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MHM Boys Class 1A Top 10 – 1/4/16

Hawks soar back to the top while Greenway climbs aboard

After a holiday tournament win, Hermantown’s Jesse Jacques and the rest of the Hawks are enjoying the view from their perch back atop the Class 1A top-10. (MHM Photo / Mackenzi Marinovich)

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Hawks soar back to the top while Greenway climbs aboard

There are few post-holiday blues in the Minnesota Hockey Magazine’s Class 1A top-10 rankings this week, as tournament champions adorn the polls. Six of our top-10 teams either won their respective holiday events or finished unbeaten in a round-robin format event, an impressive showing against both top Class 1A opponents and solid Class 2A foes.

Hermantown recaptured the top spot in our polls after sweeping the field at the Hilltopper Holiday Classic in Duluth, while Breck tumbled to the No. 4 spot after losing two of three in the Schwan Cup Silver Division. We think the Mustangs are better than that ranking, but results matter, even over the holidays. St. Cloud Apollo climbed a spot after allowing one total goal in three games at the Granite City Classic, while Hibbing/Chisholm posted two shutouts to remain unbeaten and climb to No. 3.

And welcome to Greenway, the newest team to grace the rankings at No. 10 after winning the Schwan Cup Bronze Division title.

1. Hermantown (10-1-1)

Last week: at Hilltopper Holiday Classic — W 5-2 vs. Delano (12/29), W 6-3 vs. Roseville (12/30), W 8-3 vs. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton (12/31)

This week: at Grand Rapids (1/5), vs. St. Cloud Cathedral (1/8)

The Hawks flexed their offensive muscle at Duluth Marshall’s annual holiday tournament, scoring 19 goals in three games against quality opponents. Leading scorer Cole Koepke (17-15-32) finished off the tournament with a flourish, netting a hat trick and two assists in an 8-3 beating of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton in the finals. In the three games at Mars Lakeview Arena, Koepke had five goals and six assists. Jesse Jacques (7-13-20) also had a big week, scoring at least once in each game with a total of five goals and four assists. In Hermantown’s semifinal victory over Roseville, coach Bruce Plante became the ninth coach in state boys’ hockey history to record 500 victories.

2. St. Cloud Apollo (10-1-0)

Last week: at Granite City Classic — W 8-0 vs. Sauk Rapids-Rice (12/28), W 5-0 vs. St. Cloud Tech (12/29), W 5-1 vs. Sartell-St. Stephen (12/30)

This week: at Willmar (1/4), at Brainerd (1/5), vs. Breck (1/7)

After last year’s state tournament run, St. Cloud Apollo was again expected to be a strong defensive team this year. It certainly showed in three games at the Granite City Classic, as the Eagles allowed just one total goal. Senior goaltender Nick Althaus (10-1-0, 1.36, .932) had a shutout streak of 219 minutes, 50 seconds finally stopped by Sartell-St. Stephen’s Matthew Moran with 44 seconds left in the second period of the final game. It was the first goal Althaus had allowed since Mankato West’s Jimmy Miller scored 26 seconds into the second period of their Dec. 19 game — almost 13 full periods earlier. Gino Lucia (11-15-26) and Brandon Bissett (9-12-21) each scored at least one goal in all three games and pace the Eagles’ offense. Apollo will be tested this coming week with a home game against No. 4 Breck, which will be angry to avenge a tough showing in the Schwan Cup Silver Division and a loss to Apollo in last year’s state quarterfinals.

3. Hibbing/Chisholm (11-0-0)

Last week: W 3-0 vs. Brainerd (12/28), W 7-0 vs. Northern Lakes (12/29)

This week: vs. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton (1/5), at Virginia/MIB (1/7)

Hibbing/Chisholm is another team on an impressive defensive run, and the Bluejackets are the last remaining unbeaten team in Class 1A after back-to-back shutouts last week. Hibbing and Apollo share the state’s best goals against average (1.36), but while Apollo has a veteran netminder, the Bluejackets turned to freshman Ryan Ullan (11-0-0, 1.26, .940) to lead the way. His shutout streak is at 121 minutes, 56 seconds since allowing a goal to Greenway’s Dylan Carlson on Dec. 22. Having junior defenseman Scott Perunovich (8-27-35) on the ice in front of him certainly helps Ullan and the Bluejackets, as well. Perunovich is second in the state in assists to Luverne’s Jaxon Nelson. Jake Bestul (9-14-23) is second on the team in scoring after a four-goal week, including a hat trick against Northern Lakes.

