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YHH Staff Rankings (GIRLS): January 2

Youth Hockey Hub staff rankings for girls hockey: Class AA, Class A, 15A, 15B, 12A, 12B, 10A, 10B.

Top-ranked Minnetonka loses goaltender Layla Hemp to Team USA's Under-18 Women's World Championships lineup until mid-January. (Photo courtesy of Youth Hockey Hub)

Youth Hockey Hub staff rankings:

Class AA

1. Minnetonka (13-1-1)

The Skippers move back to No. 1 after Hill-Murray’s loss to unranked Lakeville North at the Eden Prairie Mid-Winter Meltdown. Everything’s been gravy for Minnetonka since its loss to the Pioneers on Dec. 9, having won six straight games (seven if you include the Walser Tourney shootout win over Andover, which I do not for personal reasons) and have allowed two goals or fewer in those contests.

As is the case for a handful of top teams, the Skippers will do some personnel shuffling over the next couple of weeks, given that defender Lauren Goldsworthy, forward Kendra Distad, and goaltender Layla Hemp will be competing for Team USA at this Under-18 Women’s World Championships.

2. Andover (9-2-3)

Despite “falling” to Minnetonka in the finals of the Walser Tourney, the Huskies should feel like Unbothered Queens after the holiday. The game against the Skippers was decided in a shootout, and the Huskies will never be in that position again. Shutouts over perennial top-10 teams Maple Grove and Edina only bolster the Huskies’ resume, and gives the team 10 consecutive periods without an allowed goal.

3. Hill-Murray (14-1)

Any coach will tell you that regular-season losses don’t keep them up at night, but being undefeated does.

Losses reveal mistakes and weaknesses, and the Pioneers suffered their first at the hands of an opportunistic Lakeville North squad in the first round of the Eden Prairie Mid-Winter Meltdown. In response, the Pioneers pounded Roseau 8-2 and edged an underrated North Wright County team 3-2.

4. Benilde-St. Margaret’s (10-2)

The Red Knights came out on top in the Eden Prairie tournament, beating Roseau, Lakeville North, and the host Eagles in the finals. The mid-span championship also means the Red Knights have won five straight since the 5-0 loss against No. 2-2A Andover.

5. Edina (10-3-1)

The Hornets have won four of their last five, including a third-place finish at the Walser Tourney thanks to a 3-2 overtime win over current No. 10-2A Stillwater. The lone loss in that stretch came against Andover, and while the final 3-0 score isn’t much to read into, the fact that the Hornets went 0-9 on the power play is…not great.

Starting goaltender Nora Hannan will be unavailable during the U18 Women’s Worlds, so Reese McConnell will eat most of the starting minutes.

6. Moorhead (12-2-1)

I’ve said it in private, and now I’ll reiterate in public – Moorhead is the last team I want to face when it’s do-or-die.

The Spuds can play in close games like few teams, winning four of five games decided by two goals or fewer this season. The lone loss in that data set came against top-ranked Minnetonka in the opening round of the Walser Tourney, and the eventual game-winning goal for the Skippers came on a power play.

Five-on-five, ten-toes-down, the Spuds are the definition of dangerous.

7. Centennial/Spring Lake Park (12-1-2)

Speaking of things that are dangerous (remember to unplug your non-denominational holiday trees at night!), the north metro’s favorite co-operating downed Dodge County, Rogers, and No. 1-1A Orono to earn top honors at the Crosstown Cup in late December.

Not exactly the strength of the Walser field, but Orono is one of the top teams in the state regardless of class, and the Cougars are finding goal-scoring after the graduation of Lauren O’Hara, who led the team with 37 goals last season.

8. Lakeville North (10-2-1)

Scoring is nice, and balanced scoring is nicer, but the goaltending situation at Lakeville North is a bit like having a Maserati to rely on, even if the G-Wagon is in the shop.

I’m not sure who the Maserati or the G-Wagon is between Kaia Weiland and Addie Oettinger, but the Panthers are #blessed to have a pair of gamers between the pipes no matter the night.

The Panthers’ losses have been by a single goal against Edina and Benilde-St. Margaret’s, and now they have a top-10 win to add to their list of qualifications. Aside from a Hockey Day Minnesota game on enemy ice in Warroad, there is a genuine chance Lakeville North wins out the rest of the season against a primarily South Suburban Conference schedule.

9. Northfield (15-0)

The wins keep on coming for the Raiders, and unlike Jesse James, the winning streak shows almost zero signs of dying. Free plug – Northfield hosts a yearly Defeat of Jesse James Days. This year, the eponymous foundation that hosts the event donated $6,000 to the Northfield Hospital Foundation.

Crookston may challenge the Raiders on Jan. 5, and the tilt with Benilde-St. Margaret’s offers Northfield the chance to capture a top-10 win, but the rest of the Big Nine Conference slate poses little resistance to the Raiders’ march to glory.

