The Minnesota District playoffs for berths in the 2022 USA Hockey National Championships in March will kick off this weekend at the Plymouth Ice Center in Plymouth, Minn. Semifinal games for the Girls Tier I 14U, Youth Tier I 14U, Youth Tier II 14U and Youth Tier I 15 classifications will be held on Saturday, October 9 with championship games taking place on Sunday, October 10.
The champions at the Girls 14U level will move on to the National Tournament in Pittsburgh, Penn., March 31 – April 4, 2022. The Youth Tier II 14U National Tournament will be held on the same dates in Kalamazoo, Mich. The champions at the Youth Tier I 14U and Youth Tier I 15 Only levels will advance to the National Tournament on March 30 – April 4, 2022 in Chicago, Ill. and Plymouth, Mich. respectively. The Minnesota District semifinal games will kick off Saturday at 10:00 a.m.
All of the Minnesota District playoff games this weekend will be broadcast live by MNHockey.Tv and are available here.
(Courtesy of Minnesota Hockey)
Tyden Bergeson, Blue Ox
(1) Walleye vs. (4) Blue Ox (2 PM)
Rated as the top seed in the League Playoffs, the Walleye (7-4) lived up to their billing, edging the Green Giants 5-4 in the finals to earn the No. 1 seed for the District Playoffs.
Pacing the Walleye in scoring as Lewis Majkozak (12 goals, 20 assists, 32 points), Poul Andersen (14-13-27), and Jacob Kvasnicka (10-14-24). Majkozak is fourth overall in the league’s scoring race.
Featuring the league’s top three scorers, the Blue Ox (6-4-1) should enter this weekend’s games with Paul Bunyan-sized confidence. Tyden Bergeson (19-17-36), Carver Hasbargen (14-22-36), and Mason Kraft (10-25-35) all hail from Moorhead.
Bergeson finished second in scoring during the Bantam Elite League Minor season.
(2) Green Giants vs. (3) Shattuck-St. Mary’s (2:15 PM)
The Green Giants (6-3-1) took the No. 2 seed after falling to the Walleye in the League finals after eking out a 2-1 win over the Lakers and a 4-3 upset win over the No. 2 seed Loons in the semifinal round.
Jaeger Wood leads the Green Giants in scoring, with 11 goals and 17 points, followed by Lane Olson (12-4-16) and Brent Solomon (10-5-15). Goaltending has been a strength for the Green Giants this fall, as they feature one of the league’s top duos in Gavin Greniuk and Grayson Hanggi. Among goalies that have faced at least 100 shots, Greniuk ranks third with a .908 save percentage, with Hanggi right behind him at .905.
Traditional power Shattuck-St. Mary’s enters the weekend with a spotless 14-0 record, having outscored their opponents 118-19. Eight players among the Sabres have recorded 20 or more points, with Masun Fleece (20-14-34) and Aaron Obobaifo (12-19-31) leading the way.
The Sabres bested the Green Giants 5-2 on Sept. 12.
Jaeger Wood, Green Giants
Colton Horak, Loons
(1) Loons vs. (4) Lakers (12:00 PM)
The Loons (9-1) topped the No. 1 seed Walleye in the finals of the League Playoffs by a score of 2-1 to capture the top seed for the District Playoffs. Leading scorers for the Loons include Laken Decker (15-10-25) and Colton Horak (10-9-19).
The Loons have beaten the Lakers in both meetings this season by scores of 6-5 and 5-3.
Ethan Glynn (8-8-16) and Brady Nelson (5-10-15) pace the Lakers in scoring, and will be looked to as the Lakers try to shake off the rust in District Playoffs. The Lakers have gone 2-4 in their last six games, including League Playoff contests.
(2) Walleye vs. (3) Green Giants (12:15 PM)
Walleye forward Brady Aubut leads the league in scoring with 29 goals and 41 points, and leads a balanced attack into the District Playoffs. Additional point-pilers for the Walleye (8-1) are Hudson Huber (12-9-21), Tyler Hess (11-7-18), and Trey Janssen (10-8-18).
Goaltender Ryan Melsha ranks second in the league in both goals-against average (1.95) and save percentage (0.90).
Across the ice, the Green Giants have the goaltender that sits just ahead of Melsha in Cash Cruitt. Cruitt’s 1.80 GAA and .92 save percentage are both tops in the 14U Prospects League.
