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.