Heading into the 67th boys’ hockey state tournament, here are 10 things you might not know:
BEST OF THE BEST
Four of the 10 Mr. Hockey finalists will play at the X: Kyle Rau (Eden Prairie), Steven Fogarty and Max Everson (Edina) and Jonny Brodzinski (Blaine). And Eden Prairie’s Andrew Ford is one of two senior goaltenders up for the Frank Brimsek Award.
A potential semifinal meeting looms in Class 1A featuring No. 1 seed St. Thomas Academy and No. 4 seed Breck — programs that have won four of the last five small-school state titles.
SLUMPING VS. THE SEEDS
Eden Prairie, the No. 1 seed in the Class 2A bracket, went 1-4 in games against fellow seeded teams. The Eagles lost two of three to No. 2 seed Edina and once each to No. 3 Duluth East and No. 4 Eagan.
What does the tournament have against teams dressed in black and orange jerseys? White Bear Lake is 0-17 in quarterfinal games dating back to 1945. And Moorhead is 0-7 in championship games.
A NICE RUN
Blaine returns to state for the sixth consecutive season, a rare run of success in an era of parity. Hill-Murray (1983-88) was the last big-school program to make at least six consecutive trips to state.
Seven of the eight Class 2A qualifying teams escaped their respective section championship games with one-goal victories. Five of the teams, Lakeville North, White Bear Lake, Blaine, Eden Prairie and Duluth East, won in overtime.
Jacob Hennessy’s first varsity goal held up as the game-winner in Alexandria’s Class 1A, Section 6 championship game victory. Breck third-line center David Zosel scored overtime goals in the Class 1A Section 2 semifinal and final.
Eden Prairie forward Kyle Rau and goaltender Andrew Ford are the program’s all-time leaders in points and victories, respectively.
Hermantown’s Garrett Skrbich (39 goals) is one shy of tying the school record for goals in a season.
BEEZER BACK AT STATE
Thief River Falls senior forward Brendan (Beezer) Skime is accustomed to the big stage. In 2010 he qualified for state in both track and field and tennis. Last fall, Skime finished ninth at the state cross country meet.
LAST LINE OF DEFENSE
How important is a good netminder to a team’s success? Four of the top five goalies, in terms of regular-season save percentage, play for unseeded Class 2A teams, led by Blaine’s Nick Malvin with a .931.