Minnesota Hockey Magazine

MHM Boys Class 2A Top-10 – 2/1/16

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Stillwater’s Jackson Cates (L) and Luke Manning have the No. 3 Ponies celebrating a Suburban East Conference title. (MHM Photo / Jeff Wegge)


Our weekly boys’ prep hockey Top-10s are brought to you courtesy of CrankyApe.com

Trojans on the move while Hornets, Panthers climb back in

Two weeks remain in the regular season with the majority of the teams at or near 20 of their 25 games played.  The Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knights had a big week topping Minnetonka in a well-played game, earning a 4-2 win, and hold onto the top spot again, something they have not relinquished since taking over in week three.

The surging team this week is the Wayzata Trojans, winners of five in a row, including four against top-10 teams, since the middle of January.  The Edina Hornets climbed back in the top-10 and last year’s defending state champion Lakeville North Panthers also settled in at No. 10.

  1. Benilde-St. Margaret’s (20-0-1)

Last Week:  W 4-2 Minnetonka, W 12-0 Bloomington Kennedy, W 10-1 Chanhassen

This Week:  at Chaska (2/4), at Eden Prairie (2/6)

The Red Knights defeated the Minnetonka Skippers in a marquee match-up last week at the St. Louis Park Rec Center.  Utilizing their depth, the Red Knights are finding ways to win each night.  B-SM went on to light up two Metro West Conference opponents in wins over Bloomington Kennedy and Chanhassen by scores of 12-0 and 10-1 respectively.  The Red Knights continue Metro West play this week when they face Chaska and then it is Eden Prairie to close out the schedule for the week.  With 116 goals on the season, the Red Knights are the highest-scoring team in the Class 2A as Cade Gleekel (20g), Auggie Moore (15g), and Jacob Holmers (14g) pace the way in goal scoring.

 

  1. Holy Family Catholic (16-3-0)

Last Week:  W 7-0 Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato, W 4-1 Delano

This Week:  at Hopkins (2/2), at Duluth Marshall (2/5), at Grand Rapids (2/6)

The Fire have won 9 straight since a Dec. 17 loss to Wayzata.  This week, they picked up wins over Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato (7-0) and Delano (4-1).  They have three Class 2A opponents this week starting with Hopkins, then they travel north this weekend for games against Duluth Marshall, and the talented Grand Rapids Thunderhawks.  All are away from the friendly confines of the Victoria Arena and will provide a solid test for the Fire who have allowed 31 goals against on the season with a pair of goaltenders sharing the duties in goal.  Jared Moe (9-2-0, 1.69, .929), and Jaxson Stauber (7-1-0, 1.30, .931) have been steady manning the pipes this year giving their team a chance every outing.

 

  1. Stillwater (19-1-1)

Last Week:  W 4-0 Mahtomedi, W 8-1 Mounds View

This Week:  vs Forest Lake (2/4), at Woodbury (2/6)

The Ponies topped Mahtomedi, ranked No. 5 in the CrankyApe.com top-10 last week, and hammered Mounds View to put them on the cusp of a 20-win season.  They bring a high octane offensive approach to the table and are second to the Red Knights with 111 goals scored this season in Class 2A. .  Luke Manning (20g), Noah Cates (19g), and Jackson Cates (18g) lead the team in goals.  They captured their first Suburban East Conference hockey title with three conference games remaining.  Forest Lake and Woodbury represent two of those SEC games this week.

 

  1. Blaine (16-4-0)

Last Week:  W 6-3 vs Maple Grove, W 10-1 vs Andover

This Week:  vs Robbinsdale Armstrong (2/2), vs Irondale (2/4), at Coon Rapids (2/6)

The Bengals climbed two slots from the sixth to the fourth on the strength of three straight wins.  In the process, they leap-frogged Minnetonka and Eden Prairie, each of which have won and lost some big games over the past two weeks.  Like the other top teams in our rankings, the Bengals are putting the puck in the net with 102 on the season.  Riley Tufte (33g), and Luke Notermann (21g) account for 53% of the Bengals goals.  Three games are on the schedule this week for the Bengals who will look to finish strong heading into sectional tournament in a couple of weeks.

 

  1. Wayzata (14-6-1)

Last Week:  W 4-1 Hopkins, W 4-2 Eden Prairie

This Week:  vs Edina (2/4), vs Minnetonka (2/6)

The Wayzata Trojans could be peaking at the right time after earning five straight wins in the past two weeks.  They accomplished that after stumbling to a 1-4-1 mark from the middle of December to the middle of January.  The Trojans have gotten back to their defensive ways in allowing just six goals against over the course of their streak.  Consider that they have won four of their five games against top-ten teams in that time and are 8-5-1 against teams that have been ranked in both the Class 1A and Class 2A rankings of the CrankyApe.com rankings and they have one impressive resume.  Mark Senden leads the Trojans in points (4g-21a-25pts) and Colin Schmidt leads in goals with 10.  The Trojans have allowed just 43 goals against this year and position themselves as a legitimate threat in the Section 6AA that features both B-SM and Edina among the top teams.

