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129 posts categorized "Lourdes"

September 12, 2014

Feldy and Phersy's High School Football picks | Week 3

FELDY: Our luck is bound to change, but Phersy and I are both off to pretty good starts. Phersy cheated last week and picked up a game on me. He went 7-0 last week, while I was 6-1. That leaves Phersy at 13-1 and Feldy at 12-2 through two weeks. Maybe we'll get some separation this week, though I doubt it. We always seem to end up tied somehow.

Phersy picks first this week. Here are this week's games:

BIG NINE CONFERENCE

* Rochester John Marshall (1-1) at Austin (1-1)

* Rochester Century (1-1) at Red Wing (1-1)

SFA RED

* Plainview-Elgin-Millville (2-0) at Lake City (2-0)

* Kasson-Mantorville (1-1) at Rochester Lourdes (2-0)

SFA WHITE

* Pine Island (1-1) at Kenyon-Wanamingo (1-1)

* St. Charles (0-2) at Zumbrota-Mazeppa (0-2)

SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE

* Grand Meadow (2-0) at Mabel-Canton (2-1)

* * * * * * * * * * 

 PHERSY: Feldy, this is a lead I will never relinquish...

BIG NINE CONFERENCE

* Rochester John Marshall 36, Austin 35: Ugh, I knew you were gonna put this game up there Feldy. Austin has a great offense, led by Brandon Edgar and Nate Conner. But the defense is struggling. And injuries could slow that defense even worse. I think the athletes at JM's skill positions will win out. Barely.

* Rochester Century 21, Red Wing 6: The Panthers will control the line of scrimmage and win against the Wingers, who are coming off an impressive win last week.

SFA RED

* Plainview-Elgin-Millville 20, Lake City 8: This is one of my favorite games of the week. But I think PEM is very solid this year and will push Stewartville in the Red.

* Kasson-Mantorville 20, Rochester Lourdes 18: Interesting game. K-M will look to bounce back after last week's thrashing. Another fantastic game in the Red.

SFA WHITE

* Kenyon-Wanamingo 21, Pine Island 19: Love this game too ... I guess I love em all this week. Pine Island will be looking to bounce back, but K-W is hittin its stride. Both solid clubs

* St. Charles 7, Zumbrota-Mazeppa 6: This was my toughest pick ... and I am 100 percent certain Feldy will just pick the opposite of me here.

SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE

* Grand Meadow 29, Mabel-Canton 22: I think this will be a better game than people think. But I'll still go with GM.

* * * * * * * * * *

FELDY: Not really sure how to pick a lot of these games. Might leave it up to my 2-year-old; she usually does better than me anyway.

BIG NINE

* Rochester JM 28, Austin 26: This was my toughest decision of the week. I flip-flopped more than those pretty white sandals Phersy wears around the office in the summer time. In the end, I'll take JM's defense and its ability to produce big plays. Plus, it's Week 3 under a new coaching staff in a new system. The Rockets should be getting comfortable. This game is big for both teams in terms of section playoff seeding, too, so some urgency should be involved on both sides.

* Rochester Century 30, Red Wing 14: If the Panthers can hang onto the ball like they did last week (after some turnover issues in Week 1), they should win this one handily and improve to 2-1.

SFA RED

* P-E-M 18, Lake City 15: Just when I thought I couldn't struggle any more with a pick this week than the JM/Austin game, here comes this one. Lake City has played a pair of close games, and they'll keep this one tight, too, but I'll take P-E-M with a late score to win on the road.

* Lourdes 23, K-M 20: What's with all these early-season showdowns in the Red? This seems like it should be a last-week-of-the-season game. It's a coin toss to me. I'll take Lourdes, making K-M probably the best two-loss team in the state.

SFA WHITE

* Kenyon-Wanamingo 28, Pine Island 23: Another tough one to pick. K-W played a good Lake City team tough in the season opener and I think the Knights are playing with a lot of confidence. 

* Zumbrota-Mazeppa 16, St. Charles 14: Yep, I was going the opposite of Phersy here. Both of these teams should be motivated to get their first 'W' of the season. Z-M has had a tough opening to its schedule, playing road games powerful Stewartville and Lewiston-Altura. The Cougars' offense has to be itching to score. 

SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE

* Grand Meadow 38, Mabel-Canton 31: Sadly, I agree with Phersy on this one. (Sad that I agree with him, not sad that it'll be a good game). It'll be a closer game than some expect, but I'll stick with the defending state champs until someone proves they're better.

July 25, 2014

High School Hockey | 3 from Rochester make Elite League

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.

February 05, 2014

Boys Hockey | Looking at potential Section 1A, 1AA matchups

Posted by: Feldman

There are still 10 days left in the boys hockey regular season, and a couple of key games remain that will impact the seeding process in both Section 1A and 1AA, but since I start thinking about this stuff the minute the Kiwanis Holiday Tournament finishes, I thought we'd try to map out some of the possible seeding scenarios.

I do this with one big asterisk: * I can't figure out how or why some Section 1 coaches vote certain ways each year (there always seems to be a vote or two cast for purely selfish or political reasons). And I haven't seen all of these teams play, so I'm going by records, stats, wins over quality opponents, etc.

