Each week I will recap the top players and top teams in the great hockey state of Minnesota.
Games January 30th
Saturday was a good day of high school hockey in Minnesota as many of the top teams were in action. The top game of the day was Hill-Murray, #1 in Class AA took on the #3 team in Class AA, in Elk River. Elk River started off the scoring but the Hill-Murray Pioneers came right back to tie it up. Elk River’s star defensemen Paul Martin tallied a power play goal early in the 2nd, but Hill-Murray came back to tie it up 3 minutes later. The 3rd period belonged to the Elk River Elks as they scored 3 goals to seal the victory. Paul Martin scored his 2nd goal of the game and played solid defensive hockey to pace the Elks to victory.
Other action in the Twin Cities area included Armstrong upsetting Class AA #9 Edina 5-1. Edina’s only goal came from Jeff Yurecko, who’s ranked 197 by the Central Scouting Bureau. St. Louis Park, ranked #5 in Class A got hammered 4-0 by Wayzata. Holy Angels stayed undefeated as they beat Prior Lake 5-0 and outshot them 44-13. Blake #6 in Class A beat St. Paul Academy 4-1. Warroad, a traditional power in Class A is in a slight slump as they lost to St. Paul Johnson 4-1. Warroad must get it’s game together for the stretch run in the playoffs.
In northern Minnesota, Duluth East beat rival Grand Rapids 4-3. East was up 4-1 but let Grand Rapids back in the game but the Thunderhawks couldn’t get the tieing goal. East got goals from Mike Marshall, Zach Burns, Ross Carlson, and Nick Serre. Duluth Marshall got upset by Chisago Lakes 7-5 in a non-conference game. Hibbing beat Virgina-Mountain Iron-Buhl 5-1. O.J. Bottoms led the Hibbing Bluejackets with 2 goals and 2 assists. Bemidji State recruit Rico Fatticci added a goal also. Bemidji State will being playing a D-1 schedule next season and Rico will be a building block for the future of their program.
Games February 2
Tuesday was another busy day of action in Minnesota. After suffering a 5-2 loss to Elk River Hill-Murray cameback strong to beat Bloomington Jefferson 4-2. Hill-Murray forward Dan Miller had 2 goals and 1 assist. Elk River, without star defenseman Paul Martin, defeated Lake of the Woods 4-2. Elk River seniors Joe Bailey and Jed Leonard each contributed 1 goal and 1 assist. Paul Martin will miss the remainder of the regular season after being invited to play for the US National Under-18 team in the 5 nations tournament in the Czech Republic. Martin’s coach, Tony Sarsland sats, “He’s the best player in the state.” I might have to agree with him after seeing him play this summer at the Select 17 festival. Martin who was invited to play the whole season with the US National Under-18 team but declined because he wanted to play football.
Some of the top teams in northern Minnesota were also in action Tuesday night. Eveleth-Gilbert beat Proctor 6-3. Tony Dolinsek paced the Golden Bears with a hat trick and one assist. Hermantown survived a scare from Two Harbors. Hermantown star Jon Francisco scored the game winner with 1 minute and 21 seconds remaining. Hibbing beat Grand Rapids 4-1. Rico and Mike Fatticci each scored to lead the Bluejackets. Duluth East beat Duluth Denfeld 2-0 but outshot them 29-7. Silver Bay beat Ely 4-2 as UMD recruit John Conboy set up 2 goals in the win. Roseau hammered International Falls 8-1. Brothers Derrick and Bobby Byfuglien combined for 5 points. The Erickson brothers Luke and Matt also combined for 5 points.
Games February 4
Duluth Marshall tied Silver Bay 2-2 in a very physical game. John Conboy had a goal and assist to lead the Bay. Jon Blomqvist, Finnish exchange student had the game tieing goal for Duluth Marshall. Duluth East hammered Cloquet 7-1. Hermantown also picked up a big victory by beating Duluth Denfeld 9-0. Roseau beat Thief River Falls 6-1 to continue there domanince. Warroad got back on winning track with a victory vs Bemidji.
Other games of note include Holy Angels losing its first game of the season 5-1 vs Red Wing. Hastings whipped North St. Paul 8-0. Hill-Murray tied a game they should have won at Mounds View. Two Harbors upset Proctor beating them 4-3 in overtime.
Games February 5
There wasn’t much action Friday. Benilde-St. Margaret’s beat Fridley by a margin of 13-0. Greenway beat the Moorhead Spuds 3-0. Red Wing’s won 10-4 over Prior Lake.
Games February 6
Saturday featured some great games in Minnesota. Elk River continued it’s winning ways without Paul Martin as they beat Champlin Park 7-4. Greenway just killed #1 Class A Eveleth 5-0. Josh Miskovich had the natural hat trick and Gino Guyer, Greenway’s star freshman had a goal and 2 assists. St. Louis Park upset Edina 4-3. St. Louis Park senior Brad Thompson scored the winner in overtime. Edina was led by star Jeff Yurecko who scored twice for Edina. St. Louis Park goalie, Brendan McLaughlin played marvelous stopping 38 pucks. Hastings killed yet another oppenent as Minnesota Gopher recruit Jeff Taffe had 5 goals and 1 assist. The other two Gopher recruits on the Hastings roster, Dan Welch and Ben Tharp combined for 10 points. Hermantown beat Silver Bay 1-0 in a good Lake Superior Conference game at Silver Bay. Hermantown’s only goal came from Jesse Stokke as he scored short handed. Silver Bay netminder Greg Buell had 38 saves. Buell appears to be headed to St. John’s (Division 3) to play hockey next season. Warroad won again beating Fergus Falls in Mariucci Conference matchup 4-1.
CLASS AA HIGH SCHOOL
2. Elk River
6. Holy Angels
9. Duluth East
CLASS A HIGH SCHOOL
2. Benilde-St. Margaret’s
7. St. Louis Park
9. Red Wing