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Class A preview: Mahtomedi, Cathedral, EGF lead strong field

03/05/2019, 8:00am CST
By Let's Play Hockey

A look at the eight teams in the boys' Class A state tournament

Let’s Play Hockey photo by Mike Thill

Three of the state’s top six Class A teams advanced to St. Paul, setting up a battle for the 2019 State Boys’ High School Hockey Championship. Top-ranked Mahtomedi leads the field, looking for its first ever state championship. The Zephyrs will be challenged by perennial contender St. Cloud Cathedral, 20-game winner East Grand Forks, talented Greenway and upset-minded Delano. Looking to play spoiler are first-timers Minnesota River and North Branch,  and long-shot New Ulm.

The Class A field includes only two teams with previous state titles – East Grand Forks and Greenway. Those same two teams are the only programs that have made past appearances in the state championship game. East Grand Forks leads the way with 11 prior state tournament appearances, followed by Mahtomedi with 10, and Greenway and St. Cloud Cathedral with eight. 

Following is a look at the eight teams in the Class A state tournament.

Delano Tigers
Record: 17-9-2
Coach: Gerrit van Bergen
Last state appearance: 2017
Best state finish: Fifth (2017)
Road to state (Section 2A wins): Southwest Christian/Richfield 5-0, Minneapolis 3-0, Orono 2-0
Leading scorers: Hogan Williams (16-18--34), Adam Brown (17-16--33), Quinn Daly (13-14--27), Joseph Blanchard (9-15--24), Tommy Peterson (6-16--22)
Goaltender: Aaron Kruse (13-6-1, 2.47, .905)
Notes: Delano is making its second appearance in the state tournament • the Tigers went 4-7-1 before New Year’s, but are 13-2-1 since • Delano has not allowed a goal in the last three games • the Tigers have allowed two or fewer goals in 16 games • Delano is 3-0-0 in neutral site games • the Tigers are 1-2 vs. Class A tournament teams • Delano is on a season-high 10-game unbeaten streak (9-0-1) • the Tigers have scored four or more goals in 10 games.

East Grand Forks Green Wave
Record: 20-8-0
Coach: Tyler Palmiscno
Last state appearance: 2017
Best state finish: First (2015)
Road to state (Section 8A wins): Red Lake Falls 9-0, Detroit Lakes 4-0, Warroad 3-1
Leading scorers: Tanner Mack (19-21--40), Carter Beck (12-20--32), Jake Hjelle (15-14--29), Trey Ausmus (8-18--26), Landon Parker (12-13--25), Cole Avery (14-8--22)
Goaltender: Tucker Brown (18-8-0, 2.10, .878)
Notes: East Grand Forks is making its 12th state tournament appearance • the Green Wave allowed two or fewer goals in 20 games this season with seven shutouts • EGF is outscoring its opponents 95-59 • the Wave owns a 16-14 all-time record in St. Paul • EGF went 10-1-0 before New Year’s and 10-7-0 since •  the Wave is 17-2-0 when scoring three or more goals and 3-6-0 when scoring two or fewer goals • EGF has 12 players with double-digit point totals • the Wave owns a 30-percent power play and an 82-percent penalty kill. 

Greenway Raiders
Record: 15-13-0
Coach: Grant Clafton
Last state appearance: 2001
Best state finish: First (1967, 68, 92)
Road to state (Section 7A wins): North Shore 7-1, Duluth Denfeld 6-2, Hermantown 3-2 2OT
Leading scorers: Donte Lawson (33-29--62), Ben Troumbly (21-19--40), Nikolai Rajala (12-21--33), Tristan Birdsall (12-11--23), Mitchell Vekich (10-12--22)
Goaltenders: Logan Wright (7-3-0, 1.84, .930), Tyler Penney (7-10-0, 3.34, .879)
Notes: The Raiders are making their ninth overall state tournament appearance, but first since 2001 • Greenway went 4-8-0 before New Year’s, but is 11-5-0 since • the Raiders are on a season-long nine-game winning streak • six of Greenway’s losses came to Class AA teams • the Raiders are 0-4 vs. Class A state tournament teams • Greenway has scored four or more goals in 13 games this season • the Raiders have allowed two or fewer goals in 13 games, includingthe last eight contests • nine Raiders have double-digit point totals • Greenway has scored seven shorthanded goals and allowed just 12 power-play tallies • college commits: Christian Miller & Ben Troumbly (St. Cloud State).

