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By Tim Kolehmainen, Breakdown Sports USA, 11/14/12, 11:45AM CST

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Guidebook sneak peek: Predicting Sections 6AA and 5A

Every season, the Breakdown/MN Hockey Hub guidebook takes an in-depth look at the upcoming high school hockey season around the state. Included as part of the 200-page guidebook are our predictions on how each section in the state will shake down.  Below is a sneak peek at the Section 6AA and 5A races this winter.

Section previews and predictions for all 16 sections are included in this year's edition of the Breakdown/MN Hockey Hub's annual guidebook.  Get your copy of the book today!

Section 6AA - How they'll finish

Seed School
1. Benilde-St. Margaret's
2. Eden Prairie
3. Minnetonka
4. Wayzata
5. Holy Family Catholic

Top to bottom, Section 6AA has to be the deepest and most powerful in the state. In our preseason rankings, all five teams above are ranked in the top 15 in Class AA and that doesn’t include potential giant-killers such as Hopkins and Robbinsdale Armstrong.

Benilde-St. Margaret’s rode a wave of emotion to its first Class AA state championship last winter -- and gave the state storylines that will last forever. In late December, heartbreak hit the Red Knights with the paralyzing injury to Jack Jablonski. Then in mid-March, Grant Besse brought the state to its feet with a five-goal outburst in the state final -- while Jablonski watched from a suite at the X. With Besse back for his senior season -- as well as a stocked roster around him -- Benilde-St. Margaret’s is our pick to repeat.

Eden Prairie might have something to say about that, however. The Eagles have won two of the last four state championships. Minnetonka hasn’t gotten there yet, but have the talent under coach Brian Urick. Wayzata could surprise, while Holy Family Catholic is building.

Section 5A - How they'll finish

Seed School
1. St. Cloud Cathedral
2. Hermantown
3. Rogers
4. Princeton
5. Sauk Rapids-Rice

A changing of the guard could be in order in Section 5A this winter -- in fact, we’re predicting it by choosing St. Cloud Cathedral to represent the section at the X for the first time since 2009. The Crusaders had a young team last winter, but one that experienced plenty of success with 21 victories before falling in the section semifinals to Rogers. With five of their top seven scorers returning -- and both goaltenders -- the Crusaders look like the team to beat.

That’s probably news -- and bulletin board material -- in Hermantown. The Hawks have won the section the last three years and have advanced all the way to the state championship game each time.  Unfortunately, each time they’ve fallen shy of their ultimate goal. The Hawks again graduate top players, but continue to remain strong with coach Bruce Plante leading the way. This year should be no different.

Rogers also graduated a ton of senior leadership, but the Royals’ program has turned the corner into an annual contender. Princeton and Sauk Rapids-Rice could be dangerous.

The Minnesota Hockey Hub/Breakdown's fifth annual guide to Minnesota high school hockey is now available for purchase...and hockey fans won't want to miss out on this book.  Our annual preview book is 200+ pages of pure Minnesota high school hockey. In short, it truly is the “encyclopedia of Minnesota high school hockey.

We preview every high school program in the state, from Kittson Central to La Crescent, North Shore to Luverne and all schools in between.

Our books include: 

  • Player profiles on the Super 100 seniors, Top 75 juniors, Elite 50 sophomores/freshmen, along with Q and A with hundreds of the state's best players.
  • Q and A on hockey skills with assorted players.
  • Preseason rankings on the Fab 15 in both Class AA and A.
  • Preseason All-State teams in both Class AA and A.
  • Extensive section previews on all 16 sections in Class AA and A.
  • Team capsules on EVERY program in the state with scouting reports on "who to watch."
  • Feature stories on eight programs from around the state (Totino-Grace, St. Cloud Cathedral, New Prague, Luverne, Mounds View, Roseau, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton and Minnetonka).
  • Hundreds of photos of players and coaches.
It’s a hockey lover’s dream. You can’t find this complete a resource anywhere else.
 
Here’s what Ken Pauly, President of the Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association and head coach at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, had to say about our product: “The Breakdown has quickly established itself as the leader in offering the high school sports fans the most comprehensive preview information for their chosen sport. Minnesota’s high school hockey coaches are thrilled to become a part of the Breakdown’s family of publications."

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