Featuring a lineup of players from Minnesota and beyond, Vadnais Heights-based Gentry Academy (13-2-0) has emerged as something of a small-school powerhouse.
The No. 10-1A Stars, approved for Minnesota State High School League competition starting with the 2018-19 season, appear to be a bona fide state tournament contender despite playing a roster loaded with freshmen and sophomores (there’s just one senior on the squad). Junior Damon Furseth is Gentry Academy's go-to scorer, having deposited a team-leading 19 goals.
North Branch (11-4-0, 5-1-0) returns most of its top players from last season’s Class 1A state tournament team but has suffered a few surprising losses. Still, the Vikings appears to be tracking toward another potential tourney berth behind the rock-steady goaltending of senior Jake Turek, and dazzling play of Cody Croal, a junior with a team-best 18 goals and 35 points.