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« High school hockey | Kiwanis brackets | Main | This Week in High School Hockey | Dec. 17 »

December 11, 2012

This Week in High School Hockey

Posted by: Feldman

Last week I called this High School Hockey Rewind, but I figured I'd turn it into a look back at the previous week and a look ahead to the coming week.

A few quick notes before we look at the week past and the week ahead for each team from our area:

* I'll be at the Century-John Marshall game tonight at the Rec Center. It begins at 7:30 p.m. If you can't be there, I'll have updates on Twitter @PBFeldy or Twitter.com/PBFeldy

* Former Rochester Century goalie Brock Kautz has been named the North American Hockey League North Division Star of the Week. The Janesville (Wis.) Jets netminder was in goal for both games this past weekend, stopping 70 of 73 shots in a sweep of a two-game series against Coulee Region. The full press release from the NAHL is here.

* It was a good weekend for former Century players in the NAHL as Austin Bruins forward Drew Anderson had an assist in regulation, then scored the game-winning goal in a shootout on Saturday as Austin beat Brookings, 3-2, at Riverside Arena in Austin. Anderson was rarely spotted into the lineup early in the season, but he has now played in 11 consecutive games for the first-place Bruins. It looks like he's finding a comfort level, too, as he has all of his points this season (1 goal, 2 assists, not counting the shootout goal) in the last five games.

All right, on to the high school stuff...

ROCHESTER JOHN MARSHALL
Last week: 0-1-0. Lost to Rochester Mayo, 2-0.
Season: 1-2-0 overall, 0-1-0 Big Nine Conference.
What happened: Last week I mentioned I thought JM could contend for a conference title. Those expectations have to be checked now that the Rockets have lost three of their top players for all or part of the season. Against Mayo, on Saturday, JM did exactly what coach Jay Ness wanted. The Rockets packed it in defensively around goalie Jacob Garvey, he held them in the game with 33 saves, and they got a couple of good scoring opportunities in the third period. JM just missed the net on one of those chances and Mayo goalie Case Hansen made a highlight-reel windmill glove save on the other. What I really liked about JM's game was the energy its third line of Kevin Henslin, Mitch King and Jack Christensen provided. If the Rockets can get that kind of effort from that line, that will allow its top line to take some more chances.
This week: Three home games, all at the Rec Center: Tonight, vs. Rochester Century (7:30 p.m.); Thursday vs. Mankato East (7:30 p.m.); Saturday vs. Mankato West (3 p.m.). It's reasonable to think JM could go 2-1 this week, but it will have to have its best effort against Century tonight. West has already shown it's going to challenge for a conference title and be among the best teams in the Big Nine.

No. 9 ROCHESTER LOURDES
Last week: 3-0-0. Won at New Prague, 3-2 (OT); beat Chanhassen, 4-2; beat No. 7 St. Cloud Cathedral, 6-4.
Season: 3-1-0 overall.
What happened: After an 8-1 loss at St. Thomas Academy to open the season, the Eagles set a goal of going 3-0 last week. They did that with solid play from goalie Andrew Ellingson, more outstanding efforts from their top line, and contributions from some young players who appear to be adjusting quickly to the varsity level. The win over Cathedral has to be a big confidence booster for Lourdes, considering Cathedral was coming off a victory against No. 3 Breck. Eagles coach Josh Spaniol told his team after the game that the tired legs from football season are behind this team now and they need to plow forward, playing every game just as well as they played Saturday, and keep improving. The Eagles' schedule stays busy; they have two games this week and will play 10 times in December.
This week: Thursday vs. Northfield (7 p.m., Graham Arena); Saturday at Red Wing (2 p.m.). There's no time to relax. These are two important Section 1A matchups. Thursday's game is a rematch of last year's section title game; Saturday's matchup is a rematch of a section semifinal from a year ago. 

ROCHESTER MAYO
Last week: 2-0-0. Won at Mankato West, 2-1; won at John Marshall, 2-0.
Season: 3-1-0 overall; 3-0-0 Big Nine Conference.
What happened: The victory at West was a big one for Mayo early in the season. The Scarlets will likely be right at the top of the conference standings all season, along with Mayo. Coach Lorne Grosso said it was an up-and-down-the-ice, fast-paced game, but both goalies played well. That's a big lift for Spartans goalie Case Hansen, who appears to be playing even better than he did last season. He made a windmill save to rob a JM player of a goal on Saturday that had pretty much everyone at the Rec Center shaking their heads. Now, Mayo's offense just needs to finish its chances. The Spartans have faced some pretty good goalies so far, but if you read my story in Monday's P-B, you know their top-line players are frustrated that they're not putting more goals up. That said, if Mayo's forwards keep playing like they did against JM, those goals will come. 
This week: Tonight, vs. Owatonna (7:30 p.m., Graham Arena); Saturday, at Farmington (3 p.m.). Two big games here for Mayo, for different reasons. A win tonight against Owatonna would make the Spartans 4-0-0 in conference play. If they want to achieve their goal of winning the Big Nine, hat's a great start. Saturday's game will be important two months from now, when Section 1AA seedings come out. Farmington already has wins against Century and JM.

DODGE COUNTY
Last week: 0-2-0. Lost to Winona, 2-1; lost to Northfield, 2-1.
Season: 1-5-0 overall.
What happened: As coach Eric Hoffman put it to me, the Wildcats just need to learn how to win. They're playing good hockey, particularly goalie Mitch Sobotta. Four of their five losses have come by one goal; once they learn how to flip those around -- picking up their intensity in the third period -- the 'Cats will be fine. 
This week: Friday, vs. Chaska (7:30 p.m.); Saturday, at St. Paul Highland Park (3 p.m.). We'll see what the 'Cats are made of with these tough back-to-back games. And by tough, I mean, getting done with a game at 9:30 on Friday night and getting on a bus the next morning to go to St. Paul. A win or two this week will do a lot for D.C.'s confidence. 

RED WING
Last week: 0-2-0. Lost at North St. Paul, 4-3; lost at Fergus Falls, 5-4.
Season: 0-5-0 overall; 0-0-0 Missota Conference.
What happened: Much like Dodge County, the Wingers have been able to build leads, but not hang on. Red Wing led North St. Paul, 2-0, after one period and it was tied, 3-3, after two. Against Fergus, Red Wing led 3-1 and 4-2 in the third period, before the Otters scored twice in the final 6:39 of regulation to force OT. They scored 2:42 into OT to win it. 
This week: Tonight, vs. Tartan (7 p.m.); Thursday, at Winona (7:30 p.m.); Saturday, vs. Rochester Lourdes (2 p.m.).

ROCHESTER CENTURY
Last week: 1-2-0. Lost at Lakeville North, 6-0; won at Faribault, 4-2; lost to Mankato West, 6-1.
Season: 1-4-0 overall; 1-1-0 Big Nine Conference.
What happened: A step forward, a step back for the Panthers. They put together a very good effort last Thursday with a 4-2 win at Faribault. Dalton Travis -- who coach Josh Klingfus said has played hard every night out -- had hand in all four goals against the Falcons. Then, on Saturday, Klingfus said the Panthers didn't show up, from the top of the roster on down. It's a good learning experience for a team with a lot of young players. I would bet we see a better effort out of the whole team tonight.
This week: Tonight, at John Marshall (7:30 p.m., Rec Center); Saturday, at Owatonna (7:30 p.m.). Win or lose, I think the Century coaches just want to see a consistent strong effort on both ends of the ice from the goalie on out. Maybe the Panthers can find a rhythm starting tonight; there's nothing like a rivalry game to get guys fired up.

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