Let's start with 1AA.

SECTION 1AA

I started digging into stats and numbers and trends for 1AA teams, but, let's face it, this section goes through the No. 1-ranked team in the state, Lakeville North. I honestly don't know when the last time a Section 1 (A or AA) team was ranked No. 1 in the state. 

This North team is the best team to come through the section since the 2006-07 Century team that placed third at the state tournament. If I had a time machine, it wouldn't be the first thing I'd do, but I'd certainly go back, load that whole 06-07 Century team into the machine and zap it into 2013-14 to watch it play against this year's North team. I could write a whole blog post just about that fantasy matchup, and maybe I will at some point during the playoffs...

The most intriguing battle for playoff positioning in 1AA lies among three Big Nine Conference teams: Century, Mayo and Owatonna. Those three teams are fighting for the 4-5-6 seeds. There's a chance that all three of Rochester's 1AA teams -- Mayo, Century, JM -- may have to go on the road for the first round of the playoffs. I don't ever recall that happening, but we'll get to those teams in a bit. Let's start at the top:

No. 1 seed: Lakeville North. It's clear North is the No. 1 seed. It's 18-3-1 and the top-ranked team in the state. It has played three games against section opponents, outscoring them by a combined 25-2. The Panthers battled injuries early in the year and started the season 2-3-0. They haven't lost since Dec. 7, going unbeaten (18-0-1) in their last 19 games. They hold wins against No. 3 Hill-Murray and two over No. 5-ranked Burnsville. They tied No. 6 Blaine, 3-3, on Dec. 27. They've won 11 consecutive games since that tie, outscoring those 11 opponents 58-13. Their depth is their strength; they have 12 players with 11 or more points.

No. 2 seed: Farmington. The Tigers schedule isn't as difficult as Lakeville South's, but it's really hard not to give the 18-3-1 Tigers the nod for the No. 2 seed ahead of a South team that is 7-14-0. Farmington hasn't lost since Dec. 17, going 13-0-1 since. It outscores its opponents by an average of more than 3 goals per game (5.32-2.14). 

No. 3 seed: Lakeville South. The Cougars (7-14-0) get the No. 3 seed because of their 6-3 victory over Rochester Mayo. South has lost twice to North this season. South has a couple of the top players in the section, sophomore F Nick Swaney (12-28--40) and senior F Patrick Lauderdale (15-25--40).

Nos. 4, 5, 6: Owatonna, Mayo, Century. These seeds may not be clear until the final day of the regular season, Feb. 15, when Mayo and Century play for a second time this season. For Century (11-10-0) to have a shot at the No. 4 seed, it will have to beat Mayo and it might have to win its other three remaining games (at JM, vs. Albert Lea, at Mankato West). Of the three teams battling for the No. 4 seed (which means home-ice advantage in the section quarterfinals) Mayo likely controls its destiny. If the Spartans beat Owatonna (Feb. 11) and Century (Feb. 15), they should be in line for the No. 4 seed. Owatonna's next three games are against opponents with a combined 48 losses, so the Huskies should be 13-8-2 by the time they face Mayo. So, if Owatonna wins that game, it'll be 2-0 this season against Mayo and 1-1 vs. Century. That will likely be enough to give it the No. 4 seed and send all three Rochester teams in 1AA on the road for the opening round of section play.

No. 7 seed: Rochester John Marshall. The Rockets (5-15-1) are playing better than they were a month ago, but they're still struggling to finish scoring chances. That said, if the seeds play out the way I have them here, a JM at Farmington quarterfinal game would be really intriguing to watch. JM lost its season opener at Farmington by just one goal, 4-3, on Nov. 21.

No. 8 seed: Dodge County. The Wildcats (9-9-3) will, unfortunately, have their work cut out for them again in the opening round. They'll have to face Lakeville North in the opening round of the postseason.


SECTION 1A

The top two seeds in 1A are obvious, but after that, arguments can be made among two or more teams for seeds 3-13. I'd love to be a fly on the wall during the seeding meeting. 

No. 1 seed: New Prague. The No. 6-ranked Trojans are 15-4-3 with three games remaining. Their losses are to Eagan, ranked No. 18 in Class AA; Farmington, an 18-win Class AA team; Hermantown, the No. 1-ranked team in Class A; and St. Cloud Cathedal, No. 10 in Class A. The Trojans get the nod for the top seed because of their 2-1 win at Mankato West on Jan. 4.

No. 2 seed: Mankato West. It's tough to think a team that sits 20-2-0 and is unbeaten in the Big Nine right now won't get the top seed, but, to me, West's head-to-head loss to New Prague trumps the differential in number of victories. That said, West and New Prague appear to be on a collision course that ends on Feb. 26 at the Rochester Recreation Center. 

No. 3 seed: Albert Lea. The Tigers (11-7-1) are playing very good hockey right now, having won five in a row and six of their past seven. Four of those six wins are against Class AA teams (Owatonna, Rochester Century, Rochester JM and Rochester Mayo), all by at least two goals. The other two victories came against section foes Faribault and Austin. A.L. also has one of the top goalies in the section, junior Garrett Matz (11-7-1, 2.49 goals-against average, .923 save percentage).

