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January 14, 2016

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

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

PHERSY AND FATIS SHOW: Back where we belong

PHERSY: FINALLY I caught back up with Ice Hawks coach Nick Fatis for another edition of the Phersy and Fatis Show.

We had a lot to catch up on, so this is a long episode. But we break down what's been going on with the Ice Hawks, some roster moves, last weekend's games and the games coming up this weekend.

The Ice Hawks are at Alexandria on Friday and at home Saturday against Alexandria at the Rec Center at 7:05 p.m.

Enjoy the show!

January 05, 2016

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

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

December 28, 2015

High School Hockey Today | Dec. 28, 2015 (The Going-for-700 edition)

Posted by: Feldman

What's better? Spending all day putting toys and games together and having a little bag of important-looking parts left over while kids run and scream and make a giant mess? Or spending all day at the hockey rink watching the Kiwanis Festival? I'm not sure what's better, but I know spending all day at the Graham Arena complex will be quieter than spending all day with a 9-year-old and a 4-year-old who are overloaded with new gadgets and toys.

I kid, of course. Christmas was great; it doesn't get better than watching kids rip into their gifts and seeing their excitement. 

But the Kiwanis Festival is like a present for local hockey fans -- 12 teams, 2 rinks, 3 days. 

There are plenty of reasons to check out this year's Festival:

All four Rochester teams are there, as usual. We'll get into them in a bit. 

Why not open the tournament with perhaps the best matchup? The No. 1-ranked team in Wisconsin, Appleton United (9-0-0) will open Blue Division play today at 3 p.m. against three-time defending Festival champion Verona (Wis.). 

The Gold Division actually gets going in just more than an hour, when Dodge County faces Chanhassen in the first game of the Gold Division.

Before we talk a bit about the Rochester teams, here are some links to our tournament preview coverage:

* Here is a team-by-team look at all 12 teams in the Festival

* Notebook: A young Century team enters the Festival with growing confidence, and some tournament storylines to watch

* That No. 1 team from Wisconsin? It's led by some talented players, none moreso than senior forward Trenton Bliss, who is committed to the University of Wisconsin.

Appleton will certainly be a team to watch this week, but there are reasons to keep an eye on the Rochester schools, too.

Mayo is 6-4-0 overall and has one of the best lines -- if not the best -- in the tournament. Its top line of Veikko Weckman, Anthony Oliveto and Max Billings has combined for 58 points through 10 games. If the Spartans can find some scoring from their other lines, they'll be a threat in this tournament, and in the Big Nine Conference the rest of this season.

Another storyline to watch with Mayo: Its next victory will be No. 700 for head coach Lorne Grosso. He has more wins than any other high school hockey coach in Minnesota history and is second in career wins in the U.S. No. 700 could come as soon as this afternoon; Mayo plays Park-Cottage Grove (1-8-1) at 3 p.m.

As mentioned in the story we linked to above, Rochester Century is coming in with some confidence. It's a team with 20 sophomores and six freshmen on its combined varsity/JV roster, but it's also beginning to learn what it takes to play at the varsity level. Century is 3-1-1 in its past five after a 1-4-0 start.

Rochester John Marshall has high hopes at this year's Festival. With 15 seniors on the varsity roster, JM brings a 7-3-0 record into the tournament. The Rockets have only won the tournament once in its 22-year history (1997), a year before most players on this year's team were born. JM will have a tough first-round matchup, though, against Festival mainstay New Richmond (Wis.). The Tigers were ranked No. 9 in the Wisconsin state poll early in the season; they're 5-3-0 coming into the tournament. 

That's about it for now.

Follow me on Twitter (@PBFeldy) for updates from the Festival this week and watch and pick up the print edition for more coverage of the Festival.

Enjoy the games! We'll end this with a look around the state today.

* * * * *


• Schwan Cup, Gold Division: The annual holiday tournament to watch begins today at Ridder Arena and the Schwan Super Rink. It features eight teams all ranked in the top 20 in Class AA. Perhaps the most intriguing first-round matchup features the two teams that fans around the state love to hate more than any others -- No. 16 St. Thomas Academy vs. No. 7 Edina. Today's other quarterfinals: No. 14 Hill-Murray vs. No. 6 Wayzata; No. 20 Burnsville vs. No. 2 Eden Prairie; and No. 15 Centennial vs. No. 13 Minnetonka. The championship is set for 8 p.m. Wednesday.

• Granite City Classic (St. Cloud): Three of the top 13 teams in the Class A state poll are in this tournament: No. 13 Sartell-St. Stephen, No. 9 St. Cloud Cathedral and No. 3 St. Cloud Apollo. Cathedral and Sartell-St. Stephen meet at 7:15 p.m. today.

• Sports Authority Holiday Classic (St. Louis Park): Five teams ranked in the latest Class AA state poll are in this event, which begins today and runs through Wednesday. There are two marquee matchups in today's opening round: No. 11 Elk River/Zimmerman meets No. 9 Prior Lake at noon, and No. 10 Holy Family Catholic faces No. 3 Stillwater at 5 p.m. Other matchups today include Maple Grove vs. Moorhead (2:30 p.m.) and Benilde-St. Margaret's vs. No. 8 Lakeville North (7:30 p.m.).

