The dance card is coming into focus (ha, see what I did there?). The Section Tournaments are nearing an end, and next week is the Minnesota version of March Madness. There have been some incredible upsets thus far, really changing the landscape for the State Tournament.
The Girls' State Tournament has wrapped up. Congratulations to both the Breck School Mustangs and the Minnetonka Skippers for their State Championships. The Mustangs were able to top a perennial South St. Paul team in double overtime, the longest Girls' Championship game on record. The Minnetonka Skippers were able to hold off a very talented Roseville team with 4 girls committed to D1 schools, two of which played for the Girls' U.S. Under-18 team in the Czech Republic.
We'll be keeping an eye on each section again this week. Make the jump and find out who's still around, and who's wondering what went wrong. On Tuesday, I'll be back to give you the last few Section results and a preview of each team going into the State Tournament.
Update: The Friday and Saturday section final results now posted.Section 1A
Rochester Lourdes Eagles def. Red Wing Wingers, 5-3
Northfield Raiders def. Albert Lea Tigers, 5-1
Rochester Lourdes Eagles def. Northfield Raiders, 4-1
The Eagles, who were the preseason favorites to win the section, will once again represent Section 1A in the State Tournament. Pending the Hermantown and St. Thomas Academy results, the Lourdes may be a bottom-4 seeded team. The Eagles are looking for some help in the Sections, or their road to a State Title is straight uphill.
The Breck School Mustangs def. Richfield Spartans, 14-1
Delano Tigers def. Minnehaha Academy Redhawks, 7-2
The Breck School Mustangs def. Mound-Westonka White Hawks, 8-1
Blake Bears def. Delano Tigers, 4-2
The Breck School Mustangs def. Blake Bears, 7-5.
A pair of late-period goals helped the Mustangs avoid an upset at the hands of a tough Blake team. Breck will move on to the State Tournament as one of the Big 3 in Class A. The scare is just that: a scare. This Breck team has a ton of talent and can play with anyone in Class A and most of the Class AA teams as well....so move up, please.
New Ulm Eagles def. Hutchinson Tigers, 4-3
Luverne Cardinals def. Marshall Tigers, 4-3
New Ulm Eagles def. Luverne Cardinals, 2-1
The Eagles will be making their third consecutive trip to St. Paul, as New Ulm was able to outlast Luverne in a tightly played Section Final. Luverne definitely played New Ulm tough in this game, as the final decision could have went either way. The experience of the Eagles got them past this final test.
Totino-Grace Eagles def. Chisago Lakes Wildcats, 7-1
Mahtomedi Zephyrs def. St. Paul Academy/Mounds Park Academy Spartans, 5-1
St. Thomas Academy Cadets def. South St. Paul Packers, 5-0
Totino-Grace Eagles def. Mahtomedi Zephyrs, 6-1
St. Thomas Academy Cadets def. Totino-Grace Eagles, 2-1 (Overtime)
In another tightly played game, the Cadets survived what could have been a monumental upset by just squeaking by Totino-Grace. The Eagles did a great job of keeping the Cadet's high-powered offense in check for the entire game, but this was just a case of better talent finding a way.
Hermantown Hawks def. Proctor Rails, 7-0
Rogers Royals def. St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders, 3-1
Hermantown Hawks def. Rogers Royals, 4-0
The Hawks will be making a familiar return to St. Paul after eliminating a surprisingly good Rogers team in the Section Final. The Hawks just had too much skill for Rodgers to skate against.
Little Falls def. Sartell-St. Stephens , 8-1
Fergus Falls Otters def. Willmar Cardinals, 5-2
Little Falls Flyers def. Fergus Falls Otters, 6-1.
The Flyers will make a return to the State Tournament after a two-year absence from St. Paul. Considering the rocky start that the Flyers had, this is a great way to keep their season rolling. Little Falls finally seemed to start clicking about a month into the season, and now they will have a chance to take home that first State Championship.
Duluth Marshall Hilltoppers def. Duluth Denfeld Hunters, 5-2
Hibbing/Chisholm Bluejackets def. International Falls Broncos, 6-5
Duluth Marshall Hilltoppers def. Hibbing/Chisholm Bluejackets, 2-1
The Bluejackets definitely gave the Hilltoppers a run for their money in this game. This was another Section Final that could have went either way. It just happens on this particular day that the Hilltoppers were one goal better than Hibbing/Chisholm.
