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Roseau Dick Johnson Peewee A Tournament Preview

By frederick61, 01/14/13, 2:00PM CST


The puck sails over the Minnetonka net in the Skippers 2-2 tie with Eden Praire in a District 6 game played before Christmas

Note: The Roseau tourney did not assign pool names.  YHH named the pools A, B, C, and D to make the reading of the article easier to follow.

The past few years, Roseau’s January peewee A tourney has been the “tourney” in Northern Minnesota.  It offers a small town hockey approach that lays out the welcome wagon of youth hockey teams.  Teams go there to experience the atmosphere and play in the tourney.  Winning, sometimes, can become secondary.

Just don’t tell the kids on the 16 teams playing there this year.

This year’s “tourney” offers a mix of teams from all over the state and usually one or more outstate teams.  This year’s “tourney” is all Minnesota.

The top teams from District 15 (Brainerd AA and Moorhead AA) and top teams from District 16 (East Grand Forks A, Warroad A, and Roseau AA) are entered in the 16 team field.  Duluth East AA and Hermantown AA from District 11 will play.

The seven northern teams are distributed in four pools playing nine teams from “southern Minnesota”.  Actually, there are no “southern Minnesota” teams entered, there are only Twin City teams entered.  The tourney is more an “old school versus new school” matchup.  With two “old school” District 8 teams playing this year (Lakeville North and Lakeville South), the field becomes nine “old school” teams versus seven suburban teams; hockey chewers in boots versus iPhones and designer jeans.

The Twin Cities’ invasion is led by unbeaten and YHH ranked #1 Edina AA.  The Hornets are pooled with Hermantown AA, Warroad A, and Minnetonka AA.  Two northern teams will all get a chance to hand the Hornets their first defeat.  YHH ranked #17 Minnetonka AA, Edina AA’s District 6 rival, will be lying in wait in the final pool game Saturday night.

There is a similar match-up developed in the #2 ranked Lakeville South pool.  Lakeville South has been beaten, but has emerged as a top team and rival of the Edina AA team (the two teams have played each once this season in mid-November with the Cougars losing 3-2).  Two northern teams, #11 ranked Moorhead AA and #6 ranked Duluth East AA will takes cracks at upending the Cougars in pool play and eliminating a potential #1 versus #2 showdown in the championship round.  Lying in the weeds ready to strike like a “hougie” along the Lake of the Woods shore will be #18 ranked Eden Prairie AA from District 6, another Hornet rival with aspirations of knocking off the top teams.

Brainerd AA, ranked #9 this week, is in a mystery pool.  It is a mystery pool because all four teams (Brainerd AA, East Grand Forks A, #15 Lakeville North AA, and #5 Osseo/Maple Grove AA) have shown potential and have struggled.  Which team will show up?

The final pool has the host #39 ranked Roseau AA team playing #27 ranked Blaine AA, #33 ranked Stillwater AA and #26 ranked Chaska AA.  People who handicaps horse races would call this pool “the field”; but don’t dismiss “the field”.   At Roseau, one in the field often ends up playing in the championship games.  Ask Chaska.

Pool A: Brainerd AA, East Grand Forks A, Lakeville North AA, Osseo/Maple Grove AA

East Grand Forks A plays Osseo/Maple Grove AA and Brainerd AA opens against Lakeville North on Friday.

YHH # 35 ranked peewee A, East Grand Forks, has struggled the last two seasons.  Prior to that, the Green Wave were perennial entrants to the state tourney along with Roseau.  This year they are playing .500 hockey and are a strong favorite to take District 16’s #1 seed to the North Regional A tourney.  OMG AA team had a tough Edina New Year’s tourney two weeks ago, losing to Lakeville South 6-4, Chaska AA 4-3, and Eden Prairie 6-3.  Their only win was over Blaine 6-4.  Still the Crimson should beat the Green Wave.

Friday’s matchup between Brainerd and Lakeville North matchup is a tough one to forecast.  This should be one of the better played games Friday.