No. 4 seed: Rochester Lourdes. Yes, the Eagles are just 5-14-1, and, yes, you need more than one hand to count the number of key players they've lost to injuries this season. But Lourdes has played a tough schedule (as usual) and it's younger players/guys who are new to varsity continue to improve. Now, can Lourdes find enough scoring to keep up with the top three seeds? That's going to be difficult. If the Eagles are going to beat some of the top teams in the section, they'll have to win close, low-scoring games. That means they'll need junior goalie Jack Burkel to steal a win or two for them in the postseason. Lourdes could make an argument for the No. 3 seed if it beats Albert Lea on Thursday.

No. 5 seed: Northfield. Northfield (9-12-1) has four losses to section opponents, but those are all to the four teams listed ahead of it here. The Raiders have played better over the past two weeks, following a six-game losing skid by winning three out of four. That one loss in the last four games was  3-2 setback to Farmington, a Class AA team that is 18-3-1.

No. 6 seed: Faribault. I'll make an argument for the 7-10-2 Falcons here, even though there are teams in the section with more wins (LeSueur-Henderson/SP has 11, La Crescent 13, but we'll get to those teams soon). I'd give Faribault the 6 seed because it has five wins against section opponents and a tie against Northfield. The Falcons four section losses have all come against teams with double-digit victory totals (two losses to Mankato West, one to Albert Lea, one to L-H/SP). The Falcons also have defeated Albert Lea once this season, which is another checkmark in their favor to get this seed.

No. 7: La Crescent. The Lancers (13-5-4) get the nod here ahead of LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter because of their victory over L-H/SP. La Crescent plays most of its game against Wisconsin opponents, so it's tough to guage exactly where it falls in this section, but aside from beating L-H/SP, its section wins are against Mankato East, Waseca and Faribault, all teams with losing records. The Lancers also tied a 3-win Winona team.

No. 8: LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter/TCU/Cleveland. The Bulldogs (11-7-2) are 4-3-0 against section opponents, including a win against Faribault. They also suffered a loss to Austin,which has just three wins. The Bulldogs are playing well over the past two weeks, going 4-1-1 in their past six games, and they won't be an easy opponent for anyone in the section.

No. 9: Mankato East. The Cougars (7-15-0) have wins over three of the four teams seeded below them.

No. 10: Red Wing. The Wingers (3-19-0) have lost to Northfield, New Prague and Lourdes. They beat Winona in a regular season game and also scored a big win earlier this season against Academy of Holy Angels. 

No. 11: Austin. The Packers (3-16-1) are 1-1-1 against the other two teams remaining, Winona and Waseca. Austin has split with Winona and tied Waseca. Austin also holds a victory over L-H/SP.

No. 12: Winona. The Winhawks (3-15-2) holds wins over Austin and Mankato East, and a tie against La Crescent.

No. 13: Waseca. The Bluejays (4-13-1) are just 1-5-1 against section opponents this season.

We'll have a much better idea a week from now of where all these teams will land. So keep a close on games the rest of this week and next week because there are still a handful of games remaining that will have an impact on these seedings.

January 18, 2014

Thoughts, pics from Hockey Day Minnesota '14

Posted by: Feldman

If you watched the high school hockey games played at Handke Pit in Elk River on FSN today, you had a better view than I did of most of the goals in Rochester Lourdes' 4-1 loss to Cloquet-Esko-Carlton.

But, then again, who really cares about the goals. Honestly, the score, the outcome, the play of the game isn't really what the coaches, players and fans are going to remember about this day a year, five years, 10 years from now. They're sure not what I'll remember.

OK, so Lourdes' Peter Alexander will probably remember scoring his team's lone goal and Tyler Vehrenkamp will remember getting the assist. And Jack Burkel will probably remember the highlight reel saves he made through the first two periods, including a get-that-shot-outta-here glove save on a breakaway. 

Really, though, the best memories will be of stepping off the bus at 8:30 a.m., 90 minutes before game time, and stepping over to the top edge of the natural bowl that forms Handke Pit, looking down at the rink and the bleachers and the lights and cameras of Fox Sports North. 

I'm sure they talked a lot on FSN about Handke Pit -- one of the locals told me not to call it a pit; it's a stadium. He was probably around when the glacier formed it and he was quite intent on it being called a stadium. But some other, younger locals told me to go ahead and call it the pit; they were just excited to be showcased on region-wide and nationwide TV (Fox Sports 2). 

Anyhow, I'm sure they talked a lot about Handke Pit on TV (I haven't watched the game or FSN's coverage yet, though I DVR'd it all), but here are some of my thoughts:

* It was an amazing setting. FSN and the Minnesota Wild do an awesome job every year of not only finding settings that look outstanding on TV, but also are outstanding in person. Lourdes coach Josh Spaniol sent me a pic about a week ago when he drove up to Elk River and drove by it. I told him today that the pic looked awesome but nothing could do justice to seeing it in person.

* The natural bowl, formed by a glacier, was the exact right size for a full-size rink with regulation boards and very good, mostly smooth ice, bleachers on each side and one end, and a smaller rink behind the bleachers that had youth hockey games being played on it all day. Trees line three sides at the top of the bowl and Handke Elementary School is on the fourth side, the west side. 