• Duluth Marshall Hilltopper Holiday Tournament (Duluth): This tourney begins Tuesday and features three outstanding first-round matchups: No. 6-A Delano/Rockford vs. No. 2-A Hermantown (3:15 p.m.); Duluth Marshall vs. No. 8-WI Notre Dame (5:45 p.m.) and No. 4-AA Bemidji vs. Cloquet (8 p.m.). Roseville meets Superior (Wis.) in the tournament opener tomorrow at 1 p.m.

December 19, 2015

High School Hockey Today | Dec. 19, 2015 (The 'Busy Saturday' edition)

Posted by: Feldman

Lots of games and not much time (3 minutes to be exact) before games begin today. So let's get right to it.

The 6-1-0 JM Rockets passed one test Thursday night by beating Northfield in a battle of teams that were unbeaten in conference play. Today, the Rockets have a bigger test — at home against St. Paul Academy, the No. 7-ranked team in Class A.

Century faces Chanhassen — two teams who could face each other in the Kiwanis Festival — at 7:30 p.m. tonight. The Panthers have a three-game winning streak and a two-game shutout streak going.

And Mayo concludes its Up-North roadie with a game at the historic Hippodrome in Eveleth against Eveleth-Gilbert.


3 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Records: SPA 4-3-0 overall (ranked No. 7 in Class A); JM 6-1-0 overall
Coaches: SPA, Matt Funk; JM, Jay Ness
Last meeting: SPA beat JM 6-1 on Jan. 31, 2015, at Drake Arena in St. Paul.
Last game: SPA lost to No. 2-ranked Breck 6-0 last Saturday; JM defeated Northfield 5-3 on Thursday.
Team leaders: SPA -- Jack Johnston 6-6--12; Matt Dahlseide 5-6--11; Justin Jallen 6-4--10; G Andy Beran 4-3-0, 3.09 GAA, 887 save pct. JM -- Isaac Lamppa 10-6--16; Brady Dahl 6-9--15; Josh Frerks 4-7--11; G Brady Meyers 6-1-0, 1.78 GAA, .933 save pct.
Notes: SPA is ranked No. 7 in the state in Class A. ... JM's victory over Northfield on Thursday leaves it as the only unbeaten team in Big Nine Conference play. ... The Rockets' lone loss this season is a 3-2 OT loss at Spring Lake Park. ... SPA's three losses this season came against Bloomington Kennedy, No. 4-A Mahtomedi and No. 2-A Breck. ... JM concludes its challenging pre-Christmas stretch with games at rival Rochester Century onTuesday and at No. 17-ranked Farmington on Wednesday.

• • •

7 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Records: Chanhassen 5-3-0 overall; Century 4-4-0 overall.
Coaches: Chanhassen, Chris Wilson; Century, Josh Klingfus
Last meeting: Chanhassen and Century tied 2-2 on Dec. 13, 2014, at the Victoria Rec Center.
Last game: Chanhassen lost to No. 14-AA Minnetonka 6-3 on Tuesday; Century shut out Winona 7-0 on Thursday.
Team leaders: CHAN -- Jake Theis 9-5--14; Eric Worre 4-7--11; G Taylor Thompson 4-2-0, 2.84 GAA, .901 save pct. CENT -- Will Zmolek 4-6--10; Eric St. Marie 5-3--8; Nick Aney 4-2--6; Ben Haas 1-5--6; G Cole Walter 4-2-0, 2.50 GAA, .886 save pct.
Notes: Walter has backstopped the Panthers to back-to-back shutouts. He has allowed two or less goals in four of his six starts. ... Zmolek has four points in the past three games. ... Chanhassen returns to Rochester in nine days to play in the Kiwanis Festival. ... Two of Chanhassen's three losses have come against ranked teams -- No. 14-AA Minnetonka and No. 6-A Delano/Rockford.

• • •

2 p.m., Hippodrome, Eveleth
Records: Mayo 4-4-0 overall; E-G 3-5-1 overall.
Coaches: Mayo, Lorne Grosso; E-G, Jeff Torrel.
Last meeting: Mayo and E-G tied 1-1 on Jan. 10, 2015, at Graham Arena I.
Last game: Mayo lost at No. 16-A Hibbing/Chisholm 9-2 on Friday; E-G lost to Albert Lea 5-3 on Friday.
Team leaders: MAYO -- Anthony Oliveto 4-11--15; Veikko Weckman 10-5--15; Max Billings 7-1--8; G Liam Claton 3-2-0, 3.41 GAA, .866 save pct. E-G -- Nick Przybylski 9-11--20; Cody Hendrickson 11-8--19; Aaron Koivunen 1-13--14; G Thomas Koskela 2-2-0, 3.96 GAA, .865 save pct.; G Danny Niemi 1-3-1, 4.83, .846.
Notes: Mayo has lost two consecutive games since a four-game winning streak. ... The Spartans play at Hastings on Tuesday in their final game before a short Christmas break. ... Eveleth-Gilbert is 0-3-1 in its past four games, after going 3-1-0 in its previous four. ... E-G's Przybylski has 11 points in the past five games.

