AA Rankings for 1/6/19

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karl(east)
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AA Rankings for 1/6/19

Post by karl(east) » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:42 am

Most teams are hitting the halfway point in their schedules now. We have a fairly obvious top four, and while the general groupings of teams beyond that weren’t especially hard to figure this week there is room for plenty of debate as to where each team slots in within those groups. Rankings:

1. Minnetonka (14-0)
-The Skippers are leaving less and less doubt as the season goes along. This past week, that meant strong wins over Benilde and Duluth East; they scored five goals in each and continue to limit all opposition to two goals or less. The challenges don’t stop coming now, and if they can remain undefeated against this schedule as we move toward Lake play, we can start talking about this team doing something really special. While I won’t guarantee it, I think they are now in a place where they can lose a game (other than their upcoming contest with Andover) and remain #1.
This week: Thurs vs. #7 White Bear Lake, Sat at Hermantown

2. Andover (11-0-1)
-The Huskies also continue to plug steadily along as they used their depth and defense to wear down Elk River and Centennial. They’ve got a top five matchup on Thursday, which will give them a chance to further solidify their elite standing; first, though, they need to get past a quality Blake team that got some attention with a win over Eden Prairie last week.
This week: Tues at Blake, Thurs at #4 Maple Grove, Sat at Duluth Marshall

3. Edina (11-1-1)
-The Hornets took care of business in one of their easier weeks, with a methodical win over Lakeville South and a drubbing of St. Louis Park. Just one game this week, but it’s against aforementioned Blake.
This week: Sat vs. Blake

4. Maple Grove (10-1-1)
-The Crimson let a couple of just-outside-the-top-25 teams stick with them this week, but got the necessary wins over Centennial and Grand Rapids to stay put here. A battle for frontrunner status in the Northwest Suburban is up next.
This week: Thurs vs. #2 Andover, Sat vs. Anoka

5. Duluth East (8-3-1)
-The Hounds continue to be hit-or-miss offensively, as they flashed their potential against Stillwater but got smothered by Minnetonka. They can match the forward depth of the top two teams, who have accounted for two of their three losses, but the defense has its wobbly moments, and Frederick Paine’s health will be a key moving forward. This ranking feels a bit high, but Blaine has zero top 25 wins to East’s five and the Hounds beat White Bear, so I’m not sure who else realistically fills this spot. A busy week against a couple of rivals and another top ten team awaits.
This week: Mon at Duluth Denfeld, Thurs vs. Grand Rapids, Sat vs. #8 Eden Prairie

6. Blaine (7-2-2)
-The Bengals had a strong week with a pair of shutout wins, including a 6-0 blitz of respectable Elk River. Just one game this week, but it is a shot at a win over a respectable team; they’ve played top teams well, but quality wins are the bread and butter of these rankings, and they haven’t beaten anyone better than Elk River or Centennial or St. Michael-Albertville yet this season.
This week: Sat vs. Holy Family

7. White Bear Lake (10-1-1)
-An overtime win over Stillwater has the Bears sitting pretty for the top seed in 4AA. They haven’t had an easy time with Hill or the Ponies, but they are doing what they need to do to avoid a tough section semifinal. A busy week awaits, including a crack at #1.
This week: Tues at Park (Cottage Grove), Thurs at #1 Minnetonka, Sat vs. Woodbury

8. Eden Prairie (8-4-1)
-The Eagles can officially go into the inconsistent bucket now following a loss to Blake. While they have the depth and talent to control most games they play, they do seem prone to some defensive lapses, often allowing 4-6 goals in games against strong competition. They now make their bi-annual road trip up to the Duluth area; a win over East could restore them to #5, barring any surprises among the teams around them.
This week: Fri at Cloquet, Sat at #5 Duluth East

9. St. Thomas Academy (9-3-1)
-It hasn’t been as flashy as past St. Thomas teams have been, but the Cadets got an all-important section win over Rosemount and got past Mahtomedi. Their next two are a rivalry game against a relative underachiever and a battle with a Hastings team that jumped on to the radar with a win over Eagan two weeks ago.
This week: Tues vs. Cretin-Derham Hall, Thurs at Hastings