* I checked in at the school at 9 a.m. and they funneled the media out through a back door that overlooks the entire pit. What a sight to walk out the door and see the place, with near-empty bleachers. A handful of players from each team were standing outside their locker rooms (trailers that were just big enough to hold a full team; Lourdes and C-E-C had to be out of those trailers 10 minutes after their game so Elk River and Stillwater could move in) just soaking in the atmosphere.

* One of the coolest aspects of Handke Pit was on the south side, the same side as the team benches. Up at the top of the pit was a platform for handicap seating and then about 6-7 rows of wooden bleachers built into the side of the hill. It was an awesome vantage point to watch the games from and just take in the entire area. 

* The charming little warming house was turned into the media work area. The whole building is maybe 15-20 feet wide and deep. It's made entirely out of big rocks and built into the north side hill. It also had donuts and hot chocolate, which I'm just assuming are there every day, right? Right? 

* The rink itself was very well kept. The ice was pretty smooth, though twice I noticed players nearly lose their footing while skating slowly. Both times it was right up against the boards, though, so it may have been a function of snow built up. The ice was as smooth as you could hope for outside. The puck was hopping and bouncing more than you'll see on indoor ice, but it wasn't distracting. In talking with Lourdes goalie Jack Burkel after the game, he said there were a few awkward hops and bounces that caught him off guard. I noticed one in the first period, when he left his net to play a puck along the back boards and it hit a spot on the boards and bounced straight back out in front of the net. Burkel was able to quickly get back and clear it away. 

* As for the game itself, I'd say C-E-C controlled more of the play and had more scoring opportunities. That said, they scored twice on power plays, once on an empty-netter and once after what looked like a hand pass. I'm not making excuses, just saying the teams seemed more even than 4-1 indicates. 

* It was 0-0 going into the third period, which is exactly the type of game Lourdes needed it to be. They weren't going to win 6-5 or something like that. They needed a 1-0, 2-1 type of game. They had that until they took a couple of penalties and C-E-C converted on the power plays.

* We had a photographer at the event shooting pics for us; I'll post some of his professional shots when I see them later tonight, tomorrow or on Monday. For now, I'm going to post a few that I snapped on my cell phone. They're not great, but I think they give you an idea of what the Handke Pit -- or Handke Stadium -- looked like.

The first one is Montana Streit taking a faceoff at a west-end faceoff dot.

The second pic is Aaron Van Galder leading Lourdes out for the third period.

The third pic is the view of when I stepped out the back door of the Handke School for the first time.

The fourth pic is from the wooden bleachers built into the south-side hill of Handke Pit, up at the very top. What an amazing setting to watch a hockey game.

HAPPY HOCKEY DAY!!

 

MStreit

 

VanGalder

 

First_look

 

Warmups

 

January 10, 2014

Ice Time | Friday, Jan. 10

Posted by: Feldman So we're a week and a half into this new year; it's time to get the blog fired up again since I've been slacking all hockey season. I'll try to put something new up here each day, whether it's about the local high school teams, the Austin Bruins (I'll leave Ice Hawks notes to Phersy; he's all on top of that beat and I don't see them play often enough), former Rochester players who have moved on to juniors, college or pros, or maybe just some random thoughts on the Wild or NHL or college hockey. Whatever it may be, I'll try to have something fresh up here as often as possible. I have high school hockey on the brain right now, so let's get to it: * Rochester Century: The Panthers took one on the chin on Thursday night, a 12-0 loss to No. 6-ranked Lakeville North. But, at least from what I observed, it's not as bad as that score may indicate. For one thing, North piled on six goals in the third period, including four after Century made a goalie change. Not that North shouldn't have kept playing hard -- they are relentless on the forecheck and every bit deserving of their top-10 ranking in the state -- but when you get down 6-0 after two like Century did, then it climbs to 7 or 8 and keeps going, it's easy to sort of shut down. Century can take a couple of positive things out of the loss, though. First, if Century wants to make a run in the postseason, it's going to have to meet North again at some point. Aside from Lakeville South, Century is the only team in Section 1AA that will have faced North in the regular season. Century knows exactly what to expect and how hard it'll have to play if they meet North again. Second, from what I've seen of this Century team, it's not afraid to be physical and match opponents when it comes to hitting and battling in the corners and in front of the net. I also like to see that star defenseman Riese Zmolek has the green light to jump into the offensive play, and not only does he take advantage of those situations where he can join the rush, but his teammates are aware that he can and will do that and they cover for him defensively. Things don't get much easier for the Panthers, who are still unbeaten in Big Nine COnference play. They'll face Mankato West, the conference co-leader, on Saturday at the Rec Center. Speaking of West ... * Rochester Mayo: Mayo showed that it is among the best in the Big Nine on Thursday, playing West -- the No. 7-ranked team in Class A -- to a one-goal game at Graham Arena. West's Derek Frentz scored a short-handed goal with less than 30 seconds to go to win it 2-1. One of Mayo's concerns after the Kiwanis Festival had to be its play in its own end. And I'm not just talking about the defensemen, but all five skaters. It looks like they cleared some things up against West, and Mayo got another nice effort in goal from senior Eric Gibson. Gibson and Luke Utley have split time equally in goal and will continue to unless/until one of them grabs the job and runs with it. Mayo and Century meet next Thursday for the first time this season. Their matchups could be very important when it comes to home-ice advantage for the opening round of the section playoffs. North is clearly the No. 1 seed and Farmington has an argument to be No. 2, based on wins over all three Rochester teams already. If Lakeville South can beat Mayo when they meet on Jan. 28, the Cougars could have the inside track to the No. 2 or 3 seed. That would leave Century and Mayo to battle for No. 4 and a home game in the section quarterfinals, likely against each other. All of those things will shake out soon enough, but it's not too soon to start thinking about playoff matchups. * Rochester Lourdes: I can't remember a team I've covered being hit as hard by injuries as the Eagles have been this season. They lost D Griff Slightam before the season started. They've lost leaders Cody Cossette, Connor Fitzpatrick, Nick Roth and now Mason Carstens to injuries during the season. All that considered, the Eagles should still be competitive come playoff time. They're getting excellent goalie play from junior Jack Burkel and they've learned how to play in close, low-scoring games. That's likely how they'll have to win if they want to have some success in the postseason. They're also eight days away from playing on state-wide TV in Hockey Day Minnesota. It's a real bummer and shame that a few guys won't get to play in that game. ... While I'm thinking of HDM '14, I'll have a bunch of preview stories in next Friday's paper, the Jan. 17 edition. Regardless of how many players Lourdes is missing, I know the coaches and players will be sure to soak in the experience and just enjoy being a part of it. That's it for tonight. I'll try to put together more coherent thoughts from now on; tonight's post is just sort of a stream of consciousness that came out while watching a replay of the Wild game. I'm in the process of putting together this year's "The List." A list of all former Rochester-area players who are currently in juniors, college or pros. There are so many leagues and teams, I'm sure I'm bound to miss someone, but as soon as I get through all the leagues and team rosters, I'll post the list here. As always, let me know if I've omitted anyone.

