|State Boys' Hockey Tournament
Hermantown, Lakeville North voted top seeds;
East Grand Forks, Edina defend 2014 titles
In the ninth year of seeding the qualified teams, Hermantown was chosen No. 1 in Class A and Lakeville North was chosen No. 1 in Class AA for the 2015 State Boys' Hockey Tournament.
The Hermantown Hawks qualified for the sixth consecutive and 12th overall time. They are seeking their second state title. The Panthers of Lakeville North are making their second consecutive and sixth overall trip to the tournament and are still looking for their first state championship.
Both defending champions also return to this year's qualifying fields. The Green Wave of East Grand Forks are looking for their second title in Class A, while the Edina Hornets are seeking their 10th championship in Class AA. East Grand Forks is the No. 3 seed in the Class A field and Edina is the No. 2 seed in the Class AA tournament.
Spring Lake Park is the only school making its debut appearance. The Panthers compete in Class A.
Class A teams will play their quarterfinal games on Wednesday, March 4, and Class AA teams will follow suit on Thursday, March 5. Both classes will continue with championship semifinals on Friday, March 6, and then third-place and championship games on Saturday, March 7. Consolation semifinals for Class A are scheduled Thursday, March 5, with Class AA following suit on Friday, March 6, and both consolation championship games on Saturday, March 7. All 2015 State Boys' Hockey Tournament championship-round and third-place games in both classes will be played at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. All consolation rounds for both classes will be played at Mariucci Arena on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus.
The seeding process had all 16 coaches of the section champions log onto a special page of the League website. Each coach then ranked the other teams in their class one through seven. The highest and lowest rankings for each team were discarded, leaving five rankings for each team. From those rankings, the top five teams were seeded. In conference calls with all eight head coaches of each class, League Associate Director Craig Perry announced the top five seeds. An impartial participant then blindly drew the three remaining teams from a hat to establish the opponent for the top three seeded teams. Numbers four and five automatically play each other.
Class A Preview
Section 3 New Ulm (18-8-2) vs. (No. 2 Seed) Section 4 Mahtomedi (24-2-2): New Ulm, which includes students from New Ulm Cathedral, Minnesota Valley Lutheran, Sleepy Eye, and Sleepy Eye St. Mary's, is making its debut appearance under this formation. New Ulm and New Ulm Cathedral made one additional appearance in 1992, and the co-op of New Ulm, New Ulm Cathedral, and Minnesota Valley Lutheran made three consecutive appearances between 2010 and 2012. The Eagles were not ranked in the final Let's Play Hockey poll and are still looking for their elusive first title. New Ulm did not face any other Class A qualifiers during the regular season. The Zephyrs of Mahtomedi return for their eighth appearance but first since 2010. The Zephyrs were ranked No. 2 in this year's final Let's Play Hockey poll and are looking for their first championship. In regular-season play, Mahtomedi defeated Breck School 3-1.
Section 1 New Prague (20-8-0) vs. (No. 3 Seed) Section 8 East Grand Forks (23-4-0): The Trojans of New Prague are making their second consecutive and overall appearance. They were ranked No. 17 in the final Let's Play Hockey poll and are looking to improve on last year's third-place showing. During the regular season the Trojans fell to Hermantown 6-1. The defending champions from East Grand Forks were ranked No. 3 in this year's final Let's Play Hockey poll. This is the third consecutive and 10th overall appearance for the Green Wave. Last year's title was the first for East Grand Forks. The Green Wave faced two other Class A qualifiers during regular-season play; they defeated Breck School 4-1 and lost to Hermantown 3-0.
Section 5 Spring Lake Park (16-11-1) vs. (No. 1 Seed) Section 7 Hermantown (25-2-1): The Panthers of Spring Lake Park are making their debut tournament appearance. They were not ranked in the final Let's Play Hockey poll and did not face any other tournament qualifiers during the regular season. The Hawks of Hermantown are making their sixth consecutive and 12th overall appearance. They finished as runners-up the past five years. Hermantown won one previous title in 2007. The Hawks were ranked No. 1 in this year's final Let's Play Hockey poll. Hermantown defeated East Grand Forks 3-0 during regular-season play.
(No. 5 Seed) Section 6 St. Cloud Apollo (22-4-2) vs. (No. 4 Seed) Section 2 Breck School, Golden Valley (21-7-0): The Eagles of St. Cloud Apollo were ranked No. 7 in this year's final Let's Play Hockey poll. This is the third appearance for the Eagles whose last was in 2013. St. Cloud Apollo, which has never won a state championship, did not play any other qualifiers during the regular season. Breck School returns to tournament action after a one-year absence to make its 11th appearance. The Mustangs were ranked No. 4 in the final Let's Play Hockey poll and are looking for their fifth title. They won previously in 2000, 2004, 2009, and 2010. Breck School defeated two qualifiers during the regular season: East Grand Forks 4-1 and Mahtomedi 3-1.
