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108 posts categorized "Century"

February 18, 2016

High School Hockey Today | Feb. 18, 2016 (The Section Quarterfinals edition)

Posted by: Feldman
Who's ready for some playoff hockey? 
The girls state tournament got underway yesterday at The Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, with the top four seeds (Blake, Warroad, St. Paul United, Proctor/Hermantown) all winning their Class A quarterfinal matchups. Section 1A champ Northfield was shut out 3-0 by Section 8 champ Warroad. Northfield's season ended this morning with a 2-0 loss to Alexandria in a consolation game at Ridder Arena.
The Class AA girls state quarterfinals began at 11 a.m. today. Section 1AA champion Lakeville South is the No. 5 seed and will play the final game of  the day, scheduled for an 8 p.m. start against No. 4 Maple Grove. No. 2 Edina meets Eastview at 11 a.m. in the tourney opener. That's followed by No. 3 Eden Prairie against Forest Lake at 1 p.m. Top-seeded Hill-Murray, the only unbeaten girls team left in the state (27-0-1) faces Sartell-Sauk Rapids at 6 p.m.
The girls state quarterfinals are not televised, but Friday's state semifinals and Saturday's championship games can be found on Charter Spectrum channel 192 in Rochester. They begin at 11 a.m. Friday and run all day, with two Class A semis in the morning/afternoon, and two AA semis in the evening.
Closer to home, the Section 1A and 1AA boys hockey tournaments get going full force tonight. We'll be down to four teams in each section by about 10 p.m. today, assuming we don't have some 3-OT game or something. And I just jinxed things, most likely. I'll be at the Owatonna-JM game at the Rec Center, which now will probably go at least 3 OTs. 
Rochester Lourdes also plays in town tonight. The Eagles are the No. 3 seed in Section 1A and will play host to No. 6 seed LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter/TCU/Cleveland. Typing that name once helps me get much close to my desired word count. They should just go by the Bulldogs. Or, like, South Central Minnesota or something like that. 
Century, Mayo, Dodge County and Red Wing all are on the road tonight, with tough tests awaiting.
Here are some section previews that ran in Tuesday's P-B:
* I wrote a feature story on Lourdes' four seniors, who hope to guide the program back to the state tournament for the first time since 2013.
There are a lot of games tonight, so let's get to them:
7 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Seeds/Records: No. 5 Owatonna 15-9-1; No. 4 Rochester JM 19-6-0
Coaches: Owatonna, Josh Storm (5th season, 68-53-9); JM, Jay Ness (5th season, 66-59-4)
Last meeting: JM won at Owatonna 5-1 on Jan. 23, 2016. The Rockets swept the two-game season series against the Huskies by a combined scored of 12-2.
Last game: Owatonna beat Austin 4-0 on Saturday; JM beat Red Wing 9-1 on Saturday.
Team leaders: OWT -- Sr. F Noah Scheid 26-23--49; So. F Tyler Wencl 9-26--35; Jr. F Adam Rehman 9-21--30; So. G Ryan Johnson 9-3-0, 1.42 GAA, .917 save pct., 6 SO. JM -- Sr. F Brady Dahl 22-27--49; Isaac Lamppa 25-23--48; Sr. F Conner Lee 12-26--38; Sr. D Josh Frerks 7-30--37; So. F Xander Lamppa 13-21--34; Sr. G Brady Meyers 19-6-0, 1.71 GAA, .930 save pct., 4 SO.
Notes: Owatonna's Scheid and JM's Dahl tied for third in the Big Nine in points (49). ... JM is looking for its first playoff victory since 2007. ... JM goalie Meyers is tied for 6th in the state in wins (19), ninth in goals-against average (1.71) and fourth in save percentage (.930). ... JM beat Owatonna 7-1 on Dec. 3, its second game of the season, then again 5-1 at Owatonna on Jan. 23. The Rockets led just 1-0 after two periods in the second meeting, but outscored the Huskies 4-1 in the third period.
7 p.m., Hasse Arena
: No. 6 Mayo 14-10-1; No. 3 South 14-10-1
Coaches: Mayo, Lorne Gross (49th season, 707-445-29)
Last meeting: Lakeville South beat Mayo 13-0 on Jan. 8, 2016.
Last game: Mayo defeated Rochester Century 4-1 on Saturday; South lost to Rosemount 6-3 on Saturday.
Team leadersMAYO -- Jr. F Anthony Oliveto 23-25--28; Sr. F Veikko Weckman 21-19--40; Sr. F Max Billings 20-11--31; Sr. D Nick Norby 7-18--25; So. G Liam Claton 13-6-1, 3.49 GAA, .870 save pct. L.S. -- Bradlyey Golant 16-12--28; Joshua Ess 8-18--26; Noah Rasinski 10-12--22; Sam Malinski 4-18--22; G Isaiah Dilaura 9-8-1, 2.41 GAA, .906 save pct., 3 SO.
Notes: In their first matchup this season, South led Mayo just 1-0 after one period, then scored nine goals in the second period and went on to a 13-0 win. ... South has lost three consecutive games and four of its past five. ... Former Rochester John Marshall standout Cory Checco is a sophomore forward for South. Checco has 7 goals and 17 points this season. ... Mayo has three 20-goal scorers. Oliveto led the team in scoring in the regular season, and was fifth in the Big Nine, despite missing three games with an injury. ... Mayo last played in the section semifinals in 2013.
7 p.m., Schmitz-Maki Ice Arena
: No. 7 Rochester Century 10-14-1; No. 2 Farmington 15-8-1
Coaches: Century, Josh Klingfus (5th season, 63-60-10); Farmington, Greg May
Last meeting: Farmington won at Century, 5-3, on Dec. 4, 2014.
Last game: Century lost at Rochester Mayo, 4-1 on Saturday; Farmington won at Eastview, 2-1 on Saturday.
Team leaders: CENT -- Jr. F Eric St. Marie 10-6--16; So. F Jon Thorvilson 7-9--16; Jr. D John Schmitz 6-9--15; So. F Ben Haas 3-11-14; Jr. D Will Zmolek 6-8--14; So. G Cole Walter 8-10-1, 3.53 GAA, .885 save pct., 2 SO. FARM -- Sr. D Erik Holmstrom 13-26--39; Sr. F Wyatt Jensen 13-23--36; Sr. F John Siebenaler 13-22--35; G Gavin Enright 15-8-1, 2.35, .910, 3 SO.
Notes: Century has lost two consecutive games after a four-game winning streak. ... The Panthers have just two seniors and four juniors on their roster. They have 13 players who will play in their first varsity playoff game tonight. ... Farmington, last year's section runner-up, has 10 seniors on its roster. ... Tigers goalie Enright, a sophomore, has allowed one or fewer goals in five of his past eight games. ... Farmington is ranked No. 20 in the latest Class AA state poll.
7 p.m., Ames Arena
: No. 8 Dodge County 4-21-1; No. 1 Lakeville North 19-5-1
Coaches: Dodge County, Chris Ernest (1st season, 4-21-0); North, 
Last meeting: North beat Dodge County 14-0 on Feb. 19, 2015, in a Section 1AA quarterfinal game.
Last game: Dodge County lost 3-2 in OT at Becker/Big Lake on Friday; North won 7-6 at Prior Lake
Team leaders: D.C. -- Sr. D Max Blaisdell 9-11--20; Sr. F Ethan Strunk 8-9--17; Sr. D Drew Kirmse 6-8--14; Fr. G Cole Kundert 4-18-0, 5.47 GAA, .845 save pct. L.N. -- Jr. F Ryan Poehling 20-34--54; Jr. F Henry Enebak 17-29--46; Sr. F Max Johnson 27-19--46; Sr. F Taylor Schneider 18-21--39; Jr. G Buzz Eigner 13-3-1, 2.07 GAA, .892 save pct., 3 SO.
Notes: North is ranked No. 7 in the latest Class AA state poll. The Panthers are the defending Section 1AA and Class AA state champions. ... North lost five players off last season's team who are committed to Division I colleges. Three players on this year's team are committed to D-1 schools, with a fourth likely to commit soon. ... The Panthers have won eight consecutive games and 14 of their past 15.
* * *
7 p.m., Graham Arena I
: No. 6 LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter 16-10-0; No. 3 Rochester Lourdes 7-17-0
Coaches: L-H/SP/TCU, Shea Roehrkasse (1st season, 16-10-0); Lourdes, Josh Spaniol (7th season, 105-88-8)
Last meeting: Lourdes beat L-H/SP/TCU 8-2 in a Section 1A quarterfinal game at Graham Arena IV on Feb. 21, 2013.
Last game: L-H/SP/TCU beat Waseca 8-1 in a Section 1A first-round game on Tuesday; Lourdes won 5-4 at Red Wing on Feb. 11.
Team leaders: LHSP -- Sr. F Alex Hoehn 26-28--54; Jr. F Isaac Westphal 21-23--44; Sr. F Nathaniel Wenner 15-23--38; Sr. D Avery Bachman 10-22--32; Sr. G Zeke Haugen 15-10-0, 2.98 GAA, .920 save pct., 1 SO. LOU -- Jr. F Tucker Chapman 21-13--34; Jr. F Montana Streit 10-20--30; Sr. F Peter Alexander 6-13--19; Sr. F Mason Carstens 10-7--17; Jr. G Adam Renn 5-13-0, 4.30, .865, 1 SO.
Notes: Lourdes is looking to get back to the section semifinals after a one-year absence. ... The Eagles played in six consecutive section championship games between 2008-13. ... Lourdes' Carstens, Chapman and Streit all played in the 2013 state tournament. ... L-H/SP won a first-round playoff game on Tuesday for a sixth consecutive season. The Bulldogs' season has ended in the section quarterfinals each of the past five years.
5:15 p.m., All Seasons Arena
: No. 5 Red Wing 10-16-0; No. 4 Mankato East 15-9-1
Coaches: RW, Bob Rajanen (3rd season, 22-57-1); East, Adam Fries (3rd season, 35-41-1)
Last meeting: East won 8-5 at Red Wing on Feb. 4. Nick Salzle, Chase Kunst and Tyler Lebert had 3-point games for East.
Last game: Red Wing beat Winona 6-0 in a Section 1A first-round game on Tuesday; East won 3-2 in OT at Rochester Century on Feb. 11.
Team leaders: R.W. -- Jr. F Tyler DeFore 32-11--43; Sr. F Sam Hanson 12-22--34; Jr. D Seth Cushing 15-21--36; So. G Zachariah Harding 8-11-0, 4.07 GAA, .891 save pct, 2 SO. EAST -- Sr. F Judd Schulz 24-36--60; Sr. F Chase Kunst 15-21--36; Jr. F Tyler Lebert 15-19--34; So. Jack Cusey 15-9-1, 3.67, .879, 1 SO.
Notes: Red Wing snapped a four-game losing streak on Tuesday. ... DeFore led the Big Nine Conference in goal scoring this season. ... East has won four consecutive games and five of its past six. ... East senior Judd Schulz led the Big Nine in scoring this season. ... East is looking for its first postseason win since 2010, when it beat Austin 7-1 in a first-round game.
7 p.m., Northfield Ice Arena
: No. 9 La Crescent 16-6-1; No. 1 Northfield 18-6-0
Coaches: La Crescent, JP Piche; Northfield, Mike Luckraft
Last game: La Crescent won at Austin 4-2 in a Section 1A first-roudn game on Tuesday; Northfield beat Faribault 10-2 on Saturday.
Team leaders: LaC -- Sr. F Zack Hanno 22-52--74; Jr. F Carter Schmitz 40-21--61; So. D Laudon Poellinger 14-20--34; Sr. G Josh DeBoer 16-6-1, 2.44 GAA, .922 save pct., 3 SO. NFLD -- F Ryan Torbenson 24-29--53; Jr. F Jackson Cloud 10-24--34; So. F Jacob Halvorson 22-11--33; Jr. F Nicholas Kvernmo 10-23--33; Jr. G Ryan Bielenberg 18-6-0, 2.28, .898, 4 SO.
Notes: Northfield tied Rochester John Marshall for the Big Nine Conference championship. ... Hanno is the leading point-scorer in the section and Schmitz is the section's leading goal-scorer. ... A Northfield victory tonight would be its first this season against a non-Big Nine Conference opponent. ... Raiders goalie Bielenberg has won 12 of his last 13 starts. 
7:30 p.m., All Seasons Arena
: No. 7 Albert Lea 9-17-0; No. 2 Mankato West 12-11-2
Coaches: A.L., Roy Nystrom; West, Curtis Doell
Last meeting: West beat Albert Lea 4-1 in Mankato on Feb. 4, 2016.
Last game: Albert Lea beat Faribault 9-1 on Tuesday in a Section 1A first-round game; West beat Rochester John Marshall 6-5 in OT on Feb. 11.
Team leaders: A.L. -- Jr. F Austin Dulitz 6-20--26; Sr. F Foster Otten 12-13--25; Sr. F Jack Pulley 8-15--23; So. F Bergen Lundak 17-5--22; Jr. G Ben Witham 6-16-0, 3.91 GAA, .871 save pct., 1 SO. WEST -- Sr. F Tyler Loe 21-21--42; Jr. D Kyle Looft 15-18--33; Jr. F Jimmy Miller 11-17--28; Jr. G Jackson Peterson 12-11-2, 3.17, .862, 2 SO.
Notes: West swept the two-game regular-season series against Albert Lea, winning 4-1 both times. ... West's Loe finished seventh in the Big Nine in scoring. ... Albert Lea had three players reach double figures in goals scored, Lundak (17), Otten (13) and Mitchell Evans (12). ... West has won three consecutive games, on the heels of a three-game losing streak. ... Four of West's current players -- Loe, Looft, Brandon Pahl and Nick Spiess -- played in the Section 1A championship game two years ago, when West was edged by New Prague 3-2.

