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Another Way to Look at Peewee A (South)

By frederick61, 02/06/13, 4:30AM CST


Were these seedings deliberately fixed to establish a super AA tourney?

Note: The South Peewee AA Regional tourney this year will be played at the Municipal Athletic Complex (MAC) in St. Cloud.  Everyone wants to go there; at least every top peewee AA team.  These are teams from the same associations that have been searching for and longing for “competition”.

District 8 stepped up and said we are not letting the teams back into the South Regional from our district.  You have to win to get the South Regional.  Minnesota Hockey shot that down.  Can’t change the seed they said.

No sooner had they said that, then District 6 (unanimously it can be added), petitioned Minnesota Hockey to let the #1 seed in District 6 pick the regional they would go to.  The Edina association  whose Peewee AA team is the unbeaten favorite to win the state title, supported the idea.  It would have given their Hornets the choice of opponent  if they won the D6 playoffs after they had won.

That thought process made all sorts of sense to D6.  One could just hear the D6 meeting hall echoing “to the winner go the spoils”.  The top team in the state could walk into the state tourney on the backs of perceived weak teams  and that was alright for the state of hockey as far as the D6 board was concerned.

It was not about competition, it was about winning and a chance to beat River Lakes 15-0 in the opening game of the South Regional.

D6 has it wrong.  Edina has it wrong.  They have confused what happens on the ice with realty.  Kids are playing a hockey game on the ice.  The D6’s and pro AA split have confused a kids game with the realty of life on and off the ice.  Worst then that, they have held up that realty as a mirror to their kids.
It is their version of “Hunger Games”.  But it is not real and the kids need to know that.  Minnesota Hockey is about kids learning and playing a game.

With the decision being made in April, some are trying to sell Minnesota Hockey the idea that all the people love the AA/A split.  It is not what one side of YHH is hearing.  Quite the opposite is being heard by some, so vote your mind and speak out.  Minnesota Hockey people involved in the April decision will be watching.

As every kid on the playground knows, the game is no longer fun when the big kids show up-especially the ones that have to shave.

South Regionals

South Regional consists of Districts 4, 5 and 9 this year.  But Districts 4 and 5 ended up with the choice cuts on the peewee A side of the South Regional.  District 9 gets three seeds as allocated; but D4/D5 collaborated to take the other five seeds.

It was a great move.  Last year D5 got aced out of the seeding to the South, but not this year.

The South Regional this year has basically three district playoffs in the three districts; D5 peewee AA playoffs, D5 peewee A playoffs, and D9 peewee A playoffs.  Each are covered below.

District 4/5 (Five Peewee A regional seeds/three Peewee AA regional seeds)
 The playoff formats are out for District 5’s Peewee A and Peewee AA tourneys (D5’s Bantam A/AA playoffs will use the same format).  The AA playoff format is double elimination and follows the format used in D11 for years.  The team finishing #1 in D5’s Gold Division gets the #1 seed.  They will play the winner of the game between the #4 and #5 seeded teams in the first semifinal game.  The #2 and #3 seeded teams play in the second semifinal game.

The two winning semifinalists then play in the championship game.  The winner is the #1 seed and the loser is the #2 seed.  The two losing semifinalists join the loser of the game between the #4 and #5 seeds in a play down for the #3 seed.

The Peewee AA playoff seeds will be determined by where the teams finish in D5′s Peewee A Gold Division.

The peewee A playoff is more complicated, because D5 kept the Minnesota Hockey designations and avoided any controversy.  They decided to assign peewee A regional seeds by committee based on the seeding of the teams as part of the D5 playoff format.  As a result the final regional seed designations will be added to the playoff format just before the peewee A playoffs start based on the seeding of the D4/D5 teams.

Maybe they will use the NOW rankings as input?

The peewee A tourney looks complex, but it is a simple format once the selection committee makes their decisions.

There will be a single play-in game for the peewee A tourney played February 22.  The winning team becomes the #8 seed and goes to Sauk Rapids to play in the quarter finals Saturday, February 23.  The losing team goes home.

The #1, #4, #5, and #8 seeded teams will play a four team tourney bracket with the winner getting one of the #1 seeds (D4 #1 or D5 #1) based on the seeding committee’s decision.  The teams seeded #2, #3, #6, and #7 will play a four team tourney bracket with the winner getting the other #1 seed.  All six games are played at Sauk Rapids on Saturday, February 23.

