In the third installment of the high school coaches’ poll, 14 of the 20 Class 2A teams changed places, though only two moved more than one spot.
Eden Prairie continues as the top-ranked team, earning 13 of 15 possible first-place votes.
The Eagles (4-0) have been dominant, outscoring the opposition 21-5. Although until the Thursday matchup against fourth-ranked Elk River (4-0), Eden Prairie hadn’t faced a ranked team.
The Eagles also battle No. 3 Grand Rapids on Friday and No. 7 Edina to close out the Holiday Classic on Saturday, so next week’s top 5 could be facing its first major shakeup.
In second and earning one first-place vote is Stillwater. Led by Minnesota Duluth commit Noah Cates (4 goals, 7 assists) and Luke Manning (3g, 8a) the Ponies are averaging 4.25 goals per game this season with no signs of slowing down.
After falling 2-1 to St. Thomas Academy on Dec. 10, Holy Family Catholic slid to No. 6, while the Cadets replaced the Fire at No. 5. Holy Family Catholic rebounded with a 12-0 win over Hutchinson, but the Fire will have to overcome No. 14 Wayzata on Saturday to stop the skid.
Metro East Conference powerhouse Hill-Murray is on the rise, moving up two spots to No. 12 in this week’s poll. The Pioneers (4-0) have spread around the scoring early on, with nine players having at least three points. Hill-Murray hasn’t faced a ranked team yet -- and the Pioneers likely won’t until a Jan. 5 matchup against St. Thomas Academy -- so they’ll need to continue their winning ways to keep rising in the rankings.
Delano/Rockford remains No. 1 in Class 1A, earning six first-place votes, but defending champion Hermantown is hot on the Tigers’ tails.
Behind them, the top 6 remains unchanged from last week, while nearly the entire rest of the top 20 has shifted.
The Tigers (5-0) have yet to meet their match, outscoring opponents 41-8 through five wins. On the other hand, the Hawks (2-1-1) opened the season with a loss and a tie, but have since topped Duluth Marshall and Hopkins.
St. Paul Academy (3-1), Breck (3-2) and St. Cloud Cathedral (4-1-2) round out the top 5 in third, fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Seventh-ranked Alexandria (2-0-2) moves up from No. 9 after tying St. Cloud and St. Cloud Cathedral last week. The Cardinals face No. 10-ranked East Grand Forks this week in a game that has rankings implications.
Sartell-St. Stephen checks in at No. 8, rising three positions from last week after continuing an undefeated season with a 1-0-1 record last week. Senior captain Spencer Meier has a team-leading six goals and 12 points for the Sabres (3-0-2), who are thriving on special teams, killing penalties at a 94.4 percent rate and scoring on 35.3 percent of power plays.
Another team to rise up early in the rankings is Monticello (5-1), which ranks No. 16 after just cracking the rankings at No. 20 last week. Besides a 10-2 loss to No. 17-2A St. Michael-Albertville in Mississippi 8 Conference play, the Moose have put together an impressive resume, but their true test will come when they play at Sartell-St. Stephen on Dec. 27.