Minnesota High School Hockey Class AA
State Rankings (2-5-18)
Another week in the books and another top team falling. It may not lead to much shakeup, but it may be enough to justify my previous week’s rankings. We are getting this out a day later than usual too as the Super Bowl is in town here in Minnesota and everyone here is going nuts, but not nearly as nuts as it would be if our Vikings didn’t fail us once again. Enjoy this week and brace yourself for sections in two weeks!
1. Edina (21-1-0)
Last week’s rank: No. 1
A busy week for the top ranked Hornets and three more wins as they continue to cruise through their relatively difficult schedule. Two defensive minded teams in Centennial and Wayzata made for two interesting match-ups early in the week and proved for some adversity for the Hornets as they came back from 2-0 over Centennial. Not much to say about the Hopkins win as they are clearly one of the worst programs in the state and there isn’t much you can to do to not run up the score when you roll your third and fourth lines for the entire third period. Edina gets a week off until their final regular season match-up against No. 3 Minnetonka. It will be the game of the week after the teams split their first two decisions.
2. Duluth East (18-1-3)
Last week’s rank: No. 2
vs. Anoka – W 4-0
at Superior – W 4-0
vs. No. 15 Elk River – W 7-0
Duluth East continues to roll and are the team many want to see against a Metro team in the state final come March 10th. It was also a perfect defensive week for the Hounds who have not allowed a goal since the second period of the Bloomington Jefferson game on January 27th which is 10 periods ago. Granted, Anoka and Superior are not going to be threatening many, but a shutout win over a ranked Elk River team that many suspects will be in the 7AA section final against this East team allows East to keep their second spot. They have a big match-up against a Cloquet team that I have believed highly in all year on Monday, but Cloquet has been a roller coaster to pin so I would give Duluth East the edge.
3. Minnetonka (17-2-2)
Last week’s rank: No. 4
at Benilde-St. Margaret’s – W 7-3
at No. 23 Eden Prairie – W 7-4
Tonka has found their scoring once again the last three games after being shutdown at Edina on January 25th 8-2. Although they have gotten back to putting the puck in net at a higher clip, they allowed Benilde and Eden Prairie to hang around until late in the second and third in each game before they pulled away with the wins. They get two games at home this week starting with Hopkins, a win, and the grudge match against Edina on Saturday.
4. St. Thomas Academy (18-2-1)
Last week’s rank: No. 3
at No. 5 Cretin-Derham Hall – W 2-0
at No. 25 Hill-Murray – W 5-0
at No. 16 Duluth Marshall – L 4-3 OT
A week after many pundits, not including myself, ranked the Cadets second in state, they go out and appear to prove their worth but then fail later in the week to a streaky Duluth Marshall squad. They had the early lead in their first loss since their first game of the season, a 5-4 loss to No. 3 Minnetonka. They don’t have any more games remaining on their schedule to prove their standing before sections, but they are still one of the best in the state and should make a deep push into March.
5. Cretin-Derham Hall (18-3-1)
Last week’s rank: No. 5
vs. No. 4 St. Thomas Academy – L 2-0
vs. Mounds View – W 5-0
at East Ridge – W 4-3
Although they dropped their home game against St. Thomas in what was a game they could have used to propel themselves into the elite tier of the rankings, they still did not look as bad as the score suggests due to the nature of how St. Thomas plays. As with St. Thomas, their schedule does not provide for anything of not prior to sections but could make noise in the loaded section 6AA with Edina and Wayzata.
6. Holy Family (16-3-1)
Last week’s rank: No. 5
vs. No. 18 Lakeville North – W 4-1
vs. Blaine – W 3-2
I am starting to become uneasy about the Fire as we approach sections. They did get back to winning after getting shelled 10-1 to Cretin last week, but their wins came over mediocre Lakeville North and abysmal Blaine who they could barely squeak by. Orono, Prior Lake, and New Prague visit them this week and it should be three easy wins, but who knows what happens to them after that.
7. White Bear Lake (15-3-2)
Last week’s rank: No. 7
at Stillwater – W 4-1
Although they haven’t been making waves as of late, I am still impressed with how the Bears have played and how they are my dark horse to make a deep state run if they can navigate their section cleanly. They travel north to visit Hibbing and Grand Rapids and should continue to win.