10. Stillwater (10-5)

We’re about to find out a whole heckuva lot about the Ponies over the next few games, with all-everything Josie St. Martin enjoying her third tour of duty with Team USA at the U-18 Women’s Worlds.

Brooke Nelson and Addy Finn are now the drivers on offense for the Ponies, and the time is now for a second or third-liner to step up on the scoresheet. Personal pick for a player to emerge in the absence of JSM on the top line and power play – Belle McKenzie.

McKenzie has three goals this season, which won’t turn heads, but the junior forward has speed to burn and a motor that never quits.

Class A

1. Orono (12-4)

Losing to No. 7-2A Centennial/Spring Lake Park in overtime isn’t nearly enough to knock the Spartans out of the top spot this week, nor is a 2-1 OT loss to previous No. 8-2A Maple Grove. The Spartans play arguably the most demanding schedule among Class A teams and have hung with some of the upper Class’s best.

No. 4-2A Benilde-St. Margaret’s and no. 2-2A Andover are the following games on the Orono slate, which the Spartans will play without Team USA-bound Macy Rasmussen.

2. Warroad (10-3)

The Warriors followed a 1-0 loss to No. 6-2A Moorhead with three straight wins in its Holiday Tournament, topping Rosemount 5-4, Fort Frances (Ont. ) 9-1, and then avenging a Dec. 5 loss with a 4-3 win over Section 8A foe and top-10 team Crookston.

A gnarly six-game road trip awaits the Warriors in the new year, but those bus legs could come in handy come the postseason.

3. Holy Angels (10-3-2)

The Stars’ run to the finals of South St. Paul’s Kaposia Classic came to an end in a shootout loss to Champlin Park/Coon Rapids, which shouldn’t taint the Stars’ record because (as noted above) shootouts do not happen during regular-season or postseason play.

Orono and Hill-Murray represent the toughest tilts remaining on the Stars’ schedule this season.

4. Duluth Marshall (15-1-1)

We are coming up on two straight months without a loss for the Hilltoppers, who edged Wazyata in a shootout of the Herb Brooks Holiday Classic Gold Division’s championship game. The regular season’s ultimate game is scheduled for Jan. 23 against Section 7A rival Proctor/Hermantown, which curiously gives the Hilltoppers 19 days between games from a Jan. 4 meeting with Rock Ridge.

5. Proctor/Hermantown (8-5-1)

The 8-0 loss to Andover on Dec. 8 has turned into five consecutive victories for the Mirage, including a win over fellow top-10 team Delano/Rockford on Dec. 15. The strength of P/H’s schedule doesn’t let up for the rest of the season, with Hill-Murray coming to town on Jan. 6.

6. Dodge County (13-2)

The Wildcats salvaged two wins after losing to No. 7-2A Centennial/Spring Lake Park in the opening game of the Crosstown Cup on Dec. 27, thumping Breck 6-2 and defeating Gentry Academy 3-1. With 10 games left in the regular season, the Wildcats still have games against Class A top-10 teams Crookston and Orono on the docket, plus a Jan. 30 bout with No. 9-2A Northfield.

7. Crookston (11-4-1)

The Pirates will swing down to the metro area and beyond this coming weekend, facing Northfield on Jan. 5 and Gentry Academy on Jan. 6 after falling to Warroad during the Warriors’ holiday tournament at The Gardens.

Should the Pirates pull off the upset on the road in Northfield, there’s a chance they could be looking at 20 wins this season, although a power play success rate of under 14% is concerning.

8. Mound Westonka/Southwest Christian (10-5-1)

A 5-1 loss to Blaine snaps a six-game winning streak for the White Hawks, who did not compete in the holiday tournament and whose other four losses have all come at the hands of ranked teams in Class AA and Class A.

A Jan. 9 date with No. 9-1A Delano/Rockford should be an entertaining matchup between MWSWC goaltender Ashlyn Roth and Delano/Rockford netminder Kayla Simonson.

9. Delano/Rockford (9-6)

The Tigers put their schedule on hold from Dec. 21 until Jan. 5, giving the team time to rest and heal the injuries that come with playing the fastest sport on ice. Like Mound Westonka/Southwest Christian above, the Tigers’ losses this season have come against top competition, including a one-goal loss against No. 5-1A Proctor/Hermantown and a two-goal loss to No. 3-1A Holy Angels.

10. Willmar (10-3)

I like to believe there is a Cardinal fan out there who can scream “WILLLLLLMARRRRRR” the same way Fred Flintstone called for Wilma all those years ago. Just me? Okay.

The Cardinals are riding a four-game winning streak entering 2024, including a win over Section 6A contender Fergus Falls on Dec. 21. Willmar should also be favored to win roughly eight of their next 12 games.