September 27, 2013

High School Football picks | Week 5

FELDY: Last week was a tricky week. Neither Phersy nor I saw Austin beating Winona or Mankato East winning for the first time in a couple of years. I still managed to pick up a game on Phersy; I'm 20-8 overall, he's 16-12. Lots of good games this week that could go either way. Here are the games to watch this week. Phersy picks first:

BIG NINE CONFERENCE
Rochester JM (3-1) at Rochester Mayo (3-1)
Albert Lea (0-4) at Rochester Century (1-3)

SFA RED
Plainview-Elgin-Millville (3-1) at Kasson-Mantorville (4-0)
Rochester Lourdes (3-1) at Byron (2-2)

SFA BLUE
Rushford-Peterson (4-0) at Chatfield (4-1)

SFA WHITE
Pine Island (3-1) at Triton (3-1)
St. Charles (1-3) at Kenyon-Wanamingo (1-3)

* * * * *

PHERSY: Yeah, this is getting tough ...

BIG NINE CONFERENCE

Rochester Mayo 28, Rochester JM 22: This will be another classic in a long line of great games between these two schools. I've put a lot of stock in the Spartans this season, and hopefully, they continue moving in the right direction after the big win over Faribault.

Albert Lea 7, Rochester Century 6: Yep, I'm calling the upset. Injuries have ravaged an already thin Panthers team, and they have WRs playing quarterback.

SFA RED

Kasson-Mantorville 35, Plainview-Elgin-Millville 28: This is the best game of the week. KM has stumbled a bit, but the KoMets have survived to remain unbeaten. They'll get another tough test this week.

Rochester Lourdes 24, Byron 13: Lourdes bounced back last week after its first loss of the season. They have enough firepower to run past a dinged-up Byron club.

SFA BLUE

Chatfield 20, Rushford-Peterson 0: The Gophers' lone loss is a one-pointer to Caledonia. They've also had three consecutive shutouts. RP has a great defense, too, but the Gophers hold on.

SFA WHITE

Triton 24, Pine Island 16: This is a tough game to pick, but I'll go with the Cobras at home.

Kenyon-Wanamingo 40, St. Charles 39: Flip a coin ... I'll go with the home team.

* * * * *

FELDY: Lots of tough choices this week. Might have to toss a coin a few times...

BIG NINE

Mayo 24, JM 20: Mayo is finding its identity, starting to figure exactly what works for it and what doesn't. Plus, its line is improving each week, which will be crucial against a strong Rockets team. JM gets LB/QB Kaeleb Stangler back this week, which will be a huge boost. He'll give Mayo problems on both sides of the ball. This game is likely to determine the No. 2 seed in the Section 1AAAAA playoffs. Mayo wins this one -- but only if it can eliminate the penalties and mental mistakes that allowed Faribault to stay in the game last week.

Century 14, Albert Lea 8: Sounds like the Panthers will have a QB healthy enough to play this week. And there's some pride involved in this one; Century doesn't want to let Albert Lea get its first win of the year on the Panthers' home field. 