Class AA Preview
Section 8 Bemidji (23-3-2) vs. (No. 2 Seed) Section 2 Edina (24-1-2): The Lumberjacks of Bemidji, who were ranked No. 10 in the final Let's Play Hockey poll, are making their seventh appearance but first since 1986. Bemidji did not face any other qualifiers this year and is still looking for its first state title. The two-time defending champions from Edina are returning for their ninth consecutive and 26th overall appearance. They were ranked No. 2 in the final Let's Play Hockey poll and are in the hunt for their 10th title. In addition to the past two years, they also won in 1969, 1971, 1982, 1984, 1988, and 1997. Edina East also won titles in 1974, 1978 and 1979. During the regular season the Hornets defeated Eden Prairie three times, 4-3 in overtime, 5-0, and 3-0. They also defeated Hill-Murray twice, 3-1 and 6-3, and Duluth East 7-1. The only qualifying team the Hornets fell to was Lakeville North, 3-1.
Section 7 Duluth East (14-10-4) vs. (No. 3 Seed) Section 4 St. Thomas Academy, Mendota Heights (24-4-0): These teams met in late December with St. Thomas Academy winning 4-1. The Greyhounds of Duluth East, who placed sixth last year, are making their seventh consecutive and 22nd overall appearance. They were ranked No. 18 in this year's final Let's Play Hockey poll and seek a fourth title, having previously won in 1960, 1995 and 1998. In addition to St. Thomas Academy, Duluth East fell to four additional tournament qualifiers this year: Edina 7-1; Eden Prairie 4-2; Lakeville North 2-1; and Blaine 7-6 in overtime. The Cadets of St. Thomas Academy were ranked fourth in the final Let's Play Hockey poll. They are making their ninth appearance and return to tournament play after a one-year absence. St. Thomas Academy is looking for its sixth title, having won previously in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2013. In addition to facing Duluth East, the Cadets also split a series with Hill-Murray this year. They lost 3-2 in overtime in January and won 4-2 in early February.
Section 4 Hill-Murray, Maplewood (21-7-0) vs. (No. 1 Seed) Section 1 Lakeville North (28-0-0): This is a rematch of a game that Lakeville North won 4-3. The Pioneers of Hill-Murray, who were ranked No. 3 in the final Let's Play Hockey poll, return to the tournament a one-year absence. This is their 27th appearance and they are looking for their third championship. They won previously in 1983, 1991, and 2008. In addition to Lakeville North, Hill-Murray also fell to Blaine 4-3, Eden Prairie 3-2 in overtime, and Edina twice, 3-1 and 6-3. The Pioneers also split a series with St. Thomas Academy, winning 3-2 in overtime and then falling 4-2. The Panthers of Lakeville North, ranked No. 1 in the final Let's Play Hockey poll, seek their first title in their second consecutive and sixth overall appearance. They claimed runner-up honors in 2014. The Panthers went 3-0 against tournament qualifiers during the regular season; they defeated Edina 3-1, Hill-Murray 4-3, and Duluth East 2-1.
(No. 5 Seed) Section 6 Eden Prairie (18-9-0) vs. (No. 4 Seed) Section 5 Blaine (22-5-1): These two teams met in late December with Blaine winning 8-3. The Eagles of Eden Prairie are making their second consecutive and seventh overall tournament appearance. They placed fourth last year and won previous titles in 2009 and 2011. Eden Prairie was ranked fifth in the final Let's Play Hockey poll. In addition to Blaine, Eden Prairie lost three times to Edina during the regular season: 4-3 in overtime, 5-0, and 3-0. The Eagles also defeated both Hill-Murray, 3-2 in overtime, and Duluth East 4-2. The Bengals of Blaine return for their 11th appearance but their first since 2011. They were ranked No. 7 in the final Let's Play Hockey poll and are in the hunt for their second title. They won their first in 2000. Blaine defeated three fellow tournament qualifiers this season: Hill-Murray 4-3, Eden Prairie 8-3, and Duluth East 7-6 in overtime.
Tickets and Special Promotions
All Class AA championship sessions are reserved seating only. Any unsold tickets allocated to participating schools go on sale one hour before each two-game session. All Class A sessions and consolation games for both classes are general admission seating. Adult tickets are $17.00 for championship sessions and $12.00 for consolation sessions. Student tickets are $11.00 for championship sessions and $8.00 for consolation sessions.
A visit to any participating Wells Fargo metro location can yield you a $2 discount coupon for students 13 and younger for Class A games. The discount coupons are also available for the Girls' and Boys' Basketball Tournaments.