• • • • •


Bagley/Fosston (1-6-0) at Austin (0-6-1), 1 p.m., Riverside Arena: Austin is still looking for its first win of the season, coming off an 8-2 loss to Mankato East on Thursday. ... The Packers are led by senior F Dan Bollingberg (6-0--6) and G Noah Bawek (0-5-1, 2.90 GAA, .876 save pct.). ... B/F made a more than 350-mile trip to play Dodge County and Austin this weekend. Fosston is approximately halfway between Grand Forks, N.D., and Bemidji on US Highway 2.

Red Wing (4-1-0 Big Nine, 4-5-0 overall) at Mankato East (2-4-0, 3-6-0), 7:30 p.m., All Seasons Arena: East has won two consecutive games after starting the season 1-6-0. ... The Cougars are led by senior F Judd Schulz, one of the top scorers in the Big Nine (8-8--16). ... Red Wing is led by senior F Tyler DeFore, one of the leading goal-scorers in the state (12-2--14). DeFore's 12 goals tie him for 11th in the state. ... The Wingers are 0-4-0 in non-conference play and have been outscored 22-6 in those four games.

• • • • •


No. 2-AA Eden Prairie (6-1-0) vs. No. 5-AA Edina (6-3-0), 8:30 p.m., Braemar, Edina: The second game of a star-studded double-header at Braemar features two of the top five teams in the state. Edina showed its strengths at both ends on Friday, shutting out No. 13 Elk River 4-0, while E.P. beat No. 9 Grand Rapids 6-3. E.P. and Edina are scheduled to meet twice more this season: Jan. 28 at Eden Prairie and again in the regular-season finale, Feb. 13 at Edina.

No. 13-AA Elk River/Zimmerman vs. No. 9 Grand Rapids, 6 p.m., Braemar, Edina: Grand Rapids looks to get back on track after losing two of its past three against tough opponents. Elk River looks to snap a three-game losing skid.

December 17, 2015

High School Hockey Today | Dec. 17, 2015 (The 'May The Force Be With You' edition)

A long time ago, in an ice arena far, far away...

Episode III
Return of the Rockets and Raiders

Parity has engulfed the galaxy of southeastern Minnesota. 

There is no clear-cut favorite in the Big Nine Conference. But two rogue squadrons, loaded with battle-tested veterans are threatening to take it over.

Neither the Rockets from the village of John Marshall on the planet of Rochester, nor the Raiders from the somewhat-distant planet of Northfield have been defeated on a Big Nine battlefield yet this year. The time has come for the squadrons to battle head-to-head on the icy surface of the Rochester Recreation Center.

The Rockets are led by one of the top defense specialists in the galaxy, Senior Goaltender Brady Meyers (That's not much of a Star Wars name. How about Brady-Wan Meyersolo? ... We'll work on it). He is 4th among all defense specialists in the Minnesota galaxy, with a save percentage of .939. His counter part on the opposite side of the ice surface, Ryan Bielenberg, has been almost equally difficult for opposing attackers to solve.

The battle for early-season supremacy in the Big Nine will commence at 19:30 hours and is one of several battles expected to take place in our galaxy...


OK, my apologies, but it IS the opening night of the new Star Wars movie and you're reading the work of a Star Wars fanatic. If anyone looked at the text messages on my phone today, the level of Star Wars nerdery they would see would be at an embarrassingly high level.

So we'll come back to Earth to finish out this edition of High School Hockey Today. 

In addition to JM and Northfield battling to remain the only unbeaten in Big Nine play, Rochester Century looks to extend its winning streak to three, and Red Wing and Dodge County play non-conference games.