The Green Giants (8-1-1) fell to the Loons in the League Playoffs, but rebounded with wins over the Moose.
Leading scorers for the Green Giants are Kasey Burgwald (8-11-19) and Kieran Ronan (14-3-17).
Kasey Burgwald, Green Giants
Grady Magner, Blue Ox
(1) Blue Ox vs. (4) Walleye (4 PM)
Like their 14U Tier I counterparts, the Blue Ox (7-2-1) are armed with the league’s top three scorers, although none of the 15’s are from Moorhead.
Carson Pilgrim (19-16-35), Grady Magner (14-19-33), and Landon Jamieson (14-13-27) make for an imposing offensive trio, and will surely be relied upon to avenge the 9-4 loss to the Walleyes the Green Giants suffered on Aug. 29.
Cade De St. Hubert (8-16-24) and Dane Yeager (15-8-23) lead the Walleye in scoring, while Griffin Krone recorded four goals and seven points to take the top spot among players during the League Playoffs.
The Walleye lost in the first round of League’s, then battled back to District’s with wins over the Lakers, Polars, and Moose.
(2) Green Giants vs. (3) Shattuck-St. Mary’s (4:15 PM)
Just behind the Blue Ox’s three-headed scoring monster, Green Giants (4-5-1) forward Braden Hansberger (16-8-24) ranks as the District’s fourth-leading scorer, with Crosby Perry not far behind with nine goals and 20 points.
The Green Giants entered the League Playoffs as the No. 6 seed out of seven teams, and upset the Lakers in round one 10-4, edged No. 7 seed Loons in the second round, then fell in the finals to the Blue Ox in a 3-2 shootout.
While several players have moved on from the 2020-2021 Shattuck-St. Mary’s 14U team that won the national championship to the program’s Prep and 16U squads, several members of that title-winning group have bumped up to the 15-Only level.
The Sabres are 9-2-1 entering the weekend, with the only losses coming against the Minnesota Blades and national power Detroit Little Caesars.
Kristian Epperson leads the Sabres in scoring with 10 goals and 20 points, followed by Chaska/Chanhassen Youth Hockey Association product Brodie Ziemer’s 11 goals and 18 points.
Kristian Epperson, Shattuck-St. Mary's 15-Only
Ellie Stewart, Lakers
(1) Lakers vs. (4) Walleye (10 AM)
The Lakers (16-1-2) marched through the League Playoffs, outscoring the Polars, Walleye, and Green Giants 14-1 en route to picking up the District’s top seed.
Haley Box (7-12-19), Ella Nonweiler (12-6-18), Ellie Stewart (8-10-18), and Senja Leeper (8-9-17) make up the top scorers for the Lakers, who are also armed with two of the top goaltenders in the league.
Nora Hannan and Ashlyn Hazlett have combined to allow just 14 goals in 19 games, and combined for seven shutouts.
The Lakers have won all three matchups with the Walleye this season.
The Walleye (11-9-1) are 2-3 in their last five games, including a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to the Lakers.
Kendall Hassler leads the league in scoring with 19 goals and 29 points, while Macy Rasmussen has done more than hold her own with 13 goals and 22 points. Both players will play pivotal roles if the Walleye hope to knock off the top-seeded Lakers.
(2) Green Giants vs. (3) Loons (10:15 AM)
Amelia McQuay leads the league in assists, dishing out 20 in 19 games and totaling 25 points in the process. McQuay is just one of several point-producers for the Green Giants, with Hannah Christenson (13-10-23) and Hanna Olson (12-9-21) right behind her.
Madelyn Wostrel (0.81 GAA, .94 SV%) is one of the league’s top netminders, and has been a key part of the team’s 14-2-3 run this fall.
The Green Giants finished as runners-up at last year’s USA Hockey National Championships.
Likewise, the Loons’ goalies, Lily Peterfeso and Taylor Thompson, rank among the league’s top-six in both goals-against average and save percentage.
While Peterfeso and Thompson guard the crease, scoring duties tend to fall to Abigail Broz (11-6-17), Ella Hornung (10-4-14), Sophie Martin (7-6-13), and Tori Schmidt (7-6-13).
The Loons (12-7-1) and Green Giants were scheduled to play on Sept. 28, but the game has not been scored.
Ella Hornung, Loons