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11 posts categorized "Mankato West"

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 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 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.

February 27, 2013

Section 1A Final | Lourdes 6, Mankato West 1. FINAL SCORE

Posted by: Feldman

(NOTE: In order to see updates, you'll have to keep refreshing this page; it won't do it automatically, I don't believe.)

Welcome to the Rochester Rec Center for the Section 1A boys hockey championship game. Lots of storylines with this one.

I'll post goal summaries here and random notes during each period of tonight's game between No. 2 seed and No. 15-ranked Mankato West (22-5-0) and No. 1 seed and No. 7-ranked Rochester Lourdes (19-8-0). I'll also have updates on Twitter (@PBFeldy)

FIRST PERIOD

No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD

1. RL, Alex Funk 39 (Karl Krecke 15, Jason Samuelson 47) 5:38. Great pressure by Lourdes on a power play leads to Funk being left alone in the left circle. Rips a wrist shot short side. LOURDES 1, WEST 0

2. RL, Griff Slightam 8 (Funk 31) 7:24. Funk carries the puck around behind the net and feeds Slightam, who blasts one past Spiess. LOURDES 2, WEST 0

3. RL, Funk 40 (Samuelson 48, Krecke 16) 13:04. Samuelson lets a shot go from near the point, Funk with a great tip in front to re-direct it past Spiess.

THIRD PERIOD

4. RL, Funk 41 (unassisted) 1:03. Lourdes buzzes again on the opening shift of the period and Funk scores from close range to complete the hat trick.

5. RL, Funk 42 (Krecke 17) 9:02 (pp). Funk puts home a pass from Krecke for his fourth goal of the game, Krecke's third assist.

6. MW, Ryan Jutting 5 (Max Mettler 19) 11:07. Jutting puts West on the board on the first shot on goal against Andrew Ellingson, who replaced Jack Burkel with 6:42 to go.

7. RL, Luke Morrey 1 (Slightam 12) 12:10 (dp). With a delayed penalty coming against West, Lourdes gets the extra attacker on the ice and Morrey notches his first goal of the season. 

* * * 

STARTERS
WEST (22-5-0)
G 33 Jake Spiess (10-4-0, 2.35 GAA, .908 save pct)
D 15 Scott McKissick (3-30--33) -- 24 Max Mettler (4-18--22)
F 3 Nick Campbell (17-32--49) -- 9 Galt Goettl (21-28--49) -- 7 Derek Frentz (38-32--70)

LOURDES (19-8-0)
G 1 Jack Burkel (7-4-0, 3.10, .886)
D 12 Karl Krecke (8-14--22) -- 21 Griff Slightam (7-11--18)
F 4 Ben Weir (15-10--25) -- 20 Alex Funk (38-30--68) -- 7 Jason Samuelson (26-46--72) 

 

* * * 

PRE-GAME NOTES

* Lourdes is going for a fifth consecutive section championship and fifth consecutive state tournament trip, something a Rochester team has never accomplished

* Lourdes is playing in its sixth consecutive Section 1A championship game. The last team to beat the Eagles in a section final? Mankato West in 2008. That was the Ricky Litchfield-Corey Leivermann team that put up ridiculous point totals.

* This is West's first appearance in the section final since they won it in 2008.

* Lourdes has at least three players who will play in their fourth section title game tonight: D Karl Krecke, F Jason Samuelson and F Alex Funk. Lourdes D Griff Slightam is playing in his third section final as just a sophomore.

* Samuelson and Funk continue to set themselves miles apart from everyone else on Lourdes' all-time scoring list. Sean Corfits, a '92 Lourdes grad, entered this season with the all-time points lead (172), but Funk and Samuelson have left him and everyone else in their ice shavings. Samuelson has 217 career points, while Funk has 208. 

* Both teams have a 70-point scorer. West's Derek Frentz has 38-32--70 this season, while Lourdes' Samuelson has 26-46--72. Funk (38-30--68) is close.

* West has two more players on the verge of topping 50 points: junior forwards Nick Campbell (17-32--49) and Galt Goettl (21-28--49).

* If Saturday's section semifinals are any indication, odds are this game will hinge on special teams and who can stay out of the box. As I noted in my preview to the game in Tuesday's Post-Bulletin, there were a total of 15 goals scored in Saturday's two section semifinal games. Eight of those goals were scored on special teams (seven power-play goals, one short-handed). 