The losers in the two brackets play a loser bracket tourney in Sartell and Sauk Rapids.  The four quarterfinal losers will play each other with the losers of those two games going home.  The two winners are joined in the next round by the two semifinal losers.  They play a single game each with the winners getting a seed (D4 #2 or D5 #2) depending on the committee’s final selection.

The two losers of the second round in the loser bracket play for the D4 #3 seed.  The basic format has been used by D5 with variations for a number of years.

District 5 Peewee AA

District 5’s peewee AA playoffs will be played in Buffalo this year.  The tourney opens with a single game on Friday, February 22 between the 4th and 5th placed teams in league play.  Most D5 AA teams have a third of their schedule left to play in the remaining 10 days of the season.  There could be many changes in the standings by the end of the season.

At this point, St. Michael/Albertville (STMA) and St. Cloud AA will likely battle for the #1 seed.  STMA has the edge and is likely to end up with the #1 seed and St. Cloud the #2 seed.  MAML is a safe third place finisher; River Lakes and Buffalo will finish 4th or 5th.

The Bison and the Stars will open the playoffs on Friday in Buffalo.  The Stars will likely be home team with the higher seed.  River Lakes beat Buffalo 3-2 early in the season.  They play again a week before the playoffs start.  The Stars have shown improvement this year.  They had a good Cloquet Barn Burner last weekend beating Rosemount AA 3-2 and Denfeld A 6-0.  The Stars lost to Orono A 6-2 and Cloquet AA 7-3.

Buffalo AA has struggled all year and has managed only one win (7-1 over Moorhead A) and one tie (2-2 St. Cloud A) in January.  They played in the New Hope Tourney last weekend and lost to NOW #2 ranked Lakeville South 8-0 and to Armstrong A 3-2.  The Stars win.

On Saturday, if it goes as predicted, STMA plays River Lakes in the first semifinal.  STMA beat the Stars 4-3 in mid-November and 5-0 at the Woodbury tourney in December.  STMA has played well in January.  Their only loss was to OMG AA 8-3 and they have played better than that loss would indicate.  The Knights win.

In the second semifinal game, MAML plays St. Cloud.  On the ice will be three forwards that figured to be one of the best lines in the state this year for the Moose, but one will be skating for St. Cloud.

The Moose are still an up and down team.  They played at Breezy point last weekend and made it to the championship round but lost two tough games to Wayzata A 4-3 and Spring Lake Park 5-4.  St. Cloud had a great Center Ice Classic tourney two weeks ago.  They beat Woodbury AA 8-2 in the championship game.  St. Cloud wins.

In the championship game, STMA AA beats St. Cloud AA.  The Knights defense will match the St. Cloud offense; St. Cloud defense can’t contain the Knights offense.  STMA AA takes the #1 seed; St. Cloud AA takes the #2 seed; and MAML AA takes the third seed.

District 5 Peewee A

The D5 peewee A playoffs have two components decided by committee; seeding of teams and seeding of D4 and D5 seeds.  Their format is really four mini-tourneys within a general playoff structure.

New Ulm and Luverne are running 1 and 2 in the D5 Peewee A Silver.  Luverne beat New Ulm in late November 6-2, but New Ulm has not lost a D5 game in December or in January.  New Ulm has four D5 games left to play, the important game is this Saturday.  They play Luverne in a game that will likely decide the D5 Silver title.

St. Cloud A and Hutchinson A are in a battle for third.  St. Cloud A has a grueling seven game schedule in 10 days starting this Thursday.  If St. Cloud A can win four or five of those games they will likely take third.  Win all seven, and they could end up in first place.  Their only two losses in D5 are to Luverne 5-0 and to New Ulm 4-0.

Hutchinson has to hope that St. Cloud A loses to hang onto to third.  One thing the Tigers do over the years has been to play well at the end of the season.  This year they are struggling ever since a 10-0 loss to Luverne in early January.

Marshall A, Sauk Rapids A, and Litchfield are deadlocked for fifth place in the Silver.  Marshal A’s has the advantage of good goal tending and a tough defense.  They showed that at the Faribault tourney two weeks ago.

Sauk Rapids has a tough schedule left in D5 (Luverne, St. Cloud Black, and STMA).  Litchfield’s schedule is not easy either playing Luverne and New Ulm in two of their last four games.

LDC’s game with Marshall may determine how high they are seeded.
Redwood Falls has struggle all year.  The Cardinals have yet to win a D5 game.

