Boys Hockey Section Playoffs Start This Week; Owatonna Plays At Lakeville South Thursday
The goal is to get to the X. In Section 1AA, No. 1-ranked Lakeville North is the heavy-duty favorite. Owatonna High School starts at Lakeville South. In 1A, New Prague is favored, with several teams close behind.
Lakeville North is ranked No.1 in the state, 25-0 on the season and finished second at state last year. The Panthers were taken to overtime in their season opener against Farmington, the 2014 section runner-up. North cruised 6-0 in the rematch. The Panthers had a handful of one-goal games against the top teams in the state. They beat Lakeville South, the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, 4-1 and 8-2. Can anyone upend North on their way to another state tournament appearance? Read the HockeyHub outlook.
Owatonna drew the No. 7 seed and will play at Lakeville South on Thursday night at 7 p.m. on KRFO AM 1390. The Huskies (11-12-2) have gone 3-0-1 to close the season. South (14-9-2) has lost two of its last three. The Cougars have played a schedule loaded with ranked teams, and have gone 3-7-2 against them. The Huskies are 0-4 versus rated teams.
Quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 19:
- A Lakeville school has won the section for five straight seasons, North has four of those section titles.
- Rochester Century, in 2009, is the last Big Nine club to win the section. That is also the last time a Big Nine team has made the finals.
- Farmington and Lakeville South went a combined 5-0 versus Big Nine teams this season. North did not play a Big Nine team.
- Thursday's quarterfinal games are at the high seed. The semifinals and finals are at the Rec Center in Rochester.
New Prague is the defending section champ and went 6-0 against section opponents this season, including a victory over No. 2 seed Mankato West. The Scarlets just captured their second straight Big Nine Conference championship and play more AA teams than the Trojans. Northfield is the No. 3 seed. The top three will host quarterfinal games Thursday. First-round games for the remaining teams are Tuesday.
A couple of perennial powers had an off season. Rochester Lourdes and Albert Lea each lost a number of one-goal decisions and could pull off an upset. Each is below .500. St. Peter/LH/TCU got stuck with a No. 5 seed despite 18 wins, and is the highest scoring team in the section. La Crescent won 19 games, but many of those came against Wisconsin teams, and will open the playoffs as the No. 10 seed and will be at Albert Lea in the first round.
First Round on Tuesday, Feb. 17:
No. 9 Mankato East at No. 8 Rochester Lourdes
No. 12 Winona at No. 5 Lesueur-Henderson/St. Peter/TCU
No. 13 Austin at No. 4 Faribault
No. 11 Waseca at No. 6 Red Wing
No. 10 La Crescent at No. 7 Albert Lea
- New Prague's section crown last year ended a five-year reign for Rochester Lourdes.
- Mankato West has finished as section runner-up the past two years.