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Max Johnson bangs in goal against the Bankers

Weekend 1: MAP Tops the UMHSEL

By frederick61, 09/14/15, 11:45AM CDT


TCF's Max Johnson bangs in a score. Johnson leads the league in scoring.

The Upper Midwest High School Elite League kicked off their 2015 season playing their opening three game set last Saturday and Sunday at the New Hope Arena.  After the weekend’s opening play, only one team was left unbeaten and it was a surprise.  MAP led offensively by Chase Ellingson’s six goals and Jax Murray’s four assists; and led defensively by the goal tending of Alex Schilling/Wayzata and Will Swanson/Mahtomedi ended the weekend play 3-0.  Three teams, TCF Bank, Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, and Muscle Milk finished the weekend with 2-1 league records.  Tuesday, the #1 MAP teams returns to New Hope for a 7:00 PM game against #2 Mpls/St. Paul.  

TCF Banker Marko Reifenberger/Hill-Murray leaps trying to deflect the puck past Starkey/Sonion goalie Ryan Bischel/Benilde-St. Margaret's in their 9-3 win Saturday evening.

UMHSEL Roster Changes

With the opening of the UMHSEL league coinciding with the rostering of the Junior A teams, UMHSEL rosters will change from the players selected at the end of July.  Here are the changes on the six Minnesota teams entered in the league this fall:

1.TCF Bank-no changes.

2. Starkey/Sonion-no changes.

3. MAP-one change: Defenseman Trevor Zins/St. Micheal-Albertville opted to play in the USHL for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.  A sigh of relief was heard in Roseau, Moorhead, and Bemidji.  Jack Harris/Prior Lake took his place.

4. Luther’s-one change: Defenseman Cole Thompson/Devils Lake ND opted to play this season for the Aberdeen Wings in the NAHL.

5. Mpls/St. Paul Magazine-One change: Defenseman Brian Hurley will join the Minnesota Wilderness in the NAHL this season.  Hurley would have been a junior at St. Thomas Academy this season and has committed to play college hockey for Ohio State.  Hurley’s spot on the Magaziners’ roster was taken by Keaton Pehrson/Lakeville North.   

6. Muscle Milk-One change: Grant Loven has been replaced by Cole Ball/Brainerd. 

Colorado Rampage were in town for opening weekend. It was opening games for the 2015-2016 for the Tier 1 U18 team. They had two Millens on the bench. Corey Millen, coach for the NAHL champs the Minnesota Wilderness and Luke Millen (#10).

Luther's Jon Richards/Detroit Lakes celebrates scoring a short handed goal against Wisconsin in the Great Plainers opening game. Two things are certain with Richards, he will score more shorthanded goals and his hair will get longer.

Saturday Games

Msp/St. Paul Magazine-5 TCF Bank-3; Msp/St. Paul Magazine-6 Luther’s-3

Saturday AM, the Msp/St. Paul Magazine beat the TCF Bank team 5-3.  In the evening, they beat Luther’s 6-3.  The Msp/St. Paul team ended up with only three lines for the morning game.  Their first line out consisting of Luke Manning and Will Garin at wings centered by Luke Noterman put four of the Magaziner’s five goals in the net.  Manning got the hat trick.  His second goal was the game winner.  Notermann scored the opening goal of the game (and of the 2015 season) on a power play.  Notermann scored the final goal of the UMHSEL season in the playoff’s championship game in overtime.  The Magaziners’ third line out consisting of Cade Gleekel/Benilde-St. Magaret’s at center with wings Isaac Johnson/Anoka and Lucas McGregor/Centenial scored once.  TCF’s second line out countered the Notermann’s line scoring all three Banker goals.  Max Johnson/Lakeville North playing wing with Marco Reifenberger/Hill-Murray on a line centered by Casey Mittlestadt/Eden Prairie scored twice; Mittlestadt scored once and assisted on the other two Banker goals.  Stillwater’s Josh Benson was in the nets for Msp/St. Paul.  Benson had a good game stopping 50 of 53 Banker shots on net.

