The Top 10 (Last week's ranking in parenthesis)
1. Duluth East (1)
2. Minnetonka (2)
3. Maple Grove (3)
4. Burnsville (4)
5. Benilde-St. Margaret's (5)
6. Eagan (6)
7. Edina (8)
8. Grand Rapids (7)
9. Moorhead (9)
10. Eden Prairie/Elk River (10/NR)
Well that was exciting. It was a pretty quiet week with not many big match-ups. The only team in the top ten to lose was Grand Rapids, who lost a one-goal game to Edina. I toyed with the idea of Eden Prairie and Elk River sharing the ten spot last week, and figured their Thursday match-up would settle the dispute, but they finished tied, which seemed to be a good excuse to have them share that final spot. Everybody else won games they were expected to win.
A look at last week's results, this week's upcoming games, college commitments, highlights, and a delicious recipe for fat-free brownies after the jump.
Edina 4 Grand Rapids 3, Eden Prairie 3 Elk River 3- Day one of the Edina Holiday Classic provided the type of quality hockey everyone expected to see. Edina pulled out a nice win over Grand Rapids, who was without star defenseman and Gopher recruit Jake Bischoff, due to injury, and Eden Prairie and Elk River played to a draw. If you can make it down to Braemar Arena either of the next two nights, these games are probably the best value per dollar in the hockey world.
Blaine 4 Coon Rapids 3 (OT)- Blaine probably could have earned a spot in the top ten thanks to their 3-1 win over Elk River last weekend, but they almost fell victim to a huge upset when the kids from Coon Rapids took the other kids from Coon Rapids that wanted to play for a better hockey team to overtime. Blaine survived the scare, but it's still a fantastic effort from the Cardinals.
Stillwater 1 Roseville 0- In maybe the most painful loss ever, Roseville outshot Stillwater 33-11, but scored a goal on themselves with their goalie pulled on a delayed penalty for the only goal of the game.
St. Louis Park 5 Irondale 2- No one is going to confuse St. Louis Park with crosstown rival--and I use that term loosely-- Benilde-St. Margaret's, but this win for St. Louis Park moved them to 3-0 on the season, which is significant, considering they went 2-23 last year. With a new coach in former NHL player Shjon Podein, and a significant group of young players that had success at the bantam level and chose to play right away at SLP rather than waiting their turn at BSM, they look like a team that could be on the rise.
If you want your heart to hurt, here is the game-winning goal that Roseville scored on themselves against Stillwater.
More on Eagan's Eli May later, but here he is setting up a nice goal for teammate Michael Zajac.
Jake Guentzel shows why he is one of the best juniors in the state with an end-to-end rush that he finishes off with a nice wraparound.
Eagan's Eli May became the first of likely a few players off the excellent Eagan team to make a college commitment when he chose to play for Minnesota State earlier this week. May chose the Mavericks over Bemidji State and Maine, who had both showed interest in him. According to his Twitter, May expects to play 1-2 years of junior hockey before joining the Mavericks.
Among the state's alumni, former Rogers forward/defenseman Jesse Ramsey made a commitment to play hockey at the Air Force Academy. Ramsey wasn't exactly a big name when he played for the Royals, but after three seasons in the NAHL, where his ability to play multiple positions was a huge asset, Ramsey earned the opportunity to move on to the next level.
Games of the Week
Seriously, Edina Classic. 6:00pm and 8:30 pm games both Friday and Saturday at Braemar Arena. One ticket is good for both games. I doubt you'll be disappointed.
Austin at Mankato East, Saturday December 17th, 12:00pm, Mankato All Seasons Arena
Austin appears to be at least respectable this year, while Mankato East may be one of the worst teams in the state, but this match-up always gets a special mention in honor of one of the best high school games I've ever seen; one of the big reasons I enjoy high school hockey so much.
As a fun historical fact, the famous outlaw Jesse James once attempted to rob a bank in downtown Mankato, but aborted the plan at the last minute when he became spooked by a group of men standing in front of the bank. James feared they may have been tipped off about the potential robbery, but in fact, the men had no idea, and had simply decided to hold their morning bank meeting outside that day.
Forest Lake at White Bear Lake, Saturday December 17th, 7:30pm Vadnais Sports Center
Neither team here is among the state's elite, but both teams are just a hair below that level, and have the type of talent where they may not consistently compete with the best, but on the right day, could probably beat just about anyone. White Bear Lake freshman Jake Wahlin is in the top five in the state among freshman scorers, and a definite player to watch in the future.
The city of White Bear Lake is arguably the most literary famous of among Minnesota HS hockey teams(Other than Prairie Centre Area, I suppose, which would technically cover Minnesota's two most famous fictional towns: Lake Wobegon and Gopher Prairie). White Bear Lake was the setting for F. Scott Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby first draft Winter Dreams, while Hugo, Minnesota, also in the WBL district, is the only Minnesota town named after a French novelist(...probably. It's debatable where the name came from, but main street in town is called Victor Hugo Boulevard, and that's a way more interesting story than some former mayor of Duluth).
#3 Maple Grove vs. #5 Benilde-St. Margaret's, Tuesday, December 20th, 7:00pm St. Louis Park Rec Center
If all goes to plan, these two teams could meet again right after Christmas in the St. Louis Park holiday tournament, and looking even further down the road, this looks like the type of the match-up you could see in the state tournament semifinals. But with so much talent on both rosters, potential rematches won't stop this from being a great game, and being one of the more highly-scouted games in the first half of the season.