February 13, 2016

High School Hockey Today | Feb. 13, 2016 (The 'Saying So Long To A Legend' edition)

Posted by: Feldman

I can't imagine how Lorne Grosso will feel when he steps foot on the Rochester Mayo bench before today's game, when he coaches the Spartans against rival Rochester Century, then when he walks off the Graham Arena ice after a game for the final time.

I've known Grosso for 10 years. It'll be odd for me to see him do that. I can't imagine how it'll feel for a guy who has done that for 50 years, a coaching career that has spanned all or parts of six decades.

This is really it.

Mayo will play Century today, then likely go play at Farmington or Lakeville South on Thursday in a Section 1AA quarterfinal game. If the Spartans can pull an upset, they'll be back in Rochester a week from today, playing in the Section 1AA semifinals.

But they won't play another game at Graham.

We've written a lot about Grosso this season, and deservedly so. He announced just prior to the start of the season that this would be his last on Mayo's bench, a farewell tour of sorts.

It's a decision he came to late last summer and finalized with Mayo A.D. Jeff Whitney — a former player and co-coach — early in the fall.

A couple of weeks ago, I was speaking on the phone with Grosso one evening after one of Mayo's games. He jokingly said to me, "(Whitney) hasn't hired anyone. Maybe I'll come back next year and see if I can get to seven decades. Wouldn't that be something?" He didn't get the last few words out when his wife and biggest supporter, Joni, cut him off -- "NO YOU WON'T!!" she said.

It will certainly be different going to the rink next winter and not seeing Grosso there.

Like I said, I've known Lorne for 10 years and, though the time I spend talking with him is but a small fraction of his day, he treats me like he treats everyone else -- he treats me the way he'd like to be treated if he was in my shoes. That's a rare thing to find someone who treats everyone that way.

I was thinking over the past few days about some of my favorite coach Grosso stories. It struck me that, after hearing him talk for 10 years about the life lessons he teaches his players and hearing him talk about doing things the right way, that's what has rubbed off on me the most.

Sure, I have to report what happens in a game, whether Mayo wins by 10 or loses by 10, but Grosso is someone you don't want to disappoint, whether you're playing for him, coaching with him or writing about his teams.

The first year I covered Mayo — the 2006-07 season — the Spartans lost to Century 4-1 in the section semifinals, ending their season. After the game, I asked Grosso, "so, how are you feeling? Think you'll be back on the bench next winter?"

He laughed and said, "Well, when I decide to hang it up, after Joni and (Whitney), you'll be the first to know."

I never asked him again, and though he probably told a few more people than his wife and A.D. before he told me, he spent a lot of time one November afternoon answering questions about his career and telling stories.

That's the thing about Grosso that makes him so endearing. Not only does he listen to whoever is speaking to him, he always has a story, a joke, an anecdote to lighten the mood or make you feel like he can relate to you.

When my mother passed away a little more than a year ago, the first time I saw Grosso after that, before he let me ask him questions about the game I had covered, he stopped me in mid-sentence.

"How are you doing? I'm very sorry to hear about your mother," he said.

Sometimes in this job we get a bit robotic. We can laugh and joke with coaches or players, be serious when the situation calls for it, but most of the time, we go through our nuts-and-bolts interviews and go our different directions.

That's not the case with Lorne. He always has a question or two for me, too, and for whoever he's talking with, whether it's about my kids, or my job ... whatever.

Another of my favorite Grosso stories came probably the first or second year I was on the boys hockey beat.

Before Lorne does anything after a game, he always calls Joni. She stopped going to games a number of years ago. Anyway, this particular night, probably in 2007 or 2008, a game had just finished and I was waiting outside the locker room. "Hold on a second, I have to call home," Grosso told me. Then he turned to one of his assistant coaches. "Coach?" he said. "How do I dial my own number." He has since mastered his cell phone, I believe. :)

I could go on and on, but we need to get to today's games.

So, bottom line: If you can, get to Graham Arena by 12:45 today. Hopefully Grosso's last game at Graham is one he'll remember.


1 p.m., Graham Arena I
Records: Century 7-10-0 Big Nine, 10-13-1 overall; Mayo 9-6-1, 13-10-1
Coaches: Century, Josh Klingfus (5th season, 63-59-10 overall); Mayo, Lorne Grosso (49th season, 706-445-29)
Last meeting: Mayo defeated Century 5-3 on Jan. 5 at the Rochester Rec Center. Max Billings had 2 goals and 1 assist for Mayo; Ben Haas had 2 assists for Century.
Last game: Century lost to Mankato East 3-2 in OT on Thursday; Mayo tied Faribault 5-5 on Thursday.
Team leaders: CENT -- So. F Jon Thorvilson 7-9--16; Jr. D John Schmitz 6-9--15; Jr. F Eric St. Marie 10-5--15; Jr. D Will Zmolek 6-8--14; So. G Cole Walter 8-9-1, 3.50, .886. MAYO -- Jr. F Anthony Oliveto 19-23--42; Sr. F Veikko Weckman 20-17--37; Sr. F Max Billings 16-10--26; Sr. D Nick Norby 7-16--23; So. G Liam Claton 12-6-0, 3.68, .866.
Notes: The presentation of the 2016 recipients of the Shannon O'Hara Foundation scholarships will take place on the ice after the second period of this game. ... Century has a slim one-game lead in the all-time series as the teams meet for the 53rd time today. ... Mayo has won seven of the past 10 games against Century. ... Century had a four-game winning streak snapped on Thursday against East. ... Mayo is winless in its last three games.