Brainerd won the Paul Bunyan tourney over the holiday sweeping their pool (beating Virginia A 12-5, Keweenaw Michigan 8-2, and Eagan AA 11-3) and beating Andover AA 5-2 and Grand Rapids AA 4-3 in the championship game.  Lakeville North also played in the Edina tourney.  They lost to St. Michael/Albertville AA 2-0, Edina AA 7-2, and Blaine AA 6-4.  They beat #7 ranked Elk River 5-1 at Edina and followed that with an upset win over #3 ranked Eastview 2-1.  The Panthers tied Lakeville South 2-2 over the weekend to slow the Cougars march to the D8 regular season title.

This game will match a tough North defense against a high scoring Brainerd offense.  The Panthers eke out a win.

In Friday’s evening games, Lakeville North and OMG play each other.  OMG owns a 4-0 win over the Panthers in late November.  But that was six weeks ago and in peewee hockey that is ages ago.  OMG has not been playing well, but should close down the Panthers offense again.  OMG wins.  The other Friday game matches East Grand Forks and Brainerd.  In their first meeting this season, Brainerd wins.

Saturday, Lakeville North beats East Grand Forks.  Brainerd with a 1-1 pool record beats OMG to knot OMG, Lakeville North, and Brainerd for the pool title with 2-1 records.  Brainerd wins the pool, OMG takes second, Lakeville North finishes third and East Grand Forks places fourth.

Pool B: Moorhead AA, Duluth East AA, Lakeville South AA, and Eden Prairie AA

Moorhead and Eden Prairie open play in this pool on Friday morning.  Moorhead AA split two games with Duluth East in late November winning 5-4 and losing 10-5.  Moorhead has struggled this year and lost to Brainerd AA last week 5-3.

Eden Prairie did not fare so well at the Edina Tourney.  The Eagles beat Stllwater AA 8-3 and loss to Centennial AA 4-3 and Wayzata 5-3 in pool play.  Since then, they were soundly beaten by Edina AA 12-1, tied OMG AA 4-4 and beat Prior Lake AA 6-3.  The Eagles struggles continue, but they beat the Spuds.

Lakeville South and Duluth East meet the second game of the pool Friday morning.   South won their pool at Edina, beating OMG 6-4, Chaska 4-1, and Blaine 5-1, but were upended by Centennial AA 2-1 in the Championship semifinals.  The Cougars beat Wayzata 4-1 for third place at Edina and have since locked up the District 8 peewee regular season title by beating Woodbury AA 9-3 and Eastview 3-1 and tying Lakeville North 2-2.  The Greyhounds are ranked #4, but lost to the touring Omaha Lancers 6-5 last week before beating Superior AA 8-1.  Lakeville South wins.

In the second game Friday, Eden Prairie plays Lakeville South and Duluth East plays Moorhead.  Lakeville South defense proves too offensive for the Eagles, the Cougars win.   Moorhead has struggled this year and against Duluth East they struggle some more.  East wins.

Saturday morning, Lakeville South plays Moorhead and Eden Prairie plays Duluth East.  The Cougars and Eagles win.  Lakeville South wins the pool championship, Eden Prairie takes second, Duluth East third and Moorhead fourth.

Pool C: Hermantown AA, Warroad A, Minnetonka AA, Edina AA

Edina AA and Hermantown AA meet in the opening pool game.  It will be the two teams’ first meeting this year.  Edina won their Invitational the first of the year by beating St. Michael/Albertville 4-1, Lakeville North 7-2, and Elk River 8-1.  In the semifinals, the Hornets beat Wayzata 8-3 and beat Centennial 4-3 for the title.  This past week they beat Chaska AA 9-0.

Hermantown has been on a roller coaster, first up (beat Centennial AA 5-4), then down (lost to OMG AA 4-3), then up (beat Duluth East 4-3) and then down again (lost to Stillwater AA 3-2 and North St. Paul A 3-2).  After losing to the Polars, Hermantown beat the Omaha Lancers twice 5-2 and 6-0, but it is that win over Centennial makes this team scary.  Still Hornets should roll.

Minnetonka has stuggled since losing to Edina 7-1 in mid-December.  They played well in early December beating Duluth East 8-4, Chaska 9-4, Elk River 8-1 and tying OMG AA 5-5.  Since then, the Skippers have lost to Lakeville South 7-4, Eastview 5-3, OMG AA 10-8 (where were the goalies?), tied Eden Prairie 2-2, beat Jefferson 4-1, and lost to Grand Rapids 5-3.