In their second game Saturday, the Magaziners skated four lines with the additions of the Noah and Jackson Cates and Luke Ranallo/Hill Murray.  The Mpls/St. Paul team added an all Stillwater line by combining the Cates with Simon Sagissor and moved Ranallo into Sagissor’s slot on the Dylan Gast/White Bear Lake centered line with Connor Gagnon/Spring Lake Park.  The Stillwater line scored the winning goal late in second period when Sagissor scored with Jackson Cates assisting.  But the real story of the Magaziners in the second game was the play of Notermann and Will Gavin.  The two with Manning at wing scored the Mpls/St. Paul’s first three goals with Notermann getting the opening goal and Gavin adding to two power play goals in the second period.  Luther’s countered with Jon Richards and Ryan Peterson (taking over for Chase Brand) combining for two third period goals.  The defensive corps struggled for the Great Plainers in their second game of the day.  They took four second period penalties resulting in three Mpls/St. Paul power play goals.       

TCF Bank's Billy Jerry/St. Thomas Academy and Derek Hammer/East Ridge pressure goalie Josh Benson/Stillwater in their Saturday game. Benson stopped 50 or 53 Banker shots.

MAP-5 Muscle Milk-0; MAP-6 Colorado-0

MAP (Minnesota Advanced Program for hockey players run out of two locations the Schwan Super Rink and St. Thomas Ice Arena) opened their 2015 UMHSEL season beating Muscle Milk 5-0.  The Mappers broke open a 1-0 zero game late in the second period on a goal by Chase Ellingson/Breck followed by a Cole Lawrence goal early in the third period to put MAP up 3-0.  Ellingson scored one more goal and Zach Sitarz/Andover scored late to end the game 5-0.  Nolan Sullivan/Eden Prairie got the opening goal of the game two minutes into the first period.  Jax Murray/Elk River teamed with Ellingson in their evening game.  Ellingson scored four goals with Murray assisting on three.  MAP’s combo of Ellingson and Murray stole the show Saturday.  MAP goalies Alex Schilling/Wayzata and Will Swanson each got a shutout.  Schilling stopped 37 MMers shots to earn the 5-0 win; Swanson stopped 21 Rampage shots to earn the 6-0 win.    

Starkey/Sonion-6 Colorado-2; TCF Bank-9 Starkey/Sonion-3

Starkey/Sonion split their Saturday games.  They beat Colorado 6-2 behind four goals scored by the Starkey’s defensive corps and lost to the Bankers 9-3.  Colorado scored the opening goal on a shot from the left point seven minutes into the game.  Against the Bankers, Starkey took a hard right left punch from the TCF’s offensive in the first minute of play and took a right cross with four minutes left in the opening period to trail 3-0 going into the second period.  Halfway through the second period, Casey Mittelstadt scored twice to get the hat trick.  Mittelstadt’s line with wings Max Johnson/Lakeville North and Marko Reifenberger/Hill-Murray scored the first five goals in their game against Starkey and added two more goals later in the game.  The “boys from south of the rivers” added two scores (Ryan Poehling and Henry Eneback from Lakeville North scoring with Erik Holmstrom/Farmington getting the assist).  Starkey/Sonion scoring came from Zach Risteau/Benilde-St. Margaret’s and from Prior Lakes Matt Denman and Connor Clemons.    

Starkey's Kevin Fellows/Prior Lake beats one defender's stick but not the back checker's stick on this weak side play in their 6-2 win over Colorado.

Team Wisconsin-7 Luther’s-4; Muscle Milk-3 Team Wisconsin-2

Luther’s played a solid game for two periods defensively against Team Wisconsin in their first game Saturday morning.  The Great Plainers led 3-0 late in the second period playing solid defense and letting their offensive power carry the action.  But then the Luther’s defensive corps starting to rush the puck and carry the play into the Badger’s zone.  The result was six Badger scores in the third period as Team Wisconsin just turned the puck and through their breakout plays created 2-on-1 and 2-on-0 and solo rushes on goalie Nick Althaus/St. Cloud Apollo.  Althaus saw 16 shots in the first two periods, 18 shots in the third period.  Team Wisconsin played Muscle Milk in the evening game.  Based on the MMers 5-0 lost in the morning, the Badgers looked the favorites.  After two periods of play the Badgers led 1-0 on a score by defenseman Michael Karow/Notre Dame Academy (Green Bay WI).  Tanner Tweten/East Grand Forks scored early in the third to tie the game 1-1 and Wyatt Aamodt/Hermantown and Alex Adams/Grand Rapids scored to put the MMers up 3-1.  Wisconsin’s Tyler Ebner came back with a late goal to end the scoring 3-2.     

