Lakeville South junior forward Justin Kloos (No. 15) is the leading scorer in Class 2A with 79 points (35 goals, 44 assists) in 24 games. Photo by Adam Crane
Lakeville North junior goaltender Charlie Lindgren. Photo by Adam Crane
“We’ve beat Lakeville North twice (this year) but we did that last year too and then lost to them,” Lakeville South coach Kurt Weber said. “They have a goalie that stood on his head and they have a goalie that can change a game.
“The one thing that’s always the equalizer, no matter what happens during the season, is it’s an emotion game with a cross-town rival.”
While the pain of not reaching last year’s state tournament may linger, Lakeville South has its eyes on this year’s section championship.
This time around, the Cougars aren’t anticipating an easy ride to the state tournament.
“We don’t take anybody lightly; we haven’t played everybody in our section so we don’t really know what to expect from some teams,” Weber said. “Right now, we’re just trying to make sure we stay focused on the next game. If we see North in the Sections somewhere – whether it’s the semis or the finals – we’ll hopefully play at the level we’re capable of and we’ll see what happens.”
Provided both Lakeville South and Lakeville North make it to section championship game for the second consecutive year, the matchup to watch will be between Panthers’ shutdown goaltender Lindgren and the Cougars’ high-powered offense.
Lakeville South's Justin Kloos (right) battles for the puck with Apple Valley's Hudson Fasching (left). Photo by Adam Crane
Lakeville South is home to Class 2A scoring leader Justin Kloos, a 5-foot-7 junior who has 79 points (35 goals, 44 assists) through 24 games this season.
“We ride on his back as you can see,” Weber said. “He’s a game changer. Everybody’s watching him. To his credit, he continues to work extremely hard. He’s extremely intelligent on the ice. He’s not big, but he’s got all the other gifts and he makes up for (his lack of size). He generates a lot of offense and he’s a good team leader.”
Time will tell if the Cougars can ride on the back of Kloos to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Mayo earned the No. 3 seed behind noteworthy offensive performances by senior forward Derek McMasters who scored 38 points (23 goals, 15 assists) and senior defenseman Bill Norman who scored 45 points (17 goals, 28 assists) this season for the Spartans.
Rochester is also home to excellent goaltending play from John Marshall's Bryan King allowing an average of 1.94 goals per game with a .919 save percentage and Mayo's Alexander VanGalder allowing an average of 2.82 goals per game with a .899 save percentage.
After giving Apple Valley a scare in a 3-2 loss on Feb. 15, Lakeville South is ready to take control in Section 1AA. Having the Class 2A scoring leaders in Justin Kloos who has 76 points (34 goals, 42 assists) in 24 games makes the Cougars a scary team to try to stop. Lakeville South has also outscored the No. 2 seed -- intracity rival Lakeville North -- 13-3 in two regular season matchups.
Looking to turn some heads in the section is Farmington, led by senior forward Tyler Grubb with 51 points (26 goals, 25 assists) in 25 games. Eight Tigers are in double digits in scoring. Victor Simones and Aaron Dahl have split time in goal, with the two netminders registering .892 and .896 save percentages, respectively.