3 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Records: Red Wing 9-6-0 Big Nine, 9-15-0 overall; JM 14-1-0, 18-6-0
Coaches: Red Wing, Bob Rajanen; JM, Jay Ness (5th season, 65-59-4 overall)
Last meeting: JM won 3-2 in OT at Red Wing on Feb. 14, 2015. Cory Checco scored the OT winner, with assists from Isaac Lamppa and Conner Lee.
Last game: Red Wing lost to Rochester Lourdes 5-4 on Thursday; JM lost at Mankato West 6-5 in OT on Thursday.
Team leaders: R.W. -- Jr. F Tyler DeFore 30-7--37; Sr. F Sam Hanson 10-22--32; Jr. D Seth Cushing 14-18--32; Sr. F Joe Renshaw 5-7--12; G Zachariah Harding 7-10-0, 4.01 GAA, .894, 1 SO. JM -- Sr. F Brady Dahl 22-26--48; Sr. F Isaac Lamppa 24-20--44; Sr. F Conner Lee 11-26--37; Sr. D Josh Frerks 7-29--36; Sr. G Brady Meyers 18-6-0, 1.74, .930, 4 SO.
Notes: This is a big one for JM. If it wins, it's the Big Nine Conference champion. If the Rockets lose, Northfield is the outright conference champion. ... This game features the Big Nine Conference's leading goal-scorer (DeFore, 30) against the conference's Nos. 3, 5 and 8 scorers -- JM's Brady Dahl, Isaac Lamppa and Conner Lee -- as well as the top-scoring defenseman in the conference (Frerks). ... It also features the Big Nine's top goalie, Meyers, who is tied for 7th in the state in wins (18), tied for 10th in the state in GAA (1.74) and tied for 5th in the state in save pct. (.930). He's also tied for 11th in shutouts (4).

• • • • •


• Austin (4-12-0 Big Nine, 7-13-1 overall) at Owatonna (11-5-0, 14-9-1) 1 p.m.: Austin has won two of its past three games and is coming off a big victory against its biggest rival, 4-1 at Albert Lea on Thursday. ... Owatonna has been one of the hottest teams in the Big Nine in the second half of the season and is locked in to a third-place finish in the standings. The Huskies have won eight of their past 10 games. ... Huskies senior F Noah Scheid is a player to watch. He has 26-21—47 this season and has 11 points in the past five games.

January 21, 2016

High School Hockey Today | Jan. 21, 2016 (The 'Due For A Sweep' edition)

Posted by: Feldman
Pop quiz: When was the last time all four Rochester hockey teams won a game in the same night?
Answer coming soon. I'll give you a little time to ponder it (if you want the answer NOW, it's listed right before the breakdowns of tonight's games.)
This could be a night where Rochester goes 4-for-4, though as we've seen this season, nothing is guaranteed.
Winona plays at Century, JM (undefeated in Big Nine play) plays host to Albert Lea, Lourdes plays at Dodge County and reeling Mayo plays at suddenly surging Austin. 
Austin is playing very well, having won three in a row and five out of six, so don't be shocked if it gives Mayo a battle. The Spartans have struggled to generate offense in the past week, but having leading scorer Anthony Oliveto back should help that issue. Oliveto returned in Mayo's 9-0 loss to red-hot Owatonna on Saturday. 'Tonna has won four consecutive Big Nine games by a combined score of 32-0. That's an impressive roll and it has the Huskies in position to pounce at the Big Nine title if JM and Northfield trip up at all.
Elsewhere tonight, a couple of big games to watch with Section 1 seeding implications: No. 7-ranked Lakeville North plays host to Farmington (receiving votes in state poll), and No. 20 Lakeville South plays non-section rival Prior Lake (ranked No. 18). That game doesn't directly impact the Section 1 seeding process, but it would be another good win for South when it comes time to argue for seeding position with North and Farmington.
North, South and Farmington will be the top three seeds in Section 1AA, in some order. JM likely will be No. 4, though Owatonna and Mayo both still have an outside shot at earning a home game. They both play JM once more, so if either wants to pass the Rockets, they'll have to beat them and hope JM loses a couple more sometime during this home stretch. I'd say Owatonna has the inside track, slightly, on Mayo right now for the No. 5 seed. The teams split their regular-season series, with Mayo winning at Owatonna by a goal and the Huskies rolling to a 9-0 win at Mayo last Saturday.
Century will likely be the No. 7 seed and Dodge County the No. 8 in the section playoffs, which begin exactly four weeks from today.
We'll break down the Section 1A and 1AA races a little more in the coming weeks, but for now, we're back to the present.
Quiz answer: Feb. 9, 2013. That's the last time Rochester's four boys hockey teams all won on the same night. Mayo beat Faribault 4-1, JM beat Owatonna 5-2, Century beat Mankato East 3-0, and Lourdes beat New Prague 4-1. All four Roch teams winning on the same night actually occurred twice that season; it also happened on Jan. 31.
Onto tonight's games...
7:30 p.m., Graham Arena IV
Records: Winona 0-13-0 Big Nine, 1-15-0 overall; Century 3-8-0, 6-11-1.
Coaches: Winona, Fran McDevitt; Century, Josh Klingfus (5th season, 59-57-10 overall)
Last meeting: Century won at Winona 7-0 on Dec. 17, for its first conference win this season. Cole Walter had an 11-save shutout.
Last game: Winona lost to Austin 6-0 on Tuesday; Century lost at Northfield 8-1 on Tuesday.
Team leaders: WIN -- Jr. D Ty Mannor 7-1--8; Jr. F Joe Brinkman 0-5--5; Jr. F Andre Russeau 2-2--4; Sr. G Matt Schoh 1-10-0, 6.38 GAA, .842 save pct. CENT -- Jr. D John Schmitz 5-7--12; Jr. D Will Zmolek 4-8--12; So. F Ben Haas 3-8--11; So. F Jon Thorvilson 5-6--11; So. G Cole Walter 6-9-1, 3.74, .882.
Notes: Century has dropped two consecutive games, but both were against the top two teams in the Big Nine, JM and Northfield. ... Century G Cole Walter has faced an average of 40 shots in his past four games. ... Winona earned its first victory of the season on Saturday, a 5-1 win at Worthington. ... The Winhawks scored five goals in their victory; in their 15 losses, they have totaled 11 goals and have been shut out nine times.
7:30 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Records: Albert Lea 4-9-0 Big Nine, 5-11-0 overall; JM 9-0-0, 12-5-0.
Coaches: Albert Lea, Roy Nystrom; JM, Jay Ness (5th season, 59-58-4 overall)
Last meeting: JM won at Albert Lea, 4-3 in OT, on Jan. 22, 2015. JM's Josh Frerks scored the game-winning goal at 2:49 of OT.
Last game: Albert Lea lost to Red Wing 4-3 on Tuesday; JM beat No. 12-A St. Paul Johnson 3-1 on Saturday.
Team leaders: A.L. -- Sr. F Foster Otten 9-7--16; Sr. F Jack Pulley 6-9--15; Jr. F Austin Dulitz 4-11--15; So. F Bergen Lundak 10-2--12; Jr. G Ben Witham 4-11-0, 3.62 GAA, .872 save pct., 1 SO. JM -- Sr. F Brady Dahl 13-19--32; Sr. F Isaac Lamppa 20-10--30; Sr. D Josh Frerks 5-21--26; Sr. F Conner Lee 6-17--23; Sr. G Brady Meyers 12-5-0, 1.77, .930, 2 SO.
Notes: JM G Brady Meyers ranks in the top 10 in the state in wins (12, T-9th), GAA (1.77, T-8th) and save pct. (.930, T-9th). ... This is the only meeting of the season between these teams and is worth 4 points in the Big Nine Conference standings. ... Albert Lea has lost four in a row and five of its past six, since the start of January. ... The Tigers have scored a total of five goals in their past four games.
7:30 p.m., Riverside Arena
Records: Mayo 6-4-0 Big Nine, 10-8-0 overall; Austin 3-6-0, 5-7-1.
Coaches: Mayo, Lorne Grosso (49th season, 703-443-28 overall); Austin, Erik LaRock (4th season, 17-68-5).
Last meeting: Mayo beat Austin 5-3 on Jan. 22, 2015, at Graham Arena in Rochester. 
Last game: Mayo lost to Owatonna 9-0 on Saturday; Austin won at Winona, 6-0, on Tuesday.
Team leaders: MAYO -- Jr. F Anthony Oliveto 14-18--32; Sr. F Veikko Weckman 15-13--28; Sr. D Nick Norby 6-12--18; Sr. F Max Billings 12-6--18; So. G Liam Claton, 9-5-0, 3.63 GAA, .869 save pct. AUST -- Jr. F Isaac Arnold 11-9--20; Jr. D Jace Greenman 6-13--19; Jr. F Kory Potach 2-11--13; Jr. F Brayden Merritt 7-6--13; So. G Noah Bawek 4-6-1, 2.89, .874.
Notes: Austin has won five of its past six games and three in a row after an 0-6-1 start to the season. ... The Packers have won three consecutive Big Nine games. ... Freshman G Ryan Flanders earned his first career victory in the Packers 6-0 shutout at Winona on Tuesday. ...  Mayo is just 1-3-0 in its past four games. The Spartans' first-liners have combined four just four points in those games, though leading scorer Anthony Oliveto missed three of those games with an injury. ... Mayo has seven games remaining in the regular season, five of them are on the road.
time, location
Records: Lourdes 4-13-0 overall; Dodge County 3-14-0.
Coaches: Lourdes, Josh Spaniol (7th season, 102-84-8 overall); Dodge County, Chris Ernest (1st season, 3-14-0)
Last meeting: Lourdes beat Dodge County 11-0 on Feb. 3, 2015, at Graham Arena in Rochester.
Last game: Lourdes lost to No. 7-A St. Paul Academy 8-1; Dodge County won at Waseca, 3-2.
Team leaders: LOU -- Jr. F Tucker Chapman 13-8--21; Jr. F Montana Streit 6-15--21; Sr. F Peter Alexander 6-10--16; Sr. F Mason Carstens 6-4--10; Jr. F Logan Olson 2-8--10; Jr. G Adam Renn . D.C.-- Sr. F Max Blaisdell 8-7--15; Sr. D Ethan Strunk 5-7--12; Sr. F Isaac Thoe 7-2--9; Sr. F Drew Kirmse 4-5--9; Fr. G Cole Kundert 3-11-0, 5.54 GAA, .843 save pct.
Notes: Dodge County's win at Waseca on Tuesday snapped a seven-game losing streak. The Wildcats had won two consecutive games prior to that losing skid. ... Five of Dodge County's losses have been by one goal. ... Lourdes has faced five of the top 10 teams in this week's Class A state poll, as well as the Nos. 2- and 5-ranked teams in Wisconsin.
 Red Wing (7-3-0 Big Nine, 7-10-0 overall) at Northfield (12-1-0, 12-5-0), 7:30 p.m., Northfield Ice Arena: Northfield is on a six-game winning streak; its last loss occurred on Jan. 2 against Rochester Lourdes. ... The Raiders haven't won by less than three goals on their current winning streak. They have outscored those six opponents 46-9. ... Raiders G Ryan Bielenberg is 6-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and 2 shutouts in the past six games. ... Northfield senior F Ryan Torbenson is equally hot, recording 5 goals and 18 points during the six-game win streak. ... Northfield won at Red Wing a week ago, 3-0, outshooting the Wingers 48-27. ... Red Wing is 3-2-0 in January, on the heels of a five-game losing streak to close 2015.
 Farmington (9-6-1) at No. 7-AA Lakeville North (11-4-1), 7 p.m.: The Section 1AA and South Suburban Conference rivals meet for a second time this season. Farmington beat North 5-3 on Dec. 10. ... Defending state champion North is on a six-game winning streak. Farmington has lost three of its past five.
 No. 18-AA Prior Lake (11-6-0) at No. 20-Lakeville South (9-5-1), 7 p.m.: Prior Lake took it to South in the first meeting of South Suburban rivals this season, winning 7-1 at home on Dec. 10. ... P.L. has won four of its past six, losing only to No. 17 Duluth East (3-1) and No. 7 Lakeville North (3-2). ... South is among the state's hottest teams, going unbeaten in its last eight games (7-0-1) after a 2-5-0 start. ... Former Rochester JM standout Cory Checco is seventh in scoring for South with 4-8--12.
 No. 13-AA Wayzata at No. 2-AA Minnetonka (13-4-0), 7 p.m.: Tonight's premier matchup in Minnesota features a Wayzata team that has won once in its past four games (1-2-1) against Minnetonka, which has won five in a row and nine of its past 10.
 North Shore (13-3-0) at No. 3-A Greenway (16-3-0), 7:30 p.m.: How much fun are they having in hockey-rich Coleraine right now? Greenway is 16-3-0 and ranked No. 3 in the state. The program has made nine trips to state, including winning state titles in 1967, 68 and 92. It hasn't been to state since 2001. Greenway gets an unranked North Shore team that is quietly having a nice season (13-3-0).
• No. 1-N.D. Grand Forks Red River (13-0-0) at No. 11-A East Grand Forks (11-6-1), 7:30 p.m.: The top team in North Dakota travels across the Red River to face the two-time defending Minnesota Class A state champion.

