Warroad at East Grand Forks
7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 19
Since Minnesota high school hockey expanded to two classes in 1994, 18 of the 21 Section 8A titles have been won by either Warroad (12 times) or East Grand Forks (six times, including the last two). With both ranked among the top teams in Class 1A again, it may just come down to the same this winter.
East Grand Forks (6-1-0) is the two-time defending section champion and concluded last season with its first state championship. The Green Wave are the favorite, courtesy of a deep group of returning forwards, led by Mr. Hockey candidate Dixon Bowen (10-8-18). The University of North Dakota commit has slowed a bit since scoring eight goals in the first three games of the season, but Tanner Tweten (4-9-13) and Jace Pesch (5-5-10) have helped pick up the pace. Coach Tyler Palmiscno has a different looking team this year, as he lost four top defensemen, which has resulted in more high-scoring games.
Warroad (6-2-0) also looks different, as two-thirds of its high-scoring top line are also gone, leaving Kobe Roth (5-3-8) as the top offensive threat. Instead of outscoring teams this winter, the Warriors are playing it closer to the vest, with no more than four goals scored in any of their eight games. Goaltender Alex Burke (6-2-0, 1.75, .926) has two shutouts in eight starts.