7:30 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
: Northfield 5-0-0 Big Nine Conference, 5-2-0 overall; John Marshall 5-0-0, 5-1-0
Coaches: Northfield, Mike Luckcraft (2nd season, 21-12-2); JM, Jay Ness (5th season, 52-54-4)
Last meeting: JM beat Northfield 5-3 on Feb. 10, 2015, at the Rec Center. Sam Streiff and Josh Frerks scored third-period goals to lift the Rockets.
Last game: Northfield won at Mankato East, 4-1, on Saturday; JM won 4-0 at Faribault on Tuesday.
Team leaders: NFLD -- Jr. F Nicholas Kvernmo 3-7--10; Sr. F Ryan Torbenson 4-6--10; So. F Jacob Halvorson 5-2--7; Jr. G Ryan Bielenberg 5-2-0, 2.29 GAA, .908 save pct. JM -- Sr. F Isaac Lamppa 9-5--14; Sr. F Brady Dahl 5-7--12; Sr. D Josh Frerks 4-5--9; Sr. F Conner Lee 1-7--8; So. F Xander Lamppa 3-5--8; Sr. G Brady Meyers 5-1-0, 1.56 GAA, .939 save pct.
Notes: JM's Meyers is 4th in the state in save percentage (.939) and 7th in the state in goals-against average (1.56). ... Meyers and Northfield G Ryan Bielenberg are tied for 9th in the state with five wins each. ... JM is loaded with seniors (15 on its varsity roster), Northfield is loaded with juniors (eight). ... Northfield played in the Section 1A championship game last season, falling to New Prague 2-1. ... Northfield is on a three-game winning streak after a two-game losing skid. The Raiders have outscored their past three opponents 20-5.
6:30 p.m., Bud King Ice Arena
: Rochester Century 1-3-0 Big Nine, 3-4-0 overall; Winona 0-4-0, 0-5-0.
Coaches: Century, Josh Klingfus (5th season, 56-50-7); Winona, Fran McDevitt
Last meeting: Century defeated Winona 7-1 on Jan. 22, 2015, at Winona. Jake Roth had three points and Will Zmolek had two assists for Century.
Last game: Century beat Austin 2-0 on Saturday; Winona lost at Faribault 5-0 on Saturday.
Team leaders: CENT -- Jr. D Will Zmolek 2-5--7; So. F Nick Aney 4-2--6; So. F Ben Haas 1-4--5; Jr. F Eric St. Marie 3-2--5; So. G Cole Walter 3-2-0, 3.00 GAA, .876 save pct. WIN -- Jr. F Joe Brinkman 0-3--3; Jr. F Andre Russeau 2-1--3; Jr. F Justin Waldera 1-1--2; Sr. G Matt Schoh 0-3-0, 7.12 GAA, .855 save pct.
Notes: Century is on a two-game winning streak after a four-game losing streak. A win would get the Panthers back to .500 for the first time since Nov. 24. ... The Panthers have a total of 37 points this season; 23 of those (62.2 percent) are from their large sophomore class. ... Winona has scored a total of five goals this season, none in its past two games. The Winhawks are on a scoreless skid of 140 minutes, 15 seconds. ... Winona hasn't scored more than one goal in a game since its season opener on Nov. 19. 
 Dodge County (0-7-0) at St. Paul Como Park (4-5-0), 7:30 p.m., Oscar Johnson Arena, St. Paul: Dodge County's record is a bit deceiving. The Wildcats have lost four games by one goal and another by two. ... Dodge County appears to have found solid goaltending from diminutive freshman Cole Kundert (4.60 GAA, .890 save pct.). He has made at least 30 saves in each of his five starts, including a total of 125 in his past three starts (an average of 41.7 per game). ... Senior F Max Blaisdell leads D.C. in scoring (3-4--7). ... Como is 4-5-0, but has lost four of its past six games. It averages 3.7 goals per game and allows 4.7. ... Senior F Ian Tully leads Como in scoring (10-11--21), while junior F Peter Dadlez has 7-7--14.
 Red Wing (4-4-0) at Monticello (3-4-0), 7 p.m., Moose Sherritt Ice Arena: Monticello has won two of its past three after a 1-4-0 start. ... It is led by Sr. F Nate Maas (5-6--11), Sr. F Ville Salovaara (7-2--9) and Jr. F Jaden Jarmuzek (2-7--9). Senior Connor Bird (3-4-0, 2.29 GAA, .930 save pct.) has played every minute in goal. ... Red Wing is in the midst of a five-game road trip. After tonight's game, it plays at Mankato East on Saturday and then is off until playing at Champlin Park on Dec. 29. Its next home game is Dec. 30 against Shakopee. ... Wingers F Tyler DeFore is tied for ninth in the state in goals scored (11). 
 No. 2-AA Eden Prairie (4-1-0) vs. No. 13-AA Elk River/Zimmerman (5-1-0), 6 p.m., Braemar, Edina: Both teams looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season. Elk River lost 5-2 to Blaine; E.P. lost 6-5 to Benilde on Saturday.
 No. 3-AA Blaine (6-1-0) at No. 14-AA Minnetonka (4-2-0), 7 p.m.: Minnetonka is on a three-game winning streak, while Blaine is playing for the first time after a loss (4-3 at Benilde-SM on Tuesday). Blaine's Luke Notermann (8-15--23) and Riley Tufte (14-8--22) are off to red-hot starts.
 No. 6-AA Wayzata (6-2-0) at No. 10-AA Holy Family Catholic (7-2-0), 7 p.m.: HFC is on a five-game winning streak, including wins against Minnetonka (2-1) and St. Thomas Academy (7-3). Wayzata has won four in a row since dropping consecutive games to Hermantown (5-3) and Duluth East (4-1).
 No. 9-AA Grand Rapids (5-2-1) at No. 5-AA Edina (5-2-0), 8:30 p.m.: Edina looks to rebound from a 4-3 loss to No. 3 Blaine on Saturday, while Grand Rapids, led by senior F Mitchell Mattson (4-11--15), looks for a victory after losing to No. 8 Lakeville North 4-3 on Saturday. 
 No. 12-AA Prior Lake (4-1-0) at No. 20-AA Burnsville (2-3-1), 7 p.m.: Burnsville's three losses -- in its first three games of the season -- came against No. 11 Hill-Murray, No. 5 Edina and No. 1 Benilde-SM. Its tie was against No. 17 Farmington.
 No. 9-A St. Cloud Cathedral (5-3-0) at No. 2-A Breck (6-1-0), 7:30 p.m.: Breck's lone loss came against No. 6-AA Wayzata, 2-1 on Dec. 10. The Mustangs have five players in double figures in scoring, led by senior F Chase Ellingson (9-11--20).

