0 overall, 1-0-0 Big Nine Conference
Coaches: Owatonna, Josh Storm (4th season, 42-31-6); Mayo, Lorne Grosso (48th season; 678-426-27 overall)
Players to watch: Mayo Soph. F Anthony Oliveto had 24 points last season as a freshman. He's off to a strong start this year, with a goal and an assist in the Spartans' season-opening win against Northfield. ... Owatonna junior F Noah Scheid is the Huskies' top returning scorer. He had 9-19--28 last season. 
Notes: Owatonna has two 20-point scorers back this season, Scheid and junior F Alec Holcomb (11-9--20). ... The Huskies also have their top goalie back. Senior Greg Somers played a majority of the games last season. He was 11-5-1, with a 2.89 goals-against average and a .894 save pct. ... Owatonna was 2-1-0 against Mayo last season, splitting two regular-season matchups, then winning at Mayo in a Section 1AA quarterfinal. ... Spartans senior G Chris Wileman started his varsity career on a high note, recording a 24-save shutout against Northfield last Thursday.

7:30 p.m., Rec Center
Records: East 1-0-0 overall, 1-0-0 Big Nine Conference; JM 0-2-0 overall, 0-0-0 Big Nine.
Coaches: East, Adam Fries (2nd season, 8-18-0); JM, Jay Ness (4th season, 34-42-4)
Players to watch: East senior F Grayson Gavin had a hand in three of the Cougars' four goals in their 4-2 season-opening win against Albert Lea last Thursday. ... JM junior G Brady Meyers has been very good through his first two games as a varsity starter. He has 87 of 95 shots he's faced (a .918 save pct.).
Notes: JM needs to cut down on its penalties from last time out. The Rockets took nine penalties, including the final five of the game, in a 3-2 OT loss against Bloomington Kennedy. ... JM did convert on its lone power play of the game, as Brady Dahl scored with assists by Josh Frerks and Cory Checco. ... East's Judd Schulz (2 assists), Brandon Adams (1 goal, 1 assist) and Gavin (2 goals, 1 assist) all had multi-point games in its season-opening win vs. Albert Lea. ... East is an improving program. It has won a total of 17 games over the past two seasons after winning just six in the two previous seasons combined.

7 p.m., Faribault Ice Arena
Records: Faribualt 1-0-0 overall, 1-0-0 Big Nine Conference; Austin 0-2-0 overall, 0-1-0 Big Nine.
Coaches: Faribault, Dean Weasler (3rd season, 24-27-2); Austin, Erik LaRock (3rd season, 11-40-2)
Notes: Five players have a point each for Austin through two games. ... Austin G Jacob Johnson has played both of the Packers's games so far, stopping 48 of the 55 shots he's faced. ... The Packers lost their opener at LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter, 4-1, then fell to Winona 3-2 on Saturday. ... Faribault won its opener in OT at Red Wing, 3-2. Austin Lewis scored the game winning goal 5:28 into OT, his second goal of the game. ... The Falcons play seven of their first eight games against Big Nine opponents.

* * * * *


* No. 2-AA Lakeville North at Farmington: A rematch of last year's Section 1AA championship game will take place at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Schmitz-Maki Arena in Farmington. North won that game 6-0 and went on to finish second in the state.

* No. 8-AA Eden Prairie at No. 10-AA Maple Grove: Eden Prairie's strength is its veteran defensive corps, but it lacks experience in goal. Maple Grove expects to contend for a spot in the state tournament, but it scored just three total goals in losses to Wayzata and Holy Family Catholic last weekend.

November 24, 2014

High School Hockey Today | Monday, Nov. 24

Posted by: Feldman

It'll be a very brief edition of HSHT today, just one game going on and it'll be tough to glean a lot of knowledge afterward. Rochester Lourdes opens its season at Wisconsin state power Eau Claire Memorial tonight, but the Eagles will play without a handful of players who haven't laced up the skates much during their run to a state football championship.

The good news: Some younger guys will get thrown into the fire and gain experience against a very good opponent. Let's take a look at tonight's game, one of just two boys hockey games scheduled tonight involving a Minnesota team (Pine City/Rush City at North Branch is the other).


