Photo by SportsEngine
We task our reporters with identifying several intriguing games throughout the state to assemble our Top Games of the Week. The matchups are presented in no particular order, and when there are additional games we want to highlight, we’ll include them with brief notes.
No shortage of snow this January, and temperatures could dip into the single digits for the 17th annual Hockey Day Minnesota festivities held in White Bear Lake this year.
The first boys hockey outdoor game at Polar Lakes Park features a pair of Class 1A powers in defending state champion Hermantown and third-place finisher Mahtomedi, ranked No. 2 and No. 4, respectively, in the coaches’ poll released Jan. 17.
Since the 2015-16 season, Hermantown is 7-1 against Mahtomedi overall, 6-0 in the regular season. That one loss? It came in overtime in the 2020 Class 1A state championship game when Mahtomedi defeated Hermantown for its first state title. Last season, Hermantown won at Mahtomedi 3-0.
Hermantown is 12-2-1, is surrendering just 1.73 goals per game and has a pair of games up north before heading down to the metro for Hockey Day. The two losses for the Hawks have come recently, to undefeated Warroad on Jan. 14 and then getting shutout Jan. 21 at St. Thomas Academy.
Senior Garron Opsahl (8-2-1) sees most of the minutes in net with his 1.35 goals-against average and .923 save percentage. Junior Dane Callaway (4-0-0) has 98 saves in his 204 minutes for a 2.00 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. Junior Dallas Vieau (10 goals, 14 assists) leads the scoring, while senior George Peterson (six goals, 15 assists) is the team assists leader. Senior Wyatt Carlson leads the team in goals with 11 to go with his seven assists; four of his goals have come on the power play.
Mahtomedi’s only loss to a Class 1A opponent this season came against top-ranked Warroad on Dec. 3. The Zephyrs have won four of their past five games coming into the week, with a meeting against Hill-Murray prior to Hockey Day.
Senior Charlie Drage leads the scoring with 13 goals and 13 assists. Senior Seth Nelson (12 goals, nine assists) follows, and he has already doubled his goal output from last season. Seniors David Wolsfeld (five goals, 13 assists), last year’s leading scorer with 50 points, and Carter Haycraft (seven goals, 11 assists) have 18 points each.
Outdoor hockey between a pair of nearby rivals, who says no? The Bears are ranked No. 10 in Class 2A while Hill-Murray has fallen out of the rankings and sits with a below .500 record after some close losses to ranked teams.
Playing in the elements and with the fanfare of Hockey Day will no doubt be a focus, though this could be a preview of a Section 4 tournament game as well. Hill-Murray defeated White Bear Lake in last year’s section championship, 5-0.
White Bear Lake has played in two prior Hockey Days (2009 at Phalen Park, 2012 at Minnetonka), with losses to Duluth East and Grand Rapids. This will mark the fourth time Hill-Murray has participated in Hockey Day, with three one-goal victories in 2008, 2011 and 2015.
The Pioneers (6-8-1) started out the season ranked No. 6 in Class 2A, but have dropped in ranking and record this season thanks in part to a competitive schedule. Hill-Murray has close losses to ranked opponents like Wayzata, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Lakeville South, Andover, Minnetonka and St. Thomas Academy.
Only senior Brady Ingebritson (five goals, seven assists) and sophomore Jackson Reeves (six goals, four assists) are in double-digits in the points column this season for Hill-Murray. Sophomore defenseman Graham Greeder has a team-high eight assists (four on the power play). In net, experienced goaltender Jack Erickson has a 2.43 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. Junior Andrew Lane is 2-1 with a 1.33 goals-against average in 153 minutes.
The host Bears are 13-2 this season currently riding a nine-game winning streak, although they’ll face No. 4-2A Chanhassen on Tuesday before the festivities.
Junior Nolan Roed (18 goals, 17 assists) is the team’s top scorer, followed by senior Aiden Welch (13 goals, 20 assists). Senior Brady Borgestad (10 goals, 13 assists) and sophomore Jack Stanius (7 goals, 16 assists) each have 23 points.
On the blue line, senior Joe Belisle (five goals, 14 assists) is the team’s top point producer. Sophomore Leo Gabriel (10-2-0) is the top goaltender with a 2.16 goals-against average and .897 save percentage with three shutouts. Senior Colin Thompson (3-0-0) has allowed four goals (1.33 goals-against average) and has a .915 save percentage in 153 minutes in net.
A pair of top-10 teams in Class 2A from the Metro West Conference meet in this one. Chanhassen’s only blemish this season was an opening loss to Andover. The Red Knights have won seven of their last eight games headed into the week. Both teams remain unbeaten in conference play, too.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s is scoring 4.88 goals per game with an offense led by junior Notre Dame commit Drew Stewart (17 goals, 17 assists), with four goals and eight assists on the power play to go with two shorthanded goals. Stewart has goals in each of his past six games. Junior Michael Risteau, a Western Michigan commit, has 10 goals and 11 assists, followed by senior Wes Berg (9 goals, 11 assists) and sophomore Maceo Phillips (four goals, 11 assists), who also leads the team with a plus-22 value.
In net, Mason McElroy plays most minutes, with a 2.52 goals-against average and .896 save percentage. The Red Knights' solid offense will go up against some of the toughest defense and goaltending around.
The Storm have won 15 games in a row since losing their season opener in November. They’re still sitting with the best goals-against average (1.00) and save percentage (.947) in the state, allowing the fewest goals of any Minnesota team (16) behind junior goaltender Kam Hendrickson.
Owen Buesgens (four goals, 13 assists) is the team’s top scorer from the blue line, with two goals and five assists coming on the power play. Defenseman Mathias Bosch also has 10 assists. Tyler Smith leads the team with a dozen goals to go with his dozen assists. Gavin Uhlenkamp's 20 assists make him the top points leader.
New Ulm vs. Luverne, 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 26. No. 13-1A New Ulm (13-2-1) leads the state with 99 goals (6.19 goals per game) and sits in first place in the Big South Conference, ahead of Windom, Waseca and Luverne. New Ulm is led offensively by junior Austin Uecker (18 goals, 27 assists).
Warroad vs. Roseau, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 24. Another game in this long-standing rivalry in the north; this marks game No. 182 in the head-to-head history. The top team in Class 1A, Warroad remains alone with its undefeated record (16-0) and coming off a 3-0 victory over top-ranked Wayzata in Class 2A. Warroad defeated Roseau 7-4 on Jan. 10.
Eastview vs. Cretin-Derham Hall, 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 26. No. 14-2A Eastview heads to No. 6-2A Cretin-Derham Hall for a meeting of Section 3 teams. Cretin defeated Eastview 3-0 in last year’s section championship game. Cretin takes a seven-game unbeaten streak into this matchup.
Lakeville North vs. Lakeville South, 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 27. Another crosstown rivalry game between Lakeville squads which are in a three-way tie (14 points) with Prior Lake for first place in the South Suburban Conference. Lakeville South, which defeated North 4-2 earlier this season, is ranked No. 12 in Class 2A.
The MN Hockey Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.
Tag(s): Home Big South Luverne New Ulm Lake Superior Hermantown Mariucci Roseau Warroad Metro East Hill-Murray Mahtomedi Metro West Benilde-St. Margaret's Chanhassen South Suburban Eastview Lakeville North Lakeville South Suburban East Cretin-Derham Hall White Bear Lake