Note: As part of YHH’s coverage of the peewee AA/A playoffs, regional summaries will be posted for both AA and A regional tourneys periodically over the next two weeks as the various districts conclude their playoffs and the regional tourneys began to shape up.
Two teams from District 2 and three teams from District 6 and three teams from District 8 will play in the East Peewee A Regional at Wakota Arena in South St. Paul March 1-3. The first weekend of district playoffs have been completed and D2 and D8 are close to crown their champions. D6 has two key games tonight at Chaska that will narrow their potential seeds down to four teams.
In District 2, four teams started the weekend battling for two seeds to the East Regional. Tartan beat Mahtomedi 7-1 in the opening game. The first half of the game was close. The Zephyrs held the Tartan offense in check, but a two goal burst halfway through the second period but the Titans up 3-0. They added one more in the second. Mahtomedi scored in the opening minute of the third period to cut the lead to 4-1 only to have Tartan answer with two quick goals to put the game away.
Luke Mountain and Vincent Hurley scored two goals each in the game. Charles Bartholomew got the lone Zephyr goal.
North St. Paul buried the Highland defense in the first period of their 4-0 win. They outshot the Caps 12-1 and scored twice to take a 2-0 lead into the second period. Three second period penalties slowed the Polar’s attack. Still, North St. Paul managed a score. The third period was penalty filled (seven called) and raggedly played. North St. Paul scored a fourth goal to win 4-0.
The Polar’s Cole McCarver got a goal and two assists to lead the team in scoring. Ben Herman, in the Polar’s net, earned the shutout. A North St. Paul Spring League graduate, Herman made 19 saves. Atticus Kelly, the Caps goalie, played well ending with 20 saves in 24 shots on the net. Kelly faced a number of close-in tough shots.
In Sunday’s elimination game, Mahtomedi beat Highland to end the Caps season. Tartan and North St. Paul play Friday night at Highland Arena in St. Paul. The winner plays for the D2 peewee A championship Sunday and will get either D2’s #1 or #2 seed to the East Regional. The loser plays Mahtomedi Saturday at Stillwater in an elimination game. The loser of the elimination game goes home and the winner plays in the Championship game Sunday.
In D6, #9 seeded Kennedy surprised #8 seeded Waconia beating them 3-2 in the opening game of the D6 playoffs played Friday night at Chaska. Kennedy lost to the #5 seeded Shakopee Sabres Sunday 5-2. The #6 seeded New Prague Trojans beat Eden Prairie A 6-5 in double overtime to advance.
Tonight (Monday) the two key games of the D6 playoffs will be played at Chaska. Shakopee plays the #4 seeded and host Chaska team. The Trojans play the #3 seeded Minnetonka A. Both games are loser go home games. The winners have a great shot at going to the East Regionals.
In D8, #1 seeded Sibley played #4 seeded Inver Grove Heights/South St. Paul and #2 seeded Apple Valley played the #3 seeded Cottage Grove Sunday morning at Wakota. Sibley, the #4 NOW ranked peewee A team in the state was heavily favored playing the #46 ranked IGH/SSP team. The winner of the game would get D8’s #1 or #2 seed.
It took three minutes for the fans to wake up. A minute into the game, an opening Warrior rush by Branden McFadden, left the puck dangling on the left pipe. McFadden was slow to work the rebound and the Spartans cleared the puck. There was barely a peep made on that play. No groans, no yells could be heard.
The coffee hadn’t kicked in.
Three minutes into the period, the Spartans scored to take a 1-0 lead. That created a roar in the stands.
A minute later, Sibley came back to tie the game and then score again to take a 2-1 lead. The second goal was a shorthand wraparound goal scored by Chase Foley. It was Foley’s second goal of the period.
And the fans were really into the game. Two concurrent Sibley penalties put the Spartans on the attack with a two player advantage. IGH/SSP had the Warriors scrambling and put the puck in the net as the last penalty was ending only to have it waved off.
Early in the second period, McFadden struggled to get off the ice. It was apparent, that Sibley would be playing the rest of the game without one of their best players.
When the Warrior’s Grant Heselton scored halfway through the second to give Sibley a 3-1 lead, a sigh of relief mixed with a few cheers could be heard from the Sibley bench. When Chase Foley made a neat move to score on a backhand shot two minutes later, a collective cheer of relief exploded from the Sibley bench.
The Warriors led 4-1 and were in control of the game with one of their best players out. They knew they were headed to the East Regionals.
Chase Foley scored his fourth goal as the second period ended. The gritty defenseman turned forward had a good game. Sibley went on to win the game 7-1.
Apple Valley had little expectations of being able to get to the regionals at the start of the year. They had played well in the last month of regular season got the #2 seed to the playoffs, but Eagles couldn’t beat Cottage Grove Sunday. They lost 3-2.
Sibley and Cottage Grove play Thursday in the D8 peewee A championship game. The winner gets the #1 seed to the East Regional. Apple Valley plays IGH/SSP for D8’s #3 seed to the regional. The loser goes home.
For those looking ahead, the opening round of the peewee A East Regional is shaping up. In the quarterfinal game played Friday noon at Wakota, Tartan or North St. Paul (D2 #1) will play D6#3. The second game of the upper bracket matches D6 #1 against Sibley or Cottage Grove (D8 #2). The lower bracket opening game matches Sibley or Cottage Grove (D8 #2) against D2’s #2 seed (Tartan, North St. Paul, or Mahtomedi). The second lower bracket game matches D6 #2 against D8’s #3 seed (Apple Valley or IGH/SSP).