Minnesota Hockey Magazine

MHM Boys Class 2A Top Ten – 12/16/2014

A win over Eden Prairie vaulted Benilde-St. Margaret’s back into the Class 2A Top Ten. (Photo / Tim Kolehmainen)
 

This week’s Class 2A Top Ten will play out the same way each week featuring plenty of movement among teams. It can be argued that twenty teams have the potential to stake claims at being a top ten team depending on the week. There was only one new-comer to the top ten and that was the Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knights who are in the coveted field of teams for the second time this year. Dropping out of the top ten were the Andover Huskies, who suffered three losses last week. The top three teams remain intact with plenty of variables that may cause upheaval in the top ten with some outstanding games this week.

  1. Lakeville North (5-0, 3-0)

Last Week           vs. Apple Valley (7-0 W), vs. Burnsville (4-1 W), vs. Grand Rapids (3-0 W)
This Week          at Rosemount (12/18), vs. Lakeville South (12/20)

The Panthers won all three of their games last week by a combined 14-1 and have allowed just seven goals against this year in five games played while scoring 23.  Their win over Burnsville was an impressive South Suburban conference statement win and they followed that up with a 3-0 win at Grand Rapids in the IRA Civic Center on Saturday.  The Thunderhawks were smarting coming off a 4-2 loss to Duluth Marshall the night before and were focused on the Panthers.   Goalie Ryan Edquist sports a 1.39 goals against average and carries a lofty .936 save percentage to the table to go along with two shutouts this year.  They have two conference games this week including the always entertaining crosstown rivalry game with Lakeville South this upcoming Saturday.

 

  1. Edina (5-1-1, 0-0)

Last Week           No Games Scheduled
This Week          vs. Grand Rapids (12/18), vs. Ek River (12/19), vs. Eden Prairie (12/20)

With a week to spend on conditioning, skills and dialing things in, the Hornets will be ready for three games this week at the Edina Holiday Classic.  They open against the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks and play the high scoring Elk River Elks followed by the always entertaining Eden Prairie rivalry game to close out the three-game round robin.  As much as any team in high school hockey, the Hornets progressively get better as the year goes on and that has been a fact under coach Curt Giles.

 

  1. Hill-Murray (4-0, 1-0)

Last Week           vs. Hibbing/Chisholm (4-1 W), vs. Mahtomedi (W 5-1)
This Week          at Blaine (12/16), vs. South St. Paul (12/18), vs. Maple Grove (12/20)

A pair of wins last week doubled the Pioneer win total entering this week. Their win against Mahtomedi was a solid victory against the second rated Class A team in the state.  It also marked the first ever Metro East conference victory in its inaugural season.  Marko Reifenberger (5g-3a-8pts) and Zach Mills (4g-3a-7pts) pace the Pioneers’ offensive side of the game.  This week, it is a clash with the Blaine Bengals on Tuesday followed by Metro East rival South St. Paul and a dance with the Maple Grove Crimson to close out a week that will provide some challenges for Hill-Murray.

 

  1. St. Thomas Academy (4-0, 1-0)

Last Week           vs. Hastings (9-0 W), vs. Minnetonka (5-4 W)
This Week          vs. Henry Sibley (12/18), vs. Tartan (12/20)

The Cadets hammered Hastings to open their week of play last week and closed it out with what began as a comfortable game with Minnetonka but closed out as a scare for the Cadets.  After leading 4-1 at the end of the first period, the Cadets saw the Skippers battle back in the second period with a pair of early goals to pull within 4-3.  The Cadets finished the game with the win and improved to 4-0 on the season.  Senior Alex Broetzman (6g-10a-16pts) averages an impressive four points per game for his Cadets to lead the way offensively and goalie Matt Snow is (3-0, 2.00 GAA, .912 save percentage, one shutout) has stopped 62 of 68 shots faced this year.  The Cadets face a pair of Metro East opponents this week in Henry Sibley and Tartan.

 

  1. Elk River (6-1, 4-0)

Last Week           vs. Spring Lake Park (10-2 W), vs. Anoka (8-1 W), vs. Blaine (5-4 W)
This Week          at Andover (12/16), vs. Eden Prairie (12/18 Breamar), vs. Edina (12/19 Braemar), vs. Edina (12/20 Braemar)

The Elks are in the midst of a five game winning streak and will put that to the test in a busy and challenging week.  The Elks open with Andover in Northwest Suburban Conference play on Tuesday and finish with three straight at the Edina Holiday Classic against their usual mid-December opponents in Eden Prairie, Edina, and Grand Rapids.  At 4-0 in the balanced and difficult Northwest Suburban Conference North Division, the Elks continued their goal scoring splurge with 23 goals in three games and average 8.14 goals per contest.  They have an impressive power play that connects 27 percent of the time and are on what can be considered a short list of potential state title contenders.  Although Benilde-St. Margaret’s handed the Elks their only loss earlier this year, they get the nod ahead of the Red Knights.  The two losses that the Red Knights have, one to unranked Burnsville slid them down the top ten a few notches.  A win against Wayzata carries enough weight to impress the voting board.

