2022 Section 3A Playoffs

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Who wins Section 3A?

New Ulm
1
13%
Mankato East
3
38%
Luverne
1
13%
Seeds #4-#10
3
38%
 
Total votes: 8

ClassAGuy
Posts: 934
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:51 pm

2022 Section 3A Playoffs

Post by ClassAGuy » Sun Feb 20, 2022 12:13 pm

Section 3A Official Seeding (10 Teams)
Team- (Overall Record)
1- New Ulm - (19-6-0)
2- Mankato East- (14-10-1)
3- Luverne- (14-10-0)
4- Marshall- (14-11-0)
5- Windom- (11-13-1)
6- Worthington- (12-13-0)
7- Mankato West- (7-18-0)
8- Fairmont- (8-16-0)
9- Minnesota River- (5-19-1)
10- Redwood Valley-(2-19-0)

Section 3A Playoff Bracket
Play-In Round (2/22/22) @ High Seed
#8 Fairmont 5 #9 Minnesota River 2
#7 Mankato West 10 #10 Redwood Valley 0

Quarterfinals (2/24/22) @ High Seed
#1 New Ulm 10 #8 Fairmont 1
#5 Windom 7 #4 Marshall 1
#3 Luverne 7 #6 Worthington 1
#2 Mankato East 6 #7 Mankato West 0

Semifinals (2/26/22) @ High Seed
#1 New Ulm 4 #5 Windom 3
#2 Mankato East 7 #3 Luverne 1

Section Final (3/2/2022) @ Mayo Health System Events Center
#2 Mankato East 6 #1 New Ulm 0

Section 3A Champions: Mankato East (17-10-1)

2022 Section 3A Playoffs Preview

The claim that southwestern Minnesota isn’t a hockey hotbed doesn’t surprise anyone. The area is known more for basketball powerhouses than its hockey programs, which often have to travel huge distances to schedule games. Kind of an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality if you will or referred to as the cupcake part of the State. Section 3A did get a needed makeover with section realignment last spring gone now are the three geographic outliers -LDC, Willmar & Hutch and in came more appropriate teams Mankato East & West and Minnesota River. Many assumed that this would create an easy path for the Mankato’s to State but as we have seen this winter that might not be the case.

Number 1 seed New Ulm (19-6-0) has done what they can control and beat all the Section 3A teams they played twice as they were not afforded the opportunity to play either Mankato school this winter. Beating up the rest of 3A was enough to help them secure the number one seed and home ice throughout the playoffs. Senior Braxten Hoffman and Sophomore Austin Uecker both have over 20 goals and center their top two lines. Defenders Junior Jack Albrecht and Senior Josh Gulden have both been a great source of offense from the blueline and Dawson Sellner has assumed the starting role in the net for the Eagles.

Number 2 seed Mankato East (14-10-1) came into the season as the presumed favorite even after losing their top five point producers and 4 year program staples to graduation from the year before. The Cougars got off to a fast start however they hit some trouble near the end of the year losing six of their last eleven games however the hope is that the tougher schedule they play rather than Section 3A teams will help better prepare them for a section playoff run. This team doesn’t have the big scoring forwards like the rest of the section but they use a more balanced approach and are led by Junior Shae Gavin and Senior Quintin Steindl lead this group in scoring. Senior Caelin Brueske returned to become the starter in net after taking his junior season off. This team has depth and will be tough for the rest of the 3A bunch to match up with outside of New Ulm.

Number 3 seed Luverne (14-10-0) had a bounce back season after two down years of late. While we are not talking about your RollCardsRoll Era Luverne team here it may be they are just a year away. Their Top 4 D and Top 6 scoring forwards are all underclassmen and Junior Brock Behrend and Sophomore’s Patrick Kroski and Owen Sudenga have put up some very nice numbers and they also have a good freshman defender in Blaik Bork to make this Luverne squad dangerous. Sophomore Tyler Arends has played every minute in net and the Cardinals have beaten every 3A team twice beyond New Ulm and the two Mankato’s who they did not play. Their lack of depth will hurt them against the top two in this section but they should be able to make a push this year and build on it and be very dangerous next winter.