(Rank-Team-District-Last Week)

1. Edina Green 6 WWWLW
2. Minnetonka Black 6 DNP
3. Rochester 9 WLWWWWW
4. Alexandria 15 WWWWWL
5. Woodbury Black 8 WTWW
6. Stillwater Red 2 WT
7. Andover 9 WWWW
8. Eden Prairie 6 TLTWL
9. NWC Riverhawks 5 LWWWWLL
10. Wayzata Blue 3 LLLWW

The deck got shuffled a little after a barrage of games last week – many at the Danglefest in Blaine. North Wright had a great showing, giving top-5 Alex all they can handle in the semifinals. They slide into the top-10. Rochester jumps up a few slots with an undefeated slate in the Danglefest.

(Rank-Team-District-Last Week)

1. Wayzata (Gold) 3 WWW
2. North Shore 11 WWW
3. Grand Rapids-Greenway 12 LWWWWW
4. Armstrong Cooper 3 WWW
5. Central MN Riverblades 5 TWW
6. Owatonna 9 W
7. Bloomington 6 WTLWWWLW
8. Alexandria 15 WLWW
9. Brainerd/Little Falls 15 W
10. Osseo/Maple Grove (Black) 3

North Shore and Grand Rapids-Greenway trade places this week at No. 2 and No. 3, as North Shore defeated GRG 3-2 this past week. Central MN Riverblades continues their rise to the top, winning two games this week moves them up to No. 5. Bloomington is ranked for the first time this year, as they defeat two current top ten teams- No. 8 Alexandria and No. 10 OMG Black. Brainerd/Little Falls hasn’t lost since the beginning of November- that prompts a No. 10 spot this week and their first time being ranked all season.

(Rank-Team-District-Last Week)

1. Minnetonka 6 WWWWW
2. Edina 6 WWWWL
3. Woodbury 8 WWW
4. Centennial/Spring Lake Park 10 WWWWLWT
5. Chaska/Chanhassen 6 WWWL
6. Grand Rapids-Greenway 12 W
7. Lakeville 8 WW
8. Osseo Maple Grove 3 WWLWWWW
9. Warroad 16 WWWWL
10. Wayzata 3 L

Minnetonka extends their undbeaten streak to 22 games with a narrow win over Edina Sunday in the Danglefest. Blaine had seven of the top-10 teams in the building including Edina who beat previous #2 Centennial-SLP in pool play.

(Rank-Team-District-Last Week)

1. Cannon River 9 W
2. Minnetonka (Blue) 6 WLWWW
3. Eagan (Blue) 8 WW
4. Elk River 10 WTWWL
5. Mounds View/Irondale (Gold) 2 WWW
6. Bemidji 16 DNP
7. Northern Lakes 15 DNP
8. Moorhead (Black) 15 TLT
9. Eagan (White) 8 WL
10. Osseo/Maple Grove (White) 3 W

The top six stays the same as those teams had a solid couple weeks during the holiday season. No. 2 Minnetonka Blue was victorious over No. 4 Elk River winning the Danglefest. Northern Lakes had a big leap from No. 10 to No. 7 this week, as the Lightning are 18-5-0 on the season with 177 goals for and only 33 goals against. OMG White has done enough on the year with a 15-4-4 record to be amongst the top 10 in the state. The Leafbirds are ranked No. 10 in this weeks installation of the rankings.

(Rank-Team-District-Last Week)

1. Osseo-Maple Grove 3 WW
2. Moorhead 15 DNP
3. White Bear Lake 2 WW
4. Blaine 10 WWWWWL
5. Chaska/Chanhassen 6 WTWL
6. Hastings 8 TL
7. Stillwater 2 W
8. Edina Green 6 LWLW
9. Sartell/Sauk Rapids/St. Cloud 5 DNP
10. Bloomington 6 LTWL

So many great 10A teams this year at this level. OMG and Moorhead remain undefeated about halfway through their seasons. White Bear and Blaine flexed their muscles in the Danglefest and earned their way up the T-10 ladder.

Bloomington had a good showing in Blaine and garnered a spot this week in the T-10.

(Rank-Team-District-Last Week)

1. Mankato 9 W
2. Waseca 9 WWL
3. Apple Valley/Burnsville/Eastview 8 W
4. New Prague 6 WWWWLW
5. North Shore 11 WW
6. Central MN Riverblades 5 W
7. Marshall 4 W
8. Woodbury (Gold) 8 T
9. Armstrong Cooper (Red) 3 W
10. Anoka Rogers (White) 10 WWLWW

The No. 1 Waseca and No. 2 Mankato faced off this past week in District 9 play. The last time these two teams played, they skated to a 4-4 draw. This time it was close again, but No. 2 Mankato prevailed 4-3, and now are ranked as the No. 1 team in the state. North Shore is a very good defensive team, the Storm are now ranked in the top five at No. 5. Newly ranked No. 10 14-4-0 Anoka Rogers White has done enough in the past two weeks: winners of their past 10 of 11 games, to prove they belong back in the top ten.

All content in this article is provided by Youth Hockey Hub.

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