Two Class 2A, Section 8 hopefuls grapple for section seeding leverage on Saturday as Buffalo visits St. Cloud.
Buffalo returns just two seniors but welcomes an eight-man sophomore group that made waves as Bantam AAs a season ago.
The Bison will lean heavily on Youth Hockey Hub Bantam Player of the Year Jake Braccini, who is one of the state’s highly touted sophomores. The Minnesota commit tallied 78 goals in 45 games in the youth circuit last year.
Growing pains are expected with the young Bison (0-2) lineup, but they weathered an onslaught of pressure against No. 5-2A Moorhead in a 3-1 loss. Goalie Nathan Mueller made 28 saves in the defeat.
St. Cloud brings back 15 seniors, including five who led the team in scoring last year.
St. Cloud’s veteran lineup could present troubles for the Bison, as four St. Cloud forwards notched 30 or more points last season.
St. Cloud (1-0) was held in check for two periods of its season opener against River Lakes on Nov. 30, but found its groove in the third period. The team netted two goals on the same penalty kill, and added a power-play and even-strength goal en route to a 6-0 victory. Noah Bissett totaled five points in the win.