Welcome back Wilderness Nation! Hope that the New Year has been treating you well so far as we have a whole plethora of hockey this past week. The best part about the holiday season is that between Christmas and New Year’s Day is the ridiculous amounts of various holiday tournaments that take place throughout the entire state. Within these tournaments come a few games that are always sure to turn a few heads. This week we take a look at those more interesting games from the Holiday Tournaments.
Kicking things off at Ridder Arena we had Eden Prarie against Hill-Murray in the Schwan Cup Gold Division. After a faced paced first period that saw Eden Prarie take a 2-1 lead, things slowed down in the second. The second consisted of only ten shots combined, however, business picked up in the third. A very fast paced period saw Hill-Murray tie the game just a minute into the third but the goalies locked down the shots for the rest of the period. In overtime, it took just three minutes for Eden Prairie to find the back of the net and beat Hill-Murray. Also in the Schwan Cup Gold Division we had the St. Thomas Academy Cadets taking on the Greyhounds of Duluth East. While we may have become accustomed to the Cadets really having their way with opponents this year this game didn’t really get out of hand. Despite the 4-1 score, Duluth East held their own limiting STA to a more balanced attack. At the end of two it was only a 2-1 game and while Duluth East kept coming, the Cadets proved to be too much. In the Semifinals of the Schwan Cup Gold Division STA looked more like the normal Cadets, trouncing Minnetonka with a 9-3 beat down. In the other Semifinal game Burnesville snuck past a very game Eden Prarie team in overtime. Finally we had the Championship game between Burnsville and STA. It was a surprising game as STA found themselves out shot 12-7 in the first period, but left with a 1-0 lead. St. Thomas then turned it on in the second and third, scoring twice in the latter and leaving the tournament with a 3-0 shutout win and taking the Schwan Cup Gold Division Championship.
Up north at Mars Lakeview Arena the Duluth Marshall Hilltoppers hosted the Hilltopper Holiday Tournament. With 3 teams from Wisconsin, headlined by Superior and East Grand Forks, Hermantown and Duluth Marshall, it was looking to be a very interesting tournament. Superior, East Grand Forks, Duluth Marshall, Hermantown all advanced to the semifinals after disposing of over matched quarter finals opponents. In the semifinals there was an interesting matchup between Hermantown vs. Duluth Marshall and East Grand Forks vs. Superior. In the latter game, East Grand Forks really took it to Superior in every facet of the game. They held the Spartans to just 8 shots through the first two periods, while accumulating 26 of their own. Even still they only had 2-0 lead going into the third. The third was a very defensive period, as Superior managed to hold East Grand Forks to just 3 shots all period. Unfortunately, all three found the back of the net as East Grand Forks took a 5-0 victory to get to the Championship game. In the other side of the tournament, Hermantown faced their rivals Duluth Marshall. The first two were very even, very hard fought periods with each team scoring one a piece in each of the first two. Then in the third, the Hawks came out flying and just dominated the Hilltoppers. They ended up scoring 4 in the third and eliminating Duluth Marshall from their self-titled tournament and headed for a rematch with East Grand Forks. While it may not be the state tournament you know folks from Hermantown were looking for some sort of redemption against East Grand Forks. After a very one sided first period from Hermantown, the Green Wave put together a better effort in the second. Yet still they found themselves down by 2 going into the third. The third period was everything you could have hoped for with these two teams matching up. It was a back and forth, grind them up game until finally Hermantown was able to put the nail in the coffin and take home a 3-0 victory and a little bit of vengeance against the Green Wave.
Well that’s the wrap for this week. Let me know if you were at any of the other tournaments and how they turned out otherwise Happy New Year!