December 12, 2015

High School Hockey Today | Dec. 12, 2015 (the 'Rivalry Renewed' edition)

Posted by: Feldman
Who's ready for a rivalry game?
Rochester Mayo and Rochester John Marshall meet on the ice for the 112th time tonight (7:30 p.m., Graham Arena I). 
Doing a quick look back at recent history between these teams I came across a somewhat surprising number: JM has never had a 10-game winning streak against Mayo. Considering all of the dominant Rockets teams of the 1970s, I thought for sure they would have had a double-digit win streak in there somewhere. But the longest streak JM has had against Mayo is nine (from the 1974-75 season through the 1977-78 season). 
I bring this up because Mayo is currently on a 10-game win streak against JM. That surprised me, too, because the teams have been relatively equal over the past few years. 
Another surprising number: Mayo has won the past five games against JM by at least three goals. The combined score in those five games: Mayo 33, JM 9.
I would expect something significantly different tonight. With JM's experience and depth -- and maybe a chip on its shoulder -- I'd look for a strong effort from JM.
The matchup to watch: Mayo's top line vs. JM's defense and senior goalie Brady Meyers. He has been lights-out this season, posting an outstanding 1.86 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. The latter number ranks eighth in the entire state, regardless of class. 
Mayo will counter with the line of Veikko Weckman-Anthony Oliveto-Max Billings. That trio has combined for 37 points; Oliveto is tied for 6th in the state with 11 assists, and Weckman's 10 goals are tied for 9th in the state.
I'd expect a more traditional JM-Mayo game, say 4-3 or something close like that. Who wins? I'll leave the predictions to you. (Yeah, I'm totally copping out, without shame).
Some quick notes before we break down today's matchups:
* No. 2-AA Benilde-St. Margaret's knocked off No. 1-AA Eden Prairie 6-5 in OT last night on a goal by Zach Risteau 1:17 into overtime. Benilde pretty heavily outshot Eden Prairie, 42-26 for the game, including 12-4 in the first period and 1-0 in OT. B-SM's Auggie Moore had 2-3--5 in the game and forced OT with a short-handed goal with 5:34 to go in the third period. The player in the box when Moore scored? Risteau. B-SM and E.P. are scheduled to play again on Feb. 6.
* Former Mayo forward Logan Haskins got a look with the USHL's Chicago Steel last night, dressing for their game at Cedar Rapids. Haskins, a former Mayo and Rochester Ice Hawks standout forward -- and current Austin Bruins forward -- was able to play with the Steel as the Bruins are idle this weekend. Haskins played against former Century/Austin Bruins standout d-man Riese Zmolek, who plays for Cedar Rapids.
3 p.m., Rochester Rec Center
Records: Austin 0-3-0 Big Nine, 0-4-1 overall; Century is 0-3-0, 2-4-0
Coaches: Austin, Erik LaRock; Century, Josh Klingfus
Last meeting: Century beat Austin 4-2 on Feb. 4, 2015, at the Rochester Rec Center.
Last game: Austin lost to Red Wing 5-4 in OT on Thursday; Century defeated Dodge County 2-1 on Tuesday 
Team leaders: AUST -- Sr. F Dan Bollingberg 5-0--5; Jr. F Brayden Merritt 2-3--5; Jr. F Isaac Arnold 2-2--4; So. G Noah Bawek 0-4-1, 3.62 GAA, .876 save pct. CENT -- Jr. D Will Zmolek 2-5--7; Jr. F Eric St. Marie 3-2--5; So. F Nick Aney 3-2--5; So. G Cole Walter 2-2-0, 3.75 GAA, .854 save pct. 
Notes: Austin has played two OT games, suffered one regulation loss by one goal and another by two. ... Bawek averages 27 saves per game. ... Bollingberg has five goals for Austin, the rest of the Packers have combined for seven. ... Century's win over Dodge County on Tuesday snapped a four-game losing skid. ... A young Panthers team has eight total goals since scoring seven in its season opener. ... These teams are scheduled to meet again at Austin on Feb. 4.
7:30 p.m., Graham Arena I
Records: JM 3-0-0 Big Nine, 3-1-0 overall; Mayo 4-1-0, 4-2-0
Coaches: JM, Jay Ness; Mayo, Lorne Grosso
Last meeting: Mayo defeated JM 5-1 in Feb. 5, 2015, at Graham I.
Last game: JM won at Winona, 12-0, on Thursday; Mayo defeated Albert Lea 6-2 on Thursday
Team leaders: JM -- Sr. F Isaac Lamppa 5-4--9; Sr. F Brady Dahl 4-5--9; Sr D Josh Frerks 3-4--7; So. F Xander Lamppa 3-3--6; Sr. F Conner Lee 1-5--6; Sr. G Brady Meyers 3-1-0, 1.86 GAA, .935 save pct. MAYO -- Jr. F Anthony Oliveto 4-11--15; Sr. F Veikko Weckman 10-5--15; Sr. F Max Billings 6-1--7; Sr. D Nick Norby 1-5--6; So. G Liam Claton 3-1-0, 3.25 GAA, .863 save pct.
Notes: JM expected to be balanced and deep, and it has been. Sixteen players have already recorded a point for JM this season, 14 of those players have recorded multiple points. ... JM goalie Brady Meyers' .935 save pct. is eighth in the entire state. ...  Isaac Lamppa had 20 points last season for JM. He already has nine through four games this year. ... Mayo junior F Anthony Oliveto is tied for 6th in the state with 11 assists. ... After allowing seven goals to state-ranked Farmington in the season opener, Mayo sophomore G Liam Claton has allowed just two goals in each of his three subsequent starts. 


