Posted by: Feldman
Thinking back to late February and the high school hockey playoffs, about the time I was putting together the All-Area Boys Hockey Team for last season, I kept thinking about what it would be like to see Riese Zmolek of Rochester Century and Griff Slightam of Rochester Lourdes on the ice together as a defensive pairing.
Slightam missed the entire hockey season last year with an injury, but as soon as he started his recovery, he had his eyes set to this winter, to November and the start of his senior season.
Still, what a pairing that would be. Zmolek can do just about anything the Panthers need him to do -- rush the puck up the ice, skate through traffic to create a shot or space for a teammate, handle the puck, run point on the power play or play down low. Slightam is a guy who can play a physical game and provide offensive punch at the same time. Seeing those two together would make any coach pretty happy.
We just might get to see that combo this fall, as Slightam, Zmolek and Lourdes goalie Jack Burkel have all been named to Team Northeast for the Upper Midwest High School Elite League.
Rochester Mayo's Logan Haskins and Dodge County's Tanner Dufault both made a tryout roster, but did not advance.
Here are all the rosters for the Elite League; these were released a week ago today.
Zmolek, Burkel and Slightam are all very worthy of their selections.
Zmolek had 38 points (12-26--38) in 26 games last season for Century, which finished 12-13-1. He was among the Panthers' go-to players, putting up at least one point in 21 of his 26 games.
Burkel went 7-15-1 on a 7-19-1 Lourdes team that was hit hard by injuries and lost in the Section 1A semifinals. He had a 3.53 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage, facing an average of 31.26 shots per game.
Slightam missed all of his junior season, after putting up 22 points in 30 games as a sophomore. He had a tremendous postseason run that year, collecting five points, including three goals, in six postseason games.
All three will be seniors this season.
A somewhat interesting side note, the other goalie on Team Northeast is Eagan's Andrew Lindgren. He's the younger brother of St. Cloud State goalie Charlie Lindgren, who starred in high school at Lakeville North and was a thorn in the side of Rochester's public school teams during the Section 1AA playoffs for four years.
Training camp for the Elite League begins in just more than a month, Aug. 29-30, in Blaine.