* * *

AROUND THE STATE

There are four other section championship games being played tonight. I'll try to provide updates on those games here and on Twitter (@PBFeldy) as much as possible. Those other section finals tonight are:

Section 3A: No. 4 seed Marshall vs. No. 6 seed Hutchinson (at Gustavus Adolphus College)
Section 7A: No. 1 Duluth Denfeld vs. No. 2 Duluth Marshall (at Amsoil Arena, Duluth)
Section 2AA: No. 1 Edina vs. No. 3 Burnsville (Mariucci Arena, Minneapolis, 6 p.m.)
Section 6AA: No. 1 Benilde-St. Margaret's vs. No. 3 Wayzata (Mariucci Arena, 8 p.m.) 

In Section 5AA, there are a pair of semifinal games being played tonight at the State Fair Coliseum:
* No. 1 seed Blaine vs. No. 4 Champlin Park (6 p.m.)
* No. 2 Centennial vs. No. 3 Maple Grove (8 p.m.) 

September 05, 2012

Local hockey | Emptying my notebook

Posted by: Feldman

Lots of hockey notes that I've let build up that we need to get to here. Now that all of our high school fall sports previews are out of the way, I can get back to some hockey stuff that I've been meaning to get to for, in some cases, months!

Here we go ...

• John Marshall boys coach Jay Ness didn't really celebrate the Fourth of July this summer. He did his celebrating a week or so later, when he spent a few days in Sault Ste Marie, Mich. Ness was there to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of Lake Superior State University's 1992 NCAA Division I hockey championship. It marked the school's second national title in four years, and it would go on to win another, in 1994. Ness played on the 1994 team, as well, as a senior. He finished his four-year LSSU career with 24 goals and 38 assists for 62 points. That '92 LSSU team was coached by Jeff Jackson, now the head coach at Notre Dame. Among the star players on that team: Brian Rolston, who has played more than 1,200 games in the NHL, including 241 with the Minnesota Wild. Rolston had 46 points for the '92 Lakers championship team; Ness had 19 that year (nine goals, 10 assists).

• As things change here at the P-B, my duties are expanding to include coverage of the North American Hockey League's Austin Bruins. The coverage of our local and area high schools won't suffer; but you'll probably notice more blog posts and, if you follow me on Twitter (@PBFeldy), more tweets about the Bruins and the NAHL this season. You likely won't see many stories on the Bruins appear in the actual Rochester print edition; my coverage will be mainly for the Austin edition of the P-B (yes, we put out a separate edition each day in Austin). The stories I do write on the Bruins, I'll link to them here, because ...

• Two former Rochester high school players will be playing really close to home this season. John Marshall's Zach Johnson and former Century standout Drew Anderson have made the Austin Bruins' roster. In addition to this blog, you can keep up with the Bruins on their web site.

• Four current Rochester Lourdes players have been selected as featured players in this year's Minnesota Hockey Hub/Breakdown Sports 2012-13 High School Hockey Guide. Defensemen Karl Krecke and Griff Slightam, and forwards Jason Samuelson and Alex Funk will be the first Eagles players to be featured in the book. We'll link to the book here when it becomes available for purchase. Funk, Samuelson and Krecke begin play in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League this weekend.

A bunch of former Lourdes players are still playing and/or are in new places this fall:

• Two of the team's leading scorers from last year, forward Landon Farrell and defenseman Justin Dewitz, will play AAA midgets with Russell Stover this season.

• Former all-state defenseman Rory Vesel is back for his second season with the NAHL's Bismarck (N.D.) Bobcats. Vesel was just starting to play very well last year when he suffered a broken jaw and missed a couple of months. We'll get to watch Vesel a bunch this year, as the Bobcats are in the same division as Austin.

• Former Lourdes defenseman Alec Brandrup is playing close to home, too. He's with the Coulee Region Chill of the NAHL. Coulee Region is based in Onalaska, Wis.

• Another former Eagles d-man, Pete Spratte, will be a freshman at Lake Superior State University this fall. LSSU plays in the CCHA, which will merge into the new-look WCHA after this season. That means Spratte will get to play in Mankato each season, against MSU, Mankato, and former Rochester Mayo standout Charlie Thauwald. Former La Crescent star Eriah Hayes is a senior at MSU, Mankato, this year.

