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23 posts from February 2012

February 29, 2012

Section 1A championship game | Live Blog

Posted by: Feldman

If you're looking for scoring updates and running info on tonight's Section 1A boys hockey championship game between Rochester Lourdes and Northfield, I'm running a live blog, beginning at 6:45 p.m. Click the link below to take you there, or go to the home page and I believe a link is up.

If you're seeing this after the game is complete, that same link will take you to a replay of the live blog, where you can read what I'm sure will be all kinds of witty insight from me and other readers.

Section 1A final | 3 keys for each team

(Note: I've updated the stat about the past four section 1A title game winners scoring three goals in their win. It's three of the past four. Lourdes won 2-0 last year.)

Rochester Lourdes is on the verge of doing something only two other Rochester hockey teams have ever accomplished -- make it to the state tournament four years in a row.

Rochester High School went from 1945-48, and Lourdes did it from 2000-03.

The No. 1-seeded Eagles can match those teams if they beat No. 3 seed Northfield in the Section 1A championship game tonight at 7 p.m. at the Rec Center.

This is the fifth consecutive season that Lourdes has reached the section final -- every year since returning to Section 1 from Section 3. If recent history gives us any indication, the first team to three goals will win. Three of the past four winners of the Section 1A title games scored three goals in their victory (2008: West 3, Lourdes 1; 2009: Lourdes 3, Red Wing 2; 2010: Lourdes 3, RW 0; 2011: Lourdes 2, New Prague 0).

The Eagles (19-8-0) hope to buck that trend tonight. Well, actually, I'm sure they'd be just fine with a 3-2 or 3-1 win, but they're averaging more than five goals per game and feel pretty confident in their chances if they can meet their scoring average.

The big equalizer could be Raiders senior goalie Isaak Tjaden, who comes in with a sub-3.00 goals against average and a .920 save percentage. As Lourdes coach Josh Spaniol told me on Monday, it's playoff hockey. You can put a lot of shots on goal and only score one, then you get a bounce to go against you, and all of a sudden, your season's done.

As usual, the key for Lourdes will be sustaining pressure in the offensive zone and making Northfield use up its energy. The Raiders rolled two lines for most of their semifinal victory against Albert Lea. Lourdes will roll three, if not four. Plus, as the home team, Lourdes will get the last line change and can get the matchups it wants. That means we'll probably see a lot of the Nellans-Nicolay-Weir line against Andrew Scofield's line.

We've already mentioned a key for each team, but let's throw out a couple more:

1. Goalie play -- we mentioned Isaak Tjaden earlier in this post. The Raiders senior goalie will have to have his best game of the season if Northfield is to win a section title for the first time. Lourdes put 44 shots on him when they met in the regular season. He stopped 39 of them, but if five get by him tonight, Lourdes wins.
2. Keep it close -- let's see if the Raiders watched what Red Wing did in a semifinal loss to Lourdes on Saturday. The Wingers packed things in around goalie Preston Blaney and didn't let Lourdes get many chances in close, at least until the final five minutes of the game. On two occasions, Lourdes held the puck in the WIngers zone for more than two minutes without getting a goal. It ultimately took a toll on Red Wing, whose players looked tired in the second half of the third period. But, the Winger strategy was to keep it close going into the third and then take their chances (Red Wing and Lourdes were tied 2-2 into the final six minutes of the game). Northfield needs to do the same thing. The Raiders gave up four second-period goals to Lourdes in a 5-2 regular season loss. They can't let Lourdes get that far ahead tonight.
3. Stay out of the box -- Lourdes moves the puck extremely well on the power play and Karl Krecke has settled in nicely as the point man, a role he inherited from All-State defenseman Rory Vesel, who ran the point last season. Plus, the Raiders' top players play on the penalty kill. They're already at a disadvantage if they just roll two lines against Lourdes' three when it's 5-on-5. If the Raiders' top guys have to work their tails off on the PK, too, they're going to wear down that much faster.