Television and Web Streaming
KSTC-TV, Channel 45 will televise all championship-round games live. For specific cable channel coverage, visit www.KSTC45.com. All of the televised games will also be streamed live at Prep45.com for a fee of $4.97 per day. Fans may also follow all games live statistically by clicking on links at the League website.
|State Boys' Swimming and Diving Meet
St. Thomas Academy, Wayzata, seven individuals to defend titles
St. Thomas Academy of Mendota Heights in Class A and Wayzata in Class AA are each looking to defend their 2015 team titles this year. If the Cadets of St. Thomas Academy win, it would be their fourth consecutive championship. The Wayzata Trojans are seeking their second consecutive title.
St. Thomas Academy won all three relays and one individual event last year and in the process outdistanced the runners-up from Breck/Blake by more than 180 points. This year the Cadets have qualifiers in every event except 1-meter diving.
The Wayzata Trojans are returning competitors to eight events. The Trojans won one individual race in 2014, and when their points were tallied they outscored East Ridge of Woodbury by 43 points.
In Class A, two individual champions and teams representing all three relay champions return from the 2014 meet. There are five returning individual champions in Class AA, and all three relay-winning teams will attempt to defend those titles.
Following are a few of the highlights of the 2015 State Boys' Swimming and Diving Meet that will be conducted Thursday, March 5, through Saturday, March 7, at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis. The full news release contains all the event highlights
200-Yard Medley Relay
Class A — Six teams that earned medals at the 2014 meet are returning this year. St. Thomas Academy, the defending champion, is the highest returning qualifier. The Cadets also own the best qualifying time of 1:35.88. The other teams are: Fergus Falls, runner-up; Spring Lake Park, fourth; Sartell-St. Stephen, fifth; Chaska, sixth; and Alexandria, seventh.
Class AA — Four relay teams from the 2014 field, including the defending champions from East Ridge, return. The others are: Wayzata, runner-up; Eagan, fifth; and Eden Prairie, seventh. Eden Prairie has the fastest qualifying time of 1:34.57.
200-Yard Freestyle Relay
Class A — The defending champions from St. Thomas Academy lead the field of seven returning teams. The other medal-winning entries are: Faribault, runner-up; Austin, third; Fridley, fourth; Red Wing, fifth; Breck/Blake, sixth; and Sartell-St. Stephen, eighth. Breck/Blake has the best qualifying time of 1:27.45.
Class AA — Six medal-winning teams return to this year's meet, led by defending champion Hastings. The other returning teams are: Prior Lake, runner-up; Lakeville South, third; Edina, fourth; Lakeville North, seventh; and Minnetonka, eighth. Eden Prairie owns the fastest qualifying time of 1:25.29.
400-Yard Freestyle Relay
Class A — All eight of the 2014 medal-winning teams return: defending champion St. Thomas Academy; Faribault, runner-up; Breck/Blake, third; Fergus Falls, fourth; Austin, fifth; Chaska, sixth; Fridley, seventh; and Spring Lake Park, eighth. St. Thomas Academy owns the best qualifying time of 3:12.78.
Class AA — East Ridge, which won this event last year, returns in search of more gold. Six additional medal-winning teams from 2014 also return: Eden Prairie, runner-up; Lakeville South, fourth; Minnetonka, which has this year's best qualifying time of 3:09.35, fifth; Edina, sixth; Tartan, seventh; and Brainerd, eighth.
Schedule and Ticket Information
This year's state meet will start on Thursday, March 5, and run through Saturday, March 7. All events will take place at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
The Class A one-meter diving preliminaries, the first five of eight dives for the state meet, will begin at noon on Thursday, followed by the Class AA diving preliminaries at 6:00 p.m. The Class A swimming preliminaries begin at noon on Friday, followed by the Class AA swimming preliminaries at 6 p.m. The Class A championship finals of all events begin at noon on Saturday, followed by the Class AA finals at 6 p.m.
Tickets will be available at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Prices are $5.00 for both students and adults for the diving preliminaries, and $8.00 for both students and adults for the swimming preliminaries and for the swimming and diving finals.
Prep45.com Web Streaming
The finals of both classes on Saturday will be webcast live. The webcasts are available at www.Prep45.com and there is a $4.97 daily fee.
|A Big Win, A Pink Helmet And A Vow To Stay In 1A
|Posted by John Millea(firstname.lastname@example.org)- Updated 3/4/2015 9:11:58 PM
|There is one big question swirling around the Class 1A boys state hockey tournament: Can the Hermantown Hawks, losers in the last five state championship games, finally take home a first-place trophy?
