Boys Hockey: State Tournament Advance
Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2023 - 1:54 PM
Since 1945, the Minnesota State High School League’s Boys Hockey State Tournament is still considered one of the premier high school events in the nation.
The next chapter in the tournament’s rich tradition of legends and lore is this week when 16 teams in two enrollment classes will meet at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul with the hopes that dreams will be fulfilled.
The Class A field begins play on Wednesday, March 8 with the quarterfinals. The Class AA tournament commences with its quarterfinals on Thursday, March 9. Semifinals in both classes will be on Friday, March 10 with championship games scheduled for Saturday, March 11.
The consolation series in both classes will be played at 3M Arena at Mariucci on the University of Minnesota campus March 9-11.
45TV, the League’s broadcasting partner will televise all quarterfinals, semifinals and championship games in each class. 45TV will also provide a complimentary stream to the game which can be found at www.prep45.com
Additional resources may be found at www.mshsl.org/boyshockey
Here is a look at the schedule and quarterfinal matchups:
Wednesday, March 8
- Luverne (21-6-1) vs. No. 2 Hermantown (25-2-1), 11 a.m. --- Luverne returns for the third time and first since 2017. The Cardinals finished three games behind New Ulm in the Big South Conference standings, but then defeated the Eagles when it counted most, a 4-2 win in the Section 3A champion. Hermantown is the defending Class A champion. The Hawks are on a 12-game winning streak since a 3-0 loss to St. Thomas Academy on Jan. 21.
- Alexandria Area (14-12-1) vs. No. 3 Mahtomedi (20-8-0), 1 p.m. --- This is a rematch of the third-place game from a year ago when Mahtomedi recorded a 4-2 victory. Alexandria Area placed fourth in the Class A field following a victory in the quarterfinals. Tyler Kludt paces the Cardinals with 18 goals and 22 assists. Mahtomedi, the Class A champion in 2020, is in the tournament for the 14th time. The Zephyrs are on a nine-game winning streak since snapping a four-game losing skid in early February. It is Mahtomedi’s sixth state trip in the past seven seasons.
- St. Cloud Cathedral (16-12-0) vs. No. 1 Warroad (27-0-1), 6 p.m. --- St. Cloud Cathedral opened the season with a 4-0 loss to Warroad on Nov. 26. A trio of scorers lead the Crusaders: Joey Gillespie (19 goals and 22 assists); Andrew Dwinnell (17-25) and John Hirshfield (17-28). St. Cloud Cathedral won the Class A crown in 2019. Only a 1-1 deadlock with Sartell-St. Stephen on Feb. 18 has prevented Warroad from an unblemished record. Included in the run to date is a 3-1 victory over No. 2 Hermantown on Jan. 14. The Warriors were the Class A runner-up a year ago. Carson Pilgrim and Jayson Shaugabay lead a dynamic offense. Pilgrim has 45 goals and 39 assists while Shaugabay has 31 goals and 57 assists.
- No. 5 Northfield (23-5-0) vs. No. 4 Orono (23-5-0), 8 p.m. --- Northfield made its only other state tournament appearance in 2017. The Raiders won the Big 9 Conference crown and then cruised past New Prague for the Section 1A crown. The Raiders are on an eight-game winning streak. Kamden Kaiser leads Northfield’s attack with 40 goals and 25 assists. Almost two weeks ago, Orono was playing in the Girls Hockey State Tournament and an eventual runner-up finish. The Spartans return on the boys’ side for the 10th time and first since 2018, the year they won the Class A crown. Orono has won five in a row following back-to-back losses to Class AA schools Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Chanhassen, respectively. Bradley Walker leads the way with 19 goals and 29 assists.
Thursday, March 9
- Cretin-Derham Hall (18-9-1) vs. No. 2 Maple Grove (22-5-1), 11 a.m. --- Jake Fisher, a Mr. Hockey Award finalist, scored two goals to help No. 2-seed Cretin-Derham Hall topple top-seeded St. Thomas Academy for the Section 3AA crown. It was Cretin-Derham Hall’s second victory in three meetings with the Cadets this season. Fisher has a team-best 34 goals. Maple Grove recorded a 6-3 victory over Cretin-Derham Hall during a holiday tournament. Maple Grove was the Class AA runner-up in 2022 to Andover, its Northwest Suburban Conference rival. Finn Brink has 31 goals and 37 assists for the Crimson. A year ago, Edina topped Moorhead 3-2 in overtime in the consolation final.
- Moorhead (19-9-0) vs. No. 3 Edina (20-6-1), 1 p.m. --- Moorhead, the longtime Section 8 representative, is in the tournament for the 20th time since 1992. The Spuds are on a 10-game winning streak entering the state tournament. Moorhead has split two games with the Hornets this season; the most recent a 3-2 loss during a holiday tournament. Aaron Reierson has 32 goals and 18 assists for the Spuds. Edina, making its 30th state tournament as a singular member school, opened the season with three losses. Included in that skid was a loss to Moorhead and Maple Grove, two entrants in the Class AA field. The Hornets have reversed that are now on a three-game streak entering the state tournament. Jackson Nevers leads a balanced Hornets’ attack with 19 goals and 19 assists.
- Hill-Murray (14-13-1) vs. No. 1 Minnetonka (26-2-0), 6 p.m. --- Hill-Murray closed the regular season with losses to Maple Grove and Moorhead, two other entrants in the Class AA field. Those losses prepared the Pioneers for the Section 4AA tournament in which they skated past three opponents, outscoring them 12-2 in the process. The latest win was a 3-0 victory over Gentry Academy for the section crown. Minnetonka is no stranger to the rest of the Class AA field. The Skippers have a combined six victories against Edina (twice), Andover, Hill-Murray, Moorhead and Lakeville South. Four players have at least 30 points, led by Hagen Burrows with 20 goals and 20 assists.
- No. 5 Lakeville South (21-6-1) vs. No. 4 Andover (21-6-1), 8 p.m. --- Lakeville South earned a fifth consecutive state tournament trip with a 4-1 victory over district rival, Lakeville North, in the Section 1AA championship game. The Cougars are on a 10-1-0 run since a 5-2 loss to top-ranked Minnetonka on Jan. 28. Tate Pritchard and Aidan Willis lead a potent attack with 57 and 58 points, respectively. Andover’s hopes for a successful title defense will likely have to come behind a couple of upsets along the way. The Huskies are certainly on a roll entering their fourth consecutive state tournament trip. Cooper Conway scored four goals in the second period as Andover sprinted past Duluth East for a 7-2 victory in the Section 7AA championship game. Andover, which averages more than 5.5 goals per game can score in waves. Cayden Casey has 21 goals and 52 assists, Conway has 45 goals and 38 assists while Gavyn Thoreson has 36 goals and 54 assists.