1. Leave any overconfidence in the locker room -- I haven't seen any cockiness or overconfidence from the Lourdes players this week. They all know they can't overlook Northfield, and that message was hammered home when they had to fight in the final five minutes to beat Red Wing in the section semifinals, 5-3, after beating it 8-0 in the regular season. Still, when you're a three-time defending champion, and your opponent has never been to state and hasn't been in a section final for 11 years, it has to be difficult to not think ahead a little. There will be no "ahead" though if they don't focus completely on beating Northfield.
2. Solid play in the defensive zone --  If you haven't already read it, here's a preview of tonight's game from the Northfield News. In it, Raiders coach Bryce Barry says: "We don’t think (the Eagles) are too solid in their own end because they don’t spend much time there." Lourdes' defensemen and senior goalie Jesse Neumann have improved dramatically from the start of the season to now, but keep in mind that this is the first time a lot of them have been on the spot in a section final. Goalie Nick Heimer and veteran d-men Rory Vesel, Sam Slightam and Alec Brandrup are all gone from last year's team. That means Neumann is playing in a section final for the first time, and d-men such as Justin Dewitz (who played forward until this season), Robby Campbell, Griff Slightam and Nathan Roth are going to be taking on big roles on the blue line in a title game for the first time.
3. Have fun -- How many hockey players around the state would love to still be playing tonight? Part of being in a section final for a fifth consecutive time is, it loses a little of its luster. The Eagles pretty much expected themselves to be in this spot. But, that doesn't mean they shouldn't enjoy it. Soak it in. Some hacks (finger pointing at myself) never had the opportunity to play in a state tournament or in a game that could get you to a state tournament. So, take the game seriously, take your jobs on the ice seriously, but don't start gripping the sticks, don't panic if the game is close in the third period. Enjoy the experience and, if you're ahead at the final buzzer, enjoy it even more.

Section 1A final on as scheduled

Posted by: Feldman

Tonight's Section One, Class A boys hockey championship game is on as scheduled.

Top-seeded Rochester Lourdes will face third-seeded Northfield at 7 p.m. at the Rochester Recreation Center. The winner advances to next week's Class A state tournament.

Rochester Mayo activities director Jeff Whitney, the Section 1 hockey tournament director, said he has received a good number of calls and e-mails today wondering if the game will be played. 

The Section One, Class AA title game is still scheduled for a 7 p.m. puck drop at the Rec Center on Thursday. That game features No. 1 seed Lakeville South against No. 2 seed Lakeville North, with the winner moving on to the Class state tournament next week.

I'll have more thoughts about tonight's Lourdes-Northfield game on the blog later this afternoon.

February 28, 2012

High School Hockey | a 2-3-4 punch for Lourdes, and a look around the state

Posted by: Feldman

By the time anyone reads this, we'll probably be about 36 hours away from the Section 1A title game between Northfield and Rochester Lourdes. And, who knows, part of the state might be under a foot of snow.

We'll get a little more into the Lourdes-Northfield game on here on Wednesday.

For tonight (early this morning, I guess) I'm just going to throw a few numbers and links out.

* Former P-B Sports dept. intern Shane Kitzman has an interesting breakdown of the section final in the Northfield News, from the Raiders' point of view. I find the last paragraph of the piece to be the most interesting. Perhaps the Lourdes defenseman and goalie Jesse Neumann can take it to heart.

* Here's the Northfield News' recap of Northfield's win against Albert Lea in Saturday's section semifinals.

* When I watch Rochester teams play, I keep track on paper and in my head of which players are on lines together by memorizing their numbers. For example, Lourdes' top line is 7-8-20 (Samuelson, Farrell, Funk) and that's how I think of those guys when I'm taking notes and using shorthand. In Tuesday's Post-Bulletin, I preview the Section 1A title game by taking a look at what the 2-3-4 line means to the team. That line consists of Connor Nellans, Ryan Nicolay and Ben Weir. They score a little bit, but that's not what they're asked to do. They're asked to be the gritty guys, the ones who go out and shut down the opposing team's best players. And it's a role they embrace.

* If you can't be at the Rec Center on Wednesday night for the section final, I'll be running a live blog, starting at 6:45 p.m. You can go to or to this link here to access the live blog.

* After East Grand Forks edged Warroad in a Section 8A semifinal on Monday at The Gardens in Warroad, six of the eight section finals in Class A are set. Only Section 2A (Breck/Mound-Westonka and Delano/Blake) and 4A (St. Thomas Academy/South St. Paul and Mahtomedi/Totino-Grace) have yet to play their semifinal games. All of those semifinals will be completed tonight (Tuesday).

* There are six games scheduled for Tuesday, and if there was a way, I'd love to be at all of them: Blake vs. Delano, Osseo vs. Maple Grove, S. St. Paul vs. St. Thomas Academy, Mound-Westonka vs. Breck, Anoka vs. Blaine, and Mahtomedi vs. Totino-Grace.

