If you are fan of girls hockey, then you’d be a fool not to go to Duluth this weekend. My thumbs would break giving Thumbs Ups to this tournament committee. They put on a great show, get the best teams in the state to attend, and almost always seed the teams properly. Like the Fargo International Squirt Tournament, the winner in Duluth this weekend usually has the greatest bragging rights the rest of the season. In the U12 Division, even a Packer fan (oops did I say that?) could figure out that the winner of this tournament is more impressive than winning the state tournament sanctioned by Minnesota Hockey.
A great field. Despite not getting consensus number one Forest Lake in the field, Duluth did well by attracting six very highly ranked teams including Stillwater, Shakopee, Wayzata and Cottage Grove. In the U10 field, there are 16 teams with four, four team pools with the winner of each pool advancing to the final four.
Pool A: Duluth, Apple Valley, Shakopee and Stillwater. YHH looks for Stillwater to get tested by Shakopee on Sunday morning, but still advance to the Championship Bracket.
Pool B: OMGHA, Burnsville, Chaska/Chanhassen, and Woodbury. OMG is the strongest of this field…they should advance.
Pool C: Blaine, Spring Lake Park, White Bear Lake, and Edina Green. White Bear should advance but don’t count out Blaine, their tough schedule will help them.
Pool D: Cottage Grove, NE Metro, Andover, and Wayzata. The Wayzata vs. Cottage Grove game on Saturday afternoon will be one of the best games of the tournament. Slight edge to Wayzata.
Final Four: Pool A vs. Pool D (seriously? 2 of the best teams in the state in the semifinals…poor logic). Stillwater over Wayzata. Pool B vs. Pool C White Bear over OMG
Champions: Stillwater will take the title over District rival White Bear in a closer than expected championship game.
This is possibly the best pool of teams and format we will see this year at any level. Twenty-four teams separated into 8 three team pools. The winner of each pool advances to the Championship bracket for a traditional three game bracket play event on Sunday and Monday.
Predicted Pool Winners:
A – Farmington, B – Osseo Maple Grove, C – Eagan*, D – Shakopee, E – Roseau, F – White Bear Lake**, G – Edina Green***, and H – Centennial
* Pool C is a great pool, Duluth and Eagan is a great matchup **White Bear over Cottage Grove in a coin toss ***Pool G is a good test for the #1 Hornets
Bracket Play: Farmington > Centennial, Edina > OMGHA, Eagan > White Bear Lake, and Shakopee > Roseau
Final Four: Edina > Farmington and Shakopee > White Bear Lake
Champions: Edina will narrowly defeat Shakopee. They have played three times, two ended in a tie and the third was an Edina win.