The top-seeded Hawks opened the 2015 tournament in grand style Wednesday at Xcel Energy Center, scoring three goals in the first period and cruising to an 8-0 victory over unseeded Spring Lake Park, which is at state for the first time. Nate Pionk and Ryan Kero each scored three goals for Hermantown.
But there has been another question about Hermantown: Are the Hawks considering opting up to Class 2A in future seasons? To that question we have an answer.
“No, we’re not going up to double A,” coach Bruce Plante said after the game. “We only had 37 kids come out for the team this year. Last year we had 32 come out. We happen to be one of the best teams in single A and we’re proud of that.”
Now, moving on to a pink bicycle helmet that joined Plante, Pionk and Kero at the postgame press conference. Pionk carried it into the room and placed it on the table in front of him. Obvious question: What’s the deal with the bike helmet?
Nate explained that someone on the team picked it up in St. Cloud (he thinks) and it has become a lid that signifies the MVP of each game. His teammates decided Pionk had earned it Wednesday, but he said, “It got passed to me, and I said, ‘Ryan and I should share this one.’ ”
MAHTOMEDI 6, NEW ULM 3
New Ulm came into the state hockey tournament with an 0-8 record in four previous appearances, but the unseeded Eagles gave second-seeded Mahtomedi all they wanted. Mahtomedi came out on top 6-3 but it was a struggle.
The score was 1-1 after the first period and Mahtomedi’s lead was 4-3 early in the third before the Zephyrs’ Jack Gunderson scored his second goal and Jack Becker completed a hat trick to secure the victory.
Colin Huffman scored for New Ulm only 40 seconds into the third period, making it 4-3. Ethan Kraus, who had scored the Eagles’ first goal, said, “Oh yeah, it was game on. That was when we knew we had a pretty good chance of winning that game. We hung in there until the end.”
Mahtomedi coach Jeff Poeschl said his team played poorly with the puck and has some work to do if they want to win in Friday’s semifinals.
“I thought (New Ulm) battled real hard and to be perfectly honest I thought we really struggled,” he said. “We fought it all night long.
“The guys in the room know we’re a good hockey team, a much better team than we showed today. I think it’s a matter of making a commitment to stay the course and play our game. I think it’s a matter of conviction; we’re not going to leave the tournament with regrets and we’ll leave everything on the ice Friday when we come back.”
EAST GRAND FORKS 4, NEW PRAGUE 0
The defending state champion Green Wave outshot the Spartans 32-17 and Dixon Bowen led the way with two goals.
The game was scoreless through the first period and Bowen got on the board in the second period. Third-period goals were scored by Cooper Jerome, Nick Derrick and Bowen into an empty net.
“We hit two posts at critical times. A call here, a call there, you have to take momentum or get it back,” said New Prague coach Chris Lonke. “I can’t ask any more of our guys. They were focused and played to win the hockey game. It just wasn’t meant to be today.”
ST. CLOUD APOLLO 1, BRECK 0
Brandon Bissett scored the game’s only goal in overtime, lifting the Eagles into Friday’s semifinals against Hermantown. Breck had 25 shots on goal to 14 for Apollo.
STAYING WITH YOUR COACHES AND TEAMMATES
East Grand Forks' Bowen made an important decision before the season began. He played 10 games with the Fargo Force of the U.S. Hockey League before the high school season began, and he will return to the Force after this weekend.
But nothing was going to keep him from his senior season with the Green Wave.
“I was loyal to my coaches and my teammates and I said I was going to stay,” Bowen said after Wednesday’s game. “I haven’t regretted that decision at all.”
He has a bright future in hockey. He is a Mr. Hockey finalist and he will play collegiately at the University of North Dakota. Some players choose to leave high school early, but many don’t.
“I think some people started to worry about it a little bit,” Bowen said. “I had to make the decision for me. I thought it was a good decision and I wanted to come back and accomplish something here.”
--Quote of the day/ New Ulm’s Jon Kopacek, who got a goal in the second period: “It was pretty cool scoring here. … when you play here you have a little extra step.”
--Wink of the day/ Mahtomedi’s Jack Becker, sitting on the bench after his third goal and seeing himself on the big screen at Xcel Energy Center, winking at the camera.
CLASS 2A BOYS STATE HOCKEY
Thursday’s Quarterfinals at Xcel Energy Center
Bemidji (23-3-2) vs. #2 seed Edina (24-1-2), 11 a.m.
Duluth East (14-10-4) vs. #3 seed St. Thomas
Academy (24-4), 30 minutes after end of first game
Hill-Murray (21-7) vs. #1 seed Lakeville North (28-0), 6 p.m.
#5 seed Eden Prairie (18-9) vs. #4 seed Blaine (22-5-1), 30 minutes after end of 6 p.m. game
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 404
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2014-15: 7,825
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