Sartell A played in the Peewee AA Gold division this year, but they will play in the peewee A playoffs.  They will have to be factored into the seeding.
The NOW ranked #14 Sabres played in the Cloquet Barn Burner last week.  After losing to Hermantown AA 6-3 in the opening game, Sartell came back to beat Owatonna A 8-2, Hibbing AA 5-4, and Greenway A 7-3 to win the consolation title.

The committee will have to decide between Sartell and Luverne for the #1 seed if the predictions hold.  Sartell and Luverne have not played each other, the edge here goes to Sartell. They get the #1 seed.

The projected seeding for the D5 playoffs should look something like this; #1 Sartell, #2 Luverne, #3 St. Cloud A, #4 New Ulm, #5 Hutchinson, #6 Marshall, #7 Litchfield, #8 Sauk Rapids, #9 Redwood Falls.

Sauk Rapids should beat Redwood Falls in the play-in game.  If you are a Sauk Rapids fan, hang on to what could be an unbelievable D5 playoff played at the fairgrounds.

Sartell A should roll through their mini-tourney and take the D5’s #1 seed.  Luverne should roll through their mini-tourney and take D4’s #1 seed.

In a key set of loser games at late Saturday afternoon, Sauk Rapids upends Hutchinson at the Sauk Rapids arena.  Marshall beats Litchfield in the second loser game.  Hutchinson and Litchfield are out of the tourney.

Sunday morning, St. Cloud A beats Sauk Rapids at Sartell’s arena to take D5’s #2 seed.  At the Sauk Rapids arena, New Ulm beats Marshall to take D4’s #2 seed.  Sunday evening at 6:00 PM, Sauk Rapids and Marshall would play for D4’s #3 seed to the South Regional.

Sauk Rapids wins and goes to the South Regional at Luverne.

 District 9 (Three Peewee A regional seeds/one Peewee AA regional seed)|

District 9 Peewee AA

D9 has 12 peewee A teams this year and 1 peewee AA team.  So the one peewee AA team, Rochester AA, gets D9’s #1 seed to the South Peewee AA regional to be played at the MAC.

Like the most popular girl at the dance, teams from other districts are doing twists and turns to play them in the South Regional.

But YHH noticed that the Rochester team started to play well in the Anoka tourney the first of January and seemed to have progress since then.  They beat Rosemount AA 5-0 last week and played Wayzata AA tough before losing 5-2.

If projections hold, Rochester AA will play D10’s #4 seed.

YHH has projected Andover AA as being Rochester AA’s first round opponent in the South Regional, but with districts and teams doing twists to dance with the Rochester team in the first game of the South, better watch out.  Their desired dancing partner may have boots on.

District 9 Peewee A

For years D9 has had 12 teams in their peewee A league.  In the past, a number of the teams came from D4 teams like Luverne and New Ulm and from Iowa teams, just enough to make 12.  This year’s merger of D4/D5 has resulted in an all D9 peewee A league.  Twelve of the 14 D9 associations fielded peewee A teams.

D9 went with a single 12 team league this year with a home and home schedule.  Each association team is playing a 22 game schedule before the start of the season.  Add three or four tourneys and a dozen scrimmages and each D9 peewee A team will play around 45 games this year.   In the past, some teams have struggled to play thirty, often not finding competition.
When kids are learning to play hockey, touches on the ice count.

Mankato took a critical swing trip (YHH story) in January and beat their nearest D9 competitors to take the lead in D9.  Since then, the Mavericks have been on a roll.  With D9’s regular season coming to a close this Sunday, Mankato is likely to finish with a 21-1 record and in first place.  Rochester A and Owatonna A are tied for second going into last night’s game at Owatonna.  The two teams tied 1-1.  Rochester A still has a slight edge and will most likely take second place.  Owatonna takes third.

Northfield and Red Wing are tied for fourth with one game remaining this weekend.  Both should win their last game and end the D9 season tied for fourth, but Northfield should edge Red Wing in total points once the fairplay points are added despite beating Northfield twice this season 5-4 and 8-4.  Northfield finishes fourth and Red Wing fifth.  Albert Lea has a lock on sixth and Faribault on seventh.  Waseca should over take St. Peter for eighth.  St. Peter finishes 9th, Austin 10th, Dodge County 11th, and Winona 12th.

D9 encourages teams to sign up for the playoffs (to be played in Red Wing this year).  The teams are not required to play in the playoffs.