January 14, 2016

High School Hockey Today | Jan. 14, 2016 (The 'One Last Go-'Round' edition)

Posted by: Feldman
It's tough to believe, but there is just one month left in the boys high school hockey regular season. The last regular-season games will be played Saturday, Feb. 13, with first-round playoff games set for Tuesday, Feb. 16.
The end of a sports season always brings lots of "lasts" -- the last home games for seniors, last road games, last practices and, ultimately, last games.
But a very different kind of "last" will occur tonight in Albert Lea. 
Lorne Grosso, Mayo's head coach for 49 seasons will coach for the final time opposite Albert Lea's Roy Nystrom, who has been with the Tigers for more than 40 years. The two played college hockey together at Minnesota, where they were on the same line. Then, after seven seasons of coaching in North Dakota, Nystrom took the job in Albert Lea. 
Mayo won the first meeting of the season between the teams, 6-2 on Dec. 10 at Graham Arena in Rochester.  
Mayo is in Section 1AA, Albert Lea in Section 1A, which means there's no chance they'll meet in the postseason. It will be an interesting stop on Grosso's unofficially-titled "Farewell Tour." (He won't call it that, but others of us will). He has been presented with plaques, food, handshakes and recognition from coaches, players and fans at road games this season.
But this one is different. It's Albert Lea. It's his long-time friend. Neither Grosso or Nystrom will tell you just how much these games mean to them, but trust me, they do. Who doesn't even want bragging rights over their buddy? Maybe if Albert Lea wins tonight, Grosso will have to come back for another season.
Here's a look at tonight's games:
7:30 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Records: Century 3-6-0 Big Nine, 6-9-1 overall; JM 8-0-0, 10-5-0.
Coaches: Century, Josh Klingfus (5th season, 59-55-10 overall); JM, Jay Ness (5th season, 57-58-4).
Last meeting: JM defeated Century 4-0 on Dec. 22 at the Rec Center. Isaac Lamppa scored twice and Brady Meyers had a 17-save shutout for the Rockets.
Last game: JM lost to Tartan 2-1 on Tuesday; Century defeated Albert Lea 4-1 on Tuesday behind 52 saves from sophomore goalie Cole Walter.
Team leadersCENT -- Jr. D Will Zmolek 4-8--12; So. F Ben Haas 3-8--11; So. F Jon Thorvilson 4-6--10; Jr. John Schmitz 4-6--10; So. G Cole Walter 6-7-1, 3.28 GAA, .895 save pct. JM -- Sr. F Brady Dahl 13-16--29; Sr. F Isaac Lamppa 19-9--28; Sr. D Josh Frerks 4-17--21; Sr. F Conner Lee 3-17--20; Sr. G Brady Meyers 10-5-0, 1.73, .929.
Notes: Five of the last six games between these teams have been decided by a goal or less (one tie). ... Century has a 12-game lead in the all-time series and has led the series since 2001. ... Four of JM's five losses this season have come by one goal and all in non-conference play. ... JM has outscored Big Nine opponents 55-9. ... Walter has been Century's backbone since taking over as the starter midway through last season. He has stopped 40 or more shots in a game three times this season, including a career-high 52 saves in Tuesday's 4-1 win at Albert Lea (the initial report from A.L. showed Walter with 47 saves, but it was later corrected to 52). He is 14-10-2 as a varsity starter.
7:30 p.m., Albert Lea City Arena
Records: Mayo 5-3-0 Big Nine, 9-7-0 overall; A.L., 4-6-0, 5-8-0.
Coaches: Mayo, Lorne Grosso (702-442-28); A.L., Roy Nystrom (688 career wins, 594 in Minnesota)
Last meetingMayo defeated Albert Lea 6-2 on Dec. 10, 2015, at Graham Arena I. Veikko Weckman had a hat trick for Mayo, while linemate Anthony Oliveto had five assists.
Last gameMayo lost to Northfield 6-1 on Saturday; Albert Lea lost to Rochester Century 4-1 on Tuesday.
Team leaders: MAYO -- Jr. F Anthony Oliveto 14-18--32; Sr. F Veikko Weckman 15-11--26; Sr. F Max Billings 12-6--18; Sr. D Nick Norby 4-12--16; So. G Liam Claton 8-4-0, 3.39 GAA, .877 save pctA.L. -- Sr. Foster Otten 8-7--15; Jr. Austin Dulitz 3-11--14; Sr. Jack Pulley 5-8--13; So. Bergen Lundak 10-2--12; Jr. G Ben Witham 4-8-0, 3.78, .858.
NotesMayo will likely be without its leading scorer once again. Oliveto has been out since Dec. 30, when he suffered an upper-body injury in the fifth-place game of the Kiwanis Festival. He missed last week and Grosso said he expected him to miss at least all of this week, too. ... The Tigers have had an up-and-down season. It is 3-3-0 in its past six games after a four-game losing streak. ... A.L. put 53 shots on goal in its 4-1 loss to Rochester Century on Tuesday. ... Albert Lea had defeated Mayo three consecutive times until the Spartans beat the Tigers on Dec. 10.
7 p.m., Graham Arena
Records: N.U. 8-6-2 overall; Lourdes 3-12-0.
Coaches: N.U., Ryan Neuman (1st season, 8-6-2 overall); Lourdes, Josh Spaniol (7th season, 101-83-8)
Last meetingLourdes defeated New Ulm 5-2 on Jan. 15, 2015, at the New Ulm Civic Center. Five players scored once each for Lourdes in the game.
Last gameNew Ulm won at Worthington, 14-2, on Tuesday. Lourdes lost at Mankato West 3-2 on Tuesday.
Team leaders: N.U. -- Jr. F Brandon Mehlhop 11-25--36; Sr. F Ethan Kraus 13-18--31; Fr. F Landon Strong 8-7--15; Sr. F Noah Webb 7-8--15; Sr. G Cody Banal 5-4-1, 3.66, .833; Sr. G Adam Larson 3-2-1, 4.28, .859LOURDES -- Jr. F Tucker Chapman 11-8--19; F Jr. F Montana Streit 5-11--16; Sr. F Peter Alexander 6-8--14; Jr. F Logan Olson 2-8--10; Jr. G Adam Renn 2-9-0, 4.22, .871.
NotesNew Ulm qualified for the Class A state tournament last season. It beat Willmar and Hutchinson, then upset state-ranked Luverne in the Section 3A title game. ... New Ulm snapped a seven-game winless streak with the win at Worthington on Tuesday. It started the season 7-1-0. ... Mehlhop ranks 8th in the state with 25 assists. The 5-foot-8 junior has 14 points in the past four games. ... Lourdes is searching for some consistency on offense. It has just two players with more than five goals -- Chapman (11) and Alexander (6). ... Lourdes has played just two games against Section 1A opponents this season, but has done well in both, beating likely top seed Northfield 4-2, then playing likely No. 2 seed Mankato West to a one-goal game on Tuesday.
 Winona (0-11-0 Big Nine, 0-13-0 overall) at Austin (0-6-0, 2-7-1), 7:30 p.m., Riverside Arena: Something has to give between the only two winless teams in Big Nine Conference play. ... Austin is 2-1-0 in its past three games. ... The Packers have scored 16 goals in those three games after scoring 14 goals in their first seven games. ... Austin junior F Isaac Arnold has four points in the past four games. ... Winona hasn't come closer than two goals to any opponent this season. The Winhawks have scored just nine goals this season and have been shut out eight times.
 Northfield (9-1-0 Big Nine, 9-5-0 overall) at Red Wing (6-2-0, 6-9-0), 7:30 p.m., Prairie Island Arena: This is the first meeting this season between the two newest teams in the Big Nine Conference; they'll play at Northfield a week from today. ... Red Wing is led by senior F Tyler DeFore, the second-leading goal scorer in the conference (18). ... Northfield beat Red Wing three times last season, each time by three goals. The Raiders won 3-0 and 5-2 in the regular season, and again 4-1 in the Section 1A quarterfinals.
 No. 12-AA Grand Rapids (11-5-1) at No. 4-A Hibbing/Chisholm (14-0-0), 7:30 p.m.: Grand Rapids takes its three-game winning streak to Hibbing to attempt to top one of the two unbeaten teams left in the state. H/C outscores its opponents by an average of 3.93 goals per game, but has won four games by one goal.
 No. 10-A East Grand Forks (11-4-1) at No. 11-AA Bemidji (11-2-2), 7:30 p.m.: The two-time defending Class A state champion EGF is on a roll, unbeaten in seven of its past eight games. It goes against a ticked-off Bemidji team that had a four-game winning streak snapped in OT on Tuesday against unranked Moorhead.
 No. 17-AA Centennial (8-5-1) at No. 2-AA Blaine (12-2-0), 7 p.m.: Blaine has won five in a row since a 6-3 loss to Anoka on Dec. 19. It's led by two of the state's best forwards and best scorers, Luke Notermann (17-28--45) and Riley Tufte (25-19--44).
 No. 20-A Minneapolis (10-6-0) at No. 12-A St. Paul Johnson (11-3-1), 7 p.m.: The Civil War of the Twin Cities takes place at Phalen Arena in St. Paul. Johnson is 6-1-1 in its past eight games, Minneapolis is 5-2-0 in its past seven.