8. Moorhead (17-6)
Last week’s rank: No. 10
vs. St. Cloud 3-0
at Bloomington Jefferson 4-0
Continuing to impress, the Spuds shutout both lesser opponents this week which pushes them up to two spots in the rankings this week. They will continue to get chances to prove themselves against Bemidji and Hill-Murray in what should be wins, but both teams play tough and should provide better competition than their opponents this past
9. Andover (16-5-0)
Last week’s rank: No. 10
at No. 13 Centennial – W 2-0
at Maple Grove – L 2-0
Yes, they lost Maple Grove, but they beat a Centennial team that has remained competitive all year and they also beat a Duluth Marshall team that just upset St. Thomas this week. Add in the fact that others continue to slip and shuffle around them and they get the one spot bump up. Two more away games against Armstrong and Totino-Grace
should secure them a top spot in their section.
10. Brainerd (16-5)
Last week’s rank: No. 13
vs. Sauk-Rapids – W 12-3
at Roseau – W 5-2
They continue to dominate the teams on their schedule and prove their positioning atop 8AA. With games against Alexandria and River Lakes this week, they could be well on their way to a 20+ win season, which is always an accomplishment in high school hockey.
Next Five Teams In:
11. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton (15-6-1)
Last week’s rank: No. 8
vs. Forest Lake – L 1-0
at No. 1A Hermantown – W 4-2
We continue to not understand which CEC team we will get on a given day. Just look at this past week which saw them lose to lesser Forest Lake but then beat the top team in Class A in Hermantown 4-2. A huge game against Duluth East awaits them on Monday night which could prove to signs of change for the Lumberjacks, but with East rolling they could be in for a long night.
12. Wayzata (12-8-1)
Last week’s rank: No. 11
vs. No. 1 Edina – L 3-1
at Grand Rapids – W 7-1
As with Cloquet, Wayzata has been streaky and unpredictable as of late. This is especially true against the better teams on their schedule. Yet even with streaky play, they still can manage wins that make you shake your head in disbelief… just look at last year when they upset Edina to go to state as a 10-17-1 team. They close out their season against Lake Conference opponents in Eden Prairie and Hopkins before heading to Minnetonka.
13. Centennial (12-6-3)
Last week’s rank: No. 12
at No. 1 Edina – 3-2
vs. No. 9 Andover – L 2-0
at Anoka – W 9-0
It was a tough week for the Cougars who took shots to their section seeding hopes by being unable to overcome tougher opponents. If anything is a sign of hope for them, they did lead top-ranked Edina by two in the first before succumbing to their speed. The Cougs should close out their season with four more wins, but who knows if they will advance to state after being near locks earlier this season.
14. Eastview (17-4-0)
Last week’s rank: No. 15
vs. Burnsville – W 5-2
vs. Farmington – W 5-3
Eastview would be ranked higher if they were not situated in the extremely weak section 1AA, but they are making the most of it and could make for some interesting play down the home stretch against the likes of the directional Lakevilles and Apple Valley.
15. Elk River (14-7)
Last week’s rank: No. 14
vs. Blaine – W 5-1
at No. 2 Duluth East – L 7-0
A beatdown as bad as 7-0 could be justification to drop them lower than 15. But seeing how they lost, competitive first, mediocre second, being shorthanded the entire third, gives them a little sympathy in my book. They still have fallen off the cliff since their rapid climb to the top ten earlier, but games against Osseo and Irondale should help them get back on track.
On the Outside Looking In:
Duluth Marshall (14-7-2), Rosemount (16-4), Lakeville North (10-9-1), St. Louis Park (13-6-2), Chaska (13-7), Eagan (13-7-1), Lakeville South (11-8-1), Eden Prairie (8-12-1), St. Michael-Albertville (15-5), Hill-Murray (8-9-4)
These teams will compete against the best but typically will fall in the end, unless you’re Duluth Marshall who beat No. 3 St. Thomas. Some could play spoilers and others may be headed home sooner than anticipated. Either way, they are still playing fun hockey and worth a few sentences to discuss.
Written by Jack Kewitsch / @JackKewitsch
Special to HockeyClan
Main Image: Duluth Marshall’s Levi Stauber (21) takes a shot from the point in a game against Andover. (Photo courtesy of @westmetrohockey)
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