10. Rosemount (11-2)
-The Irish put up a spirited fight but fell to St. Thomas Academy. That brings their ranking back down to earth after I pushed them high last week to punish some teams that didn’t impress me, but in the bigger picture, they’ve proven they have no trouble going stride-for-stride with the Cadets, and a 3AA final rematch could go either way. On paper this looked like a huge week in the South Suburban as recently as two weeks ago, but with Eagan in freefall and North not exactly lighting things up, these now qualify as games the Irish really should win.
This week: Tues at Eagan, Sat vs. Lakeville North

11. Chaska (9-5)
-The Hawks edged Greenway in overtime, and while the Raiders certainly are a respectable opponent, the tight margin does show that they haven’t just flipped a switch that will allow them to roll over anyone in their way: this team just runs the risk of losing to opponents they shouldn’t lose to. That should not be a concern this week, however.
This week: Thurs vs. St. Louis Park

12. Benilde-St. Margaret’s (10-4)
-The Red Knights suffered the same fate against Minnetonka that most teams do, but the overtime win over Hill both builds on recent momentum and shows they can win a grinding defensive game, too. They now head into conference play, which should mostly mean safe wins outside of the Chaska matchup.
This week: Thurs vs. Bloomington Jefferson

13. Wayzata (8-4-2)
-The Trojans are now officially in the perplexing category after they lost to Alexandria but bounced back to crush Moorhead. In large part that’s a function of their grinding style; what matters is that they can go toe-to-toe with anyone when on their game, but are also vulnerable to upsets. Their schedule now has a bit of a lull before Lake Conference action begins.
This week: Thurs vs. Eastview

14. Hill-Murray (8-3-1)
-A loss to Benilde continues to leave the Pioneers spinning their wheels; that convincing win over St. Thomas remains their only real quality win against AA competition. This week features an important section battle and a rematch with a team that gave them a one-goal game the first time around.
This week: Thurs vs. Stillwater, Sat vs. Mahtomedi

15. Moorhead (8-6)
-The lopsided loss to Wayzata hurts the Spuds’ standing; it’s hard to call them all quality losses given some of the margins, even if all of the opponents are good. That said, they’ve done just enough in their wins and a couple of well-played losses to cling to a spot in the top 15 for now. A Class A power is up next.
This week: Tues vs. East Grand Forks, Sat vs. Bloomington Jefferson

The Next Ten

Blake (8-3)
-An upset of Eden Prairie has the Bears trending back toward the top 15. This next week will not be easy, with two of the top three teams in the state on the schedule in Andover and Edina, plus a game with Minnehaha Academy sandwiched in between.

Lakeville South (6-5)
-After a respectable showing against Edina and an overtime win over Eagan, the Cougars are opening up a little space between themselves and the rest of 1AA. Two passable conference foes, Eastview and Prior Lake, await.

Cretin-Derham Hall (6-4-1)
-Even a win over East Ridge took some effort, but the Raiders got it done. If they’re going to climb back into things, a statement against rival St. Thomas would be a good place to start this week.

Roseau (9-2-1)
-The Rams continue to do what they need to do against 8AA opponents and finished off Brainerd 3-0 on the strength of three power play goals. Their losses are a bit weaker than some of the other teams in this area, but they also just have less of them, and have enough quality results to counteract them. They now embark on a Class A journey that includes archrival Warroad and a Greenway team that seems to be putting things together recently.

Champlin Park (6-3)
-Continued their strong defensive record with shutouts of Coon Rapids and Irondale. Just one game this week in their extremely backloaded schedule, which features Armstrong/Cooper.

Holy Family (6-6-1)
-Pounded Grand Rapids in their only action. We’ll see if they can make anything of Blaine this week; that’s the only game of interest they have over the next few weeks.

Stillwater (7-5)
-Whether the product of a crazy schedule or just the reality of exposure to good teams, the Ponies are suffering now: with a rough road trip north and an overtime loss in a key section game, they are 1-5 in their past six. They obviously played White Bear close enough to keep themselves in the race, though. A big week in the section awaits, as they battle Hill and an East Ridge team that tied White Bear.

Lakeville North (7-5)
-Needing overtime to beat Farmington isn’t exactly a résumé booster, and shows how open the 1AA race may be. That said, they got the win, and have a big battle with Rosemount coming up this week.

Cloquet (5-8)
-A sound win over Stillwater has the Jacks sneaking back toward contention. A home game with Eden Prairie looms this week.

