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Class A Preview

03/09/2022, 8:45am CST
By Matt Harrington

8 teams collide with eyes on the prize

After limited attendance and other COVID-19 restrictions at the 2021 Boys State Hockey Tournament, we finally return to some normalcy in 2022. The 2022 Boys Class A State Hockey Tournament begins Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. This year’s tournament features some traditional powerhouses such as Hermantown and Mahtomedi, while Minneapolis makes its first appearance as a co-op and first for a Minneapolis public school since Minneapolis Edison in 1994. The field may not be as balanced as it is in Class AA, but there is sure to be some great hockey over the multi-day event at the Xcel Energy Center. Let’s go section-by-section and see how each team made its way into the tournament. 

Section 1A

New Prague Trojans (11-15-2)

Coach: Brad Drazan

Conference: Metro West 

State Trips: 2014, 2015

State Titles: None

Road to State: 

            Win vs Faribault (7-1)

            Win vs Northfield (3-2)

            Win vs Albert Lea (5-2)

Last 10: 5-4-1

Streak: 3 wins 

Record vs Tournament Teams: 0-0-0

GPG: 2.93 (82)

GAPG: 3.68 (103)

PP: 11.1% (12/108)
PK: 74.0% (74/100)

Scoring Leaders

#27 John Schmidt (10-16-26)

#18 Will Andersen (9-16-25)
#3 Luke Portner (8-13-21)

#10 Willy Seymour (10-11-21)

#21 Charlie Turnberg (9-6-15)

Goaltending Leaders

#30 Carter Puente- 10-11-1- 3.14 GAA, .911 SV%, 2 SO

#31 Carter Herrmann- 1-1-0, 4.09 GAA, .844 SV%, 0 SO

Getting hot at the right time can take you a long way in high school hockey. That’s exactly the case with the New Prague Trojans, who are heading to the Xcel Energy Center despite being four games below the .500 mark. The Trojans route to St. Paul included an upset win over top-seeded Northfield in the Section 1A Semifinal. Despite the record, New Prague has enjoyed a solid distribution of point scorers across its lineup. Schmidt, Andersen, Portner, and Seymour each have over 20 points. 11 Metro West Conference losses has been a big factor in New Prague’s season, which features mostly Class AA teams. But here they are at the State Tournament as the sole representative from the Metro West Conference. The move back down to Class A after several years in AA has paid off for the Trojans, but now a massive test awaits against #1 Hermantown on Wednesday night. They should be happy to be here, but it will take a nearly perfect game to knock off Hermantown. 

Section 2A

Minneapolis Novas (21-6-1)

Coach: Joe Dziedzic 

Cooperative: Minneapolis Southwest, Minneapolis Washburn, Minneapolis South

Conference: Independent 

State Trips: None as co-op; most recent: Minneapolis Edison (1994)

State Titles: 1970 (Minneapolis Southwest)

Road to State: 

            Win vs Hutchinson (5-1)

            Win vs Providence Academy (5-1)

            Win vs Delano (3-1)

Last 10: 8-2

Streak: 3 wins

Record vs Tournament Teams:  2-0-0

            Win vs Alexandria (4-2)

            Win vs Mankato East/Loyola (3-0)

GPG: 4.00 (112)

GAPG: 2.25 (63)

PP: 17.9% (17/95)
PK: 83.3% (75/90)

Scoring Leaders

#19 Jack Hanson (24-28-52)

#5 Zander Zoia (11-29-40)

#24 Drew Pitts (12-22-34)

#27 Evan Grimm (16-11-27)

#9 John Bebler (8-10-18)

Goaltending Leaders

#31 Alex Lamont- 21-6-1, 2.18 GAA, .899 SV%, 2 SO

It will be hard to find a better feel-good story in this year’s Class A Tournament than Minneapolis. For the first time in nearly three decades, the state’s largest city will have a representative in the Boys Hockey State Tournament. The co-op program of the city’s public high schools has had an incredible season to this point. The team earned the #1 seed in Section 2A and beat section powerhouse Delano in the title game at a packed St. Louis Park Rec Center last Wednesday. Senior forward Jack Hanson has been the team’s most prolific goal scorer, with 24 goals in 28 games– over double his next closest teammate. Minneapolis will open the tournament as the #4 seed against #5 Alexandria, a team they already beat earlier this season (4-2). Should they advance, a date with #1 Hermantown likely awaits in the semifinal round. 

