This year, Edina has added a peewee A tourney to what will be their 44th Invitational Tournament played over the coming New Year’s holiday. The tourney starts on December 29th and ends New Year’s Day.
The addition of the peewee A tournament establishes a “home” tournament for the top peewee A teams in the state should Minnesota Hockey decide make permanent the pilot peewee AA/A effort they are running this year. Edina has also attracted two out state invaders to the tourney, the Oklahoma City Oil Kings and the Colorado Arapahoes.
Twelve teams are entered in the Edina Peewee A tourney this year. The attention getting teams are the Oklahoma City Oil Kings 00 Tier 2 and the Colorado Arapahoe Ice Kings 00 Tier 2 team. The Oil Kings are ranked in the top 50 nationally and the Arapahoe are ranked in the top 10 nationally.
The teams are divided into three pools. The three pool winners advance to the tournamen semifinals on Monday as the 1, 2, or 3 seed. The seeds are determined by a series of tie breakers. The fourth team or wild card in the championship round is the team finishing second with the most points, but wild card winner is usually decided by goal differential with a 5 goal cap on each game.
Tie breakers are the norm at this tourney. Coaches need to know what they are before the first puck is dropped. Often teams are knocked out of the tourney after their first game because of a tie breaker that the team lost in the first game played.
Green Pool: Edina White A, Osseo Maple Grove A, Elk River A, and Oklahoma City Oil Kings 00 Tier 2.
This pool matches three large association A teams with an Oklahoma team that is currently leading the Dallas Stars Traveling Hockey League with an 11-1-1 record.
Most of the peewee A teams from larger associations are first year players consisting of last year’s Squirt A team players. The Edina White peewee A team is an exception to that since six of the squirt A players from last year Squirt A team jumped to the Edina peewee AA team. As a result, the Hornet’s peewee A team has more second year players from last year’s peewee B1 teams then most other large associations.
Edina plays their first game Saturday evening on opening day against Osseo Maple Grove A. The Hornets have been on a win streak in December, before losing to Jefferson 2-1 in overtime in the Woodbury Rumble championship game last Sunday. The Hornets play only two D6 games before the tourney starts; Prior Lake A and Eden Prairie A.
Those two games will turn the corner on the halfway mark of the D6 regular season. Currently the Hornets are unbeaten in D6 with a 7-0 record. The games with Prior Lake and Eden Prairie will be the first D6 games between Edina and those two teams.
Osseo/Maple Grove A also played in the Woodbury Rumble over the weekend. The Crimson did not make it to the Championship round on Sunday, tying Spring Lake Park 3-3, losing to Woodbury 5-2 and losing to Shakopee 4-2. The Crimson will have a definite size advantage over the Hornets, but Edina should win.
The second Green Pool opening game matches Elk River and Oklahoma City Oil Kings 00 AA Tier 2. The Oil Kings are an affiliated member of the Dallas Stars Travel Hockey League. The Oil Kings are currently leading the league. Elk River is struggling in the D10 league with a 2-7 record at the halfway mark. They lost their last two D10 games to their AA brother Elks 8-1 and to the North Country Blue Devils 6-1. The Oil Kings win.
The second round Sunday matches Edina and Elk River, the Hornets win. Oklahoma plays Osseo/Maple Grove in what will be an interesting test for both teams. OMG played the Omaha Lancers 00 AA Tier 2 team in the Orono Best of the West tourney in early December and lost to Omaha 2-1. That lost also knocked OMG out of the championship round. The Lancers are ranked in the top 10 of the national 00 AA Tier 2 teams.
OMG struggled in the Woodbury tourney, tying Spring Lake Park A 3-3 and losing to Woodbury AA 5-1. The Oklahoma team comes into the tourney ranked in the top 50 nationally; the Oil Kings prevail. They overcome the Crimson size to win and setup a pool Championship game with Edina.
Edina beats the Oil Kings to win the pool and to take the #2 seed. The Oil Kings take second. OMG beats Elk River to take third. The Oil Kings take the Wild Card (#4 seed) based on holding the best goal differential tie breaker.
Black Pool: Hopkins A, Chaska/Chanhassen A, Waconia A and Colorado Arapahoe Ice Kings.
