State Boys Hockey Tournament Could Offer Intriguing Matchups
An all-northern AA final. A Big Nine state champion for the first time since 1977. Those are among the possibilities entering the state high school boys hockey tournament.
Upsets would have to happen for either of those events to happen. Class A action begins Wednesday, March 8, at Xcel Energy. Northfield is making its tournament debut and will meet No. 3 seed Mahtomedi in the 1PM quarterfinal. If the Raiders can pull off the upset and win in the semifinals, they will be in position to be the first Big Nine Conference team to win a state boys hockey title since Rochester John Marshall in 1977. Red Wing won the state championship in 1997, but they weren't a Big Nine member then. JM also appeared in the title game in 1979. Rochester Century took third in 2007. Hermantown is the defending champ and top seed.
Considering I am from northern Minnesota, it is usually easy to pick my rooting interests in Class AA. Moorhead and Grand Rapids fit the bill. The Spuds are the third seed, but have to get through Hill-Murray and the St. Thomas Academy/Lakeville South winner to reach the final. The Thunderhawks are the fifth seed and open with fourth seed Maple Grove at 8PM Thursday. The winner will likely play top seed Eden Prairie on Friday. The Eagles face last year's champ Wayzata in the quarters after the Trojans scored a big upset over Edina to make the field. The Eagles defeated Wayzata twice during the Lake Conference season this winter. The Trojans beat the Eagles in last year's AA final.
It's time for the tourney. Let's play hockey!