Due to an outage on the USHSHO forum, these rankings are appearing on here this week. They’ll get posted on the forum when it’s functioning again, but I know you’re all waiting…
A short week makes for relatively short work in the rankings world. I suspect we will not be able to say the same thing next week, as there’s a lot of good hockey on the schedule here. By request, I’ve added teams’ rankings from last week to the first line here, too.
1. Lakeville South (7-0) LW: 2
-I don’t love this, given the Cougars’ relative lack of competition, but they are winning by comfortable margins in games they should win. We’ll see if we can get another #1 who only lasts a week, as they now load up for some real battles on their hands: first against Maple Grove and quietly solid Stillwater in St. Louis Park, then a New Year’s Day 1-vs.-2 bowl game.
This week: St. Louis Park Tournament—Tues vs. #8 Maple Grove, Wed vs. Stillwater, Thurs vs. Holy Family; Sat at #2 Edina
2. Edina (6-1) LW: 3
-The Hornets were idle this past week, and have a fascinating Hockey for Life draw, taking on three of the most underperforming teams in AA to date. Does that make for easy pickings for the Hornets, or do some of these teams, hungry to prove their critics wrong, rise to the occasion? And then, of course, they follow it all up with Lakeville South. A juicy week, to say the least.
This week: Hockey for Life—Tues vs. Moorhead, Wed vs. Prior Lake, Thurs vs. #13 St. Thomas Academy; Sat vs. #1 Lakeville South
3. Andover (7-1-1) LW: 4
-The Huskies machined through a pair of 7AA opponents, shutting out Duluth East and Blaine and cementing their top spot in the section. It’s hard to critique much about how they’re playing right now, and they’ll be put to the test in Bloomington with a couple of huge games.
This week: Bloomington Tournament—Tues vs. #5 Cretin-Derham Hall, Wed vs. #6 Hill-Murray, Thurs vs. Rosemount
4. Roseau (8-1) LW: 5
-The Rams just keep rolling. As usual, their own holiday tournament doesn’t bring quite the competition of the big metro battles, but having to solve Mahtomedi will be a different sort of test than what they’ve had to do lately.
This week: Roseau Holiday Classic—Tues vs. St. Louis Park, Wed vs. Mahtomedi, Thurs vs. Minot (ND)
5. Cretin-Derham Hall (6-2) LW: 1
-The good news: the Raiders took down the top team in either class (albeit down a Plante), proving they certainly have the stuff to win the whole thing. The bad: they have to win their section to do that, and two losses to St. Thomas do raise some doubts for a program that needs to find its way in the playoffs. The Andover clash this week will say a lot for their positioning in these rankings, and Rosemount isn’t a free pass, either.
This week: Bloomington Tournament—Tues vs. #3 Andover, Wed vs. Rosemount, Thurs vs. Champlin Park
6. Hill-Murray (6-2) LW: 6
-The Pioneers didn’t put to rest any question over the direction of 4AA with a narrow win over White Bear, but they won the game nonetheless, and are in command of the race for the top seed—a position that suddenly makes it look like they might get Gentry Academy in the semifinals, not the finals. Andover is the big headliner this coming week, and we’ll see if they can show some offensive ability, which has been hit-or-miss so far.
This week: Bloomington Tournament—Tues vs. Rosemount, Wed vs. #3 Andover, Thurs vs. Cloquet
7. Wayzata (4-3-1) LW: 7
-The Trojans marched past Eden Prairie, further solidifying their top ten standing. They have a relatively easy draw in St. Louis Park, with no ranked teams, though their opponents are respectable enough that they could sneak past them if there’s an offensive power outage.
This week: St. Louis Park Tournament—Tues vs. Holy Family, Wed vs. St. Michael-Albertville, Thurs vs. Rogers
8. Maple Grove (5-2-1) LW: 8
-No action for the Crimson this past week; I’m still waiting for a better read on this team. To that end, they have a pretty interesting draw in St. Louis Park, as they seek to turn the tables on last season’s loss to Lakeville South when they were ranked #1, get a potent Benilde team, and get a potential trap against STMA after all of that.
This week: St. Louis Park Tournament—Tues vs. #2 Lakeville South, Wed vs. #9 Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Thurs vs. St. Michael-Albertville
9. Benilde-St. Margaret’s (4-4) LW: 9
-Handled Holy Family, which does nothing to change their status here. The Maple Grove game is the headliner this coming week, though none of their opponents are pushovers.
