Minnesota High School Hockey Class AA State Rankings (2-11-18)
Only one week remains in the regular season before section seeding is announced and games begin on the #TrekToTheX (Xcel Energy Center)! This week provided some shifting among the top teams but provided no real clarity into how things are going to shake out in section play or even state.
1. Minnetonka (19-2-2)
Last week’s rank: No. 3
at Hopkins – W 14-2
vs. No. 2 Edina – W 5-3
The Skippers skipped their way back into the top spot this week after a dominating performance of Hopkins and a convincing win over rival Edina. As I mentioned in my recap of the Edina game, this team is a legitimate threat to any team they play and should not be overlooked as their nimble defensemen and strong forwards will impose
their will on any opponent. They finish their season with a rematch against No. Wayzata in what could be another chippy Battle of Lake Minnetonka before hosting Blake on Saturday afternoon.
2. Edina (21-2-0)
Last week’s rank: No. 1
at No. 1 Minnetonka – L 5-3
The Hornets made the score look interesting in the end after a game where they were shut down for large swaths of game time Saturday. Yes, they were out two of their best players in Demetrios Komountzis and Mike Vorlicky, but this team is deep enough to grind out wins against anyone. The loss is not enough to justify dropping them more
than a spot as both their losses are to now No. 1 Minnetonka who they also manhandled in an 8-2 win a few weeks back. Let’s just hope we get a fourth chapter at state. Edina heads to Eden Prairie then hosts Wayzata in two big Lake Conference matchups. If they do not keep their head on a swivel they could be upset heading into section play.
3. St. Thomas Academy (19-2-1)
Last week’s rank: No. 4
at No. 2-A Mahtomedi – W 8-0
at Henry Sibley – W 7-1
After losing to a comeback effort from No. Duluth Marshall 4-3 in OT last week, the Cadets received a “break” in the form of Mahtomedi and Henry Sibley. Mahtomedi may be the second-best team in Class A this year, but they were no match for Class AA St. Thomas who did not put on the breaks in the 8-0 win and Sibley provided a scare to the
Cadets as they were tied at one heading into the third before St. Thomas was able to realize how good they are and pulled away. They move up due to what happened with Duluth East (see below) and are still showing that they have become a Class AA power after jumping up from Class A in 2014. They get Stillwater and travel to No. Lakeville
North this week before waltzing to a state tournament berth.
4. Duluth East (19-2-3)
Last week’s rank: No. 2
vs. No. 10 Cloquet-Esko-Carlton – L 5-3
vs. No. 24 Lakeville South – W 4-1
That edge I said I was giving to Duluth East prior to the CEC game on Monday? Yeah, that was wrong. The Greyhounds looked to have the game in hand and the edge, but a valiant four goal third from the Lumberjacks gave East only their second loss of the year. They are still an extremely dangerous team as Garrett Worth approaches the 40-goal
mark and Ryder Donovan has surpassed 40 assists, but they need every line to show up to ensure they get back to state after missing it last season. They should not have any issues with Maple Grove this week to close out the season.
5. Cretin-Derham Hall (19-3-2)
Last week’s rank: No. 5
vs. Roseville – W 7-3
at No. 25 Stillwater – T 2-2
Are the Raiders hitting a wall? It may be the case after tying Stillwater this week. Ever since beating the daylight out of Holy Family 10-1 a few weeks back, they have seen production dip against decent and great teams like the 2-0 loss to St. Thomas and the 2-2 tie to Stillwater. They play Cottage Grove this week, which should be a win before navigating the ever-challenging section 6AA.
6. Holy Family (19-3-1)
Last week’s rank: No. 6
vs. Orono – W 5-0
vs. Prior Lake – W 7-2
vs. New Prague – W 3-0
Even with Cretin tying Stillwater, I still am not confident enough to have Holy Family jump them especially after losing the head-to-head as badly as they did. Ben Almquist continues to be a one man wrecking crew but still has not done enough to propel the Fire any higher, which is mostly due to them feasting on lesser opponents. They travel to St. Cloud Cathedral and Stillwater this week before getting the chance to truly prove
themselves in section 2AA.