SFA RED

Kasson-Mantorville 29, P-E-M 26: P-E-M is a 1-point loss to Rochester Lourdes away from being undefeated. The Bulldogs will be the KoMets' toughest test yet, but they'll pass it -- in a close one -- on their home turf.

Lourdes 24, Byron 16: What a stretch for Byron -- P-E-M, Stewartville and Lourdes in consecutive weeks. This SFA Red Division is difficult every week. The Bears get up for this rivalry game, though, and they'll give Lourdes a battle, but the Eagles' defense will hold off Byron in the end.

SFA BLUE

Chatfield 23, R-P 7: R-P is a strong team, unbeaten through four weeks, but Chatfield is borderline elite this season -- bringing a 4-1 record into the game only because of a one-point loss to Caledonia in a Zero Week game. The Gophers' defense hasn't allowed a point in September.

SFA WHITE

Pine Island 19, Triton 17: Pine Island has scored 98 points in the past three weeks; Triton has allowed 7 in that same span. Something has to give. This is as big a game as the P.I. program has had for some time. I think they'll be up for it physically and emotionally and I'll take the Panthers in what some might consider a mild upset.

St. Charles 28, Kenyon-Wanamingo 24: I flip-flopped a few times on this one, so the coin settled it: The Saints get their second win of the season, their first on the road.

September 13, 2013

High School Football Picks | Week 3

FELDY: There are a couple of really big early-season games this week, none bigger than No. 1 Owatonna at No. 2 Mankato West in a game that could decide the Big 9 Conference champ. Phersy went 4-3 last week and is 8-6 overall; I was 6-1 and improved to 11-3.

Phersy picks first this week, so here are the games we'll predict in Week 3:

THIS WEEK'S GAMES

BIG 9 CONFERENCE
Owatonna (2-0) at Mankato West (2-0)
Winona (0-2) at Rochester Century (1-1) 

SFA
Plainview-Elgin-Millville (1-1) at Byron (2-0)
Stewartville (2-0) at Lourdes (2-0)
Cannon Falls (1-1) at La Crescent (1-1)
Lewiston-Altura (0-2) at Triton (1-1)

SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE
Mabel-Canton (1-1) at Lanesboro (1-1) 

*****

PHERSY: I hate picking second; you always pick a few just to be different. At least that's my excuse for stinking last week. I have no excuse this week ...

BIG 9 CONFERENCE

Owatonna 40, Mankato West 21: I know it's in Mankato, but I'll take Huskies to win big in a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2. Owatonna is a more balanced team, and West doesn't have as many offensive weapons this season (after Claussen, there's a big dropoff at receiver).

Century 20, Winona 6: Battle of the bottom half of the Big Nine. Century doesn't have much, but Winona is really down.

SFA

Byron 15, Plainview-Elgin-Millville 8: The Bulldogs look like one of the better defensive teams in the SFA. But Byron will do just enough.

Stewartville 26, Lourdes 21: Stewartville is coming off of an impressive victory over Lake City, while Lourdes beat PEM by a point. Maybe this is a sucker game? Lourdes has the tools, but I love that Stewartville passing game.

La Crescent 28, Cannon Falls 14: La Crescent is back. It lost a close game to K-M last week, but the Lancers already have a win over Triton and they look much improved. Cannon Falls has great line play, but the Bombers need some skill players to step up.

Triton 19, Lewiston-Altura 6: This might be a better game than people think...

SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE

Lanesboro 34, Mabel-Canton 33: This might be the game of the week. But I learned my lesson. I'm not betting against Niko Anderson again. He's a monster on both sides of the ball.

* * *

FELDY: Lots of tough games this week. Maybe Phersy will be back in this thing come Week 4...

BIG NINE

Owatonna 35, West 21: Not only is this a matchup of the top two teams in the state, it's also likely a battle for the Big 9 title and, dare we say, a possible preview of the Class AAAAA state title game? The Huskies are just too good in every phase, though. They prove it tonight.

Winona 23, Century 12: The Winhawks have had a really tough start to the season, having to face Rochester JM and Owatonna in the first two weeks. They'll rebound this week against a Century team that struggled to get much going up front against Mayo last week.

SFA

P-E-M 18, Byron 15: P-E-M showed just how good it is defensively a week ago, when it limited a potent Lourdes offense to one touchdown in a 10-9 loss. The 'Dogs will try to slow down another strong offense (Byron averages 34 points per game through two weeks) this week, on the road. 

Lourdes 27, Stewartville 24: This isn't a bad upset special on your part, Phersy, picking Stewie to beat Lourdes, especially based off how they played last week. I think Lourdes received an early-season wake-up call, though. It doesn't matter how talented you are, you can't let down in practice or on game day, especially in an SFA Red Division that is strong from top to bottom. This is the Eagles' home opener; they'll go up by a couple scores in the third quarter and hold off a very good Stewie team in the fourth.

La Crescent 33, Cannon Falls 23: The Lancers pushed a really good Kasson-Mantorville team to the end last week at K-M. The Lancers return home this week and get a two-score win against the Bombers.

