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Class 1A boys' hockey state quarterfinal preview: New Ulm vs. Mahtomedi

03/03/2015, 9:03pm CST
By Star Tribune

New Ulm (18-8-2) vs. Mahtomedi (No. 2, 24-2-2), 11 a.m. Wednesday

Quarterfinal New Ulm (18-8-2) vs. Mahtomedi (No. 2, 24-2-2), 11 a.m. Wednesday

Scouting the Eagles: All 12 seniors in the lineup make significant contributions, and none are counted on more than forward Colin Huffman (team-best 62 points) and workhorse goaltender Matt Berkner (2.31 goals-against average, .9 07 save percentage). Junior Ethan Kraus leads the Eagles with 33 goals. Much to ninth-year coach Erik Setterholm’s dismay, New Ulm moved into the Big South Conference this season, forcing the Eagles to play a significantly weaker schedule. Nonconference games against traditionally strong Class 1A teams such as Blake, Delano and Orono were replaced with blowout two-game sweeps over programs such as Worthington, Windom and Fairmont (the Eagles won those six games by a combined score of 62-3).

Scouting the Zephyrs: The Zephyrs’ two losses came against Metro East Conference rivals and traditional state powerhouses Hill-Murray and St. Thomas Academy, both of which qualified for the Class 2A state tournament. But Mahtomedi won its rematches against both the Pioneers and Cadets to stamp itself among the state’s elite. Jack Becker, who has team highs of 25 goals and 58 points, might be the best forward in the Class 1A tournament. The 6-3, 185-pound junior has received offers to play at Michigan Tech and Harvard. Several other Division I schools have been heavily scouting Becker.

Worth knowing: Undersized Mahtomedi senior defenseman Zack Taylor, who stands 5-7 and weighs 155 pounds, is such a physical player his nickname is “Hitman.”

LOREN NELSON

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