Hopkins and Chaska/Chanhassen tangle in the first game of the Black Pool on Saturday. Hopkins surprised people by beating Wayzata A 3-1 in their second D3 game of the season. In their Thanksgiving Day tourney they continued to impress losing a tough game to Rosemount 4-2 and beating Elk River A 5-2 before losing in the Consolation Championship to Anoka AA 4-3. Since then, the Royals have struggled losing big to Orono 7-1, Mound/Westonka 10-2, and OMG AA 10-1.
Chaska/Chanhassen A is in a three-way battle with Edina A and Minnetonka A for the D6 peewee A title. The Hawks beat Prior Lake A 3-2, tied Minnetonka A 3-3 and beat Shakopee A 7-4 in their last three D6 games. But the Hawks are an enigma, last weekend they beat Andover A 2-1, lost to Eden Prairie A 5-4 and lost to North St. Paul A 5-2.
The game between Hopkins and Chaska is a tough one to call, the nod goes to Chaska, but a Royal win would not be a surprise.
Waconia A and the Arapahoe Ice Kings tangle in the second game. Waconia struggled early in the season and have a 1-10-3 record. But their last five games (1-2-2) shows that they are improving. Their ties came against Prior Lake A and Sartell AA (a team that may surprise some people).
Arapahoe is having a great season and have lost only three games to date. More importantly they are the AVS Quebec Qualifier Champions this year and have earned a paid trip to play in the Quebec International Pee-Wee Tournament in mid-February, one of the most prestigious North American Pee-Wee tournaments.
They will play in the tourney as the Colorado Avalanche. Add to the Quebec tourney, winning the Rocky Mountain Silver Stick and you have a successful season. Winning the Edina Tourney would really be “frosting on the cake”. The Ice Warriors should beat Waconia A.
The second round games Sunday in the Black Pool will match Hopkins and Waconia and will match Chaska/Chanhassen and Arapahoe. Waconia should beat Hopkins and in what should be the toughest Black Pool game, the Arapahoe beats Chaska/Chanhassen. In the final Black Pool games Monday, Arapahoe beats Hopkins and Chaska/Chanhassen beats Waconia.
The Arapahoe Ice Warriors win the pool and takes the #1 seed. Chaska takes second, Waconia takes third. Chaska loses the Wild Card based on the goal differential tie breaker.
White Pool: Mound/Westonka A, Spring Lake Park A, Minnetonka A, and Mounds View AA
The White Pool has the most evenly matched teams. This means it is all or nothing in this pool since the wild card will likely come out of the other two pools. Mound/Westonka and Spring Lake Park open play Saturday morning. The Whitehawks are in contention for the D3 peewee title this year. The Wayzata AA team and the OMG AA team have played few D3 games. The perennial contenders are likely to make a strong run for the title in January.
Still the Whitehawks have been playing well. In their last three games they have beaten OMG A 7-0, Waconia 8-3, and tied St. Louis Park 2-2. Spring Lake Park is 5-2 in the D10 league, beating Blaine A 5-0 and losing to Centennial A 5-4 in their last two league games. They played in the Woodbury Rumble this past weekend tying Andover AA 2-2, tying OMG A 3-3 and beating Rochester A 4-0.
The Whitehawks and Panthers game is a tough call, but Mound/Westonka should win. The second game in the White Pool is the toughest call of the tourney. Minnetonka A is to be respected. They had a great start to their season in their play in Burnsville’s Thanksgiving tourney. After winning their first 5 D6 games, the Skippers have faltered, losing to Prior Lake 1-0 and to Edina A 5-3, before tying Chaska/Chanhassen A 3-3.
Mounds View AA is tough. Three of their last 4 D2 games ended in ties (Stillwater AA 2-2, Mahtomedi A 2-2, and Roseville AA 3-3). The surprise is they lost 5-1 to North St. Paul. Mounds View played 9 games in the last 10 days going 2-1-5. One of the wins was a 2-1 victory over Spring Lake Park A. This game matches a tougher more physical team in the Mustangs against a smaller, more skillful team in the Skippers. Mounds View wins.
In Sunday’s Whiite Pool games; Minnetonka comes back to beat Mound/Westonka and Mounds View edges Spring Lake Park. Monday, Mounds View beats Mound/Westonka and Minnetonka beats Spring Lake Park.
Mounds View wins the pool and takes the #2 seed. Minnetonka takes second and Mound/Westonka takes third. Minnetonka ties for the Wild Card on points, but loses on the goal differential tie breaker.