* I'm starting to put together a pros and cons list for the players who are being considered for the Faceoff All-Area Team this season. Like last year, I'll pick a First Team and a Second Team when all of our area teams (that includes the four Rochester teams, Red Wing and Dodge County) are finished playing. Which players do you think belong on the All-Area Teams? Who's the player of the year? Let me know what you think.

February 25, 2012

Section 1AA Semifinal | Lakeville North 6, Century 1, FINAL

Posted by: Feldman

Yawwwwnnnnnnn. We're through three games at the Rec Center now. The Section 1A final is set -- Lourdes vs. Northfield at 7 p.m. Wednesday with a trip to state on the line.

Now, Century has a shot to keep another all-Lakeville final from happening in 1AA. North and Century are on the ice, with 4 minutes left in warmups. We're about 15-20 minutes from faceoff.


NORTH 1, CENTURY 0: Blake Winiecki 25 (Charlie Hayes 16) 14:19 (pp). Winiecki scores on the doorstep on a 5-on-3.

NORTH 2, CENTURY 0: 15:55 (pp). Evan Peterson 26 (Erik Rutt 12) 15:55 (pp). Peterson taps one home from right in front of Wennberg to make it 2-0.

Notes: North's Connor Hyden called for boarding, a 5-minute major, just 1:04 into the game. ... North kills the 5-minute major, allows Century 1 official shot on goal on the power play. ... Century took a 5-minute major for boarding, then a minor penalty, giving North nearly 2 minutes of 5 on 3. North got both of its goals on those power plays.

Shots on goal: North 8, Century 3.


NORTH 3, CENTURY 0: Connor Hyden (Tristen Hazlett) 1:36. On a 2-on-1 rush, Hazlett sends a pass across the slot to Hyden who tips it in.

NORTH 4, CENTURY 0: Alex Wood (Evan Peterson) 16:16 (pp). Peterson picks up the puck in the right circle and fires it to Wood on top of the crease. Wood deflects it over Wennberg for North's third power play goal of the game.

Notes: There was a five-minute delay with 12:28 to go in the period, as the arena crew had to fix a problem with the boards in the Lakeville North end.

Shots on goal: North 21, Century 15.


NORTH 5, CENTURY 0: Peterson (Winiecki) 9:40. As a penalty to Peterson expired, he came out of the box and went hard to the net. Winiecki fed him near the crease and Winiecki lifted a backhand into the top corner, glove side.

NORTH 5, CENTURY 1: Isaac St. Marie (Brandon Kautz) 15:11 (4x4). While skating 4 on 4, Century wins a faceoff and Kautz sends it to St. Marie, who beats Hart to spoil the shutout.

NORTH 6, CENTURY 1: Jack Diercks (Brendan Cole) 15:34 (4x4). Diercks answers Century's only goal just 23 seconds later to cap the scoring.

Final shots on goal: North 34, Century 23.


G - 35 Erik Wennberg
D - 2 Matt Sturchio - 12 Brandon Kautz
F - 4 Dalton Travis - 7 Nick Jacobs - 11 Hayden Ashworth

G - 1 Shawn Hart
D - 10 Erik Rutt - 27 Alec Larson
F - 8 Charlie Hayes - 26 Evan Peterson - 24 Blake Winiecki

Section 1A Semifinal | Northfield 5, Albert Lea 1, FINAL

Posted by: Feldman

We're back at the Rec Center for Game 3 of Section Semifinal Saturday. No. 7 seed Albert Lea and No. 3 seed Northfield are on the ice, ready to battle for the right to face top-seeded Lourdes in Wednesday's section final. We'll see if Albert Lea can carry over the momentum from its big 3-OT victory against second-seeded New Prague less than 48 hours ago. Or, can Northfield advance to a section final for the first time since ... well, I couldn't find a record of the last time Northfield was in a section final (so, maybe never??).


A.L. 1, NORTHFIELD 0: Levi Hacker (Joshua Martin, Cody Haaland) 12:44. After a 5-on-3 expires, Martin feeds Hacker in the high slot and Hacker buries it for his 27th goal of the season.

A.L. 1, NORTHFIELD 1: Andrew Scofield (Colton Wodruff, Cody Colegrove) 16:39 (pp). Just eight seconds into a power play, Scofield gets around a Tigers defender and beats Griffin Wangen to tie it.

Shots on goal: Northfield 9, Albert Lea 5.


NORTHFIELD 2, A.L. 1: Woodruff (A. Scofield, Nathan Scofield) 6:03. Andrew Scofield drives hard to the net and has his shot stopped by Wangen. As the Albert Lea defender rides Scofield out of the play, Woodruff picks up the rebound and lifts a shot top-shelf to give the Raiders the lead.