Number 4 seed Marshall (14-11-0) has had a very up and down season but it was a major improvement from their 5 win Covid campaign the year before. Senior forwards Jared Reinsma and Braxton Meyer have both had huge offensive years and Sophomore Defender Talen Plante has been the Tigers best overall player. However, beyond that it's more of the same in this section with depth issues and they haven't gotten the consistent goaltending needed to compete with the upper part of this section.

Number 5 seed Windom (11-13-1) really had a disappointing year considering that they had come back from a team that won 12 games and was 2nd in the Big South Conference last year. The Espenson boys, Junior Brady & Senior Zach, do it all for this Windom team. They still will get a match up with Marshall who they split with during the year in the Quarterfinals and if they can win it would be the first time in program history they would reach the Section Semifinals so they can still make some program history.

Number 6 seed Worthington (12-13-0) is having their best season in the last 15 years and maybe ever in their program history. This is a senior heavy team that has just come up short in tight losses to New Ulm, Luverne and Marshall this winter. They have balanced scoring of Seniors leading the way in Alec Langerud, Konner Honius, Andrew Benson, Blake Luinenburg and Blake Ahrenstorff. Senior goaltender Steven Adams has had some good and bad games and will be key for the Trojans if they want to make their first Section Semifinal in program history.

Number 7 seed Mankato West (7-18-0) is better than their record indicates and will be a nightmare first round match up in the 3A Quarterfinals. However, due to not playing anyone from 3A outside of their old 1A partner East and MN River they really dont have much of an argument to be seeded any higher. They have been improving and Senior Gavin Brunmeier and Sophomore Gage Schmidt led the way for a Scarlets team that has had major issues keeping the puck out of their own net.

Number 8 seed Fairmont (8-16-0) has had a nice year to rebound from last year’s winless campaign. Senior Eli Anderson has led the way for the Cardinals who are still lacking the depth and goaltending needed to make any kind of playoff run.

Number 9 seed Minnesota River (5-19-1) biggest season highlight was their 3-1 win over Mankato West as they have mostly struggled going (2-13-0) against the rest of Section 3A. Sophomore Drew Simonette has been the lone bright spot coming up from the Bantam ranks to lead the team in scoring in his first varsity campaign.

Number 10 Seed Redwood Valley (2-19-0) has had a very tough year. Sophomore Rylan Bisel has led the way up front for a young depth depleted group that can hopefully grow and improve next winter.
Last edited by ClassAGuy on Thu Mar 03, 2022 7:49 am, edited 5 times in total.

ClassAGuy
Posts: 934
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:51 pm

Re: 2022 Section 3A Playoffs

Post by ClassAGuy » Sun Feb 20, 2022 3:16 pm

Section 3A Playoffs Play-In Games (2/22/2022)

#9 seed Minnesota River (5-19-1) vs #8 Seed Fairmont (8-16-0) @ Martin County Arena, Fairmont, MN
These two teams met twice during the regular season with Fairmont sweeping the season series. Both games were close but had different styles. The first game Fairmont fell behind 2-5 before roaring back behind Junior Brock Lutterman 4 goal night to win 8-6. The second game was tightly contested with Fairmont winning 3-2. The Bulldogs will want to play more of a low scoring style as they dont have the scoring prowess that Fairmont offers. This should be a good game between two teams looking for a positive note to end their year on.

#10 seed Redwood Valley (2-19-0) vs #7 Seed Mankato West (7-18-0) @ All Seasons Arena, Mankato, MN
Mankato West looks like the favorite in this game. While they didn’t meet in the regular season the Scarlets played a much tough schedule and Redwood Valley has really struggled this year. Mankato West has also struggled to keep the puck out of their net but they won't be as big of an issue vs. Redwood Valley due to them really struggling to score goals this year. The winner of this game will play #2 seeded Mankato East in the Section 3A Quarterfinals.

