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BHS: Games of the Week (Nov. 30-Dec. 2)

By Derek Felska, 11/30/23, 10:45AM CST


The post-holiday weekend slate of games features plenty of outstate teams making their way to the metro area for a series of must-watch games for any fan of boys' high school hockey.

Moorhead at Rogers 
November 30 (6 PM) 

This is an intriguing Class AA showdown between an outstate powerhouse and a west metro team hoping to send a message that it has what it takes to be a contender as the Spuds travel down I-94 to battle the Royals.  

Moorhead is coming off a 7-2 loss to Edina. The Spuds are led at forward by juniors Carter Midthune (1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points), Cade Allmendinger (0-1-1), Carson Kuntz (1-0-1), and Carver Hasbargen (0-1-1) led the way offensively in Moorhead's two losses over Thanksgiving weekend. Junior forwards Brooks Cullen and Mason Kraft (Minnesota State commit) are expected to play prominent roles but have been held off the scoresheet so far.

On defense, juniors Brady Steffen (0-1-1) and Brandon Mickelson (0-1-1) will be leaned upon to carry a lot of minutes for the Spuds. Senior goaltender Kai Weigel (.842 save percentage) is among the best in Class AA. 

Rogers is coming off a 4-2 victory over St. Thomas Academy. The Royals' forward group is led by seniors Brandon Swanson (2-2-4) and Drew Krekelberg (1-4-5), as well as talented juniors Parker Deschene (2-2-4) and Mason Jenson (3-1-4), giving Rogers terrific scoring depth through its top two lines. Sophomore forwards Cole Baumgartner (1-4-5) and Brock Cheslock (1-1-2) are showing a lot of promise early.

On defense, juniors Nolen Geerdes and 6'5", 185lbs Jackson Smithknecht (Colorado College commit, 0-1-1) and big-bodied senior Caden Olsen (6'4", 230lbs, 0-3-3) provide Rogers with a mix of exceptional mobility and enviable size with the ability to deny the middle of the ice.

Senior goaltender Aiden Dietrich (.919 save percentage) has been Rogers' workhorse between the pipes this season.

Rogers celebrates a goal during last weekend's win over St. Thomas Academy.

Rosemount at White Bear Lake 
November 30 (7 PM) 

This is an intriguing clash against two clubs outside the Top 10 in Class AA. Which team takes a step closer toward that elite group?  

Rosemount is coming off a 2-1 victory over Chanhassen. The Irish forward group is led by senior Luca Salak (1-2-3) and juniors Christian Garrity (2-0-2) and Benny Rutzick (0-1-1), who are athletic and use their speed well. On defense, seniors Owen Durigan (1-0-1) and Kade Lotysz (1-0-1) are active in the offensive zone and like to shoot the puck. The Irish have split starts at goaltender between senior Trent Nelson (.879 save percentage) and junior Cade Denny this season. 

White Bear Lake is coming off a 4-3 win over Duluth East. The Bears are led by senior forward Nolan Roed (St. Cloud State commit, 2-0-2) and Dylan Buetow (1-0-1) as well as juniors Jack Stanius (0-1-1) and Rafa Bastida (0-1-1),

Defensively, junior Will Distad (1-1-2), sophomores Nate Celski (0-1-1) and Will Olsen (0-1-1) like to get involved offensively and are all capable puck movers. At goaltender, junior Leo Gabriel (.889 save percentage) has made the Bears' lone start this season.

Will Distad, White Bear Lake

East Grand Forks at Mahtomedi 
December 1 (7 PM) 

Class A Hockey Guy's #1 ranked Class A squad, East Grand Forks, makes the trip down to the northeast metro area to face last year's Class A champion, #5 ranked Mahtomedi, in what should be a barn burner of a game.  

East Grand Forks is coming off a 9-0 victory over eighth-ranked Delano. The Green Wave is led at forward by seniors Brock Schultz (0-5-5), Landon Jamieson (3-2-5), and Jace Fore (1-1-2), as well as sophomore Braden Overgaard (2-1-3) lead a group that has good scoring balance through its top two lines.