This week: St. Louis Park Tournament—Tues vs. Rogers, Wed vs. #8 Maple Grove, Thurs vs. Stillwater
10. Centennial (5-1) LW: 11
-The Cougars keep quietly sneaking up the table with consistently good, though not eye-popping, results, most recently a solid win over respectable Rosemount. Unfortunately, their Bloomington draw isn’t going to give us much of a better sense of where they stand.
This week: Bloomington Tournament—Tues vs. Champlin Park, Wed vs. Cloquet, Thurs vs. Blake
11. Grand Rapids (8-3) LW: 12
-The Thunderhawks rolled past Cloquet and saw their game against Denfeld get wiped out. Having played more games than most, they now enter a relative lull in the schedule, but the game this week is certainly one worthy of some attention.
This week: Wed at Minnetonka
12. Chaska (7-1) LW: 14
-The Hawks blitzed a decent Shakopee team, which isn’t a bad sign. They’ve got a couple of quality opponents in their Hockey for Life draw, which will be pretty important from a ranking perspective, as their games against top 25 teams are minimal after this. The Eden Prairie game could well make or break their 2AA seeding fate.
This week: Hockey for Life—Tues vs. Totino-Grace, Wed vs. #14 Eden Prairie, Thurs vs. Lakeville North
13. St. Thomas Academy (4-4) LW: NR
-Following a brief hiatus, the Cadets return to the top 15 with a second win over Cretin. They do need to beat someone else of consequence to stay here, and fortunately for them, a very tough Hockey for Life slate gives them just the chance to do that.
This week: Hockey for Life—Tues vs. #14 Eden Prairie, Wed vs. Moorhead, Thurs vs. #2 Edina
14. Eden Prairie (4-4) LW: 15
-The Eagles failed to build on their big win over Edina with a loss against Wayzata, and the question now becomes whether that was a sign of their potential or merely a rivalry high-water mark. Games with a couple of teams right above them here should help give us an answer.
This week: Hockey for Life—Tues vs. #13 St. Thomas Academy, Wed vs. #12 Chaska, Thurs vs. Totino-Grace
15. Eastview (6-2) LW: NR
-I don’t know if this lasts, but for the moment, I think this is warranted: the Lightning’s two losses are to Lakeville South and Centennial, and they have two legitimate quality wins over Prior Lake and St. Thomas, so they deserve some recognition. They’ve got a decent chance of sticking for at least one more week, if only because they don’t play again until January 4.
This week: Idle
The Next Ten
-The Spuds pulled out a vital one-goal win over St. Michael-Albertville, which they needed for section seeding purposes. They remain a mystery team, and have a chance to really make an impression against a Hockey for Life lineup including Edina, St. Thomas, and Prior Lake.
-A win over Mahtomedi, while not earth-shattering, is a nice pickup for the Ponies. STMA, Lakeville South, and Benilde make for a pretty tough trio of games in St. Louis Park.
Elk River (6-4)
-Beat Anoka in their only action this past week, and should do the same to Brainerd this week. In very good shape for a top-3 seed in 8AA following Moorhead’s win over STMA.
St. Michael-Albertville (5-2)
-Fell to Moorhead, but looked plenty competitive in the process. They’re in St. Louis Park this week for a tough run against Stillwater, Wayzata, and Maple Grove.
Prior Lake (4-3)
-The Lakers found some life with the return of Sam Rice and a win over Minnetonka. From a rankings perspective, it’s only a first step in undoing the damage of the first month of the season, but it’ll be easier to forget that with a good showing against a pretty decent Hockey for Life slate including Lakeville North, Edina, and Moorhead.
-The Skippers failed to build on the previous week’s momentum, losing to Prior Lake and tying Chanhassen. Is this team a real contender, or just one of a jumble in a deep 2AA? This week’s Grand Rapids game will offer some clues.
Lakeville North (3-2)
-Plodded along with a win over Apple Valley. Games with Prior Lake and Chaska this week will tell us a lot more about this group.
Gentry Academy (6-1)
-I doubt I’ve ever dropped a team that won both its games in its week as aggressively as this. The Stars left a lot of question marks in a narrow win over Greenway, and with a couple of those very sketchy results now coupled with zero quality wins against Minnesota competition, it’s just hard to justify a high ranking here. Their game with Alexandria this week could be an interesting one.
-Got shut out by Andover, leaving a tenuous hold on a spot here propped up by that Maple Grove tie. The week ahead is a big one for seeding in their new section as they face off against Forest Lake and Duluth East.
-The Storm, after a tie with Minnetonka, win the straw draw for the final spot and make their first ever appearance in this top 25. They have some sort of two-game thing in Shakopee this week in which they play Tartan and the host Sabers.