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Final AA Rankings 2018

 
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karl(east)



Joined: 18 Jul 2007
Posts: 5855

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 6:22 pm    Post subject: Final AA Rankings 2018 Reply with quote

Better late than never, one last time:

1. MINNETONKA
-The Skippers proved the most complete in a field of elite teams, as they kept up their relentless scoring pace and momentum throughout the State Tournament. Their puck possession was the best in the state, and they’re loaded for a run at a repeat if their top players stick around.

2. Duluth East
-The Greyhounds closed strong with an impressive win over Edina and a quality performance in a losing cause against Minnetonka. While they had a couple of bumps in the regular season, their skill was never in question, and they showed it near the end. This was one of their most complete groups in a while, but they won’t be going anywhere.

3. Edina
-The Hornets had the most firepower of anyone, but proved vulnerable in back when it counted most. They rolled their way to third place, though there will be some what-ifs with this group, as they went 1-3 against the two teams above them, and couldn’t beat either of them in a close game. As with Minnetonka, they’ll be right back up at the top if they can hold on to everyone, and fine even if they don’t.

4. Holy Family
-The Fire get some credit for coming within 3 seconds of ending the state champs’ season, and while they weren’t as strong top to bottom as the top three, they were right behind them all along. These past two seasons may have been their best shot to break through, though, barring another transfer surge.

5. Centennial
-It was a strong year for the Cougars, as they broke 5AA’s quarterfinal curse and jumped up early on Minnetonka before succumbing to reality. This group of seniors leaves with lot to be proud of.

6. St. Thomas Academy
-The Cadets were right there with the top three all season, but were conspicuous in their absence from the X on Friday night. The panic in big games has been a consistent theme, but the talent continues to churn through this program.

7. Andover
-Like Holy Family, deserves a lot of credit for giving one of the big three all it could handle in a section final, despite being outgunned. The future is bright here.

8. St. Michael-Albertville
-The Knights rode a late season surge to a first ever State Tournament berth. They’ll miss a lot of quality seniors, but a couple of sophomores

9. Wayzata
-Got a nice win over Cretin in the 6AA semis, but were powerless against Edina. They lose two of their better offensive players in recent memory, but with this program’s depth and plug-and-play system, they’re not going anywhere.

10. Cretin-Derham Hall
-The Raiders had a great regular season, including the big win over Holy Family, but couldn’t get past Wayzata. Lots of good pieces moving forward here.

11. Hill-Murray
-Pulled the predictable upset in the 4AA final, though they have now lost seven straight Tournament games. That streak will likely end fairly soon, with a ton of good, young players on their way up.

12. White Bear Lake
-The Bears had a great regular season, but their postseason woes continue. They’ll miss their top line, but a good young group coming up will keep them in the 4AA conversation.

13. Eastview
-Gave St. Thomas a decent push in the 3AA final, but couldn’t close the deal. All in all, a strong season for this program.

14. Moorhead
-The Spuds are left wondering what could have been after their loss to St. Michael-Albertville in the 8AA final. They’ll miss their front-line senior talent, but are still probably the class of 8AA on paper next season.

15. Elk River
-Took a good Andover team to overtime in the 7AA semis. We’ll see if key players return; if not, they may have missed their window in 7AA for the foreseeable future.

Honorable Mention

Lakeville North
-Made the Tournament out of a weak 1AA, and went 0-2 once there. Shrug.

Chaska
-Made a nice step forward with their win over Eden Prairie, and with some key players back, they could be a real presence in 2AA next season.

Rosemount
-The Irish had one of their best seasons ever, and while they bowed out in the section semis, they have reason for optimism going forward.

Duluth Marshall
-Had a strong regular season, but crumbled in the 7AA semis. This was probably their shot.

Brainerd
-Had a respectable regular season, but got caught by the STMA buzzsaw in the 8AA semis.

Looking back on the preseason, underrated teams included Andover, Cretin, and St Michael-Albertville. Overrated teams were Eden Prairie and Blaine; maybe Maple Grove and Cloquet, too. Not my best, not my worst.

Thanks, as always, to everyone for your comments and insights, and to the people who make these possible: the people who stream games so I can watch quality teams all around the state; the people who get scores up quickly and efficiently so I can see what happened; and Lee with PS2, always my point of comparison.

That'll do it for my hockey coverage this year. It's been fun, as always.
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alcloseshaver



Joined: 17 Dec 2012
Posts: 1423
Location: Met Center Press Box

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again for providing our Sunday morning reading material.
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kniven



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 1763
Location: Esko

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Final AA Rankings 2018 Reply with quote

Yes, CEC was overrated. I think a better way to put it would be: The talent was underrated, but the coaching change severely dampened this teams state tournament chances this year. Change is very difficult in life, especially divorce of a program and it’s coach of 18 years.

The kids had a lot of fun this year. Sometimes having fun is more important than winning games, which is ok.

