Minnesota Boys’ High School Rankings – Week 9

Photo: Loren Nelson/LegacyHockeyPhotography.com

We’re barreling down the home stretch! Only one week of play remains before section tournaments begin. While much of the top remains unchanged, we continue to see movement. Movement that will be important when it comes to section seeding.

1. Maple Grove (15-0)
Last Week’s Rank: #1

Game Results:
@ #6 Andover – W 3-2
@ Elk River/Zimmerman – W 5-0

The Crimson’s matchup against Andover proved more challenging than on paper. Yet that’s what happens when you play teams multiple times a year. Especially another top tier team. While I’m not putting a lot of weight behind it, they have another high stakes contest versus Lakeville South on Tuesday. 

2. Eden Prairie (13-1-1) 
Last Week’s Rank: #2 

Game Results:
@ #15 Minnetonka – T 2-2
vs. #8 St. Thomas Academy – W 3-2

Don’t freak out yet, Eagles fans. With Jackson Blake still out of commission for a while longer, Eden Prairie has needed a next-man-up mentality. Although it hasn’t proven to be a smashing success as seen with their results this week. It is still a sign that this team can still beat some of the better teams in the state. Yes, ties are ugly and a narrow and low-scoring win against a fluctuating St. Thomas is not something to flaunt, this team is still capable of winning it all. 

They have a brutal final week. Traveling to both Edina and St. Thomas before heading to Chaska. The first two need no introduction, but Chaska has been a pesky team in the past. It wouldn’t shock me if the Eagles may accidentally overlook them with their first two games this week. 

3. Hill-Murray (14-2) 
Last Week’s Rank: #4

Game Results: 
@ Henry Sibley – W 8-0
vs. South St. Paul – W 10-0
vs. #21 Hastings – W 8-1

The Pioneers this year have been like a game of Oregon Trail. The year began with high hopes and optimism before embarking on their journey. Although there were a few hiccups and they lost a few members (games) along the way, including failing to understand how to effectively utilize their resources (offense), they have almost made it to the end. Hopefully that analogy makes sense. 

If not, this team has finally found its rhythm across the board. Averaging a 1.00 GAA while easily outpacing that on offense. Some of that is due to the weak competition. But as we’ve seen for other top teams, they just have to win with ease. This team has so far. A final showdown with St. Thomas looms on Tuesday, but this Hill Murray team looks like a contender. A contender almost as much as Maple Grove and Eden Prairie that they have become 1A, 1B, and 1C to me. Let’s see if that changes. 

4. Grand Rapids (12-1) 
Last Week’s Rank: #3

Game Results:
@ Duluth East – W 3-1
vs. Hermantown – W 6-3
vs. Cloquet-Esko-Carlton – W 6-0

Although the Thunderhawks have already played a relatively meaningful game this week due to a rare Monday slot, they could make an argument over Hill Murray. While their resumé isn’t as impressive as the Pioneer’s, they’re winning solidly over solid opponents. The margin may be smaller after this week’s games are all played too. Keep an eye on their showdown with Wayzata on Saturday. 

5. Lakeville South (13-0-1) 
Last Week’s Rank: #5

Game Results:
vs. Apple Valley – W 8-0
vs. Farmington – W 8-1

Another week’s worth for the Cougars. Continuing to rebound from their tie late last month to Lakeville North. Not enough to move them up, though. It’ll be a telling week for them too as they travel to face both Maple Grove and Prior Lake. It could be another example of a team overlooking their final game too. With their last matchup coming against a troublesome Burnsville team. Only time will tell. 

6. Andover (13-2)
Last Week’s Rank: #7

Game Results:
@ Spring Lake Park – W 13-1
vs. #1 Maple Grove – L 3-2

It wasn’t a win, but a close loss to the top ranked team in state is noteworthy. Even more so when taking into account it nearly avenges the earlier 5-1 loss to Maple Grove. Putting into motion at least the notion that the Crimson are beatable. If Andover can make it past Grand Rapids in the 7AA Section Final *knock on wood* there could be a part three. Who knows how that could end up…

7. Cretin-Derham Hall (14-1) 
Last Week’s Rank: #8

Game Results: 
@ Forest Lake – W 10-1
@ #18 White Bear Lake – W 7-5

The offense has continued to thrive after the lull led to their lone loss thus far. While that benefits them with regards to being able to hang with better teams, the defense is suspect. It’s expected the Raiders win games 10-1. Yet a 7-5 win over a sub-15 ranked team is worrisome. Only because we have yet to see this Cretin team play a team better than them. Giving up a five spot isn’t doing them any favors. 