East Grand Forks Green Wave def. Red Lake Falls Eagles, 4-1
Warroad Warriors def. Detroit Lakes Lakers, 8-2
Thief River Falls Prowlers def. Park Rapids , 5-0
East Grand Forks Green Wave def. Warroad Warriors, 4-3
Thief River Falls Prowlers def. East Grand Forks Green Wave, 4-1
Make it three wins against the Green Wave for the Prowlers this season, who will represent Section 8A. Thief River Falls quietly went about having an incredible season this year. Normally Warroad is the team that represents 8A, but this is two years in a row that the Prowlers will be going to St. Paul while Warroad reflects on a less than stellar season.
Lakeville South Cougars def. Rochester Mayo Spartans, 7-0
Lakeville North Panthers def. Rochester Century Panthers, 6-1
Lakeville South Cougars def. Lakeville North Panthers, 7-1
Led by high school superstar Justin Kloos, the Cougars will be making their second tournament appearance as Lakeville South. The Cougars dominated their in-city rivals in Lakeville North, who had represented 1AA the last two years.
Edina Hornets def. Bloomington Jefferson Jaguars, 7-4
Burnsville Blaze def. Prior Lake Lakers, 3-1
Edina Hornets def. Burnsville Blaze, 6-3
A young team that had the early loss of senior Ben Walker, the Hornets will make a familiar trek to St. Paul, representing Section 2AA. The Hornets played very well down the stretch and could be a team that makes some noise in the State Tournament. Head Coach Curt Giles has a wealth of experience that he can pass along to his team.
Eagan Wildcats def. Park (Cottage Grove) Wolfpack, 7-1
Hastings Raiders def. East Ridge Raptors, 2-1
Eagan Wildcats def. Hastings Raiders, 10-1
The crazy upsets in the quarterfinals really made the road to the Section Title a lot easier for the Wildcats. This will mark the third trip to St. Paul for Eagan and the second time in a row. The skill level is quickly rising in this new Southern power, so the Wildcats could be paving the way for perennial trips to Xcel.
Hill-Murray Pioneers def. Tartan Titans, 6-0
St. Paul Johnson Governors def. White Bear Lake Bears, 6-5 (Overtime)
Roseville Raiders def. North St. Paul Polars, 3-2 (Double Overtime)
Stillwater Ponies def. Mounds View Mustangs, 1-0
Hill-Murray Pioneers def. Stillwater Ponies, 4-0
Roseville Raiders defl St. Paul Johnson Governors, 7-3
Hill-Murray Pioneers def. Roseville Raiders, 3-2
A lot of animosity between the two crowds for this game. Back-and-forth crowd chants and a battle of the bands had the crowd in this game from the start. A well-played game on both sides, the Pioneers capitalized on a pair of Roseville defensive breakdowns to hang on against a good Roseville defense.
Maple Grove Crimson def. Osseo Orioles, 5-1
Blaine Bengals def. Anoka Tornadoes, 6-3
Maple Grove Crimson def. Blaine Bengals, 15-1
The Crimson cashed in 4 times on an early major penalty to Blaine and never looked back. The Bengals looked completely outclassed in this contest. The Crimson were led by Jordan Bell and Spencer Gross, cruising to victory and a berth in the State Tournament.
Minnetonka Skippers def. Wayzata Trojans, 3-0
Benilde-St. Margaret's Red Knights def. Robbinsdale Armstrong Falcons, 5-0
Benilde-St. Margaret's Red Knights def. Minnetonka Skippers, 5-1
An upset in some circles, the Red Knights will head to state representing Section 6AA. Benilde played their best hockey at the end of the season, and they're heating up and playing to their potential at the exact right time. A really great moment at the end of this game as Jack Jablonski joined the Red Knights in the handshake line.
Duluth East Greyhounds def. Elk River Elks, 4-2
Andover Huskies def. Forest Lake
Duluth East Greyhounds def. Andover Huskies, 4-1
Duluth had some lackluster games against both Elk River and Andover, but don't let the scores fool you. East dominated these games and chose to play lockdown defense instead of continuing their offensive assault. While that may not be the recipe for success in St. Paul, it gets the Greyhounds back to the State Tournament.
Moorhead Spuds def. Roseau Rams, 3-0
Brainerd Warriors def. Bemidji Lumberjacks, 5-2
Moorhead Spuds def. Brainerd Warriors, 3-1
Brainerd played Moorhead tough all game. Both teams played similar styles, with a lot of physical play and tough defense. The difference, as he has been for most of the season, was Spud goaltender Michael Bitzer. Bitzer made the saves until the Spuds could break a late tie, especially in the 2nd period. Moorhead will be making their 12 tournament appearance.