December 10, 2015

High School Hockey Today | Dec. 10, 2015 (The 'Welcome Back' edition)

Posted by: Feldman

We're three weeks into the high school hockey season and I'm just now getting back into the HSHT routine. Well, I suppose we have to do this more than once to call it a routine, eh? But, it's definitely past the time to get "Today" going again.

Before we get into today's games, there have already been a few highlights from our southeastern Minnesota teams in the early going:

* Rochester Mayo coach Lorne Grosso recorded his 696th career victory, moving him into 2nd on the all-time high school hockey coaching wins list in the United States. The leader is far out of reach, even if Grosso decides not to retire at the end of this season (no, not trying to plant a seed in his head; his wife, Joni, would not be happy if I tried that). Bill Belisle of Mt. St. Charles Academy in Woonsocket, R.I., has more than 970 career victories. His lead is safe until Minnesota decides to let high school teams play 50-game regular season schedules.

* Red Wing junior forward Tyler DeFore is off to a red-hot start for the 3-3-0 Wingers. DeFore has 9 goals already, which is tied for 6th in the state. He has at least one point in all of the Wingers games so far, highlighted by his 4-goal effort in a 5-4 OT win against Albert Lea. The only goal he didn't score that night? The winner in OT. That was scored by Joe Renshaw. DeFore also has one assist, giving him 10 points for the season. He was Red Wing's leading scorer with 21 goals and 34 points last season. He leads the Big Nine in scoring and is tied for third in points.

* Rochester Mayo's top line has been on fire to start the season. The 3-2-0 Spartans have received 28 points from the Veikko Weckman - Max Billings - Anthony Oliveto line. Weckman is second in the Big Nine with 7 goals and 12 points. Oliveto is tied for third in the conference with 10 points, while Billings is second on the team in goals (6). The line has accounted for 17 of Mayo's 20 goals. 

* Three players from southern Minnesota are among the top 10 in the state in goals scored. La Crescent junior Carter Schmitz is tied with Luverne's Jaxon Nelson atop the list, with 12 goals. Schmitz has two hat tricks and two other two-goal games already this season. Red Wing's DeFore is tied for sixth place in the state with 9 goals, as is Isaac Westphal of LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter. Westphal, a junior, has scored in five of the Bulldogs' six games, including a hat trick on Nov. 28 at Worthington.

Let's get into tonight's games:

7:30 p.m., Graham Arena I
Records: Albert Lea 2-2-0 Big 9, 2-2-0 overall; Mayo 3-1-0, 3-2-0
Coaches: Albert Lea, Roy Nystrom; Mayo, Lorne Grosso
Last meeting: Albert Lea beat Mayo 9-1 on Jan. 15, 2015, at Graham Arena. Three Tigers players scored two goals each in that game.
Last game: Albert Lea lost to Red Wing 5-4 in OT on Dec. 3; Mayo beat Winona 9-1 on Dec. 3 at Graham Arena.
Team leaders: A.L. -- Soph. F Bergen Lundak (7-1--8); Soph. F Micahel Savelkoul (0-7--7); Jr. F Austin Dulitz (2-5--7); Jr. G Ben Witham (2-2-0, 3.22 GAA, .889 save pct.). MAYO -- Sr. F Veikko Weckman (7-5--12); Jr. F Anthony Oliveto (4-6--10); Sr. F Max Billings (6-0--6); Soph. G Liam Claton (2-1-0, 3.67, .863)
Notes: There likely won't be a matchup between two coaches with more combined victories than these two coaches. Grosso (696) and Nystrom (685) have combined for 1,381 career wins. They were linemates at the University of Minnesota in the 1960s and have coached against one another at their current schools for about 40 years. Grosso started at Mayo when the school opened in 1966. Nystrom spent some time coaching in North Dakota before coming to Albert Lea. ... Albert Lea is loaded with underclassmen. The top three and four of the Tigers' top five scorers are underclassmen. ... Mayo's Weckman is an exchange student from Finland. 

7:15 p.m., New Prague Community Center
Records: Lourdes 1-4-0 overall; New Prague 2-4-0.
Coaches: Lourdes, Josh Spaniol; N.P., Chris Lonke
Last meeting: Top-seeded New Prague edged eighth-seeded Lourdes 2-1 in a Section 1A playoff quarterfinal game on Feb. 19, 2015, at the N.P. Community Center. Lourdes led 1-0 early in the 2nd period, but N.P.'s Zach Davis scored twice -- including just 11 seconds after Lourdes' goal -- to lift the Trojans.
Last game: Lourdes lost at No. 6-ranked St. Cloud Cathedral 5-1 on Saturday; New Prague beat Red Wing 3-2 on Tuesday.
Team leaders: LRDS -- Jr. F Tucker Chapman (3-2--5); Jr. F Montana Streit (1-3--4); Sr. F Peter Alexander (1-2--3); Sr. F Logan Olson (0-3--3); Jr. G Adam Renn (1-3-0, 4.86 GAA, .845 save pct.). N.P. -- Sr. F Alex Gregor (7-3--10); Sr. F Zach Davis (1-8--9); Sr. F Nathan Simon (2-3--5); Sr. D Connor Pint (0-5--5); Jr. G Graydon Skok (2-3-0, 3.92, .884).
Notes: This will be the only meeting of the season between these non-conference rivals -- barring both making the Class A state tournament. New Prague, which won the past two Section 1A championships, has moved to Section 2A this season, while Lourdes remains in a balanced and competitive Section 1. ... Producing offense has been an issue for both teams so far. Lourdes averages 2.0 goals per game while New Prague averages 2.5 goals per game.