ClassAGuy
Posts: 934
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:51 pm

Re: 2022 Section 3A Playoffs

Post by ClassAGuy » Thu Feb 24, 2022 11:43 am

Section 3A Playoffs Play-In Games (2/23/2022) Recaps

Fairmont 5 Minnesota River 2
Minnesota River jumped out to 2-1 lead after 1 period and looked like they were prime to get some revenge for the regular season sweep. However, it was Fairmont that would battle back and beat the Bulldogs for a third time this year. Eli Anderson scored the go ahead goal to put Fairmont ahead 3-2 and they didn't look back from there. The Cardinals move on the Section 3A Quarterfinals tonight when they travel to #1 seed New Ulm.

Mankato West 10 Redwood Valley 0
Mankato West dominated Redwood Valley as they outshot them 57-7 and scored multiple goals in all three periods to pick up the double digit win. Gage Schmidt led the way as his two first period goals would prove to be more than enough for the win. Now they will set their sights on their cross town rival Mankato East in what should be a very intense Section 3A Quarterfinal Game tonight.

ClassAGuy
Posts: 934
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:51 pm

Re: 2022 Section 3A Playoffs

Post by ClassAGuy » Thu Feb 24, 2022 1:49 pm

Section 3A Playoffs Quarterfinal Games (2/24/2022)

#8 seed Fairmont (9-16-0) vs #1 seed New Ulm (19-6-0) @ New Ulm Civic Center, New Ulm, MN
These two teams met twice during the year with New Ulm sweeping the season series. Fairmont will hope the game is more like the second meeting when they were able to hang out for most of the game. New Ulm however has dominated its Big South Foes all season and has a win streak vs conference opponents that dates back to 3 years ago. Look for more of the same here with the winner moving on to the Section 3A Semis.

#5 seed Windom (11-13-1) vs #4 seed Marshall (14-11-0) @ Red Baron Arena, Marshall, MN
These two teams split the regular season series during the year with both teams winning on the road in close games. This one appears to be a toss up as they both appear to be equally matched. Windom is looking to make program history and advance to the Section Semifinals for the first time ever. Meanwhile Marshall is looking to get back to being one of the top 4 teams in 3A like they have been historically in 3A before last year's 5 win campaign. This will be a good one that could go either way as both programs could use the win for different reasons.

#6 seed Worhington (11-13-2) vs #3 seed Luverne (14-10-0) @ Blue Mound Ice Arena, Luverne, MN
These two teams played twice during the regular season with Luverne sweeping the series over Worthington. Both games were closely contested so the Trojans know they can compete in this game. Worthington is looking to make the Section Semifinals for the first time in program history with a large group of seniors. Meanwhile a young Luverne squad is looking to get a playoff win to help them grow as they will be a contender next winter. Should be a good Southwest MN battle with the winner moving on to the Section Semis.

#7 seed Mankato West (8-18-0) vs #2 seed Mankato East (14-10-1) @ All Seasons Arena, Mankato, MN
I don’t think anyone could have predicted these two programs playing the Quarterfinals when the Section realignments came out. Mankato West has had a very rough year but they will get one more shot at their cross town rival with an opportunity to spoil their years. Mankato East is looking to make up for last year's Quarterfinal upset when they were upset as the #2 seed due to Covid concerns. This game will be electric with both of these fierce cross town rivals giving their youth hockey buddies all they have for the right to the city of Mankato bragging rights and a spot in the Section 3 Semis.