Section 3A

Mankato East/Loyola Cougars (17-10-1)

Coach: Adam Fries 

Cooperative: Mankato East/Mankato Loyola

Conference: Big 9

State Trips: 2006, 2018, 2020

State Titles: None

Road to State: 

            Win vs Mankato West (6-0)

            Win vs Luverne (7-1)

            Win vs New Ulm (6-0)

Last 10: 5-4-1

Streak: 5 wins 

Record vs Tournament Teams:  0-1-0

            Loss vs Minneapolis (3-0)

GPG: 3.71 (104)

GAPG: 2.29 (64)

PP: 22.5% (18/80)
PK: 85.9% (73/85)

Scoring Leaders

#20 Shae Gavin (16-13-29)

#18 Aiden Prochaska (8-20-28)
#16 Quintin Steindl (8-19-27)

#7 Parker Anthony (11-14-25)

#17 Andrew Bastian (10-14-24)

Goaltending Leaders

#30 Caelin Brueske- 16-9-1, 2.22 GAA, .910 SV%, 8 SO

#29 Tyler Gropel- 1-1-0, 3.83 GAA, .833 SV%

Despite losing their top five leading scorers from last season, the Mankato East/Loyola Cougars are headed to the State Tournament for the third time in the last five seasons. The Cougars snapped a four-game losing streak in their penultimate game of the regular season, and have since rattled off five straight victories. They were completely dominant in the Section 3A playoffs, outscoring opponents 19-2 in their three wins. That included a dominant performance over top-seeded New Ulm in the Section Final, a 6-0 win. In addition, the team has six different scorers who have registered more than 20 points this season. Goaltender Caelin Brueske has also been terrific, recording the second most shutouts in the state this season with eight. The Cougars will take on the Mahtomedi Zephyrs in the quarterfinal round, a team they previously lost to in the quarterfinals during the 2018 State Tournament. 

Section 4A

Mahtomedi Zephyrs (16-11-1)

Coach: Jeff Poeschl

Conference: Metro East

State Trips: 1992, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

State Titles: 2020

Road to State: 

            Win vs St. Paul Johnson (9-0)

            Win vs Two Rivers (6-0)

            Win vs Chisago Lakes (4-0)

Last 10: 7-3-0

Streak: 5 wins 

Record vs Tournament Teams: 1-4-0

            Win vs A Monticello (6-0)

Loss vs AA Cretin-Derham Hall (3-1)

Loss vs AA Hill-Murray (3-2)

Loss vs A Hermantown (3-0)

Loss vs AA Hill-Murray (3-2)

GPG: 4.39 (123)

GAPG: 2.04 (57)

PP: 20.2% (18/89)
PK: 86.0% (49/57)


Scoring Leaders

#4 David Wolsfeld (22-24-46)

#11 Charlie Drage (15-22-37)
#18 Brent Gulenchyn (14-21-35)

#9 Jonny Grove (13-16-29)

#22 Carter Haycraft (14-15-29)


Goaltending Leaders

#32 Ben Dardis- 14-11-1, 1.97 GAA, .942 SV%, 5 SO

#35 Roan Appert- 2-0-0, 1.73 GAA, .881 SV%, 0 SO

The Zephyr’s run of four straight trips to the Xcel Energy Center ended last season at the hands of eventual champion Gentry Academy, but they are back in 2022 and for the sixth time in eight years. This comes despite the fact they lost their top five leading scorers from last season to graduation. They breezed through the Section 4A playoffs, recording a shutout in every game and outscoring opponents 19-0. Senior goaltender Ben Dardis has been the team’s heart and soul and is a finalist and likely winner for the Frank Brimsek Award, given to the state’s top senior goaltender. Mahtomedi will open the quarterfinal round when they take on Mankato East/Loyola at 1pm Wednesday afternoon. 

Section 5A

Monticello Moose (13-14-1)

Coach: Eric Nelson 

Conference: Mississippi 8

State Trips: 2017, 2018, 2020

State Titles: None

Road to State: 

            Win vs River Lakes (4-3)

            Win vs Little Falls (4-3)

            Win vs St. Could Cathedral (3-2)

Last 10: 7-2-1

Streak: 3 wins 

Record vs Tournament Teams: 0-2-0

            Loss vs Mahtomedi (6-0)

Loss vs Alexandria (8-2)

GPG: 3.25 (91)

GAPG: 3.21 (90)

PP: 23.5% (20/85)
PK: 78.5% (55/70)

Scoring Leaders

#22 Wilson Dahlheimer (23-24-47)

#8 Gavin Simon (7-18-25)

#19 Brooks Wilson (7-14-21)

#13 Tyler Bitz (14-4-18)

#27 Tyler Miller (5-13-18)

Goaltending Leaders

#1 Michael Biller- 13-12-0, 3.04 GAA, .897 SV%, 1 SO

#30 Owen Soderholm 0-2-1, 4.03 GAA, .836 SV%

Perhaps one of the more surprising winners in this year’s section tournaments, the Monticello Moose enter the Class A State Tournament for the fourth time in six years in 2022. The Moose finished fourth in their section, but ran the table in playoffs to claim the section’s automatic bid to the State Tournament. They won each of their section 5A games in nail-biting fashion by just a goal each. Senior forward Wilson Dahlheimer has been a stud for the Moose, scoring 47 pts in 28 games and all three goals for Monticello in their Section Final victory over St. Cloud Cathedral. He will need to be on his A game for his club to advance in the State Tournament. They will get the opportunity to do just that against #2 Warroad on Wednesday. 