NORTHFIELD 3, A.L. 1: A. Scofield (unassisted) 10:20. Scofield takes the puck from an Albert Lea player at the top of the left circle in the Tigers end, walks around one defender then skates across the slot and beats Wangen with a backhand.

Shots on goal: Northfield 21, Albert Lea 11.


NORTHFIELD 4, A.L. 1: A. Scofield (Woodruff) 1:30. Scofield completes his hat trick when he tips in a pass from Woodruff on a 2-on-1 rush.

NORTHFIELD 5, A.L. 1: Logan VonRuden (Torr Legvold, Alexander Morsching) 8:07 (pp). Legvold slides the puck across the slot to VonRuden in the left circle. He blasts a slapshot through traffic to extend the lead.

Final shots on goal: Northfield 30, Albert Lea 21.


G- 1 Griffin Wangen
D- 9 Auston Larson - 21 Cody Haaland
F- 2 Lucas Peterson - 8 Levi Hacker - 6 Nate Stadheim

G- 1 Isaak Tjaden
D- 4 Logan Von Ruden - 23 Alexander Morsching
F- 5 Nate Picha - 14 Matheus Hanson - 13 Kody Beckers

SECTION 1AA SEMIFINAL | Lakeville South 7, Mayo, 0 FINAL

Posted by: Feldman

Whew. One game down, three to go. Between this blog, Twitter and trying to keep game notes, I feel as busy as Phersy at a section wrestling meet. Anyhow, Mayo and South are done with their warmups, Zamboni is cleaning the ice. We'll be ready to go in 5-10 minutes.


SOUTH 1, MAYO 0: Alex Harvey (Joe Freemark, Justin Kloos) 14:59 (pp). At the tail end of a 5-minute power play, Freemark feeds Harvey across the slot and Mayo goalie Case Hansen can't get across. Harvey scores an easy goal into an open net.

SOUTH 2, MAYO 0: Harvey (unassisted) 16:28. Harvey bats a puck in during a scramble in front of the goal for his second of the game.

Shots on goal: South 15, Mayo 7.


SOUTH 3, MAYO 0: Kloos (Freemark, Harvey) 1:01 (pp). Freemark feeds Kloos in the left circle and the Mr. Hockey finalists rips a wrist shot into the top corner.

SOUTH 4, MAYO 0: Justin Doeden (John Wiitala) 4:17. Wiitala slides the puck across the slot to Doeden on a 2-on-1, Doeden put a wrist shot on goal that Hansen gets a piece of, but it goes up in the air and falls in behind him.

SOUTH 5, MAYO 0: Harvey (Kloos, Patrick Lauderdale) 9:09. Harvey gets the hat trick, tapping in a pass from Kloos.

SOUTH 6, MAYO 0: Michael Chuinard (Ben Freemark, Wiitala) 14:12. South's puck movement again has Mayo players out of position and Chuinard is left alone with the puck and he bangs it past Hansen.

SOUTH 7, MAYO 0: Kloos (unassisted) 16:30 (sh). Kloos displays the skills that landed him as a University of Minnesota recruit; he skates around a Mayo defenseman, skates around Hansen sticks it top-shelf while short-handed.


no scoring.

Final shots on goal: South 47, Mayo 12.


G- 30 Case Hansen
D- 9 Steve Serratore - 22 Will Holtan
F- 12 Max Whitney - 3 Ryan Martin - 7 Adam Alcott

G- 1 Tyler Schumacher
D- 6 Joe Freemark - 21 Cameron Jackson
F- 24 Patrick Lauderdale - 15 Justin Kloos - 9 Alex Harvey


Section 1A Semifinal | Lourdes 5, Red Wing 3, FINAL

Posted by: Feldman

Here we go ... Most Wonderful Time of the Year!! Section Semifinal Saturday at the Rec Center is less than 45 minutes from starting. Lourdes and Red Wing are on tap first. Warmups should be starting soon. I'll have scoring updates here and on Twitter (@PBFeldy), so follow along.

You can also hear today's games involving Rochester teams (Lourdes-Red Wing, 11:30 a.m.; Mayo-South, 2 p.m.; Century-North, 8 p.m.) on KFAN-AM 1270 radio.


LOURDES 1, RW 0: Ryan Nicolay (Connor Nellans, Ben Weir) 5:42. After Nellans holds the puck in the zone near the blue line, he feeds Nicolay in the left circle and he scores on a bad-angle shot from below the dot.