January 05, 2016

High School Hockey Today | Jan. 5, 2016, The Back To Reality Edition

Lots to talk about today, so let's get right to it.
Time to get back into a normal routine after the hubbub of holiday tournament time.
First, the Minnesota Wild have launched a new initiative that is meant to be a sort of Hockey Day Minnesota 365 days a year type of deal. You can read about the new State of Hockey TV show and here
Speaking of which, be sure to tune in tonight, or set your DVRs, to record Epsiode 5 of Season 1 of State Of Hockey TV. It's on Fox Sports North at approximately 9 p.m., following the Wild's game at Columbus. Tonight's episode will feature stories from Dodge County and Rochester.
Rochester Mayo and Rochester Century jump right into the second half of the season tonight with a rivalry game at the Rochester Rec Center. Mayo, 8-5-0, visits Century for the first matchup of the season between these teams.
Perhaps surprisingly, none of the three Rochester schools faced each other during last week's Kiwanis/Cambria Festival at Graham Arena. I could be wrong -- I'm sure it's happened maybe once before -- but I can't remember a Festival in the 10 years I've covered boys hockey going by without two Rochester teams meeting somewhere along the way. 
Anyway, Mayo and Century meet for the 52nd time tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Rec Center. Century holds a slim two-game lead in the all-time series and has won two consecutive games against Mayo, including a 4-3 win in last year's Section 1AA quarterfinals, a game that saw the Panthers score three times in the last 2:19 of the third period to rally from a 3-1 deficit.
One thing to keep an eye on: Will Mayo's leading scorer, junior F Anthony Oliveto, be in the lineup? He was injured (upper-body) during the second period of the fifth-place game of the Kiwanis Festival and did not return, after scoring two of his team's three goals in a 3-2 win over New Richmond (Wis.).
Let's take a look at tonight's games:
7:30 p.m., Rochester Recreation Center
: Rochester Mayo 4-2-0 Big Nine, 8-5-0 overall; Rochester Century 2-4-0, 5-7-1
Coaches: Mayo, Lorne Grosso (49th year, 701-440-28); Century, Josh Klingfus (5th year, 58-53-8)
Last meeting: Century defeated Mayo 4-3 on Feb. 19, 2015, in a Section 1AA quarterfinal playoff game at Graham Arena I. Century scored three goals in the final 2:19 of the game to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win. Connor Davies scored the game winner with exactly a minute to go.
Last game: Mayo defeated New Richmond (Wis.) 3-2 in the fifth-place game of the Kiwanis/Cambria Festival at Graham Arena on Dec. 30. Century defeated Dodge County 7-4 in the seventh-place game of the Kiwanis Festival on Dec. 30.
Team leaders: MAYO -- Jr. F Anthony Oliveto 14-18--32; Sr. F Veikko Weckman 14-11--25; Sr. D Nick Norby 3-12--15; Sr. F Max Billings 10-4--14; So. G Liam Claton 7-2-0, 2.67 GAA, .906 save pct. CENT -- Jr. D Will Zmolek 4-8--12; Jr. F John Schmitz 4-4--8; So. F Jon Thorvilson 3-5--8; Jr. F Eric St. Marie 5-3--8; So. G Cole Walter 5-5-1, 3.18 GAA, .884 save pct., 2 shutouts.
Notes: This is the 52nd matchup all-time between the teams. Century holds a slim two-game advantage in the all-time series and has won two in a row against Mayo. ... The Spartans are 7-3-0 in the last 10 meetings against the Panthers, though. ... Mayo's leading scorer, junior F Anthony Oliveto, was injured in the fifth-place game of the Kiwanis Festival on Dec. 30. He suffered an upper-body injury in the second period, after scoring his team's first two goals, and did not return. He has 16 points in the past five games. ... Century's victory against Dodge County snapped a four-game winless streak that started with a 1-1 tie on Dec. 19 against Chanhassen, the team that won the Kiwanis Festival.
 Faribault (2-6-0 Big Nine, 3-8-0 overall) at Red Wing (4-2-0, 4-8-0), 7:30 p.m., Prairie Island Arena: Red Wing beat Faribault 3-0 in the season opener on Nov. 21. Tyler DeFore, Spencer Kronbeck and Cam Blue scored for the Wingers in that game, and Zachariah Harding had a 15-save shutout. ... The Wingers have lost five games in a row since a 4-3-0 start. Three of their losses have come by one goal; Red Wing lost seven games by one goal last season. ... Faribault snapped a three-game losing streak on Dec. 30 with a 2-1 win against Lake of the Woods at the Roseau Holiday Tournament. ... The Falcons have scored just 18 goals in 11 games and have been shut out three times.
 South St. Paul (4-6-0 overall) at Dodge County (2-11-0), 7 p.m., Dodge County Ice Arena: South St. Paul has lost five of its last six after starting the season 3-1-0, including a 4-2 win against Rochester Century. ... The Packers are led by junior F Cameron Buhl, who has 12 goals and 20 points through 10 games. ... Only two other SSP players are in double digits in scoring. ... The Wildcats have dropped four consecutive games since winning back-to-back games against St. Paul Como Park and Bagley/Fosston on Dec. 17 and 18. ... Senior F Max Blaisdell leads D.C. in scoring (7-7--14).
 No. 14-AA St. Thomas Academy (7-2-3) at No. 1-AA Benilde-St. Margaret's (12-0-1), 7 p.m.: STA didn't officially drop a game at the Schwan's Cup, going 1-0-2. It is unbeaten in six consecutive games. Top-ranked BSM is the lone Class AA unbeaten left in the state and is coming off consecutive wins against No. 9 Elk River and Maple Grove.
 No. 18-AA Farmingon (6-3-1) at No. 7-AA Wayzata (9-4-1), 7 p.m.: Farmington, one of the favorites in Section 1AA, will test itself against one of the best teams in the state, Wayzata, which has just one win in its past four games.
 No. 3-A St. Cloud Apollo (11-1-0) at Brainerd (6-3-1), 7 p.m.: Highly ranked Apollo will see what it can do against one of the top teams in Section 8AA.
 No. 1-A Hermantown (10-1-1) at No. 11-AA Grand Rapids (8-4-1), 7:30 p.m.: Hermantown has won five in a row after suffering its lone loss, at No. 12-AA Minnetonka, on Dec. 18. 

October 01, 2015


PHERSY: The Pigskin Podcast returns today. Once again we're talking Vikings, Gophers and high school football. We name our players of the week and make our weekly high school football picks. Feldy has fallen way behind after a dismal effort last week. I'm now four games up in the standings ... Feldy is pressing this week!

Enjoy the show!


May 15, 2015

Bear Tracks | Breaking down the Robertson Cup Finals

Posted by: Feldman

AUSTIN -- On Jan. 2, the Austin Bruins loaded up and bussed to Brookings, S.D., for what seemed like just another regular season game in the North American Hockey League. 

