The Champlin Park Rebels (2-4, 1-3) are coming off one of their best seasons to date since their trip to the State Tournament in 1995. The 2007-2008 Rebels finished (16-9-1. 12-5-1) and nabbed a stellar #2 seed in the section. The Rogers Royals bounced them in the first round.
Champlin Park lost three key contributors in Chad Herzog (16-14-30), Corey Grandner (10-18-28), and Brett Meyers (12-12-25) who led the team in scoring. The do have a number of gifted offensive players that are ready to step in and that list includes Tom Bradbury (5-2-7), Michael Woods (3-2-5), and Aaron Perry (2-2-4) who contributed last season and are working their way into leadership roles. Head coach Paul Bailey told Breakdown Magazine that his team will improve throughout the season and said, “We have a lot of forward talent, but it takes time for it to specifically take shape.” Defensman Dave Mylrea (1-3-4) leads a deep group on the blue line.
The Rebels are coming off a 3-2 win over Osseo and also defeated Rochester Mayo earlier in the season by a score of 6-2. They will have their hands full with a deep Cretin Derham-Hall team that is poised and deep. Scoring and offensive output is number one on the Rebels wish list during the Holiday Season. The key to the game will be if CDH is the giving mood.
The Cretin Derham-Hall Raiders (6-2, 3-0) are tied for first in the Suburban East Conference with Woodbury and Roseville. White Bear Lake is 3-1 and in the mix as well. They reside in a deep conference and are tested every night. They are perfect against public schools and 0-2 against fellow Catholic Schools with losses to Benilde St. Margaret’s 4-2 and St. Thomas Academy 4-1.
After winning the State Tournament in 2006, the Raiders did not qualify in ’07-’08. With 30 goals from Ryan Bohrer graduated, they are looking to players like Jesse Perron (8-13-21), Tony Barbato (4-14-18) and Bob Kinne (9-7-16) to pick up the slack. They also rely on a steady defensive corps as Universtiy of Minnesota bound Mark Alt leads the way on the blue line. Goalie Ben Walsh is 6-2-0 with a 2.75gaa and .860 save percentage.
Wins over Duluth Denfeld (5-2), Lakeville North (6-3), Blake (5-3), Moundsview (8-2), Park of Cottage Grove (6-2), and Hasting (10-3) have marked a prolific goal scoring start. It was believed coming in that the Raiders would have to find a way to score goals and they have done that against some teams, and when challenged by upper echelon teams, they, like the Rebels have struggled.
The Raiders are too good to not advance to the semi-final round of the Silver Division. They will be challenged by the Rebels, yet should respond well for coach Jim O’Neill’s team.
The Burnsville Blaze (3-4, 3-2) have won two in a row over Lake Conference foes and are slowly working their way back into the identity they were seeking this year. The team that were the darlings of MyFoxHockey.com saw an exodus of Seniors as Tyler Barnes (23-27-50) and Jake Hendrickson (16-31-47) left a gaping hole in their offensive production. The reality is potential team MVP Mikael Becker graduated as well and his 2.37gaa will be missed.
Returning is a group of competitive, skilled, and hard working seniors led by Zach May (4-7-11) and Andy Pearson (6-2-8). To date, losses by scores of 6-0 to Hill Murray and 8-1 to Edina have been a shock to the system, but they have slowly built their season and are working toward the goal of playing their best in 30 days. Head coach Janne Kivihalme has the patience and ability to gain the most from his team.
They have defeated Lakeville North, Apple Valley, and Eagan to date. Luke Hendrickson and Sean Madigan lead the way on the blue line and goalie Taylor Sturlaugson has logged the majority of time. He has a 2-3-0 record and a 4.20gaa. They will be challenged by a Benidle-St. Margaret’s team that is much like the Edina team in physical stature. If they can handle the muscle of the Red Knights and get the skating game going, they will have a game in the semi-final round of the Silver Division.
The Benilde St. Margaret’s Red Knights (5-1. 1-0) are a team that will have to be dealt with before this season ends. Granted they lost a tremendous senior class from last year’s State Class AA third place game. Gone are Steve Zierke (24-45-69), Matt Berglund (38-31-69), Blake Applehof (16-32-48) and Chris Student (10-39-49) They also miss the leadership of Tom McCarthy and the depth of that Tom Knauff brought the team. They still have Brett Patterson (3-8-11) and Will Nelson (3-2-5) who pave the way up front. Defenseman Pat Borer (1-2-2) is slick with the puck and helps pull together the defensive corps.
Patrick Duda is leading this team in scoring (4-9-13) and Bryan Glynn (5-6-11) is developing into the senior leader that he is. It is his physical attributes that will help the Red Knights. Christian Horn (4-7-11) has caught the eye of the MnHockeyHub as he has a high upside for the Red Knights. It is the play of the incoming players that have made a difference.
It is never easy replacing players the caliber of Zierke, Berglund, and Student. Consistency will be the key for BSM. In their golden year of hockey, the 50th anniversary schedule is only getting tougher as they face the Silver Division of the Schwan Cup, Minnetonka, Marshall School-Duluth, Edina, Totino Grace (twice), and Holy Angels. They will be charged with slowing the speedy Burnsville Blaze in the opener of the Schwan Cup. The Red Knights have the tools to make that happen and have three legitimate goaltenders that they can rely on as Jacob Myers(3-0-0, 1.34gaa, .932 save percentage) leads the way, Michael Shibrowski and Rob Ankeny also are dependable and athletic goalies.
