This Week in High School Hockey | Jan. 7
Posted by: Feldman
Time to dust the cobwebs off the poor Faceoff blog. *dust* *dust* *dust*
There, it's been awhile.
With the holidays and holiday tournaments taking us out of our normal groove, This Week in High School Hockey has been neglected for a few weeks. Time to get back at it and get into the second half of the season.
(Note: For the "Last week" part of each team's report, we'll include any holiday tournaments they played in.)
Last week: 2-3-0. Beat Fargo South, 5-3 (Dec. 27); beat Eau Claire Memorial, 4-3 (Dec. 28); lost to Eastview, 7-2 (Dec. 29); lost to Hibbing, 1-0 (Friday); lost to Virginia, 3-2 (OT, Saturday).
Season: 9-4-0 overall, 5-0-0 Big Nine Conference.
What happened: Three losses in a week or so isn't as bad as it sounds. Mayo's lost to Eastview in the Kiwanis Festival final was a case of the Spartans taking penalties at bad times and just not playing very well on special teams. They gave up three short-handed goals, all to the same player. That's not going to happen again. Then Mayo ran into a pair of hot goaltenders over this past weekend in one-goal losses to Hibbing and Viriginia. My only concern with the Spartans right now is that they've only scored more than four goals in a game twice this season. That will come, though. They're generating good, quality chances and once they start burying those, they'll be even tougher to beat.
This week: Thursday, at South St. Paul (7:30 p.m.); Saturday, at Rochester Century (7:30 p.m.). South St. Paul has won just four of its first 12 games, but it plays in a tough conference (Classic Suburban), so it will provide a good test for Mayo. The Spartans then play another rivalry game, at Century on Saturday. That game starts the home stretch for Mayo, which will play its final 11 games against conference opponents.
Last week: Lost to New Ulm, 7-3 (Dec. 27); lost to WSFLG (Wis.), 5-3 (Dec. 28); tied Ashwaubenon (Wis.), 3-3 (Dec. 29); beat La Crescent, 7-2 (Thursday); lost to LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter, 4-1 (Friday); lost at Luverne, 4-2 (Saturday).
Season: 4-10-1 overall.
What happened: The Wildcats had two three-games-in-three-days stretches. They went 0-2-1 in the Kiwanis Festival, then went 1-2-0 while playing twice on the road in three days this past weekend. Dodge County now plays just three times in the next 17 days.
This week: Tuesday, vs. New Ulm (7 p.m.); Friday, vs. Richfield (7 p.m.). Dodge County lost to New Ulm, 7-3, in the first round of the Kiwanis Festival just less than two weeks ago. This will be a good test for the Wildcats as the second half of the season gets into full swing.
Last week: Tied Farmington, 3-3 (Dec.28); lost to Northfield, 8-2 (Thursday).
Season: 0-10-1 overall, 0-1-1 Missota Conference.
What happened: I thought the Wingers might gain some confidence from the tie at Farmington and carry it over. Farmington beat Rochester JM and Rochester Century, and played Rochester Mayo to a one-goal game earlier this season. But Northfield, which could again challenge for a Section 1 title, was too much for the Wingers.
This week: Tuesday, at Chanhassen (7:15 p.m.); Saturday, at Holy Angels (2 p.m.). Things don't get much easier this week as every team in the Missota really starts to get heavily into the conference schedule.
Last week: Lost to Park, 6-2 (Dec. 27); beat New Richmond, Wis., 2-1 (Dec. 28); lost to Fargo South, N.D., 6-4 (Dec. 29); lost to Lakeville South, 12-2 (Thursday).
Season: 2-10-0 overall; 1-4-0 Big Nine.
What happened: As usual, Century received outstanding goaltending from Eric Rohleder in picking up its second victory of the season, against New Richmond in the consolation semifinals at the Kiwanis Festival. Rohleder made 41 saves in the victory, as Century was outshot 42-20. Century battled hard the next day, too, against Fargo South, but the Bruins poured it on in the third period and Century couldn't battle back.
This week: Thursday, at Albert Lea (7:30 p.m.); Saturday, vs. Rochester Mayo (7:30 p.m.). Century will play both of these teams twice within basically a month. And the Panthers have only played five conference games so far. If they can limit the shots that Rohleder faces each night, Century could climb back up the Big Nine standings.
ROCHESTER JOHN MARSHALL
Last week: Lost to Eau Claire Memorial, 6-2 (Dec. 27); lost to Fargo South, 5-3 (Dec. 28); lost to New Richmond, 3-2 (Dec. 29); lost to Winona, 4-1 (Saturday).
Season: 3-8-0 overall; 2-3-0 Big Nine.
What happened: JM is getting shots on goal — it outshot Winona, 27-20, and New Richmond, 29-28 — but the Rockets just have to find a way to get a few more past the goaltender. The Rockets need to play more of the 3-2-type games like they played against New Richmond. Those are the games they'll have a good shot to win. The Rockets play two winnable Big Nine games this week; a couple of W's could be a big boost to their confidence.
This week: Tuesday, at Owatonna (7:30 p.m.); Thursday, vs. Eastview (7:30 p.m.); Saturday, vs. Austin (3 p.m.).
ROCHESTER LOURDES (No. 6, Class A)
Last week: Lost to Northland Pines, 4-2 (Dec. 27); beat Ashwaubenon, 1-0 (Dec. 28); beat WSFLG, 7-3 (Dec. 29); lost to Breck, 7-2 (Thursday); lost at Eau Claire Memorial, 7-5 (Saturday).
Season: 7-4-0 overall.
What happened: I'm not sure if Lourdes is fully recovered mentally from the first-round loss to Northland Pines — which, by the way, is ranked in the top 10 in Wisconsin, so it's not a terrible loss — in the Kiwanis Festival on Dec. 27. The Eagles expected to defend their Festival championship and, when that possibility went away after the first night, it's tough to fully recover. Still, the Eagles went out and outshot Ashwaubenon, 47-5, the next day and ran into a hot goalie. Lourdes played better than the 7-2 score against Breck indicates, and they had a fast-paced back-and-forth game at Eau Claire at 11 a.m. Saturday. The schedule gets no easier, though ...
This week: Tuesday, vs. Mankato West (7 p.m.); Thursday, at New Ulm (7:30 p.m.); Saturday, vs. Delano (2 p.m.). A busy week starts off with perhaps the most important regular season game left on the Eagles schedule. West is a serious challenger for the top seed in the Section 1A playoffs and Tuesday's game could very well decide who the No. 1 seed is in next month's tournament.