Hastings (9-2)
-Eagan’s rapid demise takes some of the luster off the Raiders’ win last week, but the Wildcats are the next team in line here, and I see no reason to drop Hastings out to accommodate a team they beat head-to-head. They beat Owatonna last week, but now get some big tests, including their first front-line opponent in St. Thomas Academy and respectable Tartan.

kniven
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Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:40 pm

Re: AA Rankings for 1/6/19

Post by kniven » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:19 am

Well done, KarlEast. I do not envy your ranking response ibilities right now though. Yikes A Hoi.......

mnmouth
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Re: AA Rankings for 1/6/19

Post by mnmouth » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:02 am

karl(east) wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:42 am
. . . 5. Duluth East (8-3-1)
-The Hounds continue to be hit-or-miss offensively, as they flashed their potential against Stillwater but got smothered by Minnetonka. They can match the forward depth of the top two teams, who have accounted for two of their three losses, but the defense has its wobbly moments, and Frederick Paine’s health will be a key moving forward. This ranking feels a bit high, but Blaine has zero top 25 wins to East’s five and the Hounds beat White Bear, so I’m not sure who else realistically fills this spot. A busy week against a couple of rivals and another top ten team awaits.
This week: Mon at Duluth Denfeld, Thurs vs. Grand Rapids, Sat vs. #8 Eden Prairie
. . .
The Greyhounds will continue to be hit or miss offensively (and likely miss more often that hit) until their best player – Donovan – starts hitting the back of the net. It is almost inconceivable that a kid with that skill set – speed, skating ability, hands in tight spaces, and vision – has only 6 goals this season and continually whiffs on his wide-open opportunities. If he scores on that short-handed breakaway in the title game last year, then that game quite likely heads in a different direction. Same with his chances yesterday. He ought to be averaging a goal per game. And to everyone out there who says he’s not that type of player, I ask, why is a kid with that skill set not scoring more goals? Because if he does not start finishing, then Section 7AA will have its first southern representative at State in years, no matter that the Hounds can match offensive depth with every team out there.

hockey59
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Re: AA Rankings for 1/6/19

Post by hockey59 » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:06 am

mnmouth wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:02 am
karl(east) wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:42 am
. . . 5. Duluth East (8-3-1)
-The Hounds continue to be hit-or-miss offensively, as they flashed their potential against Stillwater but got smothered by Minnetonka. They can match the forward depth of the top two teams, who have accounted for two of their three losses, but the defense has its wobbly moments, and Frederick Paine’s health will be a key moving forward. This ranking feels a bit high, but Blaine has zero top 25 wins to East’s five and the Hounds beat White Bear, so I’m not sure who else realistically fills this spot. A busy week against a couple of rivals and another top ten team awaits.
This week: Mon at Duluth Denfeld, Thurs vs. Grand Rapids, Sat vs. #8 Eden Prairie
. . .
The Greyhounds will continue to be hit or miss offensively (and likely miss more often that hit) until their best player – Donovan – starts hitting the back of the net. It is almost inconceivable that a kid with that skill set – speed, skating ability, hands in tight spaces, and vision – has only 6 goals this season and continually whiffs on his wide-open opportunities. If he scores on that short-handed breakaway in the title game last year, then that game quite likely heads in a different direction. Same with his chances yesterday. He ought to be averaging a goal per game. And to everyone out there who says he’s not that type of player, I ask, why is a kid with that skill set not scoring more goals? Because if he does not start finishing, then Section 7AA will have its first southern representative at State in years, no matter that the Hounds can match offensive depth with every team out there.
Very accurate assessment by mnmouth☝️I was standing on the rail next to 3 NHL scouts & when RD missed the breakaway they were all scribbling notes (not likely a good thing) Put simply, RD needs to do a better job of handling the pressure of being “the guy” this year rather than being super talented “support guy” like he was last year. There’s still time for him to spark the Hounds down the stretch...but I think it’s safe to say his Mr Hockey prospects have tumbled pretty far...relative to pre-season expectations 🥅🏒

HShockeywatcher
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Re: AA Rankings for 1/6/19

Post by HShockeywatcher » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:42 am

Roseau is looking good. Their first 4 games weren't great, but they've won 8 in a row included 6-2 over Moorhead in the 2nd game on the streak. With Warroad x2, EGF x2, Greenway, and Thief River Falls, most of their remaining competition is in Class A.

I'm also intrigued with whether Blake can get more than 1 win this week...

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