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2021 Blue Ox: All-Tournament Team and Highlights

By YHH Staff , 11/23/21, 10:45AM CST


Best Of's, full Bantam AA and Bantam A all-tournament teams, plus this year's tournament highlight video.

2021 Blue Ox Best Of's

For White Bear Lake, it's all orange, all the time.

Best Dressed 

During last year’s Bantam B Gobbler Tournament, the Shakopee coaches showed up in suits that would make the fine folks on the red carpet turn green with envy. 

This season, with those Bantam B coaches now pacing the Bantam A bench, the effect seems to have trickled down to their players, as evidenced below. 

You can’t put a price on class, and you can’t put a price on a suit like that.

Best Goal 

Almost 15 years ago, New York Rangers defenseman Marek Malik, a lumbering, 6-foot-6 mountain of a man, scored a shootout goal against the Washington Capitals. 

Malik’s goal, which he scored by shooting between his legs, has been viewed almost 650,000 times on YouTube. 

During the Blue Ox, Minnetonka’s Holden Pajor channeled his inner Marek Malik, scoring a shootout goal in the same fashion to help the Skippers to the Black Bracket semifinals. 

Maybe in 15 years, Pajor’s goal will surpass Malik’s in digital popularity.  

Best Jersey 

Once again a hot topic among YHH staffers, three uniforms were standouts during the Blue Ox. 

Lakeville South’s black-and-maroon road jerseys were lauded for their balance of two colors that may seem clash-y and for the incorporation of the Cougar logo. 

Minnetonka’s home whites blended nicely with its striking blue logo and striping. It can be difficult to make a traditional combination, such as blue-and-white, feel new and fresh, but Minnetonka managed to do so. 

Finally, and this should come as no surprise to anyone, White Bear Lake drew the most praise for its all-orange kits, though a Moorhead parent who will remain unnamed pointed out that the model was the same as a set of rent Spuds uniforms. Great minds must think alike. 

This suit is simply outstanding. Eat your heart out, Hollywood.

Best Surprise 

Like most teams at the Blue Ox, Lakeville South has been bitten by the injury bug, missing multiple players on an already roomy bench. The Cougars also drew the double-whammy of a required play-in game.  

Going up against teams will a full locker room of players, the Cougars made a valiant march to the Black Bracket semifinals before bowing out against eventual champion Moorhead. The Cougars won three straight games before their collective legs gave out. 

Playing virtually every other shift all weekend, Jackson Ernst broke the tournament scoring record of 19 points, set last year by Minnetonka’s Drew Stewart. Ernst recorded 12 goals and 21 points in five games to set the new record. Ernst and Trey Newgard combined to score 17 of the team’s 25 goals. 

Best Volunteers 

How do you choose just one? Or two? Or three? 

Without the help of the Moorhead Youth Hockey Association, the Battle for the Blue Ox never comes to be. 

YHH would like to extend our deepest thanks to all those who took tickets, sold programs, ran scoreboards, played music, filled out scoresheets, and took care of so many little things behind the scenes. 

Special thanks to MYHA Executive Director Rob Gramer and Operations Manager Elli Laurila for their help organizing volunteers, not to mention the coffee and donut delivery that kept YHH staffers alive on Sunday morning.

Lakeville South's Jackson Ernst broke the Blue Ox scoring record with 12 goals and 21 points in five games.

2021 Blue Ox Bantam AA All-Tournament Team

Benson Grande, Fargo Freeze AA

Player Team Position
Ben Ferguson Minnetonka Goaltender
Preston Fonseca Woodbury Goaltender
Alex Arneson West Fargo (ND) Defense
Will Distad White Bear Lake Defense
Dominic Kopp St. Paul Defense
Sam Laurila (co-MVP) Moorhead Defense
Andrew Law Andover Defense
Garrett Lindberg Moorhead Defense
Mikey Berchild Minnetonka Forward
Owen Corkish Cottage Grove Forward
Brooks Cullen Moorhead Forward
Thomas Dittrich Woodbury Forward
Jackson Ernst (co-MVP) Lakeville South Forward
Benson Grande Fargo Freeze (ND) Forward
Mason Kraft Moorhead Forward
Ben Likness West Fargo (ND) Forward
Szilveszter Lippai St. Paul Forward

Alex Arneson, West Fargo (ND)

2021 Blue Ox Bantam A All-Tournament Team

Carter Huotari, Moorhead Bantam A

Player Team Position
Gavin Bajda Stillwater Goaltender
Oliver Scriver Edina Goaltender
Andreas Engle Edina Defense
Carter Huotari Moorhead Defense
Gus Pankrats Fargo Freeze A Defense
Adam Stienessen Osseo-Maple Grove Defense
Jonah Horan Moorhead Forward
Rylan Lord Stillwater Forward
Bryce Mattern West Fargo (ND) Forward
Grant Matushak (MVP) Edina Forward
Jack Moretine Osseo-Maple Grove Forward
Wyatt Wells Stilwater Forward

Rylan Lord (right), Stillwater Bantam A

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