Lewiston-Altura 21, Triton 14: I went back and forth on this one before deciding on L-A in a slight upset. Sure, it's Triton's first home game and the Cobras are coming off a big win at Cotter last week. L-A played well in its opening loss to P-E-M despite the 26-9 score. The Cards are still searching for their first win; I think they get it this week.

SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE

Lanesboro 38, Mabel-Canton 30: The Burros get back on track after a tough loss to a top-10 team last week (Spring Grove). I still think Lanesboro shows up as the third-best team in a really good SEC, behind No. 8 Spring Grove and No. 2 Grand Meadow.

September 04, 2013

Hockey | Lourdes excited to play in Hockey Day Minnesota '14

Posted by: Feldman

The Rochester Lourdes hockey team has played on statewide TV each of the past five seasons. The five-time defending Section 1A champions have even played in primetime a couple of times on the opening day of the state hockey tournament.

The Eagles will be on TV again this season, even if they don't reach state. This time it will be nearly two months in advance of the state tournament.

The announcement was made official on Wednesday: Rochester Lourdes will play Cloquet/Esko/Carlton at the "Handke Pit" in Elk River on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 10:15 a.m. as part of Hockey Day Minnesota '14. The game will be televised around the state and parts of neighboring states on FSN.

The Lourdes-CEC game will be the first game of the day, so viewership should be strong across the state with pumped-up hockey fans ready for a full day of live-televised games.

Other games set for HDM '14:

• 1 p.m.: Elk River vs. Stillwater — boys (at Elk River)

• 4 p.m.: Elk River vs. Anoka — girls (at Elk River; tape delayed on FSN after Minnesota Wild game)

• 5 p.m.: University of Minnesota vs. Ohio State (at Mariucci Arena)

• 8 p.m.: Minnesota Wild vs. Dallas Stars (at Xcel Energy Center)

Lourdes coach Josh Spaniol said representatives from FSN and the Minnesota Wild approached him and Lourdes A.D. Marv Peters during last winter's Section 1A tournament, then plans were confirmed during the state tournament in March for Lourdes to be a part of HDM.

Lourdes had to drop a scheduled game against Duluth Marshall to accomodate the HDM schedule, but Spaniol said Marshall was very cooperative and the teams will meet again in future seasons.

The Wild, FSN, and Minnesota Hockey made the announcement official on Wednesday.

"The biggest thing for us is just having the opportunity to do this," Spaniol said, "to just play outside in the snow, the wind, whatever. It's not about winning or losing. It's just about enjoying the experience. I don't care if the wind is blowing 25, 50 mph, whatever, let's just enjoy the moment."

I'll have a story with more comments from Spaniol, and a note about a special uniform the Eagles will likely wear for the HDM game, in Thursday's P-B.

March 17, 2013

High School Hockey | 2012-13 All-Area co-Players of the Year

Posted by: Feldman

The 2012-13 All-Area Boys Hockey Team is posted in the blog post directly below this one. If you can't scroll down to it, here's a link.

Now, the story on the 2012-13 All-Area co-Players of the Year:

• • • • •

Alex Funk and Jason Samuelson came to the Rochester Lourdes hockey team four years ago with big expectations.

They lived up to those right away.

The talented forwards combined for 57 points as freshmen and they only got better and better as their high school careers went on.

They wrapped up their Lourdes careers eight days ago, playing in their fourth Class A state tournament, where the Eagles placed sixth.

Funk and Samuelson nearly matched one another point-for-point throughout their careers and their senior seasons were no different. Funk finished with 82 points this season, while Samuelson had 81. They leave Lourdes as the top two scorers in program history — Samuelson with 226 points, Funk with 222.

They also leave as the 2013 Faceoff Blog All-Area co-Players of the Year.

"I wish they could have ended in a tie," Lourdes coach Josh Spaniol said of the duo's career point totals. "They're pretty special kids. They've been a part of our program for so long. They put themselves on the map in the state and helped our program get back to higher levels.
"Without those two, our program wouldn't be where it is."

Samuelson and Funk blew away the previous career points records at Lourdes. Sean Corfits held the record previously, with 172 career points, since his gradation in 1992. Samuelson passed him in early January and Funk followed soon after. They then continued to pull away and put up numbers that will be difficult to match.

To put their success into perspective: Corfits finished his entire varsity career with 172 points. Funk had 152 points and Samuelson had 151 total in their junior and senior seasons.

Funk finished his career with 114 goals and 108 assists. He will likely play in the North American Hockey League next season, but will also have a chance to attend some United States Hockey League camps this summer.

"He just works hard, he never backs down," Lourdes coach Josh Spaniol said of Funk. "He got hammered a couple of times against East Grand Forks (in a state tournament quarterfinal), but he didn't shy away. He's not afraid to take a hit or give a hit. That makes him such a competitive player.

Samuelson finished his high school career with exactly 100 goals and 126 assists. He'll play baseball at the University of Iowa, beginning next season.

"He's just a great kid on and off the ice," Spaniol said. "He'll be a great leader wherever he goes."

Both players will leave big holes to fill when practice starts in about eight months.

"We're just thankful to have had them in the program," Spaniol said. "We're lucky they chose to come to school at Lourdes, a great academic school. They'll be well-prepared for college. I'm thankful we were able to coach them for four years — they're very coachable kids. They got out of it exactly what they put into it."