(Left) Grant Johnson/Grand Forks Central makes a back hand pass to the slot on this play against the Badgers. (Above) Spencer Meier/Sartell's shot trickles by the Badger goalie into the right corner of the net to put GP up 3-0.

Sunday’s Games

Two teams, Mpls/St. Paul and MAP, were unbeaten after Saturday’s games.  After Sunday’s play only MAP was left unbeaten.  MAP’s Cole Lawrence/Eden Prairie got the game winner with less than 90 seconds left in the game as MAP edged Starkey’s 4-3 to end the weekend with a 3-0 record.  Alex Schilling, in the nets for MAP, got credit for his second win stopping 35 of 38 Starkey/Sonion shots.    Sunday morning the Muscle Milk, behind the Duluth East duo of Ash Altmann and Lucas Dow, handed the Magaziners their first lost 7-3.  Hermantown connections scored three of the seven goals (Cole Koepke, Wyatt Aamodt, and Ryan Sandelin).

Luther’s offense erupted for nine goals beating Colorado 9-4 Sunday.  The Great Plainers broke the game open with four second period goals to take a 6-1 lead into the third.  Ethan Johnson/Thief River Falls scored twice in the game.  Chase Brand/Park Rapids and Ryan Peterson each scored a goal and had an assist.  Luther’s goalie Nick Althaus played his third game in the nets on the weekend got the win.  Peterson got the winning goal.  Colorado’s Jesse Quistorff figured in three of the four Rampage goals scoring once and assisting on two others.  Colorado goaltenders faced 149 shots in their three games over the weekend.  The Rampage were a top 50 team last season; this weekend’s three game set at New Hope opened their 2015-2016 season.  The TCF Bankers scored four second period goals and then hung on to beat Team Wisconsin 4-3 in their Sunday game.  Casey Mittelstadt assisted on two of the scores to finishing the weekend leading the league in scoring (10 points/5 goals).  The TCF got scoring from four different players (Max Johnson/Lakeville North, Tyler Jette/Farmington, Marko Reifenberger/Hill-Murray, and Billy Jerry/St. Thomas Academy) in the second period.  Team Wisconsin rallied in the third period outshooting the Bankers 19-9 and scoring twice.  Badgers Jack Wied and Jett Jaraczewski each scored once.

Casey Mittelstadt scores this goal beating Starkey's Ryan Bischel through the 5-hole on a nice draw back after faking left. Mittelstadt and TCF teammate Max Johnson tied for the scoring lead after opening weekend each with 9 points.

Opening Weekend Notes:

1. Aggressive Defense against the wrong team: The Luther team had a great game going against Team Wisconsin until the third period.  The Badgers always play the breakout from their zone well.  They keep the puck moving through center ice with neat passes.  Luther was leading 3-1 going into the third period and they let the Badgers back into the game when their defensemen got aggressive.  The Luther defense started to push the puck at the Badger blue line only to fall victim to Team Wisconsin breakout play turning the Luther defense aggression into to 2-on-1 or 2-on-0 or solo rushes in the third period.  As a result, the Great Plainers lost 7-4 giving up six third period goals despite outshooting the Badgers 36-34.

2.  Luther’s Band-Aid line: The Luverne duo of Jaxon Nelson and Chaz Smersrud combined with Crookston’s Doug Larson had a solid game and will only get better as the season progresses.  Jon Richards/Detroit Lakes centered Gino Lucia/St. Cloud Apollo and Chase Brand/Park Rapids and combined physical play with quick movement.  Richards remains a whiz at the penalty kill scoring shorthanded against the Badgers.  Both lines had a good opening game against Team Wisconsin, but Luther’s first line out consisted Glauque and Johnson & Johnson.  This “band-aid” line (Riley Glauque/Fargo South, Grant Johnson/Grand Forks Central, and Jack Johnson/Bemidji had a good game against the Badgers and turned the momentum early in the first period resulting in the Great Plainers pressuring the Badger net.