• Ex-Eagles netminder Nick Heimer is a freshman again. Heimer was offered a spot recently at Hamline University and he accepted. I'm going to try to get in touch with Nick in the coming days to find out what he thinks of finally playing college hockey and just how he ended up at Hamline.

• Former Lourdes forward Tyler Voigt will return to Tufts University for his second season of Division III hockey.

• Ex-Lourdes standout F Brandon Bahnemann will be a senior at St. Thomas this year. The 2007 Lourdes grad started his college hockey career at Division I Bentley University, but transferred back closer to home and will close his college career this season.

• Mankato West grad Tyler Bruggeman, the goalie who backstopped the Austin Bruins to the NAHL Central Division championship series last spring, will play college hockey at Division III St. Scholastica in Duluth.

• Former Rochester Century goalie Brock Kautz will play in the NAHL, too, with the Janesville Jets.

• Former Century d-man Connor Faupel will play with the Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League again this season. Faupel helped the team win the Turnbull Cup, the league's playoff championship, last season and advance to the Royal Bank Cup, the tournament that crowns Canada's Junior A champion.

• Century's Dalton Travis is on the Rochester Ice Hawks opening-day roster. I'm guessing he's doing a before-and-after deal, where he'll play with the Hawks until the high school season starts, then return to them after the high school season ends. I haven't confirmed that, yet, but I'd bet that's the case.

• Red Wing native Ryan Kesti is entering his third season with Northern Michigan University. Kesti lettered for the first time last year, when he had two points in 34 games.

• Byron's DJ Vold is a key returning forward for the Granite City Lumberjacks of the NA3HL. The 'Jacks won the NA3 title last year, in addition to winning the league's Central Division championship.

That's a fairly comprehensive list of area players who are playing in college, juniors or elsewhere this fall. I haven't scoured all college and junior rosters yet, so this isn't complete, but, if you know of former Rochester or area players who are competing in juniors, college or pro hockey, let me know. I'll start compiling a more comprehensive list soon.

March 16, 2012

H.S. Hockey | All-Big Nine Team announced

Posted by: Feldman

The All-Big Nine Conference boys hockey team was released on Thursday. As you'd expect, the conference champion Century Panthers led the way with six players on the team, plus four honorable mention. Big 9 runner-up Mayo has five players on the team, plus four honorable mention; JM has two players on the team and six honorable mention. 

Here's the complete list, which you can also find by going to the Big 9 website and clicking the link that says "2011-12 Big 9 Boys Hockey All-Conference."

BIG 9 ALL-CONFERENCE

Century: F Nick Jacobs, Sr.; D, Brandon Kautz, Sr.; G, Erik Wennberg, Sr.; F, Dalton Travis, Jr.; F, Hayden Ashworth, So.; D, Riese Zmolek, Fr.
Mayo: D Steve Serratore, Sr.; G Case Hansen, Jr.; F Adam Alcott, Jr.; F, Ryan Martin, Jr.; F, Max Whitney, Jr.
John Marshall: F, Gavin Sandwick, Jr.; D, Alec McGinn, Jr.
Owatonna: F, Justin Brown; F, Soren Colstrup; F, Matt Ratzloff.
Mankato West: F, Tyler Resnar; G, Zach Fox.
Albert Lea: F, Levi Hacker; D, Auston Larson.
Winona: D, Luke Hemker.
Austin: F, Ethan Larson.
Mankato East: G, Lucas Weihe.
Faribault: None.

HONORABLE MENTION
Century: D, Matt Sturchio; F, Blake Heroff; F, Tyler Iverson; F, Isaac St. Marie.
Mayo: D, Jack Dingle; D, Tommy Fjelsted; D, Will Holtan; F, Nolan Edwards.
JM: G, Jacob Garvey; D, Matt Broman; D, Ryan Lakin; F,  Alex Lovett; F, Hunter Heightland; F, Kyle Andrews.
Owatonna: G, Luke Ebeling; Aaron Kirsch; Robert Dietz; Tyler Yentsch; Alex Whited.
Mankato West: D, Billy Bingham; Josh Christenson.
Albert Lea: None.
Winona: F, Cameron Kelly; F, Ryan Grant.
Austin: F, Marcus Stoulil.
Mankato East: None.
Faribault: G, Cody Morsching.

