Quote City: Petrich, friends preview Minnesota state high school boys hockey tournament

Wade Petrich

Wade Petrich

Wade Petrich of the award-winning Hermantown Star on the 2013 Minnesota Class 2A and 1A boys hockey tournaments this week at Xcel Energy Center in snowy St. Paul: “Without a doubt, I am a homer since I cover the Hermantown Hawks and that is my favorite team.

However, the Hawks are 12-0 since Jan. 19 and have outscored their opponents 81-11. Three of those wins came against teams ranked in the top 10 in Class A. Hermantown also has a hot goalie in Adam Smith, who has not lost this season and is 15-0-1 on the year. The defense does not give up many quality shots and the top line of Travis Koepke, Chris Benson and Bo Gronseth has scored a ton of points this season.

But the road will be tough as Duluth Marshall is playing well too and will be the toughest quarterfinal game for Hermantown in the last four years at state.

St. Thomas Academy likely would be a top seed in Class AA this year, so in the school’s final Class A state tournament appearance they will be the team to beat.

While everyone is expecting the Cadets to face Breck in the finals, it would not surprise me to see East Grand Forks and the Hawks in the finals. It would be nice to see to northern schools have some puck luck in the tournament. Hockey is the one sport where strange things can happen in tourney play and it would be fun to have some upsets at the Class A level.

I do not follow the Class AA programs as much, but upsets have always been a part of this tournament and with a very even field again this year, every team has a chance to win it all.

I believe Duluth East advances to the state finals and I like the Greyhounds chances against Hill-Murray. However, Eastview plays Hill-Murray in the first round and the Lightning defeated a quality Eagan team 4-1 in the section finals. That is a tough match-up for the top seed.

Centennial is my dark horse and if they pull a couple upsets and meet East in the finals, things could get interesting. Centennial beat East 5-2 back in December and could prove to be the Cinderella team of the AA tourney.”

Ryan Kern

Ryan Kern

More expectations for the tourneys:

Ryan Kern: “Duluth is poised to do really well this year and the style of play this year from our representatives is most certainly different. Duluth East has a tremendous amount of skill, and is riding a wave of being able to beat anyone at any time. Duluth Marshall is a very hard-working, grind-it-out team and the coaching staff has those kids believing they can beat anyone. Hermantown is always dangerous and they have a nice combination of skill and being a very well-coached, well-disciplined team and is obviously one of the favorites.”

Skeeter Moore

Skeeter Moore

Skeeter Moore: “East is playing its best hockey right now. And now is the time as the state tourney begins. Strengths: Solid team that plays together as a team from first line to fourth line, they ALL have one goal in mind and that is to win as a team on Thursday. While playing East you have to stay out of the penalty box, if you don’t their PP will make you pay. Weakness: To make it all the way to the finals they have to have all lines scoring. I think they are ready as they have key players that have experience playing in the atmosphere that the X brings. I see them in the finals.”

Cullen Flaherty

Cullen Flaherty

Cullen Flaherty: “It’s nice to have three teams and three chances to bring home some hardware. This is what these kids play for, the state tournament experience. The memories and friends will never go away. My advice to the players, coaches and fans is to represent the Northland with class and remember to have fun — win, lose or draw. Oh, and I strongly agree with instant replay on questionable goals!”

Ken Zwak: “East’s team is a great example of a group of kids from Duluth that have spent many hours growing up on outdoor local rinks from Duluth Heights, Woodland, Lester Park, Congdon and Glen Avon rink-ratting, playing hongo, and developing great skills and work ethic because of it! A classic example of how important outdoor hockey is in Duluth for our kids to be successful year in and year out. Many of the East parents spent endless volunteer hours flooding, coaching, and creating free ice time from November to March every year. This team is tenacious and they have proved anyone of their players can step up and score the big goal. They don’t rely just on one or two players. They work harder than any East team in the recent years. A bounce here and a bounce there, and I think the ‘Hounds have a great shot on bringing the whole works home to Duluth.”