7. White Bear Lake (17-3-2)
Last week’s rank: No. 7
at Hibbing/Chisholm – W 7-1
at Grand Rapids – W 3-0
Holding steady for another week, the Bears are on pace to enter section play with the top seed in section 4AA and a clear path to state. Two more wins should come to fruition with games against Cottage Grove and Woodbury this week.
8. Moorhead (17-6)
Last week’s rank: No. 8
You can’t move up if you don’t play any games! It definitely is not a bad thing for the Spuds as nothing negative can happen either. I am rooting for them to make it to state as they always have an excellent fan presence. They finish the season with Bemidji and Hill-Murray travelling north.
9. Andover (18-5-0)
Last week’s rank: No. 9
at Armstrong – W 5-1
at Totino-Grace – W 9-2
The Huskies could be dangerous in section 7AA this season the way they play. But at the same time, they can be streaky and is an unknown. Two gimme wins this week and two more should await them in Coon Rapids and Irondale this week.
10. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton (17-6-1)
Last week’s rank: No. 11
at No. 4 Duluth East – W 5-3
vs. Proctor – W 6-0
Oh, hello old friend. I dropped them out last week because I thought it was about time I realized their inconsistencies. But after storming back to beat Duluth East, I like that I have this wild-card of a team in my top 10. They could prove me absolutely wrong in the coming weeks, but at the same time I could end up looking like a genius (that doesn’t happen all too often). They head over to Grand Rapids this week to close out the season.
Next Five Teams In:
11. Brainerd (18-5)
Last week’s rank: No. 10
vs. Alexandria – W 3-1
at River Lakes – W 8-0
The thing that stinks about this part of the season for most of the state, they play opponents that are often not even in the same weight class. Brainerd is another team proving that. They have not played a formidable opponent since losing 4-1 at Duluth East in mid-January. That may change this week with a matchup against No. St. Michael-
Albertville and St. Cloud.
12. Wayzata (14-8-1)
Last week’s rank: No. 12
vs. No. 22 Eden Prairie – W 4-3
vs. Hopkins – W 9-2
Yeah, they play everyone tough. That’s their calling card. But I personally still do not see what voters see in them to put them inside the official top 10 the state runs on. They could easily change that this week with wins over No. 1 Minnetonka and No. 2 Edina, but they haven’t yet. However, I continually say the Lake Conference is one of the toughest to navigate for any team top to bottom.
13. Centennial (14-6-3)
Last week’s rank: No. 13
at Irondale – W 6-3
at Champlin Park – W 5-1
Holding steady due to two more wins, the Cougs are the favorite to advance to state out of section 5AA. They will have the chance to continue to tune-up for that run with games against Totino-Grace and Spring Lake Park.
14. Eastview (19-4-0)
Last week’s rank: No. 14
at Shakopee – W 6-0
vs. No. 24 Lakeville South – W 2-1
I mistakenly placed Eastview in section 1AA last week, their Twitter account made sure I knew that (thank you!). As for their role within section 3AA, they are the biggest threat to St. Thomas this season and anything can happen in one game. They should eclipse the 20-win mark with games against Apple Valley and Prior Lake this week.
15. Elk River (16-7)
Last week’s rank: No. 15
vs. Osseo – W 7-0
at Irondale – W 8-0
They took their shutout loss to Duluth East and turned that frustration on poor Osseo and Irondale. They could still make noise in section 7AA, but that loss to East was just plain bad. Hill-Murray and Armstrong close out the season for the Elks.
On the Outside Looking in:
Duluth Marshall (15-7-2), Rosemount (18-4), Lakeville North (12-9-1), Chaska (16-7), St.Michael-Albertville (17-5), St. Louis Park (14-7-2), Eden Prairie (9-13-1), Eagan (13-9-1), Lakeville South (11-10-1), Stillwater (12-9-1)
A little bit of shakeup here as STMA is becoming a darkhorse for sections and Eagan and Lakeville South took a tumble with losses. Eden Prairie played tough but couldn’t win much in the ground game. Any of these teams could upset any of the top 15 on a given night.
Written by Jack Kewitsch / @JackKewitsch
Special to HockeyClan
Main Image: Edina and Minnetonka stand for The National Anthem at Pagel Athletic Center in Minnetonka, MN on Feb. 10, 2018. (Jack Kewitsch/HockeyClan)
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