Minnesota Hockey Magazine

MHM Boys Class 2A Top Ten – 12/9/2014

Eden Prairie’s Michael Graham prepares himself for a faceoff and his Eagles are fourth this week in the top ten. (Photo / Tim Kolehmainen)

 

This week’s top ten in the Minnesota Hockey Magazine’s  Class 2A top 10 rankings features a new team in the number one slot. The Lakeville North Panthers swapped spots with the Edina Hornets after earning a 3-1 win last week as the Hornets dipped to the second spot.  Meanwhile, three teams debuted this week in the rankings with White Bear Lake, Hopkins, and Andover all taking a seat at the head table among the top ten teams.  Eden Prairie is the surging team this week as they are putting together some well rounded efforts and being rewarded for them.

 

  1. Lakeville North (2-0)

Last Week: vs. Edina (3-1 W)

This Week: vs.  Apple Valley (12/9), vs. Burnsville (12/11), at Grand Rapids (12/13)

The Lakeville North Panthers leap-frogged the Edina Hornets after defeating their rival by a score of 3-1 last Thursday.  Panther senior and St. Cloud State recruit Nick Poehling scored all three of his team’s goals and now has six on the season.  The play of defensemen Jack McNeely, Jack Sadek, Luke Seper, Angelo Altavilla, and Adam Duchon were a key to the Panthers victory with timely goaltending that was served up by University of Minnesota recruit and junior Ryan Edquist.  A lot of excitement surrounds the capability of the offensive flow of this team but it all starts in the defensive zone and denying opportunities for their opponents.  Holding the Hornets, who entered the game averaging over seven goals a game, to one goal was a testament to that effort.  The Panthers have two South Suburban games this week and travel to Grand Rapids Saturday for a solid test.

 

  1. Edina (5-1-1)

Last Week: vs. Lakeville North (3-1 L) vs. Rosemount (5-1 W)

This Week : No games this week

The Hornets fell in a 2-0 hole in the first period of their game with Lakeville North at Ames Arena and were never able to recover.  Edina found their game in outshooting the Panthers 13-2 and 23-10 over the final two periods but it wasn’t enough as their chances were limited to one and done by the Panthers.  The Hornets bounced back with a solid 5-1 win over Rosemount and will have the week off until they play three in a row at the Edina Holiday Classic beginning Thursday December 18th with the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks.  They will play No. 6 Elk River and No. 4 Eden Prairie to round out a competitive trio of games for them next week.  For this week, the Hornets will work on their game and expect them to slowly improve on their already impressive performances throughout the year.

 

  1. Hill-Murray (2-0)

Last Week: vs. Benilde-St. Margaret’s (5-3 W)

This Week: vs. Hibbing/Chisholm (12/9), vs. Mahtomedi (12/13)

The Hill-Murray Pioneers have two quality wins under the belt to open the season.  The first was a 3-2 win over Burnsville and the second was a 5-3 victory over Benilde-St. Margaret’s.  The win over B-SM was impressive considering the Pioneers had to overcome a pair of two goal deficits at 2-0 and 3-1.  Eventually, Hill-Murray took control of the game from the second period on scoring four unanswered to capture the win.  Sophomore Marko Reifenberger led the charge with 2 goals and 2 assists.  Senior Zach Mills chipped in 2 goals, his second being the game winner midway through the third period.  Mills also had an assist for a three-point effort.  Freshman Dylan Mills, the younger brother of Dylan, had 3 assists for the game.  The Pioneers will host Hibbing/Chisholm on Tuesday and open conference play with the highly regarded Mahtomedi Zephyrs.

 

  1. Eden Prairie (4-0)

Last Week: vs. Eastview (5-3 W), vs. Farmington (3-0 W)

This Week: at Cretin-Derham Hall (12/9), vs. Benilde-St. Margaret’s (12/9)

The Eagles continue to churn along and pick up wins.  Their four straight have been against traditionally quality teams with their most impressive being against a newcomer to the highly regarded high school teams this year in the Farmington Tigers.  Eden Prairie’s 3-0 win over the offensively explosive Tigers this past week raised eyebrows for the Eagles defensive effort more than anything. Farmington entered the game averaging just under 5 goals a game and was shutout. Much has been noted about the offensive one-two punch of UMD recruit junior Michael Graham (6g-5a-11pts) and University of Minnesota bound sophomore phenom Casey Mittelstadt (4g-4a-8pts) but it has been the overall team defensive play of the Eagles that has propelled them to the fourth slot this week.  They have two difficult games this week to contend with.  The first is with the talented Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders and the second is with the offensively gifted Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knights.  A sweep this week will further bolster the Eagles as a top four team in these rankings.

