Posted by: Feldman
I was traveling and didn't get a chance to do a High School Hockey Today today, so I figured I'll play catch-up tonight after a decent night for Rochester's boys puck teams.
This was a good early test for Century to see just where it's at as a team. The answer: It's right where it wants to be at this stage of the year. Granted, the Panthers are just four games into their season, but they have some high hopes for a team that has 18 seniors on the roster.
It's way to early to judge teams by comparing scores, but... I'm going to do it anyway. Farmington, ranked No. 19, pushed No. 2-ranked Lakeville North to OT last week before losing 6-5. Century was right with Farmington into the third, with the score tied 3-3 entering the final 17 minutes. The Panthers showed some resiliency, too, battling back from an early 2-0 deficit to build a 3-2 lead.
Century hits Big Nine Conference play in full force now, with four of its six games left before Christmas against conference opponents. With a strong two-and-a-half week stretch, the Panthers could set themselves up well for the second half.
Lourdes notched its first victory of the season to improve to 1-1-1, beating a M-W team that had shut out two of its first four opponents and outscored them 11-5. Jack Burkel recorded the shutout and sophomore Tucker Chapman scored twice.
Lourdes coach Josh Spaniol said before the season that he wants Chapman to elevate his game this season and be a vital cog in the offense. It looks like that's happening. This team could and should be a Section 1A contender, especially when forward Montana Streit returns from an injury sometime around the Kiwanis Festival.
Spaniol said the Eagles also played without top-line forward Mason Carstens on Thursday. He was out with an illness, but hopes to be back for Saturday's 2 p.m. home opener against No. 10 St. Cloud Cathedral.
Mayo showed some mental toughness in this win. The Spartans were down 3-2 on the road to a team that -- let's be honest -- they should beat. But Winona goalie Eric Schoh was playing well, and Mayo beat up the goalposts a bit during the first two periods.
The Spartans stuck to their game, though, and scored four times in the third to win.
The really likeable thing about this game, and this team: Six players scored one goal each and nine guys got on the scoresheet. If Mayo wants to challenge for titles in the Big Nine and Section 1AA, it will need that balance to hold up. Mayo has been pretty sound in its own end, allowing just 21.3 shots per game.
It's a frustrating thing for the JM coaching staff to figure out and probably frustrating for the Rockets' players, too: In most of their six games this season, they've had good stretches and confounding stretches of subpar play.
The Rockets have hung with every opponent they've faced when they've played their game. But, again tonight, they were off their game for the first 10 minutes and it took them almost a full period to recover. They did show some perseverance by briefly taking a lead in the third period, then rallying to force OT after giving that up.
There's a lot of talent on this Rockets team and, though they're 1-5-0 overall, they're just 1-1-0 in the Big Nine, so they have plenty of opportunities and plenty of time to develop into a solid 51-minute team.
AROUND THE STATE
* Lakeville North 3, Edina 1: This was the grand-daddy of hockey games tonight, and maybe for the regular season, a rematch of last year's Class AA state championship game. No. 2-ranked North earned a bit of revenge against top-ranked Edina and, barring a loss to Apple Valley next Tuesday, will be the new No. 1 team in Class AA next week.
* New Prague 6, Mankato West 0: A rematch of last year's Section 1A championship game ended with the same result: The No. 7-ranked Trojans topped the No. 14-ranked Scarlets.
* Grand Forks (ND) Red River 5, East Grand Forks 0: Two nights after knocking off the No. 1-ranked team in North Dakota, the defending Minnesota Class A state champion Green Wave received a reality check from the No. 2-ranked team in North Dakota. No, I'm not just including this here because I'm a Red River grad, though it is nice to see the boys from the west side of the Red River show up against EGF.
* Some other scores of interest:
* No. 17-AA Minnetonka 3, No. 9-AA Burnsville 1
* No. 13-AA Blaine 6, No. 11-A Totino-Grace 1