And I predict Cloquet, Esko, and Carlton will be overlooked by most the next 3 years. The coaching change could very well be a long-term positive, but the short-term success, as far as wins and losses, could be a negative. But the kids are having a blast! It is what it is, and I am looking forward to proving the majority wrong the next 3 years. “Good Things” for CEC hockey ☝️
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SpOilerfan



Joined: 17 May 2017
Posts: 114

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Final AA Rankings 2018 Reply with quote

kniven wrote:
Yes, CEC was overrated. I think a better way to put it would be: The talent was underrated, but the coaching change severely dampened this teams state tournament chances this year. Change is very difficult in life, especially divorce of a program and it’s coach of 18 years.

The kids had a lot of fun this year. Sometimes having fun is more important than winning games, which is ok.

And I predict Cloquet, Esko, and Carlton will be overlooked by most the next 3 years. The coaching change could very well be a long-term positive, but the short-term success, as far as wins and losses, could be a negative. But the kids are having a blast! It is what it is, and I am looking forward to proving the majority wrong the next 3 years. “Good Things” for CEC hockey ☝️


Since it has been 10 years since they were even in a section final not sure the old staff may have led them to state, but you keep thinking that!! By the way attendance was way up this year, new staff must have done something right
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kniven



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 1763
Location: Esko

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Final AA Rankings 2018 Reply with quote

I think the new staff is awesome - just different. We’ve got a 3 year window at CEC. As far as talent on the ice, next years talent is the most we’ve had on a high school roster ever - from top to bottom. We are being overlooked. That’s fine. I’m just saying the majority/media would not be overlooking CEC if not the change. That’s obvious. That’s ok though. CEC will be fine Smile
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northwoods oldtimer



Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 2106

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Final AA Rankings 2018 Reply with quote

kniven wrote:
Yes, CEC was overrated. I think a better way to put it would be: The talent was underrated, but the coaching change severely dampened this teams state tournament chances this year. Change is very difficult in life, especially divorce of a program and it’s coach of 18 years.

The kids had a lot of fun this year. Sometimes having fun is more important than winning games, which is ok.

And I predict Cloquet, Esko, and Carlton will be overlooked by most the next 3 years. The coaching change could very well be a long-term positive, but the short-term success, as far as wins and losses, could be a negative. But the kids are having a blast! It is what it is, and I am looking forward to proving the majority wrong the next 3 years. “Good Things” for CEC hockey ☝️


Cloquet will surprise some of the "experts" in 2019! GO LUMBERJACKS!!!! Cloquet bantams just took the consolation at Banta AA state so yet another crop of talent coming up for next season.

Get a goalie Knivsy!! Wink
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kniven



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 1763
Location: Esko

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Final AA Rankings 2018 Reply with quote

Oh man! We have an awesome goalie for sure. Everybody had a case of the “ brain farts” against Grand Rapids and Duluth Marshall the last 2 games of the year. Sometimes teams in sports admire themselves in the mirror so much that they forget to just play the game. It’s easy when their as good lookin as you, but difficult when their less attractive......
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northwoods oldtimer



Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 2106

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:29 am    Post subject: Re: Final AA Rankings 2018 Reply with quote

kniven wrote:
Oh man! We have an awesome goalie for sure. Everybody had a case of the “ brain farts” against Grand Rapids and Duluth Marshall the last 2 games of the year. Sometimes teams in sports admire themselves in the mirror so much that they forget to just play the game. It’s easy when their as good lookin as you, but difficult when their less attractive......


Just saying in order for Cloquet to be good in 2019 they will need steady in nets.
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kniven



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 1763
Location: Esko

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:48 am    Post subject: Re: Final AA Rankings 2018 Reply with quote

northwoods oldtimer wrote:
kniven wrote:
Oh man! We have an awesome goalie for sure. Everybody had a case of the “ brain farts” against Grand Rapids and Duluth Marshall the last 2 games of the year. Sometimes teams in sports admire themselves in the mirror so much that they forget to just play the game. It’s easy when their as good lookin as you, but difficult when their less attractive......


Just saying in order for Cloquet to be good in 2019 they will need steady in nets.


I agree. But that is true for every team.
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Stang5280



Joined: 28 Jun 2017
Posts: 337

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Final AA Rankings 2018 Reply with quote

kniven wrote:
I think the new staff is awesome - just different. We’ve got a 3 year window at CEC. As far as talent on the ice, next years talent is the most we’ve had on a high school roster ever - from top to bottom. We are being overlooked. That’s fine. I’m just saying the majority/media would not be overlooking CEC if not the change. That’s obvious. That’s ok though. CEC will be fine Smile

Better than the early 1980s teams with Corey Millen (who still won the consolation trophy with Millen injured)? Better than the early 1990s teams featuring a top line of JL, Petrov, Novak, and Mrozik on D? That’s a pretty bold statement to make given how great those teams were during their respective eras.
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Upfan111



Joined: 16 May 2017
Posts: 75
Location: Up north

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Final AA Rankings 2018 Reply with quote

Stang5280 wrote:
kniven wrote:
I think the new staff is awesome - just different. We’ve got a 3 year window at CEC. As far as talent on the ice, next years talent is the most we’ve had on a high school roster ever - from top to bottom. We are being overlooked. That’s fine. I’m just saying the majority/media would not be overlooking CEC if not the change. That’s obvious. That’s ok though. CEC will be fine Smile

Better than the early 1980s teams with Corey Millen (who still won the consolation trophy with Millen injured)? Better than the early 1990s teams featuring a top line of JL, Petrov, Novak, and Mrozik on D? That’s a pretty bold statement to make given how great those teams were during their respective eras.