7 p.m., Hobbs Ice Arena

Records: This is the season opener for both teams. Memorial was 22-5-1 last season, losing in the Wisconsin state quarterfinals. Lourdes was 7-19-1, lost in the Section 1A semifinals.

Last meeting: Memorial beat Lourdes 6-0 in the Kiwanis Festival on Dec. 28, 2013; Lourdes beat Memorial 4-3 in a regular season game on Jan. 13, 2014.

Notes: The Eagles have 11 seniors on their roster. … Senior D Griff Slightam and senior G Jack Burkel played in the Upper Midwest Elite League this fall. … Slightam has tendered with the Austin Bruins of the NAHL. … Memorial suffered a big loss to graduation, as Jake Bresser (70 points last season) has moved on. He's playing with Chicago of the USHL. … Junior F Dylan Ross (16-17—33) is the Old Abes' top returning scorer. ... Both of Memorial's varsity goalies from last season also graduated, Nick Schreiter (13-3-1, 1.91 GAA, .932 save pct.) and Alex Geving (6-1-0, 2.62, .847). … Memorial will come to Rochester Dec. 29-31 to play in the Kiwanis Festival.

November 22, 2014

High School Hockey Today | Saturday, Nov. 22

Posted by: Feldman

A few notes before we look at today's games.

* Rochester Mayo got off to a strong start Thursday night, scoring a 3-0 shutout vs. Big Nine Conference newcomer Northfield at Graham Arena. Anthony Oliveto had two points (watch for him to break out even more this season) and Chris Wileman recorded a shutout in his first varsity start in goal.

* Defending Section 1AA champion Lakeville North is ranked No. 2 in the first state poll. North was the state runner-up last season to Edina, which is ranked No. 1 in the first poll. Edina received 13 first-place votes, North received 2.

* North has three players on NHL Central Scouting's Players To Watch list: F Nick Poehling and D Jack Sadek and Jack McNeely. All three were given "C" grades by Central Scouting, which means they're currently projected as 4th-to-6th round picks in next summer's NHL Draft.

* Section 1A teams New Prague (No. 8) and Mankato West (No. 13) are ranked in the first Class A poll. Rochester Lourdes is receiving votes.

* With Red Wing and Northfield joining the Big Nine Conference this season, it makes it nearly impossible for everyone in the conference to play all other teams twice. That would be a total of 22 games, leaving just three open spots for non-conference games. Most teams -- such as the Rochester schools -- are already committed to three non-conference games at holiday time.

So, the Big Nine has decided to use a big/small model for its scheduling. In other words, the "big" schools (Century, JM, Mayo, Northfield, Owatonna, Winona) in the conference will play each other twice and will play the small schools (Austin, Albert Lea, Mankato East, Mankato West, Faribault, Red Wing) once each. Some teams wanted to play a "big" vs. "small" matchup twice (such as Mayo and Albert Lea).

I'm told that record-keeping will be fairly simple, it'll pretty much be as it was in the past: If two conference teams play each other twice, both games will be worth two points in the standings (one for a tie). If teams only play each other once, those games will be worth four points in the standings (two for a tie).

The obvious exception to this is if two conference opponents meet in a holiday tournament, those games would not count toward the conference standings. So, for example, if Century and JM meet in the Kiwanis tournament, it will be a non-conference game.

Got it? There'll be a quiz later. Or you can just watch the P-B as the season rolls along for the standings.

Now, let's get to today's games...


3 p.m., Rochester Recreation Center
Records: Kennedy (0-0-0; was 13-12-2 last season); JM (0-1-0 overall)
Last meeting: N/A
Head coaches: Kennedy, Dave Dillon (6th season, 36-93-3); JM, Jay Ness (4th season, 34-41-4).
Leading scorers: Kennedy (top returning scorers), Jr. F Jory McWilliams (14-10--24); Sr. F Conor Jensen (10-8--18); Sr. F Jake Roers (6-7--13). JM, So. F Cory Checco (1-0--1); Jr. F Conner Lee (0-1--1); So. F Aaron Macken (0-1--1).
Goalies: Kennedy, no top returner (senior David Johnson played almost every minute last season). JM, Jr. Brady Meyers (0-1-0, 5.00 GAA, .898 save pct.).
Notes: Kennedy lost its top three scorers to graduation. ... The Eagles went 8-2-1 in their last 11 games last season, with a six-game winning streak that included a 2-1 victory against rival Bloomington Jefferson. ... Kennedy nearly pulled off an upset in the Section 2A semifinals, falling 2-1 to 2nd-seeded Orono in overtime. ... The Rockets lost their season opener to Farmington, a team that advanced to the Section 1AA title game last year. ... Following today's game, JM plays six of its next eight games against Big Nine Conference opponents.