Two nights earlier, the Bruins had been beaten soundly on their home ice by the Coulee Region Chill, a 4-1 defeat that dampened the New Year's Eve celebration in A-town. 
But on Jan. 2, Evan Smith made 19 saves and -- fittingly -- Luke Dietsch and Trevor Boyd scored in a shootout to give the Bruins a 3-2 victory against the Blizzard. 
That started a second-half run where the Bruins went 21-3-3 and passed Minot to win the Central Division championship and lock up home-ice advantage through the first two rounds of the NAHL postseason.
Somehow, a team that went through a 6-8-6 stretch in October and November -- and looked out of sync and disjointed on the ice -- came together and put together as dramatic a turnaround as you'll see.
And in less than six hours, they'll play host to Game 1 of the Robertson Cup Finals.
The Bruins will face another team, the Minnesota Wilderness, that at times this season looked like a long shot to make it out of their division playoffs. The Wilderness were down 2-0 in a best-of-five first-round series against Coulee Region. They rallied to win, then they swept defending national champion Fairbanks 3-0 in the Midwest Division Finals, THEN they swept the NAHL's best regular-season team, Janesville, in the national semifinals.
That has set up an all-State of Hockey Robertson Cup. One team will hoist it, either after Saturday's Game 2 or Sunday's if-necessary Game 3.
But Game 1 is what's on tap tonight.
For the final time this season, let's break down this weekend's series:
• Bruins second-year forward Luke Dietsch has battled ups and downs on and off the ice this season. He went through the Bs tough stretch early in the season, and just as the team was starting to turn things around, he found his father, Mark, had been diagnosed with cancer. Click on the link to read my story from Thursday's P-B.
Here is my preview, also from Thursday's P-B, of the Robertson Cup Finals.
Here is my feature story from today's P-B on Wilderness goalie Brock Kautz, who played one season at Rochester Century, as a sophomore in 2009-10, with his brothers, Brandon and Cory, before leaving for the NAHL. This is Brock's fifth season in the league.
• My blog post from yesterday is here, which notes how Bruins coach Chris Tok went about choosing his starting goalie for the decisive Game 3 of the Robertson Cup semis, as well as a note about the great plays Alex Jasiek and Nico Sturm made on the game-winning goal against Lone Star.
Jeff Papas, the radio play-by-play voice of Minnesota-Duluth football, wrote a story on the Wilderness for the Cloquet Pine Journal, looking back on their national semifinal victory against Janesville and looking ahead to this weekend's series in Austin.
Jamey Malcomb of the Duluth News-Tribune also wrote about Kautz and his struggles with an injury this season in this preview of the Robbie Cup.
Best 2 out of 3
At Riverside Arena, Austin
Today: Wilderness at Austin, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Wilderness at Austin, 7:05 p.m.
x-Sunday: Wilderness at Austin, 5:30 p.m.
x--if necessary 
Records: Minnesota 39-15-6 reg. season, 47-17-6 overall; Austin 38-11-11 reg. season, 46-14-11 overall.
Path to the Robby Cup semisMINNESOTA -- defeated Coulee Region 3-2 in Midwest Division semifinals; defeated Fairbanks 3-0 in Midwest Division Finals; won at Janesville 2-0 in Robertson Cup semifinals. AUSTIN -- defeated Aberdeen 3-0 in Central Division semifinals; defeated Minot 3-2 in Central Division finals; won at Lone Star 2-1 in Robertson Cup semifinals.
Head coachesMINNESOTA -- Corey Millen (2nd season, 84-31-15); AUSTIN -- Chris Tok (5th season, 203-107-29).
Wilderness' leading scorers (reg. season/overall): F 22-Darian Romanko (31-30--61 / 38-41--79); F 15-Aaron Miller (21-39--60 / 24-49--73); F 26-Tyler Cline (23-22--45 / 28-29--57); D 13-Ivan Chukarov (12-31--43 / 12-37--49); F 19-Michael Covach (15-27--42 / 19-30--49); F 25-Niklas Lehtimaki (20-14--34 / 24-18--42).
Wilderness' goalies (reg. season/playoffs): 30-Ryan Anderson (24-7-5, 2.37, .890 / 0-1, 3.09, .846); 1-Brock Kautz (14-8-1, 2.33, .906 / 8-1, 1.85, .931).
Bruins leading scorers (reg. season/overall): F Trevor Boyd (26-24--50/30-31--61); F Alex Pettersson (11-32--43/15-39--54); F Nico Sturm (11-30--41/18-36--54); F Luke Dietsch (9-28--37/14-31--45); D Ian Scheid (12-23--35/14-29--43); F Tony Uglem (22-17--39/23-19--42).
Bruins goalies (reg. season/playoffs): Jake Kielly (20-5-6, 2.12 GAA, .906 save pct./4-3, 1.97, .912); Evan Smith (12-1-2, 1.73, .923/4-0, 2.70, .894).
Records (reg. season/playoffs): Minnesota 39-15-6, 8-2 (47-17-6 overall); Austin 38-11-11, 8-3-0 (46-14-11 overall).
Advantage: Bruins
Head-to-head: Austin 5-2-1, Wilderness 3-2-3.
Advantage: Bruins
Offense: Minnesota 251 goals in 70 games (3.59/game); Austin 250 goals in 71 games (3.52/game).
Advantage: Wilderness
Defense: Minnesota 173 goals allowed in 70 games (2.47/game); Austin 162 goals allowed in 71 games (2.28/game).
Advantage: Bruins
Power play (NAHL rank)Minnesota -- reg. season 59-246 (23.98 pct., 2nd in NAHL); postseason 9-30 (30.0 pct., 5th in NAHL); overall 68-276 (24.6 pct.). Austin -- reg. season 38-268 (14.18 pct., 19th in NAHL); postseason 10-25 (40.0 pct., 1st in NAHL); total 48-293 (16.4 pct.).
Advantage: Wilderness
Penalty kill (NAHL rank)Minnesota -- reg. season 203-249 (81.5 pct., 15th in NAHL); playoffs 32-33 (96.97 pct., 2nd in NAHL); overall 235-282 (83.3 pct.). Austin -- reg. season 248-275 (90.18 pct., 1st in NAHL); playoffs 32-38 (84.21 pct., 9th in NAHL); total 280-313 (89.5 pct.).
Advantage: Bruins
Goaltending (save pct.)Minnesota -- reg. season .890; playoffs .919; overall .895. Austin -- reg. season .907, playoffs .900, overall .906.
Advantage: Bruins
The stats breakdown points toward the Bruins winning. Having watched these teams, logic points toward a toss-up series, just like last weekend's national semifinals.
The Bs and Wilderness were evenly matched during the regular season, with four of their eight meetings going to overtime or a shootout. When the Wilderness swept the Bs in Cloquet in November, Austin was struggling. When the Bs swept the Wilderness at Riverside in mid-March, the Wilderness were struggling. 
In the words of Red Wing High School girls hockey coach Scott Haley, this time of year your team's "big knockers gotta knock." (And, yes, I'm going to use that quote over and over and over as long as I write about hockey ... the media hopes Haley never leaves. He's a quote machine).
Those top guns from each team were the ones who did most of the scoring in the regular season meetings.
Austin's leading scorer Trevor Boyd averaged a point per game against the Wilderness this season (5-3--8), while forwards Alex Pettersson and Nico Sturm both had six points (both had 0-6--6).
Gophers commit Darian Romanko (3-3--6), Bemidji State commit Aaron Miller (3-3--6) and defenseman Janis Jaks (0-6--6) shared the scoring lead for the Wilderness against the Bruins this season. Jaks is the lone surprise of the group, as he had just 13 points in the regular season, nearly half of them coming in eight games against Austin.
In other words, when the top lines are on the ice, don't take your eyes off the game. 
I've been trying to filibuster here, hoping this gets me to 7:05 and I wouldn't have to  give a prediction. But I can't write for five more hours, so here goes...
The Wilderness have been red-hot, winning eight in a row. I think they stretch that streak to nine tonight, considering the talent they have and the fact that Austin hasn't been very good in series-opening games on its home ice the past two years. BUT, this Bruins team has been proving doubters wrong all season. It hasn't always been pretty, but they keep finding ways to win.
The last team to appear in back-to-back Robbie Cup Finals was the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in 2010 and 2011. The Ice Dogs lost to Bismarck in 2010 then won it in '11. I think the Bs match that trend this weekend.
The call: Austin in 3 (Game 1: Minnesota 4, Austin 2; Game 2: Austin 5, Minnesota 3; Game 3: Austin 4, Minnesota 3, OT).

May 05, 2015

Bruins end Minot's season, begin pursuit of Robby; local players selected in USHL Draft

AUSTIN -- Win or lose, good or bad, this Austin Bruins team is determined to give its fans heart attacks.

Monday night, the heart attacks were rewarded with a no-fingernails-left victory and another banner to add to the south wall at Riverside Arena.

The Bs built a 4-1 lead against Minot with a dominant second period in the decisive Game 5 of the NAHL Central Division Finals. Then they nearly gave it away in the third. Minot scored twice in the first 6:18 of the third and had a handful of other very good chances, but couldn't get another past Bruins goalie Jake Kielly (18 saves) and Austin survived with a 4-3 victory and a second consecutive trip to the Robertson Cup semifinals.

The Bs will have a quick turnaround, leaving Wednesday for Dallas suburb North Richland Hills. They'll open play in the best-of-3 national semifinals against the Lone Star Brahmas on Friday. Games 1 and 2 are set for 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A Game 3, if necessary, is at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

But back to Monday night. For a second consecutive year, Austin earned its way into the Robby Cup final four. 

Game 5 was everything we thought we'd get out of this series. I thought we'd see at least one game go to OT, and Monday's game nearly did. Here's my game story from today's P-B

The Bs opened up a 4-1 lead in the second period when Nico Sturm, Josh Wilkins and Trevor Boyd scored in a flurry of goals in a span of 5 minutes, 34 seconds. Bs captain Brian Bachnak assisted on all three. The Boyd goal was the big one; it felt like a backbreaker at the time. It started when Minot goalie Atte Tolvanen stopped a Bachnak shot, but Boyd was trailing the play. He picked up the puck and made a nice, patient move to get Tolvanen out of position, then tucked the puck into an empty side of the goal.

True to form in this series, though, Minot battled back, scoring twice in the first seven minutes of the third to pull within 4-3. 

From there, it was some really good back and forth hockey. Both teams missed on more than one quality scoring chance. Alex Jasiek had a really good look from close range that Tolvanen sticked aside. More than once, the puck was lying loose in the crease and no Bs player could get a stick on it. 