 

  1. Wayzata (5-1-1)

Last Week: vs. Eagan (11-1 W), vs. Lakeville South (3-0 W)

This Week: at Andover (12/9)

The Trojans defeated a pair of South Suburban Conference teams by a combined 14-1 this past week cementing them as a team that will be in the mix on the short list of state title contenders this year.  Four players are now in double digits offensively for the Trojans including junior Billy Duma (4g-7a-11pts), senior Nathan Dingmann (5g-6a-11pts), senior Jack Fetrow (3g-7a-10pts), and senior Alex Stevens (4g-6a-10pts).  Through six games, the Trojans have a 1.93 goals against average.  Their balanced offensive attack has a power play clicking at 22 percent giving teams cause for concern and the need to stay out of the box or the Trojans will make them pay.

 

  1. Elk River/Zimmerman (3-1)

Last Week: vs. Maple Grove (11-4 W), vs. Champlin Park (11-2 W)

This Week: at Spring Lake Park (12/9) at Anoka (12/11), vs. Blaine (12/13)

Talk about taking a loss personal.  The Elks were defeated by Benilde-St. Margaret’s 5-3 in the second game of the season and responded with a pair of 11 goal outbursts.  The first, an 11-4 thumping over Maple Grove, and the second, an 11-2 hammering of Champlin Park.  Senior Jake Jaremko (4g-13a-17pts) leads the team in points and assists and senior Reggie Lutz paces the way in the goal category for the Elks (8g-7a-15pts).  Three Northwest Suburban conference games are on deck this week for the Elks as they look to continue their winning ways.

 

  1. St. Thomas Academy (2-0)

Last Week: vs. Rosemount (6-2 W), vs. Academy of Holy Angels (11-4 W)

This Week: vs. Hastings (12/11) at Minnetonka (12/13)

The Cadets began play last week with a pair of wins which produced 17 goals.  If there were any doubts about this team’s ability to put the puck in the net, that will not be the issue this season.  As expected a pair of seniors lead the charge for the Cadets with Alex Broetzman (3g-7a-10pts) and Colorado College bound Christiano Versich (2g-6a-8pts) pacing the Cadets.  They have their first Metro East conference game this week with the Hastings Raiders and will take to the road for a non-conference affair with the Minnetonka Skippers.

 

  1. White Bear Lake (3-0)

Last Week: vs. Bloomington Jefferson (6-2 W), vs. Mounds View (5-2 W)

This Week: at Forest Lake (12/11), at Woodbury (12/13)

The Bears have been offensively impressive to open the season with 17 goals scored in their first three games.  They have turned aside challenges that would be expected of an 8th ranked team and will look to continue their path forward with two Suburban East conference games this week.  Senior Tom Giller leads the Bears in goals with seven and points (7g-3a-10pts) through the first three games. His veteran presence in the lineup has helped the Bears establish their offensive game.  He has had help from senior Brady Anderson (0g-6a-6pts) and rangy junior defenseman Wyatt Newpower (1g-5a-6pts).

 

  1. Hopkins (5-1)

Last Week: vs. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton (6-1 W) vs. Hermantown (2-1 ot W)

This Week: vs. Shakopee (12/9) vs. Robbinsdale Armstong/Cooper (12/11)

The Hopkins Royals clawed their way back to the top ten for the first time since Travis Boyd was an eighth-grader.  They have accomplished this with an impressive road trip that resulted in a 6-1 win over Cloquet-Esko-Carlton last Friday night and that was followed up with an entertaining 2-1 overtime win over MHM’s then second-ranked Hermantown Hawks in Class 1A.  Junior Nathan Nelsen scored both the Royal goals and leads the team in goals and is second in points (6g-2a-8pts).  Junior Riley Martin (5g-4a-9pts) paces the Royals in points.  They have offensive balance that includes senior Josh Laven (4g-4a-8pts), a three year veteran at the varsity level, leading the charge.  Senior goaltender Josh Kuemichel has lived up to his advance billing and made 54 saves in the Hermantown win.  He has a 1.83 goals against average and a .942 save percentage so far this year.  The Royal balanced attack and quality goaltending will be tested this week when the Royals face-off against a solid Robbinsdale Armstrong/Coooper team this Saturday.

 

  1. Andover (2-0-1)

Last Week: vs. Spring Lake Park (5-3 W), vs. Duluth East (2-2 T)

This Week: vs. Wayzata (12/9), vs. Maple Grove (12/11), at Centennial (12/13)

The Huskies have a smaller sample size than most in the top ten and have yet to lose.  Their 8-4 win over the surging Robbinsdale Armstrong/Cooper team was impressive to open the season and they added a resume building tie with Duluth East last week.  A solid showing against Wayzata will take the Huskies a long way in holding their spot among top ten teams.  They are led by senior Tyler Vold (2g-4a-6pts) and senior Reece Tullbane (3g-3a-6pts) who each are averaging two points per game.  As is always the case with the Huskies, they are a hard team to pick up a win against and will be difficult to play for all comers this year.

Others Receiving Consideration:  Grand Rapids, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Bemidji, St. Michael-Albertville, Chanhassen, Robbinsdale Armstrong/Cooper, Farmington