7 p.m., Kasson Ice Arena
Records: Century (0-0-0; 12-13-1 last season); Dodge County (0-1-0 overall)
Last meeting: Century beat Dodge County 6-2 on Feb. 22, 2007, in a Section 1AA quarterfinal.
Head coaches: Century, Josh Klingfus (4th season, 37-38-4); Dodge County, Eric Hofmann (5th season, 36-62-6).
Leading scorers: Century (top returning scorers), Sr. D Riese Zmolek (12-26--38); Sr. F Jake Roth (17-18--35); Sr. F/D Ryan Sherden (3-9--12); Sr. F Sam Batterson (5-7--12). Dodge County (top returning scorers) So. F Nic Leisen (9-8--17); Sr. D Kevin Claussen (4-8--12); Sr. F Chris Roberts (3-9--12); Sr. F Kylo Courteau (5-6--11).
Goalies: Century (top returners), Sr. Joey Pundt (12-11-1, 3.62 GAA, .872 save pct.). Dodge County (top returners), Sr. Mitch Sobotta (6-9-3, 4.04, .882); Sr. Joey Biwer (2-4-0, 4.39, .859).
Notes: Century has 18 seniors on the roster. ... Zmolek played in the Upper Midwest Elite League this fall. ... According to a search of the P-B archives, these teams haven't played in close to eight years. The last time they played, Century won a Section 1AA quarterfinal game in Feb. of 2007. Century went on to finish third in the state that season. ... Dodge County lost its season opener 2-0 at St. Paul Como Park on Thursday. Biwer played very well in that game, allowing two goals on 27 shots.


1:30 p.m., Riverside Arena
Records: Winona 0-1-0; Austin 0-1-0
Notes: Both teams lost their season openers on Thursday. Austin lost 4-1 to LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter. Winona lost 4-3 against La Crescent. ... Austin's lone goal in its loss was a short-handed tally by Dan Larson. Jace Greenman got the assist. ... The Packers struggled to score last season. They scored four goals -- their season high -- twice, including in a 5-4 overtime loss to Faribault in a Section 1A first-round game. ... Winona had six players record a point in Thursday's loss to La Crescent. ... Goalie Cassidy Cyert was solid, making 35 saves in the loss. ... These teams meet again on Jan. 15 in Winona.

3 p.m., Prairie Island Arena
Records: Faribault (0-0-0; 12-12-2 last season); Red Wing (0-0-0; 4-23-0 last season).
Notes: This is the season opener for both teams and Red Wing's first game as a member of the Big Nine Conference. ... The Falcons have two of their top three scorers back, Sr. F Christian Von Ruden (29-20--49) and Sr. F Tyler Becker (7-20--27). ... Faribault also has both of its goalies back who played last season, Sr. Chase Batchelder (6-5-1, 4.03 GAA, .878 save pct.) and Jr. Adam Johannsen (5-6-1, 3.62, .908). ... The Wingers top returning scorers are Sr. F Dylan Goggin (7-13--20) and Sr. F Tristan Rehder (9-5--14). Sr. G Adam Defore (4-22-0, .856 save pct.) also returns.


* No. 16-AA Burnsville at No. 4-AA Hill-Murray, 7:30 p.m.: The season opener for both teams. Burnsville finished 19-7-1 last season and lost to Bloomington Jefferson in the Section 2AA semifinals. Hill-Murray was 24-4-0 last season and the top seed in Section 4AA; it lost to third-seeded Stillwater in the Section 4AA final.

* No. 15-A Delano/Rockford at No. 12-A Blake, 4 p.m.: This is the season opener for both teams and a rematch of a Section 2A quarterfinal playoff game from last spring, which D/R won 5-2.