 

  1. Minnetonka (15-6-0)

Last Week:  L 4-2 B-SM, W 9-0 Hopkins

This Week:  vs Eden Prairie (2/4), at Wayzata (2/6)

The Skippers are 7-2 in their last nine games with both losses coming at the hands of teams ranked above them in B-SM and Wayzata.  Minnetonka picked up a win over an Edina team which may be turning the corner this year, and then crushed Hopkins 9-0 to close out their week.  A challenging week is on deck for Minnetonka which faces off against Eden Prairie and Wayzata.  Things won’t get any easier for the Skippers who will see Edina and Duluth East to close out the 2016 regular season.  Brendan Skarda leads a hard working group in scoring for the Skippers (12g-14a-26pts)

 

  1. Grand Rapids (15-6-1)

Last Week:  W 5-3 Moorhead

This Week:  vs Hopkins (2/5), vs Holy Family Catholic (2/6)

The Thunderhawks have clawed their way to a respectable No. 7 position in the top-10.  They are 7-2 in their last nine games after falling to highly regarded Hermantown on Jan. 5.  Since then, the Thunderhawks’ only blemish was at the hands of Wayzata by a score of 3-2.  That was not a loss to be ashamed of as the Trojans have launched themselves to top-5 status this week with an impressive run.  Only one game was scheduled for Grand Rapids last week and that was a 5-3 win over Moorhead.  Hopkins and Holy Family Catholic are waiting in the wings for the Thunderhawks this week and Rapids will close out the regular season with one game next week against Duluth Denfeld.  Goaltender Gabe Holum has taken the bull by the horns and is now 11-1-0 on the season with his only loss coming to Wayzata.  Holum has a 1.99 GAA with three shutouts this year.  The sophomore goalie is as advertised and gives the Thunderhawks a chance to win every game he plays.

 

  1. Edina (13-7-2)

Last Week:  W 4-3 Eden Prairie, W 5-0 Academy of Holy Angels

This Week:  at Wayzata (2/4), vs Minnetonka 2/11)

The Hornets are back and earned their way in with a big win over Eden Prairie and followed that up with a solid win over the Academy of Holy Angels.  The addition of freshman and University of Minnesota recruit Ben Brinkman to the blue line has paid dividends for the Hornets who have moved Clayton Phillips, another U of M recruit to forward.  It will be the moment of truth for the Hornets who take on Wayzata and Minnetonka, each for the third time this year, and have yet to solve either club going 0-4 in those games.  Sammy Walker (18g-16a-34pts) and Ben Copeland (14g-19a-33pts) lead the Hornet in points and goals this year.  Goalie Charlie de Grood flies under the radar for Edina and has been impressive.  The senior goalie is 12-7-2 on the season, has four shutouts, and has put together a .907 save percentage.  de Grood was the difference in the Eden Prairie game and is also a big reason why his Hornet team is welcomed back into the top ten this week.  They could fall out as fast as they returned if they stumble in their games this week.

 

  1. Eden Prairie (15-5-1)

Last Week:  L 4-3 Edina, L 4-2 Wayzata

This Week:  at Minnetonka (2/4), vs B-SM (2/6)

The Eagles dropped both of their games last week and are 2-3-1 in their last six games.  There is a legitimate reason for the Eagles’ slide and it is understandable with some of the challenges the club is facing.  They have been in all of their games during the six-game stretch, losing in overtime to Minnetonka and to Edina 4-3 and Wayzata 4-2.  Expected wins over Bloomington Jefferson and Hopkins have been delivered to go along with a tie to St. Thomas Academy.  Casey Mittelstadt (19g-30a-49pts), Micheal Graham (13g-25a-38pts), Nolan Sulivan (16g-18a-34pts), and defenseman Nicky Leivermann (9g-21a-30pts) lead a potent offensive attack for the Eagles.

 

  1. Lakeville North (14-5-1)

Last Week:  W 13-0 Apple Valley, W 2-1 (OT) Rosemount

This Week:  at Lakeville South (2/4), at Duluth East (2/6)

The defending state champs are back in the top-10 after some time away on the strength of a 9-1 record over their last 10 games.  The Panthers are 2-3-1 against teams that are ranked among the top-10 in the CrankyApe.com rankings this year and the volume of top-10 games among the teams placed ahead of them plays into the consideration as to why they are not any higher.  Add to that two losses to Farmington in section play and the Panthers may not even get the top seed.  Some losses that Farmington has endured keep them from the top-10 and this slot is the Panthers’ for this week.  The Panthers will take on crosstown rival Lakeville South and Duluth East at the much anticipated Hockey Day Minnesota event in Duluth.  Ryan Poehling (15g-27a-42pts), Henry Enebak (13g-25a-38pts), and Max Johnson (24g-13a-37pts) are the offensive leaders for the Panthers this year.

Others Receiving Consideration:  Duluth East, Farmington, Centennial, Hill-Murray, Bemidji, Elk River/Zimmerman, Lakeville South, St. Thomas Academy, Prior Lake