Coaching was better for those teams too.
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kniven



Joined: 20 Feb 2011
Posts: 1763
Location: Esko

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Final AA Rankings 2018 Reply with quote

Stang5280 wrote:
kniven wrote:
I think the new staff is awesome - just different. We’ve got a 3 year window at CEC. As far as talent on the ice, next years talent is the most we’ve had on a high school roster ever - from top to bottom. We are being overlooked. That’s fine. I’m just saying the majority/media would not be overlooking CEC if not the change. That’s obvious. That’s ok though. CEC will be fine Smile

Better than the early 1980s teams with Corey Millen (who still won the consolation trophy with Millen injured)? Better than the early 1990s teams featuring a top line of JL, Petrov, Novak, and Mrozik on D? That’s a pretty bold statement to make given how great those teams were during their respective eras.


The sophomore”s went to state twice in peewees and twice in bantams. Juniors once in peewees and twice in bantams. Seniors once in peewees and once in bantams. We keep all our players. 2 Langenbrunner kids on this years team. On paper - this team is severely talented. It takes more than talent to win games. CEC usually struggles in the talent department but coaching has all ways been a staple here along with hard work and a big dose of Lumberjack hockey tradition Smile
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ryguyMN



Joined: 21 Feb 2016
Posts: 245
Location: SW Metro

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was an interesting year, but it perhaps lacked a little bit of magic of the 2016-17 season overall because of the "Big Four" dominance. However, this season was still a fun ride with many storylines:

-The two teams in the state championship AA game were mere seconds away from being eliminated in their respective sections.

-Edina's fast start had some thinking the Hornets were going to run the table the rest of the season.

-Centennial ends up coming back to finish in the rankings about where they started in the preseason, proving to pundits why they belonged.

-Holy Family exceeded expectations, and nearly made their first state tournament appearance.

-We saw the rise of bedroom community programs like St. Michael-Albertville, Andover, and Chaska.

-St. Thomas still can't shake the AA tournament curse.

-Hermantown's eight year run in the A championship game ends.
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Upfan111



Joined: 16 May 2017
Posts: 75
Location: Up north

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Final AA Rankings 2018 Reply with quote

kniven wrote:
Stang5280 wrote:
kniven wrote:
I think the new staff is awesome - just different. We’ve got a 3 year window at CEC. As far as talent on the ice, next years talent is the most we’ve had on a high school roster ever - from top to bottom. We are being overlooked. That’s fine. I’m just saying the majority/media would not be overlooking CEC if not the change. That’s obvious. That’s ok though. CEC will be fine Smile

Better than the early 1980s teams with Corey Millen (who still won the consolation trophy with Millen injured)? Better than the early 1990s teams featuring a top line of JL, Petrov, Novak, and Mrozik on D? That’s a pretty bold statement to make given how great those teams were during their respective eras.


The sophomore”s went to state twice in peewees and twice in bantams. Juniors once in peewees and twice in bantams. Seniors once in peewees and once in bantams. We keep all our players. 2 Langenbrunner kids on this years team. On paper - this team is severely talented. It takes more than talent to win games. CEC usually struggles in the talent department but coaching has all ways been a staple here along with hard work and a big dose of Lumberjack hockey tradition Smile



Come on Kniven; all it would take is to pull up some rosters of past years teams. Cloquet has lost more kids then brought in during the Esse years; more specifically his last 5 to 10 years.
The youth teams making it to state is amazing, there is a lot of talent; there also was a pretty talented coach behind the bench for those youth teams. Say what you want, he gets those kids to play hard and make it to state. Isn't it odd he could coach those kids up to play hard and win at the AA level; yet he wasn't good enough to be a volunteer assistant coach for the high school? He got "fired" as a volunteer.
And just because a coach had many years in doesn't make one a staple / great coach in my opinion. How long has it been, 10 or 11 years now they haven't made it to a section final?
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WestMetro



Joined: 04 Mar 2014
Posts: 1666

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I can say for Kniven/CEC is I was very impressed with CEC in their qtrfinal Bantam AA game against EP , (final score wasn’t really indicative of the tightness of the game ) . Add several of those kids to mostly returning top varsity kids - should set up a good year for Jacks next year,
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