3. Going Left Shooting Right: Team Wisconsin’s defenseman Davis Bunz/Middleton WI went left (goalie left at least four times scoring twice on shots from the top of the left faceoff circle with quick hard shots to bring the Badgers back into their game against Luther’s.

4. Starkey/Sonion’s #18 and Luther’s #20: Hockey games are easy to watch if one sort of relaxes and takes in the whole game.  Players then just “pop out”.  Starkey/Sonion split their Saturday games but sophomore defenseman Clayton Phillips/Edina “popped out”.  He played well especially when transitioning back to defense after leading a Starkey rush.  Phillips was always a great skater but has become even better as he has matured.  Luther’s sophomore center Jaxson Nelson popped out also.  Saturday, Nelson centered Luverne teammate Chaz Smedsrud in a role reversal (Smedsrud centers a line at Luverne and Nelson often plays wing and then drops to defense on the same shift).  UMHSEL fans need to enjoy these two players this year, they will likely move on in the hockey world in 2016.  Nelson is nearly 6’4” and has great instinct on the ice.  One wants to yell at him “get in the game” until one realizes he made the correct play.  Both Phillips and Nelson were easy YHH Top 50 peewee A picks in 2012/2013.

Starkey/Sonion's Sam Walker/Edina (#10) scores this goal against Colorado.

5. Combo’s: There are number of combos (two forwards) that had good weekends.  The two most interesting combos are Duluth East’s duo of Ash Altmann and Lucas Dow playing on the Muscle Milk team and Detroit Lakes’ Jon Richards combined with Ryan Peterson/Duluth East.  Altmann, Dow, and Peterson was the #2 line for the Hounds at state last March and should be the top line for the Hounds at state this coming March.  This fall, they are likely to battle each other to be among the top scorers in the UMHSEL.

6. Colorado had two Millens: Corey Millen, the Minnesota Wilderness head coach, was on the bench for Colorado Rampage games this weekend. That made it two Millens on the bench with Corey joining Luke Millen.

7. Team Wisconsin breakout: The Badgers continued to show great ability on the breakout play starting inside their zone.   They have done this the past three years, moving the puck efficiently especially if given room by their opponent’s defense.

8. Hlinka Memorial Returnee: Casey Mittelstadt posted 7 points/3 goals playing four games for the USA U18 team that won the Hlinka Memorial last month in Europe.  Mittelstadt will be playing for the Gophers in 2017-2018 and will first eligible for the NHL Draft in June 2017.

What is next?

Tuesday evening, MAP and Mpls/St. Paul will tangle in a league game played at New Hope North.  The league leading and unbeaten Mappers should be starting Will Swanson/Mahtomedi at goal and the Magaziners will likely have Josh Benson/Stillwater in the nets.  The goaltending will likely be the deciding factor in Tuesday’s game.   Then on the weekend, the league play splits with games played at Wausau WI’s Greenheck Arena and at Grand Rapids MN’s Ice Arena.  Team Wisconsin hosts the Wausau games Saturday and Sunday with the Chicago Fury joining the play for their annual three game set.  The Fury ended last season ranked #35 nationally.  MAP and the Magaziners will join Team Wisconsin and the Fury.  The Sunday’s game between MAP and Team Wisconsin will kindle old flames.  MAP knocked Team Wisconsin out of last season’s UMHSEL playoffs behind the play of center Chase Ellingson/Breck and goaltender Alex Schilling/Wayazata.

At Grand Rapids, the Muscle Men (Team North) will host Luther’s, the TCF Bankers, and Starkey’s in a three game set.  This regular schedule second week end of games in Grand Rapids has been dominated in the past by the Northern Minnesota based teams Muscle Milk and Luther’s.  The Grand Rapids weekend is a classic “north versus Twin Cities” hockey rivalry.  With the Muscle Milk (Team North) winning two of three last weekend, the MMers could be in first place after this weekend’s “home stand” as the result of playing in front rabid pro “north” fans.  The cheering for them at the Rapids IRA Civic Center might seem strange for Hermantown’s Cole Koepke or Duluth East’s Lucas Dow and Ash Altmann.    

Starkey's Connor Clemons/Prior Lake (#22) tips this shot from Peter Heimbold/Benilde-St. Margaret's past the Colorado goalie to tie the game 1-1 in the first period.