Minot had its chances, too. The Tauros couldn't have asked for a better chance at the end of the game. They went on a power play for the final 1:25 and were 6-on-4 for all of that time, with Tolvanen pulled. Defenseman Jon Lizotte had the best looks, zipping a wrister high with 35 seconds left, then having a wrist shot swallowed up by Jake Kielly with 17 seconds left. 


The win is the 44th of the season for the Bruins and the 201st in franchise history. This team could tie last year's Bs team for the franchise record for wins in a season (48) if it captures the Robertson Cup championship.

That won't be an easy task. 

The Bs leave Wednesday on a flight to Dallas. They'll get a practice in on Thursday and (I'm assuming) a morning skate in on Friday, then (as I mentioned earlier) they'll face the South Division champion Lone Star at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Games 1 and 2. Game 3 is at 5:30 Sunday, if needed.

Strictly looking at records, Lone Star and Austin were about even during the regular season. The Brahmas were 40-12-8 in the regular season, for 88 points. The Bruins were 38-11-11, for 87 points. In other words, had the Bruins gone 5-6 in shootouts this season, as opposed to 3-8, they'd be playing at Riverside this weekend -- and I'd be saying "if Lone Star had just won one more game, this series would be in Texas."

Such is life in the NAHL, and it's why coaches stress all season long that every point is valuable. It may not seem like it when a team wins a division title by seven points, but when you get to this stage of the season, something as simple as two shootout losses can turn a potential home series into a 900-mile roadie.

Either way, the Bs are ecstatic to be able to keep playing. This was their goal since Labor Day, when players began reporting for this season. 


We'll break down the Robby Cup semifinal series later this week, but here's a quick look at this weekend's opponent.

The obvious starting point is that the Bruins have to know where No. 22 is at all times.

That's Sebastian Vidmar, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound, 21-year-old forward from Malmo, Sweden. He's committed to 2014 NCAA national champion Union College.

Oh, by the way, Vidmar was the MVP of the entire NAHL this season, putting up 35 goals and 80 points in 58 games. He has two goals and seven points through seven postseason games. His regular-season numbers are the best in the league since the 2011-12 season. He also had a league-high 11 game-winning goals, the highest total in the league in seven years. He was named the NAHL Forward of the Month twice this season and has 105 points in 100 career regular-season games.

The Brahmas are coached by Dan Wildfong, the NAHL Coach of the Year. He guided Lone Star to a 26-3-1 home record (good thing the Bruins are a good road team) and has nine players committed to Division I schools.

Lone Star had three players record 21 or more goals -- Vidmar, fellow Swede Ludvig Larson, a Merrimack College commit (21-34--55) and Colorado College recruit AJ Vanderbeck (21-14--35).

In goal, another Union College recruit, Jake Kupsky, has taken control of the starting job in the postseason after splitting time almost equally with T.J. Black in the regular season.

Kupsky has the size (6-5, 210) to match both of the Bruins' goalies. In the regular season he was 19-4-4, with a 2.16 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. He is 5-1, 1.67, .936 in the playoffs.

All of those things considered, Lone Star hasn't been blowing out opponents in the playoffs. It is 6-1, but five of its victories have come by just one goal, while the sixth victory was a two-goal win with an empty-netter in the final 40 seconds.

Again, we'll have more on the Bruins-Brahmas series later this week in print and on the blog. 



As I write this, Phase II of the USHL Draft is nearly halfway complete, in round 12 of 27.

So far, three Austin Bruins have been selected.

Defenseman Ian Scheid was the highest-drafted Bruin, going No. 20 overall (4th pick of Round 2) to the Fargo Force.

Nine picks later, No. 29 overall (13th pick of Round 2), Rochester Century/Austin Bruins defenseman Riese Zmolek was picked by the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.

Bs forward Nico Sturm was selected in Round 5, No. 72 overall, by the Tri-City Storm.

In Phase I of the USHL Draft on Monday -- for '99 birth year players -- Rochester John Marshall standout Cory Checco was selected by the Sioux Falls Stampede. Checco has had two very good seasons, and I'm told was very good at the recent Final 54 tournament. He was JM's leading scorer this season with 15-16--31 in 26 games for the 13-13 Rockets.


That's it for now; I'll update this post if more players with local ties are taken in today's USHL Draft.

March 11, 2015

High School Hockey | 2014-15 All-Area Team & POY

Posted by: Feldman

With the high school hockey season in the rearview, and after a couple days to decompress from an outstanding state tournament, it's time to put a close to the local high school season by naming our Sixth Annual Faceoff Blog All-Area Team and Player of the Year.

In what was an OK year for our local and area teams (boys hockey teams in our coverage area include the four Rochester schools, Austin, Dodge County and Red Wing), there were a number of players who jumped out as the best. In fact, our Player of the Year was probably the best player in the Big Nine Conference.

I'll make my annual disclaimer here: The All-Area Team appears only on the Faceoff Blog (not in print or on for a number of reasons, the main one being most of our other writers don't like to do all-area teams because they often become a bigger headache than they're worth. Many times, so many kids' stats are so similar, that it's a no-win situation for us. If we put a point guard who averages 14 points and 7 assists per game on an all-area basketball team, we'll get an earful from mom of kid who averages 15 points and 6 assists.

I'm fair game, though. Rip away if you don't like the team I've put together. I picked it based on who I thought the best players in our coverage area were. Since I don't see every game played, and some teams I only saw once or twice this season, I also went on word of mouth, the things I hear from area coaches during the season. By chatting regularly with coaches, you get a pretty good idea of which players mean the most to their teams, regardless of what the stats say.

And as I've said in past years, there's nothing P.C. about the team (I don't try to balance it out or make sure that every area team is represented equally), it's just a list of who I think the best players in the area were this season.

Let's get to it.

Below you'll find an All-Area First Team, Second Team, a PUC list (Players Under Consideration; my not-so-clever way of saying "honorable mention") and a list of past Players of the Year.



Riese Zmolek, senior, Rochester Century (20-21--41)
Our repeat selection as the All-Area Player of the Year, Zmolek was the fourth-leading scorer in the city, as a defenseman. He was hands-down the most versatile player I saw this year in our area. He has all the tools to compete at higher levels. He played in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League last fall, and he hit the ground running for the high school season. He finished with a career-best 41 points and capped his prep career with 103 total points, an amazing stat for a D-man, but even more astounding considering Zmolek missed half of his sophomore season with an injury.
Here's an evaluation one junior hockey scout gave me on Zmolek: "We watched him at the start of the Elite League season and thought 'I don't know, he has a ways to go.' We went back and watched him toward the end of the Elite League season and he popped. He can do it all. He should be in the USHL next season and he can play at the D-I (college) level."
Just a few days after the conclusion of his high school career, Zmolek moved over to Austin, where he'll finish the season with the Austin Bruins of the North American Hockey League. He was thrown right into the fire there, playing in all situations, including being sent out to kill a 5-on-3 disadvantage in the final two minutes of his second game back with the team (he played four games for the Bruins prior to the high school season).

Griff Slightam, senior, Rochester Lourdes (8-7--15)
For a second consecutive season, the skilled and big, physical d-man was hampered by injuries. Slightam missed his entire junior season due to an injury he suffered during the football season. He also missed half of his senior season because of injuries, yet put up 15 points from the blue line, and served as basically another assistant coach for the Eagles while sidelined. The fifth-year varsity player played in three state tournaments. He was at his best late in the season, recording four points in two playoff games. His two late-third period goals helped Lourdes rally to beat Mankato East in overtime of a Section 1A first-round game. He is tendered with the Austin Bruins of the North American Hockey League.


Logan Haskins, senior, Rochester Mayo (22-25--47)
The only repeat First Team forward, Haskins led the city in scoring for a second consecutive season. The diminutive, slick-skating playmaker finished his three-year varsity career with 116 points and he put up at least one point in 23 of Mayo's 26 games this season. He also had 13 multi-point games this season, playing on a line that combined for 125 points.

Jake Roth, senior, Rochester Century (19-25--44)
The runner-up for the city scoring title, Roth piled up 117 career points over four seasons on Century's varsity. That total includes 82 points over the past two seasons. Roth played mutliple roles for the Panthers. He wasn't afraid to dig in the corners and battle for the puck, and wasn't afraid to go to the front of the net and score gritty goals. He could make plays, too, as indicated by his 25 assists -- a total that matches Haskins for the most in Rochester this season.

Anthony Oliveto, sophomore, Rochester Mayo (26-17--43)
The city's goal-scoring champ finished third in points in Rochester, behind only Haskins and Roth. Just a sophomore, Oliveto already has 67 career varsity points. The big, skilled forward led Rochester with 26 goals and finished his sophomore season on a nine-game point streak. 


Jack Burkel, senior, Rochester Lourdes (5-18-2, 2.80 GAA, .901 save pct., 3 shutouts
The veteran goalie was far better than his record indicates. The goals-against average and save percentage tell a more accurate story. In 17 of his 25 starts, Burkel allowed three goals or less. Lourdes scored more than three goals in a game just four times all season, so Burkel had to be sharp each night out. He gave his team a chance to win nearly every game it played, including a narrow season-ending 2-1 loss to top-seeded New Prague -- the eventual section champ -- in a Section 1A quarterfinal game.

* * * * *


Dakota Streit, senior, Rochester Lourdes (4-11--15): Played the "Ryan Suter" role for the Eagles, eating big chunks of ice time on a nightly basis, all while being the team's most steady defenseman on both ends of the ice.
Will Zmolek, sophomore, Rochester Century (5-12--17): By the mid-point of his first varsity season, he was as reliable as any defenseman in the Big Nine. Rarely was beaten or caught out of position. Wasn't asked to do a lot of scoring, but finished with 17 points, a good total for a young d-man.