Duluth East's Phil Beaulieu is the top junior defenseman in the state. He also was selected the player of the year in both the preseason and midseason Howie Blog player rankings. Howie / HowieBlog.com

Duluth East’s Phil Beaulieu is the top junior defenseman in the state. He also was selected the player of the year in both the preseason and midseason Howie Blog player rankings. Howie / HowieBlog.com

Rheese Carlson: “The couple of games I watched this year of the Hounds has reminded me of the team I was on in 1998. They have two standout defensemen (Meirs Moore and Phil Beaulieu), and we had (Nick Angell and Patrick Finnigan). Both groups anchored excellent power-plays with their big shots from the point. Our records are very similar — and if they were to win the tourny they would be 24-4. The ’98 team was 25-3, with a asterisk our on-ice record was 27-1 (thanks state high school league). The current team has a 16-game winning streak heading into state, and the ’98 team had an 18-game win streak leading to the tourney. If gaolie Dylan Parker can play the way Adam Coole did, the story will repeat itself. Best of luck to the ‘Hounds. The ’98 team will be at the championship game for our 15-year reunion, and hoping to watch another championship head up I-35.”

Hilltoppers senior forward Matthew Klassen could be a difference-maker for his team against Hermantown in Wednesday's 11 a.m. quarterfinal opener. Howie / HowieBlog.com

Hilltoppers senior forward Matthew Klassen could be a difference-maker for his team against Hermantown in Wednesday’s 11 a.m. quarterfinal opener. Howie / HowieBlog.com

Cory Cartier: “I am very proud of the local boys high school hockey teams. The Toppers, Greyhounds and Hawks represent the Duluth area well, as they all have legitimate chances to bring home some hardware. I wish them all good luck at state. Toppers vs. Hawks should be a great game on Wednesday. Go to the Cartier Agency Facebook page, guess the winner and final score for a chance to win UMD hockey tickets for this weekend.”

Derek Locker: “This East team is well-balanced, with their strength coming from their defense. (Meirs) Moore and (Phil) Beaulieu have tremendous skill and vision on the ice, allowing for East to have one of the best transition games in the state. Their depth at both defense and forward is a huge advantage. This team has a good mix of team speed and toughness to win the state tournament. East will have to capitalize on their offensive opportunities to advance in the tournament. Coach (Mike) Randolph knows how to prepare a team for this tournament and will give these boys every chance to win. Offensively, (Jack) Forbort’s line has developed into one of the most dangerous lines in the state. Speed along with puck control makes them fun to watch.”

Minnesota High School Boys Hockey Tournament
All Games at Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul

Class 1A
Wednesday Quarterfinals
11 a.m. — No. 2 Breck (24-3-1) vs. Marshall (14-10-1)
1:15 p.m. — No. 3 Hermantown (23-4-1) vs. Duluth Marshall (16-12)
6 p.m. — No. 1 St. Thomas Academy (24-2-2) vs. St. Cloud Apollo (18-10)
8:15 p.m. — No. 4 East Grand Forks (23-3-3) vs. Rochester Lourdes (20-8)

Friday Semifinals
11 a.m., 1:15 p.m.

Saturday Championship
Noon

Class 2A
Thursday Quarterfinals
11 a.m. — No. 2 Duluth East (24-4) vs. Moorhead (14-11-2)
1:15 p.m. — No. 3 Edina (22-6) vs. Lakeville North (11-16-1)
6 p.m. — No. 1 Hill-Murray (25-2-1) vs. Eastview (18-9-1)
8:15 p.m. — No. 4 Wayzata (21-7) vs. Centennial (22-4-2)

Friday Semifinals
6 p.m., 8:15 p.m.

Saturday Championship
7 p.m.

Hockey Notebook

The St. Luke’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine High School All-Star Hockey Series moves back to a two-game, head-to-head series for 2013, after a single-game format the last two years. Read more.

a d v e r t i s e m e n t

Planning a party? Aces on 29th has two private rooms for parties for groups of 10-120. No room rental charge. Call Mark Carlson at 218.348.4438 today or Aces at 715.392.2546.

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