February 09, 2012

High School Hockey Tonight | Feb. 9, 2012

Posted by: Feldman

All four Rochester teams are in action tonight, so I won't waste much time. Let's get right to it.

TONIGHT'S GAMES

JM at WINONA
When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Bud King Ice Arena, Winona.
Records: JM 8-5-0 Big Nine, 9-10-2 overall; Winona 3-10-0, 6-14-0.
Coaches: JM, Jay Ness; Winona, Fran McDevitt.
Last meeting: JM beat Winona, 11-1, at the Rochester Rec Center on Jan. 7.
Last game: JM lost at Faribault, 6-3, on Feb. 2; Winona won, 3-2, at Mankato West on Saturday.
Game notes: While Winona s 6-14 overall, it is 4-4 in its past eight games. ... The Winhawks are led by senior F Ryan Grant (9-7--16). They have just four players with 10 or more points. ... JM has scored a total of seven goals in its past five games. ... The Rockets are led in scoring by a pair of junior forwards -- Gavin Sandwick (29 points) and Hunter Heightland (24). ... The Rockets have just three regular season games remaining after tonight -- Saturday at Owatonna, Tuesday at Albert Lea and Feb. 16 vs. Austin.

*****

CENTURY at AUSTIN
When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Riverside Arena, Austin.
Records: Century 10-2-1 Big Nine, 14-5-2 overall; Austin 1-11-0, 4-17-0.
Coaches: Century, Josh Klingfus; Austin, Tim Peterson.
Last meeting: Century beat Austin, 13-0, on Dec. 18, 2010.
Last game: Century won at Albert Lea, 5-1, on Monday; Austin lost at West, 10-0, on Feb. 2.
Game notes: Austin's victories this season have against Waseca (twice), Dodge County (in OT) and Mankato East. ... The Packers have just one win in 2012. ... Junior forwards Marcus Stoulil (15-10--25) and Ethan Larson (11-11--22) are the Packers' leading scorers. ... Century junior F Dalton Travis is now fourth on the team in scoring (14-8--22), after a hat trick against Albert Lea on Monday. ... His 14 goals are a team high. ... This is the only meeting of the season between Century and Austin.

*****

MAYO at MANKATO WEST
When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
Where: All Seasons Arena, Mankato.
Records: Mayo 10-2-0 Big Nine, 13-8-0 overall; West 8-7-0, 10-11-1.
Coaches: Mayo, Lorne Grosso; West, Curtis Doell.
Last meeting: Mayo beat West, 4-2, on Dec. 8, at Graham Arena. Spartans defenseman Jack Dingle scored the winner with 3:23 to go in the game.
Last game: Mayo beat Mankato East, 7-0, on Saturday; West lost at LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter, 4-1, on Monday.
Game notes: West has gone 4-7-0 since a 6-3-1 start. ... Mayo leads the Big Nine Conference with 24 points. The Spartans are attempting to win their first conference championship since 2002. If they win their remaining games, they will capture the championship. ... The Spartans are led by junior F Adam Alcott, a playmaker who has 7 goals to go with his 24 assists. ... West is led by Tyler Mata, a senior forward who has 24 points (8-16--24).

*****

No. 16-A ROGERS at No. 9-A LOURDES
When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Graham Arena I.
Records: Rogers 15-5-1; Lourdes 15-7-0.
Coaches: Lourdes, Josh Spaniol.
Last meeting: Lourdes won at Rogers, 4-1, on Feb. 15, 2011. Senior D Rory Vesel had a hat trick for the Eagles.
Last game: Rogers won at Proctor, 7-1, on Saturday; Lourdes won at then-No. 9 Blake, 6-2, on Tuesday.
Game notes: Rogers is 9-0-1 in its past 10 games. It hasn't lost since Jan. 3, a 6-5 overtime loss at Shjon Podein-coached St. Louis Park. ... Rogers plays in the Mississippi 8 Conference and Section 5, Class A, in the postseason. ... It has four players with 30 or more points, led by senior forwards Neal Smith (17-23--40) and Zach Hnath (18-20--38). ... Two senior goalies share time for the Royals. Robby Vukelich is 9-3-0, with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage. Keaton Mumm is 6-2-1, with a 2.34 GAA and a .916 save pct. ... Lourdes' top line of Jason Samuelson, Landon Farrell and Alex Funk have combined for 28 points in the past four games. ... Eagles' senior D Justin Dewitz has seven points in that span and is on a six-game points streak.

