#1 seed Warroad Warriors
Regular season record of 23-2, lost to arch rival Roseau 5-4 and 3-1, beat #2 seed St. Cloud Cathedral early in the year 5-2, beat Grand Rapids 3-2, beat a very good East Grand Forks team 3 times including playoffs, outscored opponents 133-36, the leading scorer #27 Grant Slukynsky has 30 goals and averaged 3 points per game, and sensational freshman Jason Shaugabay had 19 goals and 51 points. Goalie Zach Foster had a 1.64 GAA and .911 save %.
#2 seed St Cloud Cathedral Crusaders
Regular season record of 20-3-1 with losses to Warroad, (5-2), Moorhead (5-3) and East Grand Forks (6-2) They tied Hermantown 5-5. St. Cloud outscored opponents 150 to 63 and had 3 players score 20+ goals per game. If Jack Smith was healthy all season they would have had 4. They were our preseason pick to win the class A title.
#3 seed Hermantown Hawks
Have an overall record of 18-3-4 and outscored opponents 139-51. Leading scorer Blake Biondi is an elite goal scoring machine with 37 regular season goals and they have 3 others who scored double digit goals. The Hawks only losses came at the hands of AA schools, Eden Prairie, Lakeville South and Grand Rapids. They tied Cathedral, Benilde, Grand Rapids and Cretin.
#4 seed Mahtomedi Zephyrs
They sure are getting to know the layout of the X. The Zephyrs ended the regular season with a 17-8 record, outscored opponents 97-60 and had 5 skaters with double digit goals. The leading goalie is sophomore Ben Dardis with a 2.07 GAA and a very impressive .932 save %. On paper, the offensive stats aren’t as impressive as the top 3 seeds but with a hot goalie anything can happen in the playoffs.
Players to watch –
Nikolai Dulak – 23 goals
Adam Johnson – 13 goals
Ryan Berglund – 13 goals
Ben Dardis- Goalie
#5 seed Delano Tigers
Ended the regular season with a 19-6 record and outscored opponents 92-48, Delano beat Monticello, Orono, Hutch and lost to Cathedral by a goal. Leading scorer is Adam Brown with 20 goals and 35 points, They have the team speed to make a tournament run and goalie Cade Lommel has been playing like a tournament champ.
The Moose outscored opponents 109-59 and are led by Jeffrey Henrickson/Brian Cornelius tandem each with 17 goals. They have a tough opening round game but if Nash Wilson is on his game they have a chance to pull off a big upset.
Mankato East is used to the underdog roll, they enter the tourney for the 2nd time in 3 years, Layten Liffrig has 29 goals and Matthew Salzle has 26, they will need find a way to bury the puck early on if they hope to pull off the upset, Cathedral beat them in the Granite City Showcase 9-3 last December.
Hutch comes in hot, dominating section play and outscoring opponents 92-70, Austin Jozwick leads the team with 25 goals, goalie Austin Hagen has a very impressive GAA of .911, they too have a very tough first round opponent and need to score early and often if they want to play a 2nd game at the X.
FTP State Championship Prediction
We are sticking with our preseason pick of St Cloud Cathedral. We like a state championship game between Cathedral and Warroad with St Cloud Cathedral winning the 2nd state title in a row. Whether it plays out this way or not, its going to be a great tournament, good luck to all playing in it!