RW 1, LOURDES 1: Jack Strusz (Taylor Hanson) 6:38. After a good cycle by the Wingers, Hanson feeds Strusz in the low slot for the tying goal.

RW 2, LOURDES 1: Alex Rezansoff (Strusz, Mike Stegora) 13:06. Strusz gets puck below the goal line and feeds Rezansoff in the low slot for a 1-timer. The goal comes just seconds after Lourdes had held the puck in the Wingers zone for more than two minutes.

RW 2, LOURDES 2: Karl Krecke (Jason Samuelson, Justin Dewitz) 16:48. While on a power play, Lourdes moves the puck quickly around on the perimeter and Krecke blasts a slapshot through traffic to tie the score with just 11.5 seconds to go in the period.

Shots on goal: Lourdes 14, Red Wing 8.


no scoring.

Shots on goal: Lourdes 19, Red Wing 17.

Notes: Lourdes killed off a 45-second 5-on-3 chance for Red Wing.


LOURDES 3, RW 2: Jason Samuelson (Alex Funk) 12:25. During a flurry in front of the Wingers goal, Funk throws a back-hander to the net that RW goalie Preston Blaney stops, but Samuelson puts the rebound high.

LOURDES 4, RW 2: Samuelson (unassisted) 14:44. A WIngers defender turns the puck over in front of his goalie, Samuelson picks it up and beats Blane.

LOURDES 4, RW 3: Strusz (Stegora) 15:06. Strusz scores on a soft wrist shot with an extra attacker on the ice.

LOURDES 5, RW 3: Nicolay (unassisted) 16:45. Nicolay scores into an empty net from just inside of center ice.


G - 1 Jesse Neumann
D - 12 Karl Krecke - 9 Justin Dewitz
F - 2 Connor Nellans - 3 Ryan Nicolay - 4 Ben Weir

G - 30 Preston Blaney
D - 2 Dayton Johnson - 25 Jack Strusz
F - 19 Alex Rezansoff - 23 Mike Stegora - 7 Taylor Hanson

February 23, 2012

PHERSY AND FATIS SHOW: End O Da Regular Season

PHERSY: We're back! I tracked down coach before the final weekend of the regular season. Nick07_thumb

Don't forget, the Ice Hawks are home at 7:05 p.m. Friday, and then they play the MnJHL champion Twin Cities Northern Lights on Sunday in Owatonna!

Enjoy the show!!


February 22, 2012

Boys Hockey | Breaking down the Section 1 playoffs

Posted by: Feldman

Who's ready for some playoff hockey? Yeah, I know, it started Tuesday night, but we get our first dose of it in Rochester on Thursday night, with all four Rochester teams playing in town.

Ready for me to ramble on about those Rochester teams? Take a deep breath if you're going to read this whole thing.

Before we get into who needs to do what to win their games (did that even make sense?), here are some links to my previews that ran in Wednesday's P-B Sports section:

Section 1A quarterfinal capsules

Section 1AA quarterfinal capsules

Feature story on John Marshall goalie Jacob Garvey, who has been very good over the past month. Garvey is 5-0-1 since his last loss, which occurred on Jan. 21, against the team JM will face in Thursday's quarterfinals — intra-city rival Rochester Mayo. In those six games, Garvey has a 0.67 goals-against average and a .972 save percentage. For the season, he is 8-6-2, with a 2.23 GAA and a .901 save pct/ In his six-game unbeaten streak, Garvey has stopped 138 of 142 shots.

SECTION 1AA: No. 4 Mayo (16-9-0) vs. No. 5 JM (13-10-2)

While Garvey's overall record this season looks just OK, goal support has been an issue. In Garvey's eight non-victories this season (six losses, two ties): JM scored a total of eight goals (one per game). In his six losses, the Rockets totalled five goals. So, while JM's offensive production is getting better, the Rockets will have to get scoring from throughout the lineup if they hope to knock off Mayo.

Mayo beat JM in two of their three meetings during the regular season, though all three games were close well into the third period. Mayo beat the Rockets 4-1 on Jan. 21, but the Spartans scored an empty-net goal in the closing minutes to make that a three-goal difference. The first two meetings this season were decided by one goal (JM, 4-3, on Dec. 10; Mayo, 3-2, on Dec. 30 in the Kiwanis Festival).