January 24, 2012

High School Hockey | Breaking down the Big 9 race

Posted by: Feldman

While the boys hockey regular season is two-thirds complete, most Big Nine Conference teams are only halfway through their conference schedules. Still, to me, it's not too early to break down the race for the conference crown.

I know, teams are ultimately judged on what they do once the Section 1 tournament starts, but let's not discount the significance of the bragging rights, the banner and the great memories that come with winning a conference championship.

Austin and Mankato East are officially eliminated from winning the conference; Winona and Faribault are on the verge of elimination.

Mayo, Owatonna, Century, John Marshall and Albert Lea all still have realistic hopes of winning the Big Nine; Mankato West can still be considered a contender, too, though they'll need a little more help than others to win the conference.

So, here's where the contenders for the Big Nine title stand with about three weeks to go in the regular season:

ROCHESTER MAYO
Currently: 8-1-0 Big Nine, first place, 18 points
Conference loss: John Marshall 
Points remaining to play for: 16
Total possible points: 34
Notes: Mayo has the best-case scenario on its side. The Spartans get to use the cliche, they "control their own destiny." Indeed, if they win out, they win the Big Nine. They're the only one-loss team left, though they still have games left against four of the other five teams with hopes of winning the conference. The Spartans have avenged their only conference loss twice, beating JM at the Kiwanis Festival and again last Saturday.

OWATONNA
Currently: 7-3-1, second place, 17 points
Conference losses: Albert Lea, Century, Mayo.
Conference tie: Century
Points remaining to play for: 12
Total possible points: 29
Notes: The Huskies hold one-goal wins against JM and Mankato West, a tie and a one-goal loss against Century, and a one-goal loss against Mayo. In other words, they're a couple of bounces away from leading the conference right now. ... If the Huskies are going to capture the Big Nine crown, they'll have to be road warriors. They have road games remaining against Albert Lea, Mayo and Mankato West.

JOHN MARSHALL
Currently: 7-4-0, T-3rd place, 16 points
Conference losses: West, Century, Owatonna, Mayo
Points remaining to play for: 12
Total possible points: 28
Notes: JM holds victories against two of the Big Nine teams it lost to -- Mayo and Century. The Rockets can avenge their other two conference losses, with games against West (Thursday) and at Owatonna (Feb. 11) still to come. ... JM plays four of its final six conference games on the road.

ALBERT LEA
Currently: 7-3-0, T-3rd place, 16 points
Conference losses: Mayo, Century, JM
Points remaining to play for: 14
Total possible points: 30
Notes: The Tigers will have to find some consistency if they hope to challenge for the conference title into the final week. They had a five-game winning streak early in the season (Dec. 6-Dec. 20), but have not won two games in a row since then. 

CENTURY
Currently: 7-2-1, 5th place, 15 points
Conference losses: JM, Mayo
Conference tie: Owatonna
Points remaining to play for: 16
Total possible points: 31
Notes: Along with Mayo, Century has the most remaining points to play for. The Panthers have been battling some injury issues, particularly on defense, but it appears as though they may be getting healthy in time for the stretch run and the postseason. They also have two four-point games remaining -- at Austin and at Mankato East. Four of Century's six remaining conference games are on the road.

MANKATO WEST
Currently: 6-5-0, 6th place, 12 points
Conference losses: Albert Lea, Mayo, Century (x2), Owatonna.
Points remaining: 14
Total possible points: 26
Notes: The Scarlets need to win out and get a lot of help; they need Mayo to lose at least three more times, and need the other teams in front of them to lose at least once. West has games remaining against JM, Albert Lea, Mayo and Owatonna. Five of the Scarlets' final eight games are at home, including their last three.

December 17, 2011

High School Hockey Today | Dec. 17, 2011

Posted by: Feldman

Lots of stuff to get to here, with all four Rochester teams in action today. Let's get right to it.

