Mankato West at Mankato East
7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 8

In the first of two meetings for the title “Kings of Mankato,” Mankato West (6-5-1) defeated Mankato East (8-6-0) by a wide 8-1 score on Dec. 2 as Austin Langworthy (20-5-25) scored four goals and Christian Klemme (4-9-13) and Tyler Loe (4-8-12) each had a goal and three assists. That continues a recent domination for the Scarlets over their crosstown rivals, as they’ve won 18 straight games by an average margin of 9-1, dating back to a 5-3 Cougars' victory in the Class 1A, Section 1 playoffs on Feb. 23, 2006.

But expecting a closer game in the rematch wouldn’t be outrageous. This is Mankato East’s best team in several years, and its eight victories already equals last year’s total. The Cougars feature two of the top scorers in the state in junior Judd Schulz (14-20-34) and senior Grayson Gavin (20-14-34). After only scoring one goal in his first seven games, Schulz exploded for 13 in a five-game span, including consecutive hat tricks against Austin, LeSueur-Henderson/St. Peter/TCU and Worthington — all victories for the Cougars. Gavin is also on a roll, with five straight multi-goal games to his credit. As they go, so goes Mankato East’s offense.