Ethan Moore, senior, Rochester Mayo (12-23--35): Had at least a point in 20 of Mayo's 26 games this season. Totaled six points in three games at the Kiwanis Festival as Mayo captured the tournament championship in late December.
Cory Checco, sophomore, Rochester JM (15-16--31): Led the Rockets in goals, assists and points in his second varsity season. Had at least one point in 21 of JM's 26 games. He'll go into his junior season with 56 career points.
Tyler Defore, sophomore, Red Wing (21-13--34): One of just four 20-goal scorers in our area, the sophomore was his team's leading scorer and finished the season strong. He had 14 points over the final eight games, including four points in a playoff win against Waseca.

Chris Wileman, senior, Rochester Mayo (16-8-1, 2.98 GAA, .871 save pct., 2 shutouts): The senior had a strong start to his season, recording a shutout in his varsity debut. He finished the season with a sub-3.00 GAA and helped Mayo earn a home playoff game.

* * * * *

PUC (Players Under Consideration)
* Tucker Chapman, soph., Rochester Lourdes (17-7--24)
* Brady Dahl, junior, Rochester JM (14-9--23)
* Dylan Goggin, senior, Red Wing (18-15--33)
* Sam Hanson, junior, Red Wing (17-16--33)
* Nic Leisen, sophomore, Dodge County (11-14--25)

* Josh Frerks, junior, Rochester JM (5-9--14)
* James Johnston, senior, Rochester Mayo (7-12--19)
* Alex Ney, senior, Rochester Century (12-7--19)

* Adam Defore, senior, Red Wing (8-18-1, 3.98 GAA, .873 save pct.)
* Brady Meyers, junior, Rochester JM (9-13-0, 3.31 GAA, .886 save pct., 1 SO)
* Cole Walter, freshman, Rochester Century (8-3-1, 2.96 GAA, .872 save pct., 1 SO)

* * * * *

* 2015: Riese Zmolek, senior, D, Rochester Century
* 2014: Riese Zmolek, junior, D, Rochester Century
* 2013: Alex Funk and Jason Samuelson, seniors, F, Rochester Lourdes
* 2012: Alex Funk, junior, F, Rochester Lourdes
* 2011: Rory Vesel, senior, D, Rochester Lourdes
* 2010: No POY (the inaugural all-area team didn't include a POY)

* * * * *

BELOWTwo All-Area First Team players battle during a Section 1AA quarterfinal game at Graham I on Feb. 19. Mayo's Logan Haskins, left, attempts to carry the puck around Century's Riese Zmolek. (Photo credit to Post-Bulletin's Scott Jacobson)

Haskins RZmolek

February 21, 2015

High School Hockey Today | Feb. 21, 2015 (The Section Semifinal Saturday edition)

Posted by: Feldman

One of the best days of the high school hockey season is upon us, Section Semifinal Saturday at the Rochester Recreation Center. It will be a little odd this year with just one Rochester team involved, but there are still four good hockey games on tap.

It starts at 11:30 a.m. with Rochester Century against undefeated and No. 1-ranked Lakeville North. That's followed by what should be a very good one between Farmington and Lakeville South.

Both of the games in the evening session should be entertaining, too. No. 4 seed Faribault and No. 1 seed New Prague face off at 5:30 p.m., with No. 3 Northfield and No. 2 Mankato West to follow.

I've watched two playoff games over the past four days and we can only hope that Saturday's games match the same level of intensity and excitement.

Tuesday, I watched Rochester Lourdes rally from a 2-0 deficit in the final five minutes of the third period to force OT, where Tucker Chapman scored the game-winner just 39 seconds in. Two nights later, Rochester Century's Connor Davies scored the game-winning goal with 3:30 left in the third period to cap the Panthers' three-goal third period for a 4-3 win against Rochester Mayo.

Let's look at the four games we'll see at the Rec today (by the way, you can follow me on Twitter -- @PBFeldy -- for updates from all of the Section 1 games). 

* * * *



Rochester Rec Center, 11:30 a.m.

Records: Century 16-7-3, No. 1-ranked North 26-0-0
Head coaches: Century, Josh Klingfus (4th season, 53-45-7 overall); North, Trent Eigner (4th season, 76-37-2 overall)
Last meeting: North beat Century 12-0 on Jan. 9, 2014, at the Rochester Rec Center
Last game: North beat Dodge County 14-0 in a Section 1AA quarterfinal. Ryan Poehling had a goal and six assists; Century beat Mayo 4-3 in a section quarterfinal. Riese Zmolek had a goal and an assist and Connor Davies scored the game winner with 3:30 left.
Leaders: CENT -- Sr. F Jake Roth (19-25--44); Sr. D Riese Zmolek (20-21--41); Sr. D Ryan Sherden (7-13--20); So. F Eric St. Marie (7-11--18); Fr. G Cole Walter (9-2-1, 2.33 GAA, .890 save pct.). NORTH -- Sr. F Jack Poehling (28-36--64); Sr. F Nick Poehling (30-29--59); So. F Ryan Poehling (15-33--48); Jr. F Max Johnson (16-26--42); Sr. D Jack Sadek (6-20--26); Jr. G Ryan Edquist (23-0-0, 1.37 GAA, .939 save pct., 7 SO).


* No. 3 Farmington (18-7-1) vs. No. 2 Lakeville South (15-10-1), 2 p.m.: The Tigers and Cougars have already met twice this season, with South winning both times (7-4 on Dec. 18, 4-2 on Jan. 29). ... Farmington is led by senior F Austin Martinsen (25-24--49) and junior F John Siebenaler (18-27--45), as well as senior G Gage Overby (14-6-1, 2.34 GAA, .899 save pct., 5 SO). ... South's statistical leaders are junior F Nick Swaney, a Minn.-Duluth commit (29-32--61) and senior F Nick Oelrich (19-24--43). The Cougars have two goalies who have shared time, senior Daniel Swail (9-7-1, 2.64, .893) and junior Kyle McKinney (6-3-0, 1.80, .923). ... South advanced by beating Farmington 7-0 on Thursday. Farmington advanced with a 5-2 victory against Rochester John Marshall. ... South is 8-3-0 in its past 11 games. ... Farmington is ranked No. 18 in the state. South is unranked.

* * * * * * * * *


* No. 4 Faribault (19-7-1) vs. No. 1 New Prague (18-8-0), 5:30 p.m.: These teams did not meet in the regular season. ... Faribault has played two one-goal playoff games to get here, while New Prague also won a one-goal game against No. 8 seed Rochester Lourdes on Thursday. ... New Prague is led by F Alex Gregor (28-22--50) and senior F Ben Witt (12-28--40). Trojans senior G Conner Wagner is 17-8-0 with a 2.10 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. ... Faribault stat leaders include F Christan Von Ruden (26-30--56) and F Tyler Becker (20-35--55). Goalies Adam Johannsen (12-4-0, 2.35, .924) and Chase Batchelder (7-3-1, 2.94, .887) have split playing time, though Johannsen has started and finished both playoff games so far.

- - - - - - - - - -

* No. 3 Northfield (15-9-2) vs. No. 2 Mankato West (18-6-2), 8 p.m.: These teams couldn't have been much more even in the regular season. They played to a 3-3 tie in their first meeting, Dec. 9 in Mankato, then West edged the Raiders 3-2 on Jan. 19 at Northfield. ... West's Christian Klemme had two goals and an assist in the victory on Jan. 19, so the Raiders will have to keep him in check today. That's easier said than done. Klemme is West's second-leading scorer (15-27--42), trailing only fellow senior F Austin Langworthy (31-20--51). ... West goalie Conor Wollenzien could be another key factor today. The senior is 17-6-2 with a 2.24 GAA and a .921 save pct. He is 11-1-1 since the beginning of January, the only loss a 5-2 setback to Red Wing. ... West, the Big Nine Conference champion, has put up an impressive record in the second half of the season, but it hasn't done so in dominant fashion. The Scarlets have found ways to win some close games, including one-goal wins against Austin, Northfield, Rochester Mayo, Albert Lea, Faribault and St. Cloud Cathedral. I haven't seen Northfield play this season, but I'm told they can play a defensive style very well, which could keep this game close throughout. West had to go to double-OT to beat Albert Lea in the section quarterfinals. Another OT game here seems quite possible.

* * * * * * * * *


Semifinal, No. 3 Burnsville (14-10-2) vs. No. 2 Prior Lake (17-8-1), 3:30 p.m., Bloomington Ice Garden: A matchup of top-15 teams as No. 15 Burnsville and No. 13 Prior Lake meet for a third time this season. The Lakers won the first two matchups, but only by a combined three goals. The winner is likely looking at a section title game matchup against Edina.

Semifinal, No. 4 Benilde-St. Margaret's (15-9-2) vs. No. 1 Eden Prairie (16-9-0), Braemar, 4 p.m.: In one of the state's toughest sections, No. 5-ranked E.P. gets No. 11-ranked B-SM in a semifinal matchup. These teams split two games during the regular season, with Benilde winning 2-1 early in the year and E.P. winning 5-0 on Feb. 3.

Semifinal, No. 3 Duluth East (12-10-4) vs. No. 2 Grand Rapids (14-10-2), 2 p.m., Amsoil Arena, Duluth: Grand Rapids rolled to a 5-1 win in the regular season matchup against East, but East is playing well, having lost just once in its past six games.


Semifinal, No. 3 Duluth Denfeld (19-7-0) vs. No. 2 Duluth Marshall (18-5-3), 8 p.m., Amsoil Arena, Duluth: In a section that features three of the top eight-ranked teams in the state, we knew we'd get a marquee matchup in the semifinals. This is it, as two intra-city rivals don't have to leave Duluth to battle for a spot in the section final, likely against perennial power Hermantown. No. 8-ranked Denfeld lost 4-2 to No. 6-ranked Marshall when the met in the regular season as Marshall scored twice in the final nine minutes.

Semifinal, No. 4 Detroit Lakes (19-5-2) vs. No. 1 East Grand Forks (21-4-0), 6 p.m., The Gardens in Warroad: Detroit Lakes has 19 victories and is ranked No. 18 in the state. Its reward for winning its first playoff game: A matchup with the defending state champion and No. 3-ranked East Grand Forks.