TODAY'S GAMES

No. 5 LOURDES at NORTHFIELD
When: 2 p.m.
Where: Northfield Ice Arena
Records: Lourdes 4-2-0 overall; Northfield 5-1-0 overall
Last game: Lourdes lost to No. 1-ranked St. Thomas Academy, 8-1, on Wednesday. Northfield beat Red Wing, 4-2, on Thursday.
Last meeting: Lourdes beat the Raiders, 7-2, on Dec. 21, 2010, at Graham Arena. Jason Samuelson had a hat trick for the Eagles, and Landon Farrell and Sam Slightam had two assists each.
Spotlight players: Lourdes has 10 seniors listed on the varsity roster. We're putting them all in the spotlight today because this is a time when those guys need to be at their best, both as players and leaders. When you suffer a loss like Lourdes did on Wednesday, it's the team leaders who need to help the younger players realize that there's a lot of season left and, while you can learn some things from a loss like that, you also have to put it behind you. In a sense, today's game is even bigger. It will have a big impact on seeding come playoff time. ... Northfield senior goalie Isaak Tjaden is among the best in the section. He's off to a red-hot start, with a 5-1-0 record, a 1.54 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage. He stopped 50 shots in a 4-2 win at Red Wing on Thursday. His only loss this season came to defending Section 3A champ New Ulm, by a 2-1 score.

JM at MANKATO WEST
When: Tonight, 6 p.m.
Where: All Seasons Arena, Mankato
Records: JM 4-2-1 overall, 3-0-0 Big Nine; West 3-3-1 overall, 3-3-0 Big Nine.
Last game: JM beat Mankato East, 8-0, on Thursday; West beat Marshall, 7-0, on Tuesday.
Last meeting: West beat JM, 6-0, on Dec. 21, 2010, at the Rochester Rec Center.
Spotlight players: West has some talented underclassmen and the name at the top of their scoring list is a familiar one. Junior forward Ryan Jutting, son of MSU, Mankato men's hockey coach Troy Jutting, leads the Scarlets with 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists). Sophomore Zach Erickson leads the team in goals (7). ... For JM, it's junior F Alex Lovett. The 6-3, 170-pounder is sometimes the least-recognized player on JM's top line, because of the points that Gavin Sandwick and Hunter Heightland put up a year ago. But Lovett can score, and create scoring chances, too. He has had three multi-point games already this season and is tied for third on the team with eight points.

OWATONNA at CENTURY
When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Rochester Rec Center
Records: Owatonna 4-3-1 overall, 2-1-0 Big Nine; Century 3-3-0, 2-1-0
Last game: Owatonna lost to Albert Lea, 4-1, on Thursday; Century lost to John Marshall, 5-4, on Tuesday.
Last meeting: Owatonna won a close game, 2-1, on Jan. 27, 2011, at Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna.
Spotlight players: Owatonna is off to a strong start and two players have done a bulk of the scoring. Senior F Justin Brown and junior D Matt Ratzloff have been forces through eight games. Brown has 19 points (12-7--19) and Ratzloff 16 (10-6--16). Four times, Brown has had three or more points in a game this year. Ratzloff has nine points in the past six games. … We'll spotlight Century's defensive corps today. It's a solid group, and it's not far away from being very good. In the loss to JM, there were a couple of defensive zone breakdowns that cost the Panthers, but the forwards were responsible, too, in those situations. With veterans like Wyatt Travis and Brandon Kautz on the blue line, I'm sure Century will respond tonight with a more complete effort.

FARMINGTON at MAYO
When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Graham Arena I
Records: Farmington 3-1-1; Mayo 3-2-0.
Last game: Farmington beat Dodge County, 9-1, on Tuesday; Mayo beat Austin, 11-1, on Thursday.
Last meeting: Farmington beat Mayo, 8-1, on Dec. 21, 2010, at Schmitz-Maki Arena in Farmington.
Spotlight players: Teams in Section 1AA know that Farmington senior F Andrew Peterson (10 goals) can score. But they need to keep an eye on junior F Grant Hauswirth, a very good set-up man. Hauswirth has a goal and a team-high seven assists through five games. He's had at least a point in all but one game this year, including a 4-point night against Winona on Dec. 6. ... For Mayo, we'll go with sophomore forward Tommy Hanson, who had a hat trick on Thursday against Austin. But we'll use Hanson to represent a talented group of young guys on the team, including fellow sophomores Tommy Fjelsted, Justyn Sweet and Matt Rogers. Perhaps a game like they had Thursday at Austin will give the Spartans' young players a shot of confidence, to know they can compete and contribute at the varsity level. If Mayo continues to receive production from those guys, it will be a team to be reckoned with in the Big Nine.