The Red Knights have wins over St. Cloud Tech (6-2), CDH (4-2), Meadow Creek Christian (15-0), St. Louis Park (7-0), and Rochester Century (4-1). Their only loss to date has been at the hands of the Stillwater Ponies (6-2).
The #2 Duluth East Greyhounds (6-0-1) are as good of a team they have produced in a decade. They brought back a team that stays mostly in tact for the 2008-2009 campaign. 14 letter winners are back and the experience is evident in their start. The Hounds do not play an excuse me schedule as they play independent for a reason.
They had a rugged affair in a 2-0 win over Wayzata who challenges everyone. An impressive 2-0 win over Minnetonka was viewed on MyFoxHockey.com and they skated to an entertaining 2-2 tie with highly regarded and #3 ranked Centennial. Just last week they traveled across the State to play Moorhead, who in their own right, were on a role. The Hounds throttled them 4-0 in a statement game.
They are now set to show that they belong in the Gold Division as Max Tardy (7-5-12), Jayce Paulseth (4-5-11), and Kyle Lutzka (6-2-8) lead a disciplined group of forwards who play as well away from the puck as they do with it. Derek Forbort is the much talked about defenseman who is joined by a talented group in Joe Arbour (0-6-6), Al McLean (1-4-5), Jake Williams (2-2-4), and Jay Amato.
This team is solid on the blue line and offensively, but the real story lies in goalie Matt Cooper (6-0-1, 0.43gaa, .977sp, 5so). He has posted 5 shutouts in seven games. He is controlled and knows where he is at all times. The young man is confident enough to feel as though he has a chance for a shutout each night. That is possible as his team is sound in coach Mike Randolph’s system.
Rest assured, the Duluth East Greyhounds will receive plenty of attention this upcoming season and that is not only from the media and fandom. It is the scouts that follow this team like they are rock stars. It is legitimate attention and this team lives up to the hype. Expect them to capture the Silver Division crown. They will be tested, yet should remain unbeaten after 10 games this year.
The Breck Mustangs (3-2, 0-0) are much like the Greyhounds as they return a huge number of letter winners from last year’s team. After 18 years of coaching stability with Wally Chapman at the helm, the team has gone through a change as Les Larson is dialing this team in. They opened the season with a 5-1 win over The Marshall School Duluth turning many heads.
They fell to a solid Class A state contender in Mahtomedi by a score of 3-1 in week two. Joe Rehkamp (3-4-7), Tyson Fulton (3-2-5), Mike Morin (2-1-3), lead the way for the Mustangs offensively. Goalie John Russell (2-2-0, 2.75gaa, .878sp) gives his team a chance every night.
After falling to St. Thomas Academy 7-2, the Mustangs rebounded with a 7-0 win over St. Louis Park last week. They will have their work cut out for them as they see the #2 ranked team in the State to open the Schwan Cup. The Hounds are a team that can play any game that is presented to them.
Brainerd/Pillager/Pierz vs Wayzata 8:30pm
The Brainerd/Pillager/Pierz Warriors (2-3, 1-3) are working off the effects of losing key players Drew Olson (20-16-36), Joe Frazer (27-38-65), and Bronson Shepherd (18-28-46). Julius Tamasay (18-24-42) transferred to Duluth East and they were left with holes. Josh Archibald (3-2-5), Brett Jenkins (3-1-4), and Derek Wessman (1-2-3) have led the charge offensively for the Warriors.
They have wins over Crookston and Sartell-St. Stephen to date and are looking to advance their cause this season. The Warriors play out of the Central Lakes Conference where they finished 2nd last season. They ended their bid in a close, hard fought 4-2 loss to the Moorhead Spuds last season.
Goalie Reid Mimmack (2-3-0, 2.80gaa, .920sp) has made 162 saves to date as he keeps busy. His numbers don’t lie, he answers the test and give his club a chance. The .920 save percentage will be on display as they play an up and coming Wayzata Trojan team in the night cap of quarterfinal Monday at the Schwan Cup.
The Wayzata Trojans (4-3-1, 0-0) came off an interesting season in 2007-2008 with a 7-15-4 record. They were 1-6-1 in the Classic Lake last season as they faced three top ten teams twice. They were 6-9-3 against the rest of the competition making this observer feel as though they were a few bounces away from being a high quality hockey team.
This year, they opened with a tie against Maple Grove, who has yet to lose on the season. They fought off a tough then #1 Edina team 4-1 and played #6 Jefferson to the wire in a 3-2 loss, not to mention a tough 2-0 loss to the #2 Duluth East Greyhounds.
Wayzata boasts one of the deepest youth hockey programs in the state. They are winners and know how to win at all levels. The Wayzata Trojans are the type of team if taken lightly, will win every time. They have talent and skill take it to the next level as they are led by Seth Barnes (5-4-9), Billy Soule (2-6-8), and Scott Holm (2-5-7) who have stepped to the forefront in scoring.
Soule led the team last season with (9-11-20) and goalie Ty Simcoe logged a ton of minutes last season. He is doing the same this season and is 3-2 with a 2.13gaa. Alex Clayton is seeing time in the net as well as he has played in two games with a 1-1 record and a stingy 2.01gaa.
DJ Jones and Lucas Whelan have been constants on the blue line and will be expected to produce from the back end if the Trojans look to advance. Should they defeat BPP, they have another crack at the Duluth East Greyhounds.
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