The playoff format is the Minnesota Hockey format recommended to produce three seed winners.  It starts with 8 teams.  D9 will have play-in games this year if more than 8 teams sign up.  They end the D9 regular season this Sunday.  That provides time next week to arrange play-in games.

For this write up, YHH assumed the top eight seeds predicted above would play in the D9 playoffs.  If that happens, Mankato will open the playoffs against Waseca.  Mankato has beaten Waseca 3-1 in early November and 6-1 two weeks ago.  The Mavericks win again.

In the second playoff game, Red Wing and Northfield play in what should be one of the best games at Red Wing.  Red Wing has been on a roll in January winning 7 straight D9 games before losing 6-4 to Owatonna last week.  Northfield’s only two D9 losses in January were to the Wingers.  Red Wing wins again.

Rochester and Faribault play the opener in the lower bracket.  Rochester A beat Faribault 8-3 in late December and beat them again 2-1 in mid-January.  The Black have been a team that stumbles every few games.  Faribault has managed only two D9 wins in December and January.  The Falcons beat Northfield and Red Wing by the same score 4-3 in games played at Faribault.  On neutral ice at Red Wing, Rochester A wins.

The last game of the opening round matches Owatonna and Albert Lea.  Owatonna surprised and disappointed some people at Cloquet last weekend.  They lost a tough game to Bemidji AA 3-1 in the opening round.  The Huskies came back to beat Farmington AA 5-0 and Rosemount AA 4-3.  But then they disappointed losing to Sartell A 8-2, a team that they could play again if they get to the South Regional.

Albert Lea has played well at times and struggled this year.  They lost two tough one goal games to Owatonna (5-4 and 2-1).  Owatonna wins again.

In the semifinal games, Mankato beats Red Wing in front of a home crowd in a very tough game and Rochester edges Owatonna.  These two potential semifinal match-ups played Saturday, February 17, could be the most entertaining two game set of all the district playoffs.  Rochester A beats Mankato to take the #1 seed, Mankato takes the #2 seed.  Owatonna battles back through the loser bracket to take the #3 seed.

South Regional Tourneys Draw

If the peewee A teams win as predicted, then the first round of the South A Regional would look like this:

Sartell (D5 #1) would play Owatonna A (D9 #3) in the first game on Friday, March 1.  Rochester A (D9  #1) would play New Ulm (D4 #2) in the second game of the upper bracket.  In the lower bracket, Luverne (D4 #1) would play St. Cloud A (D5 #2).  Mankato (D4 #2) would play Sauk Rapids (D4 #3).

If the peewee AA teams win as predicted, then the first round of the West AA Regional would look like this:

Rochester AA (D9 #1) would play Andover AA (D10 #4) in the first game on Friday, March 1.  Stillwater AA (D2 #3) would play St. Cloud AA (D5 #2).  In the lower bracket, STMA AA (D5 #1) would play Woodbury AA (D8 #4).  In the final game, Eden Prairie AA (D6 #4) would play Hastings AA (D8 #5).  Suddenly the South AA Regional becomes no smooth sailing dance for the outside entries.  It is more like a Saturday night boot stomper to a Bobby Aro band playing the Alka Seltzer Polka.


It is a concern at YHH that perception of motives of the decision makers is the real danger in all this commotion about AA/A hockey.  People involved in advocating for the change argued that it was better for Minnesota Hockey.  But since the implementation, their actions have led many people to believe they were only interested in the best for their agenda.

Like many before them, in two years the AA advocates usually will have disappeared.  What is left after they have gone from the scene is something they don’t care about.  Part of that can be understood.

But what is really concerning YHH is the lack of response by Minnesota Hockey to the Letter from the North that would officially set the record straight as to what happened with the allocation of seeds at the peewee AA level this year.  The letter states that Minnesota Hockey deliberately allocated seeds to create a super AA tourney by placing strong teams in the weaker regionals and eliminating seeds from “weaker” districts.  That means the regional allocation deciders had to decide the strong teams and kick out the weak teams in October 2012 before any of the teams started play.

The letter goes on to state that the North Region was promised by Minnesota Hockey to be a true AA north region.  Then the North districts had to fight to keep the seven seeds they currently have in the tourney.

Where were the words “development” and “kids” in this whole thought process?
By remaining silent, everyone perceives what the North letter stated to be the truth.  Having not answered in the past week makes that perception the reality.
It becomes the mirror Minnesota Hockey and the AA supporters hold up to the kids and the reflection the kids see as reality is not good.

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