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« This Week in High School Hockey | Main | NAHL | Aberdeen makes a coaching change »

December 17, 2012

This Week in High School Hockey | Dec. 17

Posted by: Feldman

A look back at last week in high school hockey for our area teams and a look ahead to this week's games:

Last week: 2-0-0. Beat Northfield, 4-1; won at Red Wing, 8-2.
Season: 5-1-0 overall.
What happened: Its pretty simple; in the five games the Eagles have won, its top line of Jason Samuelson, Alex Funk and Ben Weir has just been better than any line the opposing team could put on the ice. They've totaled 38 points through six games. Samuelson and Funk both finished last season with 70 points; Samuelson is on pace to get 66 in the regular season, while Funk is on pace for 62. Both wins last week were big in terms of positioning for the Section 1A playoffs. In that regard, Lourdes' biggest game remaining may be against Mankato West on Jan. 8 at Graham Arena. The Scarlets look like the only team that could take the top seed away from Lourdes.
This week: Thursday, at No. 20-AA Holy Family Catholic (7 p.m.). This is another good test for the Eagles going into the holiday break and pre-Kiwanis Festival, where they won't see the level of competition they regularly see during the regular season. Holy Family is just 4-3-0, but its losses are to No. 11-AA Elk River and the two No. 1-ranked teams in the state, Edina (AA) and St. Thomas Academy (A). Holy Family is also coming off an impressive 5-1 win against No. 3-A Totino-Grace.

Last week: 2-0-0. Beat Owatonna, 2-0; won at Farmington, 4-3.
Season: 5-1-0 overall; 4-0-0 Big Nine Conference.
What happened: Mayo's win against Owatonna was big in terms of the conference standings; its win against Farmington was even bigger. If Mayo holds serve against Big Nine/Section 1AA opponents Owatonna, Winona, Century and JM the rest of the way, the win over Farmington will likely give the Spartans the No. 3 seed in the section playoffs. I know the coaches don't want the players thinking that far ahead, but that's just the reality of it. Winning, while coming from behind, on the road against Farmington, was a nice win for the Spartans.
This week: Tuesday, at Red Wing (7 p.m.); Thursday, at Albert Lea (7:30 p.m.). Red Wing is struggling, off to an 0-8-0 start, but this isn't a game where Mayo can relax. Wingers goalie Preston Blaney is solid, so Mayo needs to capitalize on its scoring chances. Albert Lea is never an easy place to play, and the Tigers always are up emotionally when Mayo comes to town. The friendly rivalry between the head coaches -- former U of M linemates Lorne Grosso and Roy Nystrom -- carries over to an intensity on the ice, too. It'll be a good game to carry Mayo into the break.

Last week: 1-1-0. Lost to Chaska, 5-3; won at St. Paul Highland Park, 4-1.
Season: 2-6-0 overall.
What happened: The Wildcats overmatched Highland Park on Saturday for their second win of the season. They limited Highland Park to just 18 shots on goal, and sophomore G Mitch Sobotta held up his end with a 17-save performance. The loss to Chaska continued a trend of close defeats for the Wildcats this season. They're just 2-6-0, but they've lost four times by one goal and once by two goals.
This week: Tuesday, at St. Paul Como Park (8 p.m.); Thursday, vs. Austin (7:30 p.m., Dodge Co. Ice Arena). These games give D.C. a chance to gain some confidence and momentum heading into the break, before next week's Kiwanis Festival in Rochester. Como Park is 6-2-0, a solid team that has put up some goals (48 in 8 games). D.C. already owns a victory against Austin this season, though it was the Wildcats poorest defensive effort of the season.

Last week: 0-3-0. Lost to Tartan 4-3; lost at Winona, 4-3 (OT); lost to Rochester Lourdes, 8-2.
Season: 0-8-0 overall
What happened: The loss to Winona had to be the most frustrating of the week. Red Wing led, 3-1, going into the third period, but gave up two goals in the third, then lost in OT. The Wingers have now lost five times by two goals or less. They're close; they just need to find the late-game confidence that they can win.
This week: Tuesday, vs. Rochester Mayo (7 p.m.); Thursday, at Holy Angels (7:30 p.m.). The Wingers certainly don't want to go into the break with an 0-10 mark, but things won't be any easier for them this week than they have in recent weeks. Mayo has lost just once and Holy Angels is always at or near the top of the Missota Conference. If the Wingers can play two more close games, that should be enough to give them a little more confidence entering the second half of the season.

Last week: 0-2-0. Lost at John Marshall, 4-2; lost at Owatonna, 3-2.
Season: 1-6-0 overall; 1-3-0 Big Nine.
What happened: Both losses were particularly frustrating for the Panthers, but for different reasons. JM scored in the first two minutes of each period in its victory. Against Owatonna, Century led 2-0 after one period, but the Huskies scored twice in the second period and once in the third to complete a come-from-behind win. I still think Century will be OK come tournament time. Lots of young guys are getting ice time and getting comfortable with one another and the systems. If the Panthers were getting consistently blown out, I might feel different, but they're hanging with teams, just not finishing. That will come.
This week: Thursday, vs. Winona (7:30 p.m.); Saturday, at Mankato West (2 p.m.). We're not even to Christmas and Century's season series against West will be finished. The Panthers lost to the Scarlets, 6-1, on Dec. 8. Coach Josh Klingfus wasn't pleased with his team's overall effort in that game, so I'm guessing the Panthers will bring a better intensity on Saturday. Winona is off to a 5-2-0 start, though it hasn't played a particularly difficult schedule. This is a game the Panthers could really use to gain some confidence and put another checkmark in the Win column. These teams meet again at the end of January, but a win against the Winhawks could be big when it's time to seed for the section playoffs.

Last week: 2-1-0. Beat Century, 4-2; beat Mankato East, 5-2; lost to Mankato West, 3-1.
Season: 3-3-0 overall, 2-2-0 Big Nine Conference.
What happened: JM found its scoring touch against Century and East, as seven players had at least one point against East. Jacob Garvey was his usual stellar self in goal. The senior netminder stopped a total of 88 shots in the three games, including 45 against West to keep the Rockets in that game.
This week: Tuesday, at South St. Paul (7:30 p.m.); Thursday, at Faribault (7:30 p.m.). Both of these games are winnable for the Rockets, and if they can get some scoring from their second line, they'll have a good chance of entering the break with a plus-.500 record. South St. Paul is 2-3-0, Faribault is 2-6-0. JM and Faribault meet again on Jan. 31, but a Rockets win Thursday would help them in the conference standings and give them a boost as they prepare for next week's Kiwanis Festival.

* * * * *

Some games to watch across the State of Hockey this week:

*Windom at Luverne (Tuesday): This seems like an odd one to spotlight, but both of these teams look capable of dethroning New Ulm in Section 3A this season. Windom is 5-0-0, Luverne is 5-1-0. Luverne is led by sophomore D Toby Sengvongxay, who was invited to the USA Hockey National 15-under camp this past summer. He has 11 goals and five assists already this season.

*Lakeville South at Lakeville North (Thursday): This one holds interest for fans in southern Minnesota, from the standpoint of knowing which of these teams will be the No. 1 seed in the Section 1AA playoffs and which team will be the No. 2 seed. They meet once more this season, on Feb. 2. That game will be the one that ultimately determines the top seed in the section.

*Eden Prairie at Edina (Saturday): Which cake-eater is your favorite? This game pits No. 9 EP at No. 1 Edina in the first of at least three meetings between Lake Conference rivals this season. This game is the finale of the Edina Holiday Classic and will feature six Division I recruits, three from each team.


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