 

  1. Wayzata (6-1-1, 0-0)

Last Week:         vs. Andover (5-1 W)
This Week:         vs. Burnsville (12/20)

After clipping off seven games in the first two weeks, the Trojans have slowed the pace of games with one last week and that resulted in a solid 5-1 win over the Andover Huskies last Tuesday.  They will have to wait 11 days for their next game and that is this upcoming Saturday against the always difficult to play Burnsville Blaze.  Their loss to Elk River on 11/25 has the Trojans slotted on spot below Elk River/Zimmerman

 

  1. Benilde-St. Margaret’s (3-2, 0-0)

Last Week:         vs. Eden Prairie (2-1 W)
This Week:         vs. Holy Family Catholic (12/16), at Minnetonka (12/18) at Moorhead (12/20)

The Red Knights jump back into the top ten with a well-played 2-1 win over a deep and talented Eden Prairie Eagle team.  The Red Knights battled in the third period when trailing by a score of 1-0 and, in fact, got better and stuck to their game with Eden Prairie and were rewarded with the win in the final 30 seconds of the game.  The Red Knights have two more Section 6AA games this week with Holy Family and rivaling Minnetonka and are in the midst of building their section resume.  A loss to Burnsville knocks them down a few pegs and with just five games under their belts will provide more of a sample size for how good they are and can be after this week.  Based on their win against Eden Prairie they are slotted on spot ahead of the Eagles in this week’s top ten.

 

  1. Eden Prairie (5-1, 0-0)

Last Week:         vs. Cretin-Derham Hall (4-3 W), vs. B-SM (2-1 L)
This Week:         vs. Elk River (12/18 Braemar), vs. Grand Rapids (12/19 Braemar), vs. Edina (12/20 Braemar)

The Eden Prairie Eagles were handed their first loss of the season on Friday night by a score of 2-1 to the Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knights.  The Eagles had another one-goal game earlier in the week that resulted in a 4-3 win over Cretin-Derham Hall last Tuesday.  After holding a 3-0 lead, CDH rallied for three unanswered to make things interesting.  Junior Michael Graham, a UMD recruit, is starting to look more like one of his mentors, coach Paul Ranheim, in his game.  Graham’s skating and responsibility in all three zones is impressive and the Eagles, as a team, adhered to their defensive system well all game against the Red Knights.  The Eagles are contenders for the Lake Conference and Section 6AA titles this year.  This week’s trifecta of games will take hockey fans and the Eagles a long way in learning if the last statement is indeed true.

 

  1. Hopkins (7-1, 0-0)

Last Week:         vs. Shakopee (8-3 W), vs. Robbinsdale Armstrong/Cooper (3-1 W)
This Week:         at Spring Lake Park (12/18)

The Royals have won five straight games and are winning in impressive fashion.  Their blend of goaltending, special teams, and five-on-five play has been a key formula to success.  The Royal power play clicks at 33 percent and has been a difference maker in their games.  Hopkins has a game on the road against Spring Lake Park this week and then are off until they begin Schwan’s Cup play after the Christmas holiday.  Goalie Josh Kuemichel has been the talk of the west metro and for good reason, his numbers are impressive (7-1, 1.87 GAA, .932 save percentage).  Josh Laven (7g-6a-13pts) has been productive offensively with 3 power play goals to his credit.

 

  1. White Bear Lake (5-0, 4-0)

Last Week:         vs. Forest Lake (3-2 W), vs. Woodbury (6-1 W)
This Week:         vs. Stillwater (12/16), at Greenway (12/19), at Superior (12/20)

The White Bear Lake Bears are undefeated and hold first place in the Suburban East Conference through the first three weeks of play and have shown themselves to be the head of the class at this stage of the game in conference play.  The Bears have won their four conference games by a combined 20-5 score and are led by Tom Giller’s (9g-7a-16pts) over 3 point a game effort to start the season.  They drop to No. 10 in this week’s top ten for no other reason than they have not defeated a top Class AA or A team to date.  Their perfect start to the season is being recognized and games in the coming weeks against Centennial, Edina, Hermantown, and Hill-Murray will take us a long way in seeing the Bears move up in or fall out of the top ten.

Others receiving consideration:  Prior Lake, Duluth East, Stillwater, Centennial, Eastview, Farmington, Bemidji, Rochester Century, Moorhead