8. St. Thomas Academy (10-2-3) 
Last Week’s Rank: #10

Game Results: 
vs. #16 Benilde St. Margaret’s – W 7-5
@ #2 Eden Prairie – L 3-2

I’m willing to write off the high scoring action against Benilde. Only because the Cadets were able to hang in the game with Eden Prairie. Although it should be noted this is the defense we’ve seen all season. More often than not great with some clunkers thrown in. It’s decision time for this team though. Hill-Murray and Eden Prairie rematches are on the docket. 

9. Edina (8-7-1) 
Last Week’s Rank: #9

Game Results: 
@ #11 Wayzata – L 2-1
vs. St. Michael-Albertville – W 8-2

Right as the offense was clicking on all cylinders, the Trojans swept the rug out from under the Hornets. It’s not a loss that’ll indicate the end of the world or season. But as we’ve seen with other teams on this list, inconsistency kills progress. Oftentimes leading to an early sections exit. Maybe a quarterfinals State tournament loss, if lucky. 

That’s the obstacle this team needs to overcome and figure out. Fast. If they can get it rolling this week against Eden Prairie and Minnetonka, watch out. 

10. Prior Lake (13-2-1) 
Last Week’s Rank: #6

Game Results:
@ Eastview – W 8-1
@ #25 Shakopee – L 4-2

Prior Lake isn’t going to State this year. Let’s just make that clear. Obviously barring any upsets. It’s not happening. This team can’t beat teams better than them and allowed a team in Shakopee to be ranked when they shouldn’t be. Expect a split of their final two games against Lakeville South and Apple Valley. I’ll let you figure out who they’ll lose to. 

The Next Five: 

11. Wayzata (9-5-1)
Last Week’s Rank: #15

Game Results:
vs. #9 Edina – W 2-1
@ Buffalo – W 2-1

Welcome back to classic Trojan hockey. Low scoring defensive bouts. At least that’s what this week provided. I’ll also be the first to admit I’m not 100% certain on what to do with this team. Fluctuating massively each week. The Edina win was nice. Although you have to recognize how ugly that Buffalo win was. 

It’s a grind to end the year with Benilde, St. Louis Park, and Grand Rapids coming up. 

12. Rosemount (11-3-1)
Last Week’s Rank: #13

Game Results: 
vs. Eagan – W 5-0
vs. Farmington – W 9-0
@ Eagan – W 7-0

A ho hum week. Not much to say about this Irish team. Winning easily against a week South Suburban conference. Shakopee’s recent rise makes the Irish’s matchup with them intriguing. 

13. Holy Family (10-3-1) 
Last Week’s Rank: #12

Game Results: 
vs. Litchfield/Dassle-Cokato – W 4-0
@ Mound Westonka – W 3-1

It’s tough to gauge how high is too high for the Fire. With covid killing another game. Leaving them with Class A opponents to beat up on. Thankfully they could prove their value at this spot with a win over Benilde this week. 

14. Centennial (11-3-1)
Last Week’s Rank: #14

Game Results: 
vs. Blaine – W 6-0
vs. #22 Totino-Grace – W 5-1
@ Blaine – W 5-3

Practically locking up the 2-seed in 5AA, that’s a success for this Centennial team. Although they may have higher aspirations, a shot to go to State against Maple Grove is all you can ask for at this time. Take it a game at a time. 

15. Minnetonka (9-5-2) 
Last Week’s Rank: #16

Game Results: 
@ Chaska – W 4-3
vs. #2 Eden Prairie – T 2-2
vs. #19 Moorhead – L 4-0

The tie against Eden Prairie is the only reason the Skippers moved up. Well, that and Benilde’s continuing plummet and Tonka can still hang with the best of them. Even with a nasty shutout loss to the Spuds. They should take care of Buffalo before a final showdown with Edina. 

On The Outside Looking In:  

16. Benilde-St. Margaret’s (11)
17. Roseau (19)
18. White Bear Lake (17)
19. Moorhead (20)
20. Rogers (18)
21. Hastings (23)
22. Totino-Grace (22)
23. St. Louis Park (NR)
24. Lakeville North (NR)
25. Shakopee (NR)

There’s a lot of mediocrity within this part of the rankings. Some of that is due to the lack of available knowledge on teams this year to how the teams just stack up. Roseau may be undervalued right now alongside Moorhead. Those two lead the way in section 8AA with Rogers. Making for what could be a tightly contested tournament. Outside of that, a lot of these teams will see early section exits. Unfortunate, but the elite teams have shown who they are this year. Although not invincible, the best teams make it further than most.