4. Breck (10-3-0)

Last week: at Schwan Cup Silver Division — W 7-1 vs. Buffalo (12/28), L 2-3 vs. Rosemount (12/29), L 1-6 vs. St. Michael-Albertville (12/30)

This week: at St. Cloud Apollo (1/7), at Moorhead (1/9)

That’s a mighty drop for the Mustangs, who tumbled all the way from the top spot after losing two of three games at the Schwan Cup Silver Division over the holidays. After beating Buffalo in the quarterfinals, Breck had won five straight games while allowing only four total goals. But Rosemount and St. Michael-Albertville were able to solve the Mustangs’ defense in the final two games, scoring as many combined goals as Breck had allowed in the previous seven games. That said, Breck did outshoot both by a total of 77-42 and controlled play for long stretches of both games but were held in check by Rosemount’s Nick Hart and STMA’s Kyle Hayden. A big game is up next as the Mustangs visit St. Cloud Apollo on Thursday. Expect Chase Ellingson (14-22-36), Mitch Machlitt (16-10-26) and company to be tested by the Eagles’ tough defense.

5. Mahtomedi (9-3-0)

Last week: at Schwan Cup Silver Division — W 8-3 vs. Eastview (12/28), W 6-4 vs. St. Michael-Albertville (12/29), L 2-3 vs. Rosemount (12/30), W 3-2 vs. Blake (1/2)

This week: at St. Thomas Academy (1/7), at Tartan (1/9)

Giant-killer Rosemount also knocked off Mahtomedi on its run to the surprise Schwan Cup Silver Division title, edging the Zephyrs 3-2 in the final. Leading scorer Luke Posner (12-11-23) had a huge tournament, scoring eight goals, including a five-spot in the semifinal victory over St. Michael-Albertville. The lanky junior winger took over the team scoring lead with his best Jack Becker impersonation, as his size and reach were just too much for opponents. Mahtomedi responded to the loss with a 3-2 victory against Blake on Saturday, in a rare start for backup goaltender Taidhgin Keel (2-0-0, 4.00, .814). Keel made 20 saves in relief of Will Swanson (7-3-0, 2.10, .923) and Andrew Kangas (7-14-21) had a goal and an assist. The Zephyrs next match up with St. Thomas Academy, which has long been a thorn in their side in the Metro East Conference (nee Classic Suburban) and previously Section 4A before the Cadets moved to Class 2A.

6. St. Paul Academy (9-3-0)

Last week: at Duluth Heritage Classic — W 4-1 vs. Mankato West (12/28), W 5-3 vs. Eau Claire Memorial, WI (12/29), W 1-0 vs. St. Louis Park (12/30)

This week: vs. Minnehaha Academy (1/7), vs. Mankato West (1/9)

St. Paul Academy traveled north for the Duluth Heritage Classic and returned to the capitol city with a first-place trophy. Defense led the way for the Spartans, as they allowed just four goals in three games. Sophomore goaltender Andy Beran (9-3-0, 2.37, .906) stopped 72 of 76 shots in the three games, while Cullen McCabe (4-9-13), Noel Parker (3-9-12), Matt Dahlseide (11-10-21), and Jack Johnston (11-8-19) all scored two goals to pace the offense. Dahlseide scored the only goal in SPA’s 1-0 victory over St. Louis Park in the championship game. The Spartans have three straight home games in the coming 10 days, including two against IMAC foes Minnehaha Academy and Blake.

7. Delano (8-4-0)

Last week: at Hilltopper Holiday Classic — L 2-5 vs. Hermantown (12/29), W 6-1 vs. Superior, WI (12/30), L 2-6 vs. Bemidji (12/31)

This week: vs. Holy Family (1/5), at Waconia (1/7), vs. Rochester Lourdes (1/9)

Delano is another top-10 team that lost two of three over the holidays at the Hilltopper Holiday Classic to fall in the rankings. Neither loss for the Tigers is a bad one, though, as they fell to both No. 1 Hermantown and a Bemidji team that has lost only once all season in Class 2A. Junior Ben Meyers (18-13-31) leads the Tigers in scoring and had at least one tally in each game, with a hat trick in the 6-1 victory over Superior, WI. John Keranen (10-15-25) was the playmaker against the Spartans, recording five assists. Delano gets back into Wright County Conference play this week with its chief rival, Holy Family Catholic, visiting on Tuesday night.