ClassAGuy
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Re: 2022 Section 3A Playoffs

Post by ClassAGuy » Thu Feb 24, 2022 9:46 pm

Section 3A Playoffs Quarterfinal Games (2/24/2022) Recaps

New Ulm 10 Fairmont 1
New Ulm used a seven goal second period to put the game away against Fairmont. Austin Uecker and Braxten Hoffman led the way as they each had 2 goals while centering the Eagles top two line.New Ulm outshot Fairmont 42-27 and will now move on to host Windom in the Section 3A Semifinals on Saturday.

Windom 7 Marshall 1
Windom scored multiple goals in every period they jumped out 2-0 after 1 period then 5-0 after 2 periods and finished Marshall who came away with a monumental program win. For the first time in Windom hockey history they will advance to the Section semifinals and they will head New Ulm on Saturday who they have played close twice this year for the the Section 3A Semifinals.

Luverne 7 Worthington 1
Luverne won for the third time over Worthington as they blew open a game that was tied 0-0 after 1 period of play. A 4 goal second period and then 3 more in the third period put it into running time. Brock Behrend and Elliott Domagala had big offensive nights for the Cardinals who overwhelmed the Trojans. Luverne will now head to Mankato on Saturday for the Section 3A Semi-finals.

Mankato East 6 Mankato West 0
Mankato East used a 4 goal second period to blow open a tied 0-0 game. The Cougars were able to beat their cross town rivals for a third time when it mattered the most in the Section playoffs. Senior Caelin Bruseke tied a program single season shutout record by recording his 8th shutout on the year. Pretty impressive for a young man who quit hockey last year, a nice comeback year for him and now Mankato East will host the Section 3A Semifinal.

ClassAGuy
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Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:51 pm

Re: 2022 Section 3A Playoffs

Post by ClassAGuy » Fri Feb 25, 2022 10:48 am

Section 3A Playoffs Semifinal Games (2/26/2022)

#5 seed Windom (12-13-1) vs #1 seed New Ulm (20-6-0) @ New Ulm Civic Center, New Ulm, MN
These two teams met twice during the regular season and New Ulm blew out Windom in the first matchup and appeared to be well on their way to doing the same in the 2nd match up when they went up 4-0 in the 2nd period. However, in the second game Windom was able to get back into the game and make it 4-3 and carry the pace of play late. For a program entering its first ever Section Semifinal they will look to build on that late game comeback to try and inspire confidence they can pull the upset. New Ulm has dominated their Big South opponents this year and they showed in the Quarterfinals they are not messing around with giving teams belief as they blew out Fairmont, who beat Windom, 10-1. This one appears to have New Ulm as the heavy favorite but regardless, bravo to Windom for making program history and there is hope they can make this one a game.

#3 seed Luverne (15-10-0) vs #2 seed Mankato East (15-10-1) @ All Seasons Arena, Mankato, MN
These two did not meet in the regular season as Luverne played mainly a Big South Schedule while Mankato East stuck mainly to their Big Nine Schedule. On paper Luverne plays just two lines of all underclassmen that are led by Junior Brock Behrend and Sophomore Patrick Kroski. Mankato East has much more depth and Junior Shae Gavin and Senior Quintin Steindl lead this group in scoring while Senior goaltender Caelin Brueske has had an outstanding year in the net. The Cougars look like the heavy favorite here as Luverne is a year away as they dont play a senior in any major minute role and will return their entire core next year and Mankato East has played a much better schedule and has a big advantage in depth.

jeffpv
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Re: 2022 Section 3A Playoffs

Post by jeffpv » Sat Feb 26, 2022 5:54 pm

Windom just getting railroaded by the home refs in New Ulm. Comically bad phantom hooking calls in the 3rd after Windom made it 3-2. Resulting 5 on 3 makes it 4-2. First time I have seen New Ulm this year, and they are not appreciably better than Windom. Doesn't bode well for State, especially presuming they get Warroad or H-Town in the first round (should New Ulm make it of course).
Another terrible call just as I post this. Crazily bad reffing, wow :shock:

jeffpv
Posts: 143
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Re: 2022 Section 3A Playoffs

Post by jeffpv » Sat Feb 26, 2022 5:57 pm

Windom scores to make it 4-3 with about 4:00 remaining.