The Skipper’s opponent in the opener is Warroad A.  Warroad A, despite a losing record, has played tough in D16 and are a strong candidate to join East Grand Forks in the North A Regional tourney.  Warroad beat Roseau 4-3, beat International Falls 2-0, and beat Crookston 4-2.  The Warriors have lost to East Grand Forks 2-1 and the Grand Forks Seawolves 6-1.

The Skippers win their pool opener.

In Saturday’s morning game, Edina should beat Warroad.  The Hermantown and Minnetonka play in the second Saturday morning game.  This will be another though call.  It will be the first meeting of the season between the two teams.  The edge goes to Minnetonka.

Saturday evening, Hermantown beats Warroad and in a close game, Edina edges the Skippers to win the pool championship.  Minnetonka takes second place, Hermantown third and Warroad fourth.

Pool D: Roseau AA, Blaine AA, Stillwater AA, and Chaska AA

Blaine plays Chaska and Roseau plays Stillwater to open play in the “field pool”.  Roseau played in the Thief River Falls tourney this week.  They tied NCBD (North Country Blue Devils out of Cambridge/Isanti area) from D10 2-2, lost to Fergus Falls 9-5, and played Devils Lake North Dakota in their pool.  On Sunday, Roseau beat the Brainerd A team 4-0.  Roseau plays Thief River Falls this week in a tuned up for their tourney. 

Stillwater AA is the odds on favorite to win the D2 peewee A crown.  The Ponies beat White Bear Lake 2-1 and Forest Lake 7-1 on the weekend.  With four games left in regular season play, the Ponies have a game in hand over the Bears.  No other D2 team can catch either team.

Outside of D2 play, Stillwater has been an up and down team.  Their wins this weekend put them on the upside.  Stillwater beats Roseau.

In the Blaine/Chaska game, there are two similar teams in size and style of play.  Blaine had a good Edina tourney and has been an improving team.  But they have played only two games since that tourney losing to Andover 1-0 and beating Rogers 3-2 in D10 play.  The Bengals play two D10 games against two tough opponents, Irondale and Anoka before leaving for Roseau.

After playing well around Christmas time and after having a good Edina tourney, Chaska has struggled in the past two weeks.  The Hawks have played a rough schedule against YHH top ranked teams losing to STMA twice 3-1 and 5-1, losing to Woodbury AA 4-3, YHH ranked #1 Edina 9-0, and Centennial 9-4.  They did beat Eden Prairie AA 6-3.

The edge goes to Blaine, the Bengals win.  Blaine should beat Roseau Saturday morning; the Stillwater/Chaska game will be a nail biter.  Chaska beat Stillwater 8-1 and 6-3 six weeks ago, but are struggling.  The Ponies win to set up a pool championship game.

The Saturday evening games played at the Memorial Rink will be the best pair of games in one session at the tourney.  Edina and Minnetonka will just have finished what could be a barnburner for the pool championship with the two D6 teams hammering on each other; but the game between Stillwater and Blaine will be a barnburner.

Both teams will know that win puts them in the championship semifinals and both teams will have opportunities to win the game.  The Stillwater ekes out the win to advance to the championship round Sunday morning.  Blaine takes second place, Chaska takes third, and Roseau finishes fourth.

Championship games

Sunday’s championship semifinals will be played at 8:00 AM, the final and third place games played at noon.   Sunday’s games will be determined after Saturday’s games are completed.

If the seeding is by pool performance, Edina AA, Lakeville South AA, and Stillwater AA end pool play with 3-0 records.  Lakeville South AA wins the tie breaker for the #1 seed and draws #4 seed Brainerd AA in one semifinal.  Edina AA, the #2 seed, plays #3 seed Stillwater AA in the other semifinal.

Lakeville South and Brainerd have not met this season.  In a tough game, South beats the Warriors.  Edina rolls past the Ponies to set up a meeting between YHH ranked #1 and #2 teams with the Roseau championship on the line in a regular game.

Lakeville South wins.  Third place goes to Brainerd.

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