Mahtomedi Zephyrs
Record: 21-6-1
Coach: Jeff Poeschl
Last state appearance: 2018
Best state finish: Third (1994, 2015)
Road to state (Section 4A wins): Gentry Academy 6-1, South St. Paul 6-1, Totino-Grace 5-0
Leading scorers: Nikolai Dulak (15-25--40), Joe Paradise (13-23--36), Dylan L’Allier (10-25--35), Colin Hagstrom (17-17--34), Noah Skillings (7-26--33), Kory Pilarski (11-19--30), Tom Paradise (17-13--30) 
Goaltenders: Ben Dardis (12-4-1, 1.55, .930), John Poirer (7-2-0, 2.04, .899)
Notes: The Zephyrs are making their 11th state tournament appearance • Mahtomedi’s losses came to Hill-Murray, St. Thomas Academy (2), Totino-Grace, Hermantown and Stillwater • the Zephyrs have allowed two or fewer goals in 23 games and have scored five or more goals in 16 games • Mahtomedi owns seven shutouts on the season •  Mahtomedi is 2-0 vs. Class A state tournament teams and 0-2 vs. Class AA  state tournament teams • when allowing more than two goals, Mahtomedi is 1-4-0 vs. 20-2-1 when allowing two or fewer • 13 Zephrys own double-digit point totals.

Minnesota River Bulldogs
Record: 20-4-0
Coach: Shea Roehrkasse
Last state appearance: First appearance
Best state finish: First appearance
Road to state (Section 1A wins): Austin 6-2, Albert Lea 6-2, Rochester Lourdes 5-3
Leading scorers: Hunter Wilmes (29-31--60), Tyson Sowder (21-22--43), Charlie Weick (14-19--33), Jade Reicks (11-17--28), Ken Ringler (14-12--26)
Goaltender: Andrew Regner (17-4-0, 2.16, .919)
Notes: Minnesota River is making its first state tournament appearance • losses on the season came to North Branch, New Ulm, Mankato East and Marshall • the Bulldogs outscored their opponents 17-7 in the section playoffs • Minnesota River has scored four or more goals in 19 games and have allowed two or fewer goals in 15 games • the Buddlogs are 3-1-0 in neutral site games • Minnesota River is 11-1-0 since New Year’s.

New Ulm Eagles
Record: 17-8-1
Coach: Ryan Neuman
Last state appearance: 2015
Best state finish: Seventh (1992, 2010, 11, 12, 15)
Road to state (Section 3A wins): Windom Area 8-2, Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato 2-1, Hutchinson 6-4
Leading scorers: Glavine Schugel (27-24--51), Landon Strong (18-16--34), Josh Seidl (14-19--33), Braxten Hoffmann (11-14--25)
Goaltender: Jack Raymond (16-8-1, 2.17, .910)
Notes: New Ulm is making its sixth state tournament appearance • the Eagles are 0-10 all-time at the state tournament • New Ulm is riding a season-long five-game winning streak • the Eagles have allowed two or fewer goals in 17 games and have scored four or more goals in 14 games • New Ulm is 3-0-1 in neutral site games • the Eagles own a 31-percent power play and an 88-percent penalty kill • New Ulm is outscoring its opponents 110-56.

North Branch Vikings
Record: 19-7-2
Coach: Matt Cottingham
Last state appearance: First appearance
Best state finish: First appearance
Road to state (Section 5A wins): Mora/Milaca 5-1, Princeton 3-1, Chisago Lakes 3-2
Leading scorers: Cody Croal (25-23--48), Joey Kirchner (19-16--35), Tucker Sachs (17-11--28), Jacob Richards (13-14--27), 
Goaltender: Jake Turek (18-7-2, 2.14, .924)
Notes: The Vikings are making their first state tournament appearance • North Branch is riding a season-long six-game winning streak • the Vikings have outscored their opponents 100-59 during the season • North Branch is 3-0 at neutral sites • the Vikings have scored four or more goals in 14 games and have allowed two or fewer goals in 16 games • North Branch is 6-4-2 in one-goal games.

St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders
Record: 24-4-0
Coach: Derrick Brown
Last state appearance: 2017
Best state finish: Third (2017)
Road to state (Section 6A wins): Breckenridge/Wahpeton 11-0, River Lakes 6-0, Alexandria 4-1
Leading scorers: Blake Perbix (21-46--67), Jack Smith (27-35--62), Cullen Hiltner (20-18--38), Jackson Savoie (18-14--32), Nate Warner (15-17--32), Reid Bogenholm (9-21--30), 
Goaltender: Noah Amundson (20-4-0, 1.77, .913)
Notes: The Crusaders are making their ninth state tournament appearance • losses on the season came to Hermantown, Moorhead, Mahtomedi and Holy Family • Cathedral outscored its opponents 21-1 in the section playoffs • the Crusaders opened the season with 12 straight wins • Cathedral has scored five or more goals in 19 games and allowed two or fewer goals in 23 games, including 10 shutouts • 13 Crusaders own double-digit point totals • college commits: Smith (Minnesota Duluth), Warner (Minnesota).

Class A State Tournament Teams in the Let’s Play Hockey  Rankings
1. Mahtomedi
2. St. Cloud Cathedral
5. East Grand Forks
7. Greenway
10. Delano
16. Minnesota River
18. North Branch

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