Final score 4-3 New Ulm.

ClassAGuy
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Re: 2022 Section 3A Playoffs

Post by ClassAGuy » Sun Feb 27, 2022 11:44 am

Section 3A Playoffs Semifinal Games (2/26/2022) Recaps

New Ulm 4 Windom 3
Windom appearing in its first ever Section Semi final game gave New Ulm all that they wanted and were tied 1-1 after the 1st period having the better chances. New Ulm was able to use a good 2nd period to jump out 3-1 but Windom would not go away cutting into that lead to make it 3-2 early in the third period. However, almost immediately after cutting the lead to one Windom would be called for consecutive penalties and Braxten Hoffman would capitalize on the 5 vs 3 powerplay and score the eventual game winning goal. Windom did make it 4-3 and gave New Ulm a scare but in the end the penalties in the third were too much to overcome. New Ulm will now head to the Section 3A Final.

Mankato East 7 Luverne 1
Luverne’s Brock Behrend would score about 2 minutes into the game off a bad early neutral zone turnover by Mankato East to go up 1-0 and that was about all that went right for the Cardinals. Mankato East would respond to take 2-1 lead at the end of one and then like in the Quarterfinals they used a big 2nd period to blow open the game Shea Gavin’s two goals helped lead the 4 goal period and Mankato East would not look back from there. The Cougars ended up outshooting Luverne 54-21 but more importantly they outshot them 38-13 in the final two periods wearing out the thin Cardinals bench. Mankato East will now head to the Section Final for the 3rd time in the last 5 years.

ClassAGuy
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Re: 2022 Section 3A Playoffs

Post by ClassAGuy » Sun Feb 27, 2022 11:44 am

Section 3A Playoffs Championship Game (3/2/2022)

#2 seed Mankato East (16-10-1) vs #1 New Ulm (21-6-0) @ Mayo Health System Events Center, Mankato, MN
This match up has been predicted all year as these two have been the class of Section 3A since the start. New Ulm got to the Section Final by dominating Big South Conference play as they went (18-0-0) against Conference teams but they do have questions as they are only (3-6-0) in the nine games outside of conference play. Mankato East comes having played a tougher schedule and after last year’s COVID protocols knocked out their best team in years this group seems determined to get back to State when many didn’t see them doing so at the start of the year. New Ulm has two big time centers that anchor their first two lines in Senior Braxten Hoffman and Sophomore Austin Uecker both have over 20 goals along with minute eating and point oroducincing defenders Junior Jack Albrecht and Senior Josh Gulden. Mankato East on the other hand doesn't have star players, rather they come at you in waves and they really have just worn down their 3A opponents in the first two games, outscoring teams 12-0 combined in the 2nd and 3rd periods of the first two playoff games and Senior goalie Caelin Bruseke shuts the door on opposing offensive attack . The Cougars look like the favorite here but again if we know anything about 3A it's to expect the unexpected as these teams battle at the Mayo Health System Events Center in Mankato on Wednesday night.

ClassAGuy
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Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 6:51 pm

Re: 2022 Section 3A Playoffs

Post by ClassAGuy » Thu Mar 03, 2022 7:49 am

Section 3A Playoffs Championship Game (3/2/2022) Recap

Mankato East 6 New Ulm 0
The game was scoreless after one period tied at 0-0 between Mankato East and New Ulm. However it was again a big second period effort by the Cougars who used that period to blow open all 3 section playoff games this time they scored 4 goals. Sophomore Christian Theuninck would score the game winning goal to make it 1-0 and the floodgates opened up from there as Mankato East used their depth and diversified scoring to overwhelm the Eagles. Senior Caelin Bruseke set a school record for single season shutouts by recording his 9th shutout on the year and the Cougars are heading back to the State Tournament for the 3rd time in 5 years.

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