On the blueline, senior Grady Magner(2-2-4), as well as juniors Nick Corbett (1-1-2) and Judd Pesch (0-2-2), help keep the Green Wave on the attack by helping East Grand Forks transition quickly from defense to offense. At goaltender, the Green Wave have split starts between seniors Lucas Wavra (.867 save percentage) and Thomas McMahon (1 shutout) this season.

Mahtomedi is coming off a 5-0 rout of Blaine. The Zephyrs are led at forward by seniors Jake Hodd-Chlebeck (2-3-5) and Gene Wegleitner (0-3-3) as well as the Egan brothers; senior Patrick Egan (1-0-1) junior Max Egan (1-0-1) and sophomore Jimmy Egan (3-2-5) give Mahtomedi solid scoring depth.

On defense, seniors William Brummel (0-1-1), Cole Swanson (0-1-1), and 6'8", 215lbs Wyatt Tarnowski as well as junior Sam Harris (0-1-1) are an experienced and battle-tested defense corps you will find in Class A hockey. The Zephyrs have split starts at goaltender between senior Charlie Brandt (1 shutout) and junior Wes Strub (.889 save percentage) this season.

Jimmy Egan, Mahtomedi

Duluth East at Wayzata 
December 2 (2:30 PM) 

Duluth East is coming off a 5-4 loss to Shakopee. The Greyhounds are led at forward by seniors Thomas Gunderson (2-2-4), Noah Teng (2-2-4), and Wyatt Peterson (1-1-2), as well as Caden Cole (0-2-2), giving Duluth East plenty of scoring punch up front. With the man advantage, the Greyhounds have started off the season red hot, lighting the lamp at a 42.9% rate.

On defense, senior Christian Hauser (0-1-1) and junior Brody Olson (0-1-1) lead a blueline that is a bit light on experience, and some of that factored into their two losses against White Bear Lake and Shakopee, respectively. Senior goaltender Kole Kronstedt (.839 save percentage) has started in both of Duluth East's games this season.  

Wayzata is coming off a hard-fought 6-4 victory over Maple Grove. The Trojans are showing a little more offensive punch than other Wayzata teams in the past due to a talented group of forwards led by seniors Brittan Alstead (1-5-6), Rhys Wallin (4-1-5), Jake Mattson (2-2-4), Cade De St. Hubert (0-3-3) and Luke Miller (2-0-2) provide experience and scoring. Wayzata's power play is off to a strong start, finding the back of the net at a 33.3% rate.

On defense, seniors Jack Hartle (1-2-3) and Hawke Huff, plus juniors Carson Clark (1-3-4) and Finn De St. Hubert, give Wayzata stability and veteran depth that few teams can match. At goaltender, the Trojans have split starts between Gage Alstead and senior Evan Turek (.950 save percentage) this season.  

Thomas Gunderson, Duluth East

Hermantown at Hill-Murray 
December 2 (3 PM) 

The perennial powerhouse of Class A makes its way down to Aldrich Arena to take on Section 4AA favorite, #5 ranked (in Class AA) Hill-Murray.  

The Hawks lost a lot of talent due to graduation but have demonstrated an ability to reload that few teams in Class A can match. At forward, the Hawks return seniors Josh Kauppinen and Evan Gunderson, as well as junior River Freeman and talented sophomore A.J. Francisco (YHH's Bantam Player of the Year in 2022-23). The quartet gives Hermantown solid skill and scoring up front.

On defense, senior Will Esterbrooks leads a retooled corps, as the Hawks hope senior Holdyn Evjen and juniors Henry Peterson and Cam Lukovsky can step into more prominent roles. Senior goaltender Dane Callaway provides well-seasoned experience to the Hawks' crease. 

The Pioneers are led by seniors Simon Seidl (Minnesota football commit), Jude Bonin, and Lucas Mann, as well as juniors Jackson Reeves and Boden Sampair, should give Hill-Murray plenty of speed and scoring from its top two lines. Freshman forward Riley Zupfer is a name to watch to have a breakout season for the Pioneers.

On defense, juniors Landon Cottingham, Graham Greeder, and sophomore Casper Lang help Hill-Murray dictate the pace of play and are equally adept at both ends of the ice. Senior goaltender Andrew Lane will carry most of the starts this season.  

Josh Kauppinen, Hermantown

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