In other words, this game could very well come down to the goalies. We've already mentioned JM's Garvey. At the opposite end of the ice will be another junior, Mayo's Case Hansen. He brings a 12-8-0 record, a 2.91 GAA and a .902 save pct. into tonight's game.

Like Garvey, Hansen has made a habit of keeping the Spartans in just about every game they've played. Mayo is 6-4-0 in its last 10 games, but three of those losses were by one goal, including a 2-1 overtime loss to South St. Paul on Jan. 26. Not counting a 12-1 loss at Lakeville South, Hansen and the Spartans have surrendered less than two goals per game over nine of their past 10 games (17 goals allowed in nine games).

The big key to this one will be special teams. These teams know each other so well, that there won't be many surprises. I'm sure both teams will tweak some of the things they do, but the personnel on both sides is the same as it's been all season. That means taking advantage of power-play time will be critical. And, not taking the 5-minute majors will be just as critical. One of those could flip the game in a big way.

That also leads to another interesting question: Will officials continue to call those major penalties as tightly as they have? That will be something to keep an eye on as the playoffs rolls along. The deeper we get into the postseason, the more a five-minute major could change the course of a team's season.

• • •

SECTION 1AA: No. 6 Owatonna (14-8-3) at No. 3 Century (17-6-2)

Seeing Owatonna come to town as a No. 6 seed probably isn't the most comforting feeling for coach Josh Klingfus and Rochester Century. The Panthers hold a win and a tie against Owatonna this season, but Century has outscored the Huskies by a total of 5-4 in those two meetings.

Owatonna has lost two of its last three coming into the postseason, but that came on the heels of an 11-game unbeaten streak (9-0-2), that ran from Dec. 27-Feb. 2).

Owatonna may not be able to match Century's depth, but the Huskies will come close. Seven Owatonna players have 15 or more points; Century has 10 players with 11 or more points.

Still, though the Huskies may be able to send out three lines consistently, they'll have to find a way to solve a stingy Panthers defense. Century is 7-2-1 in its past 10 games. In that span, the Panthers have allowed a total of 15 goals, including six in a 6-3 loss to Roseville in the regular season finale. That was the only game in that 10-game stretch when an opponent scored more than two goals. In other words, if Century gets to three goals, it's a pretty good bet the Panthers will live to play on Saturday.

The thing to really like about this Century team is that it has embraced what the coaching staff has preached. They've used the regular season to slowly improve and be playing well in late February. The senior class is a great group of leaders, including captains Nick Jacobs, Brandon Kautz and Blake Heroff. Those guys have all bought in to what the coaches have asked them to do — Jacobs is the team's top scorer, Kautz has put up nearly 30 points from the blue line and is a big, physical presence in the defensive zone; and Heroff will do just about anything asked of him — play on the penalty kill, drop to block shots, check the opposing team's top line, and even chip in a little scoring (he has 12 points this season).

The big key for Century is, it will have to match Owatonna's emotion. The Huskies haven't advanced to the section semifinals since 2008, and they clearly feel like they have a team capable of doing so this season.

• • •

SECTION 1A: No. 8 Faribault (8-17-0) at No. 1 Lourdes (17-8-0)

Let's face it: Faribault can't match Lourdes' depth. Not many teams in Section 1A can. But the Falcons are bringing the right attitude into this quarterfinal game at Graham Arena IV. Take it a shift at a time, a period at a time, limit their mistakes and try to pull off an upset.

Faribault is led by senior forward Caleb Sevier, a Virginia native who originally moved to Faribault to play at Shattuck St. Mary's. Financial issues caught up with his family, and Sevier ended up playing for Faribault High School; Falcons coach Brad Ryan is happy to have him.

As the home team, the Eagles will have the last line change, so coach Josh Spaniol may choose to match up his top line of Jason Samuelson, Alex Funk and Landon Farrell against Sevier's line. It will be tough for Sevier's line to generate scoring chances if they're in their own end more often than not.

I wouldn't be surprised if the lower seed wins any of the three other Section 1A quarterfinal games, but a Falcons win at Graham IV tonight would be a bit of a shocker. Lourdes needs to guard against overconfidence in a situation like this; that might be the thing that could trip them up the most. The Eagles have been through this before, though. They know that a game like this needs to be a statement game — let the rest of the section know they're the no. 1 seed for a reason.

Lourdes did exactly that in the Kiwanis Festival at Christmastime, winning three tournament games by a combined score of 28-2. I don't expect them to be 26 goals better than three opponents in the section playoffs — if they make it to three games — but they will be tough to stop if they play with the swagger of a three-time defending section champion.