6:30 p.m., Bud King Ice Arena
Records: JM 2-0-0 Big Nine, 2-1-0 overall; Winona 0-2-0, 0-3-0
Coaches: JM, Jay Ness; Winona, Fran McDevitt
Last meeting: JM won at Winona 5-0 on Jan. 27, 2015
Last game: JM lost at Spring Lake 3-2 in OT on Saturday; Winona lost 4-1 at Owatonna on Tuesday
Team leaders: JM -- Sr. F Brady Dahl (3-4--7); Sr. F Isaac Lamppa (3-2--5); So. F Xander Lamppa (2-1--3); Sr. F Conner Lee (1-2--3); Sr. D Josh Frerks (1-2--3); Sr. G Brady Meyers (2-1-0, 2.27 GAA, .929 save pct.). WIN -- Jr. F Joe Brinkman (0-3--3); Jr. F Andre Russeau (2-1--3); Sr. G Matt Schoh (0-3-0, 7.12 GAA, .855 save pct.).
Notes: Just three games into its season, JM has had 14 players record at least one point. ... Meyers has allowed just seven goals through three games. ... JM averages 4.3 goals per game and allows 2.3. ... Winona averages 1.7 goals per game and allows 6.3. ... JM has 15 seniors listed on its varsity roster.

* * * * *


* Red Wing at Austin (7:30 p.m., Riverside Arena): Red Wing is 3-1-0 Big Nine, 3-3-0 overall; Austin is 0-2-0, 0-3-1. ... The Wingers are led by junior F Tyler DeFore, who has the sixth-most goals in the state (9). He has 10 total points this season. ... Sophomore Zachariah Harding has played every minute in goal this season for the Wingers. He is 3-3-0 with a 3.15 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage. The latter stat is fourth-best in the Big Nine and he is one of two goalies in the conference to record a shutout this season. ... Austin has played four close games this season. The Packers tied La Crescent, lost to Faribault by one goal and LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter by two. ... Austin is searching for scoring. It has scored a total of four goals in its three losses.

* * * * *


* No. 8-AA Lakeville North (1-1-0) at No. 20-AA Farmington (2-2-1), 7:30 p.m.: In a matchup that will go a long way to determining the top seed in the Section 1AA playoffs, North goes on the road for a second consecutive game. Defending state champ North lost its opener to Stillwater, but bounced back with a big 10-1 win at Shakopee on Saturday. Farmington will provide a stiffer test.

No. 4-AA Blaine (4-0-0) at No. 16-AA Centennial, 7 p.m.: Blaine opens Northwest Suburban Conference-North Division play by putting its unbeaten record on the line in Circle Pines. Centennial's only loss came against No. 6 Edina, 4-1, on Dec. 3. 

* No. 2-A Breck (5-0-0) at No. 7-AA Wayzata (4-2-0), 7 p.m.: Breck's offense has been nearly unstoppable, putting up 32 goals through five games. Its defense has been shaky, though, allowing seven goals to No. 9-A Delano/Rockford in a 9-7 win, and four goals to Totino-Grace in a 7-4 win. Wayzata's two losses have come against a pair of state powers from up north, No. 1-A Hermantown and No. 3-AA Duluth East.

* Lakeville South (0-1-0) at No. 14-AA Prior Lake (2-1-0), 7 p.m.: South is playing for just a second time this season, and the first time since a tragic car accident resulted in the deaths of two South students late last week. That accident caused South's game against Rochester Mayo last Saturday to be postponed. 

No. 15-A Duluth Denfeld (4-2-0) at No. 1-A Hermantown (3-0-1), 7:30 p.m.: The top-ranked Hawks are coming off a 4-4 tie against unranked Hopkins. Hermantown rallied for two third-period goals in that game to force OT. 

November 26, 2015

Boys hockey: Looking back on Lorne Grosso's 5 decades at Mayo

Posted by: Feldman

What's everyone thankful for this year? Me? Definitely thankful for waking up with my 4-year-old's head on my shoulder today. Health, family, all that good stuff that. As Peter Griffen would say, it make a da world go around.

Greetings and Happy Thanksgiving from casa de Feldman, where as I type I cannot unsee a bunch of dudes who look a lot like me (40s, a little overweight) doing some disco dancing in short shorts and long socks on the Macy's T'giving Day Parade. I'm thankful that that is now over.

More to be thankful for: I feel fortunate to have been able to cover Rochester Mayo hockey for the past decade and to have gotten to know Lorne Grosso. He has been the Spartans head coach since Mayo High School opened in 1966. As Mayo A.D. Jeff Whitney -- who played for Grosso and later coached with him -- put it, "he's an icon. I can't imagine what Mayo hockey will look like without him."

We'll find out next winter. 


