Finally, the best time of the year is upon us. The month of March is ELITE for sports. While some may only be excited about college basketball, I, along with the entire state of Minnesota am excited about the high school hockey tournament. This year Class A features the heavyweights of the class including Hermantown and undefeated Warroad. Let’s take a look at the Quarterfinal matchups and predict who will hoist the trophy on Saturday at the X.
Quarterfinal #1Luverne (21-6-1) vs #2 Hermantown (25-2-1)
You want the first game of the tournament to be interesting and close but it simply won’t happen. While Luverne comes in with a decent record it’s mostly against fellow southern Minnesota teams. Opening the roster I was hoping to stumble across a Nelson or Smedsrud to help pull the upset of the Hawks but sadly they weren’t there.
Prediction: Hermantown 8 Luverne 1
Quarterfinal #2Alexandria (14-12-1) vs #3 Mahtomedi (20-8)
The 2022-23 Alexandria squad has had a season full of ups and downs. Thankfully for them, the ups are coming right now. They started the season with SEVEN straight losses and looked to be far from a team that could be at the X in March. But since January 19 they have gone 14-2 and find themselves matched up against #3 Mahtomedi.
I have broken down the Zephyrs before in my blog of the teams who can beat Warroad. Nothing I said there has changed. They have a formula that seems to lead to a lot of wins: score a bunch of goals, and give up 1 or 2. I’m no math major but scoring more than you give up often leads to wins.
Prediction: Mahtomedi 5 Alexandria 2
Quarterfinal #3Saint Cloud Cathedral (16-12) vs #1 Warroad
I want nothing more than a close game that really pushes Warroad. Sadly, I don’t see that happening. The Warriors, who I’ve written about before are so deep and so talented that this game will just be another stepping stone on their journey to the state championship game.
Prediction: Warroad 6 SCC 2
#5 Northfield (23-5) vs #4 Orono (23-5)
We all expect this game to be the most competitive of Round 1. These two teams squared off on December 13, 2022 at Orono with the home team Spartans winnings 3-1. I see a repeat of that game, although Northfield has come in scoring 20 goals in 3 section playoff games. I want to see up and down hockey but think both teams play sound fundamentals and it’s a low scoring affair.
Prediction: Northfield 3 Orono 2 in 2OT
Hermantown vs Mahtomedi
Previous Meeting: Hermantown wins 6-3
This is a 3 team tournament and sadly 2 of them face off in the semifinals. It seems like a game that will be decided by a goal, I will take the team that’s won big games before. It’s Hermantown.
Prediction: Hermantown 2-1
Warroad vs Northfield
As I said before, I want this to be close. We all enjoy back and forth games but Northfield just doesn’t have the horses to keep up with Warroad. In big time games, it comes down to the big time players and Warroad has them up and down the lineup.
Prediction: Warroad 5-1
If you follow high school hockey even a little it’s always been down to these two teams. While Mahtomedi, Northfield and Orono are nice stories, this is the game we’ve been waiting for. Once again I reference my previous blog, was there any team that could beat the Warriors? My answer then was no. Has Hermantown improved enough to change my mind? Absolutely not. It’s Warroad. It’s always been Warroad.
Prediction: Warroad 4-1. Shaugabay with the hat trick.
29yo, 2 kids, former place kicker for the worst high school football team in Minnesota history. 2/2 xp, 0/2 field goals, led the state in total punts.