8. Thief River Falls (9-3-0)

Last week: at Ralph Engelstad Classic — W 5-1 vs. Alexandria (12/28), W 8-1 vs. Fargo North, ND (12/29), W 5-2 vs. Chippewa Falls, WI (12/30)

This week: at Park Rapids (1/5), vs. Moorhead (1/7)

The Prowlers proved to be the best team from the tri-state area (Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin) at their own Ralph Engelstad Classic by sweeping three games over the holidays. Thief River Falls received needed scoring balance, as five players recorded either six or seven points on the week, including leading scorer Ethan Johnson (18-6-24) who had five goals and two assists. But he was joined by seven-point efforts from Lucas Magnusson (7-10-17) and Brendan Bushy (3-9-12) and six-point weeks from Wyatt Ortloff (2-7-9) and Michael Johnson (5-16-21). Perhaps not surprisingly, they are the Prowlers’ top five scorers on the season.

9. East Grand Forks (8-4-1)

Last week: W 6-1 vs. Detroit Lakes (1/2)

This week: at Warroad (1/5), vs. Lake of the Woods (1/9)

After taking 10 days off for the holidays — the only team in the top-10 to do so — the Green Wave returned with an impressive 6-1 home victory over Detroit Lakes on Saturday. Six different players scored goals, led by leading scorer Tanner Tweten (8-8-16) who had a goal and two assists. East Grand Forks outshot the Lakers 47-11, with Jarod Reak (8-4-1, 2.64, .864) stopping 10 of 11 for the victory. Traditional rival Warroad is on the schedule for Tuesday night at The Gardens in Warroad, but it isn’t the same Warriors’ team that has been in the Section 8A final in 12 of the past 14 years. Still, it’s usually an intense battle between two programs with plenty of history. Since 1997, one or the other has won the section title 16 times in 19 years.

10. Greenway (12-2-0)

Last week: at Schwan Cup Bronze Division — W 7-2 vs. Spring Lake Park (12/28), W 2-1 vs. Princeton (12/29), W 6-3 vs. Minneapolis (12/30)

This week: at North Shore (1/5), vs. International Falls (1/7)

It’s been a long climb back into the top-10 rankings for Greenway, which was in danger as a program just a few short years ago. But the Raiders are surging now behind a buzzing offense that is averaging 6.0 goals per game through 14 games. Last week, the Raiders traveled down to the Twin Cities and swept the field in the Schwan Cup Bronze Division to win first place. Grant Troumbly (14-17-31) posted a hat trick and Dylan Sundquist (2-11-13) and Taylor Lantz (13-18-31) each had a goal and three assists as Greenway beat Minneapolis in the championship game, 6-3. Troumbly and Lantz are among four Raiders already in double-digit goal, while eight have double-digit points. The Raiders play an intriguing Section 7A game Tuesday night at North Shore, another program on the rise.

Others receiving votes: St. Cloud Cathedral, Sartell-St. Stephen, Orono, Little Falls, St. Paul Johnson, North Shore, Princeton

Tim is the award-winning editor/writer/photographer for The Breakdown, the encyclopedia of Minnesota high school sports, which publishes 200+ page season preview guides on volleyball, boys and girls basketball and most notably, boys hockey. Tim's covered and played hockey much of his life, including five years of coverage on the MN Hockey Hub and other outlets. Prior to joining The Breakdown, Tim was a sports reporter for the Record-Journal, a daily newspaper in Meriden, Conn. at which he followed the New Britain Rock Cats (the Twins' Double-A farm team) and UConn women's basketball and football. He has also worked for a weekly newspaper in Buffalo, Minn., at which he won awards for sports photography and as a three-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Best Sports Reporting award among large weekly newspapers. Email Tim at Follow Tim on Twitter @BreakdownUSA.

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