December 02, 2011

High School Hockey | Thursday Night Playback

Posted by: Feldman

Thursday night treated Rochester high school hockey teams much better than Tuesday. Mayo, Century and JM went a combined 0-2-1 on Tuesday night. Thursday, Lourdes, JM and Century combined to go 3-0-0. They won by a combined 18 goals and a combined score of 21-3.

Here are links to the stories (click on the scores to take you to the P-B stories):

Lourdes 8, Red Wing 0: The No. 5-ranked Eagles were fast out of the gate and never let the Wingers have much hope. Lourdes led 4-0 after one. Red Wing put a bit of a flurry together in the first six minutes of the second, but Lourdes popped in a couple quick goals after that, and it was over at that point. Lourdes just had too much speed for the Wingers, up and down the lineup. As Wingers coach Mike Belisle said, "Speed kills."

It was a very good performance by Lourdes, a great way to start the season. The good news for the coaching staff is that there are still things to work on. The Eagles were 1-for-5 on the power play and struggled early to keep the puck in the zone with a man advantage. Red Wing also missed a couple of chances that faster teams might capitalize on.

But that's being nitpicky after an 8-0 win. One thing that I can't remember if I put in my game story was a comment about the play of junior forward Ben Weir. He played a very strong, aggressive game in both ends. He was more physical than I remember him being a year ago. That line -- with Ryan Nicolay centering Weir and Connor Nellans -- was really good throughout the night. I believe it ended up with only two points (a goal and an assist from Nicolay), but they did a great job of keeping the Wingers top line neutralized.

---

JM 7, Bloomington Kennedy 1: Five Rockets had three points each as they earned their first win of the season, and the first under new head coach Jay Ness. 

Ness had good things to say about JM's lineup, up and down, from starting goalie Jimmy Casazza earning his first win of the year, to the strong play of the entire defensive group (limiting Kennedy to 19 shots).

As far as the offensive outburst, Ness was very pleased with the Rockets' balance. Yes, five guys had three points (Alex McGinn, Nick Paulson, Hunter Heightland, Alex Lovett and Jared Bromberg), but a total of eight players got on the scoresheet.

JM plays host to St. Paul Johnson on Saturday and I'm just guessing here, but I'd imagine we'll see junior Jacob Garvey back in goal for the Rockets. Again, just guessing, but I'd suspect Garvey and Casazza will rotate until one of them really siezes the job. If they both continue to perform at a high level, that's a bonus for the Rockets. One of the things Ness told me prior to the season was, a team cannot get through a season with just one goalie. It looks like the Rockets might have two to choose from. 

---

Century 6, Farmington 2: Like JM, Century earned its first victory of the season and the first under new head coach Josh Klingfus

The Panthers veterans really stepped up tonight and produced. Nick Jacobs, a senior co-captain, had four points. Brandon Kautz, another senior co-captain, had three assists. For a second consecutive game, forwards Isaac St. Marie and Dalton Travis had two goals each. Sophomore Hayden Ashworth netted his first varsity goal, and freshman Jake Roth had an assist (as did junior D Matt Sturchio).

Century peppered the Tigers net, outshooting Farmington 43-21. 

It was a nice bounce-back win for Century, after facing two very good opponents (No. 16 White Bear Lake and defending section champ Lakeville North) to start the season.

Century now has a week to prepare for its Big Nine Conference opener, next Thursday against Faribault at the Rec Center.

---

AROUND THE AREA: Either Mankato East has improved defensively, or Mankato West really did lose a majority of its talent from a year ago. West beat East by a score of just 4-0 on Thursday. ... In a matchup of Section 1A teams, Northfield proved it's a team to watch. The Trojans went to Albert Lea City Arena -- not an easy place to play -- and thumped the Tigers, 7-2. Tyler Grave had a hat trick for Northfield. ... Skyler Grossell and Ryan Grant each had two goals and an assist for Winona in a 5-0 win against La Crosse Logan. Winona will take a 2-0-0 record into its Big Nine Conference opener against Mankato West on Saturday.