FACEOFF BLOG ALL-AREA PLAYER OF THE YEAR
2013 — Alex Funk and Jason Samuelson (Sr., F, Rochester Lourdes)
2012 — Alex Funk, Jr., F, Rochester Lourdes
2011 — Rory Vesel, Sr., D, Rochester Lourdes
2010 — No POY (the inaugural All-Area Team didn't include a POY)

High School Hockey | 2012-13 All-Area Team

Here we go with the fourth annual Faceoff Blog All-Area Team. I'll lay out the selection process once again: We have seven teams in our coverage area (Century, JM, Lourdes, Mayo, Austin, Dodge County and Red Wing). We pick a Player of the Year, a First Team, Second Team and PUC (players under consideration -- our honorable mention). We don't try to make sure a player from every team is on one of the teams, we just put the guys who we feel have been the best players this season on the team.

The story on the Co-Players of the Year will be posted soon and will appear directly above this post in the blog.

So, that said, here we go with this year's All-Area Teams:

FIRST TEAM

F — Alex Funk, Sr., Lourdes (Co-Player of the Year; 46-36—82): The most complete forward in Rochester and arguably the most complete forward to come through Lourdes in the past five years, during its run of five straight state tournament appearances. Funk had eight hat tricks, 13 multi-point games. He had point streaks of 16 games and 11 games during his senior season. He'll play for sure in the NAHL next season, though he'll also get some looks at USHL camps this summer.

F — Jason Samuelson, Sr., Lourdes (Co-Player of the Year; 28-53—81): Samuelson, somewhat surprisingly, surpassed 50 assists this season. I say somewhat surprisingly because he has one of the heaviest and best shots in Section 1. He was one of the top scorers in the Upper Midwest Elite League last fall and carried over his strong play into the high school season. Samuelson will play baseball at the University of Iowa next season.

F — Nick Paulson, Sr., John Marshall (16-23—39): Paulson tied for fourth in scoring in the Big Nine Conference and led all of Rochester's Big Nine players in scoring. He did so on a team that missed three key players for nearly half of the season, making Paulson one of the only options for the Rockets offensively. He had at least one point in 21 of 25 regular-season games and had 12 multi-point games. Paulson had one hat trick, in a five-point game against Faribault on Jan. 15.

D — Will Holtan, Sr., Mayo (10-15—25): Holtan, who had seven multi-point games from the blue line for the Big Nine champs, was one of the best two-way defensemen in the conference. Holtan was a key to Mayo's power play, too, and he was skilled at getting shots from the blue line, through traffic to the net. He went scoreless in five of the first six games, but then put up 24 points in Mayo's final 21 games.

D — Karl Krecke, Sr., Lourdes (8-20—28): The four-year varsity regular and two-year captain was the leading scorer among all defensemen in Rochester this season. Krecke was a rare two-year captain for the Eagles and played in four state tournaments. He was at his best late in the season, too, when he posted nine points in six postseason games.

G — Case Hansen, Sr., Mayo (21-6-0, 2.06 goals-against average, .908 save pct.): Hansen played all but seven minutes in goal for the Big Nine Conference champion Spartans, leading them to a 21-win season. It's the first time Mayo reached 20 victories since the 1999-2000 season. Hansen recorded three shutouts and allowed just 56 goals in 27 games. He stopped 555 of 611 shots, an average of 20.5 saves per game.


SECOND TEAM

F — Ryan Martin, Sr., Mayo (19-18—37): Martin, an equally good scorer and passer, led the Big Nine champs in scoring.

F — Adam Alcott, Sr., Mayo (15-21—36): Alcott, playing on a line with Martin all season, had at least one point in 21 of Mayo's 27 games.

F — Dalton Travis, Sr., Century (10-10—20): Travis was the leading scorer for a Panthers team that relied upon its top line quite heavily for offense.

D — Griff Slightam, So., Lourdes (9-13—22): Slightam can not only produce on offense, he was the most physical defenseman on the ice in most of Lourdes' games.

D — Tommy Fjelsted, Jr., Mayo (9-18—27): Like Slightam, Fjelsted has a great mix of offensive ability and physical play.

G — Jacob Garvey, Sr., John Marshall (12-11-0, 2.72, .904): Garvey did what the Rockets needed him to do — he got increasingly better as the season progressed.


PUC (Players Under Consideration)
FORWARDS
Sam Broman, Jr., John Marshall (11-20—31)
Tanner Dufault, So., Dodge County (15-24—39)
Ethan Larson, Sr., Austin (15-20—35)
Alex Rezansoff, Sr., Red Wing (14-14—28)
Sam Robinson, Jr., Dodge County (19-12—31)
Marcus Stoulil, Sr., Austin (23-16—39)

DEFENSEMEN
Jared Bromberg, Jr., John Marshall (2-18—20)
Alec McGinn, Sr., John Marshall (3-13—16)
Riese Zmolek, So., D, Century (8-3—11)

GOALIES
Rainer Londino-Green, Sr., G, Austin (6-16-0, 3.63, .898)
Eric Rohleder, Sr., G, Century (7-19-0, 4.22, .881)