As we reported two weeks ago, Grosso will retire at the end of this season, whenever that comes for Mayo. He'll retire with the most wins in Minnesota for a hockey coach. He has 694 right now; Mayo's next 'W' will put him in a tie for 2nd all-time in the United States with former Arlington, Mass., coach Edward Burns. The all-time record belongs to Bill Belisle of Mt. St. Charles Academy in Woonsocket, R.I. He has an astounding 974 victories and, I believe something like 28 state championships.

As I re-read that story from two weeks ago, I realized there was so much more about Grosso's story that needs to be told. I literally could write a book about his life. I wrote two more stories for today's P-B, which I'll link to below (or, y'know, swing out to your local convenience store and pick one up. Seriously, today's paper weighs more than 4 pounds. You can not only read about a legendary hockey coach, but you can get all the Black Friday sales fliers, too. What a deal. (OK, sales pitch over).

Like I was saying, there is so much more to Grosso than even the stories we've had on him recently can explain. I didn't even scratch the surface of who he is; the volunteer work he does through his church, with patients at Mayo Clinic, his passions for music and cooking (Italian food of course), the health problems he had a few years ago, and of course, his family. He and his backbone -- his wife, Joni -- have two daughters, a son, seven grandkids and six (soon to be seven) great-grandchildren. 

I talked to nine people for today's articles and could have called a few dozen more. I had difficulty fitting comments from all of them into the stories. They all had so many good stories to tell, like former Mayo player and former JM and Century head coach Bruce Frutiger, who told a story about how after a particularly uninspiring effort in a victory by a Mayo team he played on, they didn't see a single puck hit the ice at the next day's practice. "Oh, my, did we skate," Frutiger said with a laugh. "Skating was one thing I could do well, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't finishing last ... I remember hobbling back to the locker room after that practice."

I thought I'd dig up some links to some of the stories we've written about Lorne over the years. I'm sure there have been more than these (our digital archives only go back to roughly the late 1990s), but here are some that I found and enjoyed reading again. 

Frankly, I can't imagine doing anything with the same level of passion and enthusiam for 50 years (except maybe for breathing and being a parent). Grosso has done it since 1966 and as his wife, Joni, said, "He would probably do it for at least another 10 years." And the thing that has always struck me about Grosso -- and is likely the main reason he has been able to stay around for 50 years -- is that, win or lose, no matter the situation, he is always the same -- respectful, thoughtful, calm, even though, as many of his friends and colleagues told me, he's a fierce competitor, it just doesn't show externally. The lessons he taught his players -- be respectful of opponents, officials, teammates, and carry yourself with class, the way you act and dress on game days, etc. -- were designed to make them better people as much as better hockey players. 

That's probably the ultimate compliment Lorne can be paid: He taught his students and players as much about how to be good people as good students/athletes.


NOV. 26, 2015: Grosso has impacted many lives in five decades at Mayo

A flashback to 1966, what was the U.S. like when Grosso took over at Mayo?

Grosso a math-ter teacher and coach

NOV. 13, 2015: Grosso announces retirement from coaching hockey

FEB. 3, 2015: Neil McCormack retiring after 49 years of coaching at Mayo (McCormack and Grosso both started at Mayo when it opened in 1966 and now are retiring from their last coaching stints just a year apart)

MARCH 4, 2014: Friends, coaches, former linemates Grosso, Nystrom inducted into MHCA Hall of Fame

DEC. 28, 2013: Mayo notches historic victory vs. JM at Kiwanis Festival (Mayo's win in this game marked the first time EVER the Spartans had led the all-time series against their oldest rivals. Read Grosso's quote about it; it's classic Grosso humor, and the way he'd usually start every conversation we've had).

APRIL 30, 2013: Grosso presented with Mariucci Award (This was a big honor for Grosso. He was very proud, being presented an award named after his college head coach, and an award that is presented to a coach who exemplifies dedication and enthusiasm)

JULY 9, 2012: When I wrote that he and Joni love their grandkids and great-grandkids, it's definitely the truth. Here's a story by Donny Henn about Lorne and Joni's grandson, Matt, living with them while he played for the Rochester Honkers.

JAN. 20, 2012: A history of the JM-Mayo rivalry. It'll be different next year without Grosso on the Mayo bench.

NOV. 28, 2011: Grosso had a big-time health scare at age 69, when he underwent a quadruple bypass heart surgery.

JAN. 17, 2011: Grosso a teacher first, coach second (this is part of the story that ran when he broke Willard Ikola's record for coaching victories in Minnesota. The story was split up when it was placed in the paper and I can't track down the other part ... but here's some of it)

DEC. 8, 2010: Grosso closing in on Ikola's record

APRIL 21, 2009: Grosso among 3 inducted in Rochester QB Club HOF

FEB. 16, 2009: Mayo gives Grosso career win No. 600 and 600 and counting

NOV. 26, 2003: Hockey, heritage run deep for Grosso

JUNE 9, 1999: "Peace be with you, Mr. Grosso" (Grosso retires from teaching at Mayo)

November 19, 2015

PHERSY AND FATIS SHOW: Blizzard incoming edition

PHERSY: The Phersy and Fatis Show returns today as I sit down with Ice Hawks coach Nick Fatis to wrap up last weekend's split with the La Crosse Freeze. We also break down this weekend's home-and-away series against the Alexandria Blizzard.

The Ice Hawks are at home at 7:05 p.m. Friday and in Alexandria at 7:10 p.m. on Saturday.

Enjoy the show!