Section 6A

Alexandria Cardinals (19-6-2)

Coach: Josh Meyers

Conference: Central Lakes

State Trips: 1992, 1996, 2010, 2011, 2018

State Titles: None

Road to State: 

            Win vs Breckenridge/Wahpeton (19-0)

            Win vs Morris-Benson (10-2)

            Win vs Fergus Falls (4-2)

Last 10: 9-0-1

Streak: 3 wins 

Record vs Tournament Teams: 1-1-0

            Loss vs Minneapolis (4-2)

            Win vs Monticello (8-2)

GPG: 4.96 (134)

GAPG: 2.59 (70)

PP: 31.9% (23/72)
PK: 77.9% (67/86)

Scoring Leaders

#8 Josiah Gronholz (25-34-59)

#7 Tyler Kludt (13-35-48)

#11 Brycen Berg (27-16-43)

#6 Joe Lamski (13-19-32)

#18 Peter Mulder (3-25-28)

Goaltending Leaders

#31 Teagan Pfeffer- 14-6-2, 2.71 GAA, .888 SV%, 2 SO

#30 Gabe Evink- 5-0-0, 1.80 GAA, .889 SV%, 1 SO

The Alexandria Cardinals return to the State Tournament in 2022 after a three year absence. It’s quietly been a great season in Alexandria, who have just 6 losses this season. They have not lost since a 6-5 defeat to Sartell/St. Stephen back on January 21. That’s thanks in part to their scoring– each of the top five Cardinals scorers are averaging over a point per game. An over 30% power play is one of the strongest percentages in the tournament and could play a decisive factor. They will open their tournament Wednesday night against Minneapolis in what is expected to be the most evenly matched of the quarterfinal games. 

Section 7A

Hermantown Hawks (26-2-0)

Coach: Pat Andrews

Conference: Lake Superior

State Trips: 1994, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021

State Titles: 2007, 2016, 2017

Road to State: 

            Win vs North Shore (13-0)

            Win vs Greenway (6-0)

            Win vs Duluth Denfeld (11-0)

Last 10: 9-1-0

Streak: 9 wins 

Record vs Tournament Teams: 3-2-0

            Win vs AA Hill-Murray (4-1)

            Win vs A Mahtomedi (3-0)

            Loss vs AA Cretin-Derham Hall (4-2)

            Win vs A Warroad 2-1

            Loss vs AA Maple Grove (6-3)

GPG: 5.89 (165)

GAPG: 1.36 (38)

PP: 41.8% (38/91)
PK: 90.4% (75/83)

Scoring Leaders

#26 Max Plante (16-50-66)

#27 Zam Plante (20-35-55)

#11 Kade Kohanski (20-33-53)

#2 Ty Hanson (14-28-42)

#4 Wyatt Carlson (17-13-30)

Goaltending Leaders

#32 Dane Callaway- 17-2-0, 1.48 GAA, .921, 5 SO

#31 Garron Opsahl- 9-0-0, 0.96 GAA, .913 SV%, 6 SO

Class A’s most dominant team this season is once again heading to the Xcel Energy Center. The Hermantown Hawks are back in St. Paul for the 12th time in 13th seasons, and this year’s club seems to have its best shot at its first title since 2017. The Hawks have had just two losses, both to Class AA Tournament teams in Cretin-Derham Hall and Maple Grove.  Sophomore Max Plante has been the team’s assist machine this season, recording 50 so far on the year. His older brother and star junior Zam Plante still managed to collect 55 points despite being limited to 19 games due to an injury. Goaltending has also been an underrated aspect of the team’s season, with both Callaway and Opsahl recording over five shutouts each. Hermantown will begin its quest for a fourth state title Wednesday night when they take on New Prague. 

Section 8A

Warroad Warriors (24-3-1)

Coach: Jay Hardwick

Conference: Mariucci

State Trips: 1948, 1949, 1953, 1963, 1969, 1970, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2020

State Titles: 1994, 1996, 2005

Road to State: 

            Win vs Park Rapids (10-0)

            Win vs East Grand Forks (4-1)

            Win vs Thief River Falls (4-1)

Last 10: 8-1-1

Streak: 8 wins 

Record vs Tournament Teams: 0-1-1

            Loss vs A Hermantown (2-1)

            Tie vs AA Moorhead (4-4)

GPG: 5.75 (161)

GAPG: 1.50 (42)

PP: 31.3% (26/83)
PK: 91.8% (67/73)

Scoring Leaders

#13 Daimon Gardner (39-37-76)

#17 Jayson Shaugabay (25-49-74)

#9 Matt Hard (22-19-41)

#37 Carson Reed (9-29-38)

#2 Eric Comstock (4-29-33)

Goaltending Leaders

#1 Hampton Slukynsky- 24-3-1, 1.48 GAA, .928 SV%, 9 SO 

“Hockeytown USA” makes its return to the State Tournament for the second time in three years in 2022. The tiny town of just 1,800 has had its fair share of memories on the big stage over the years, and this is another prime opportunity to do so. The Warriors have been explosive all season long- Daimon Gardner (Clarkson) and Jayson Shaugabay (Minnesota-Duluth) have combined for 150 points this season, the second highest by any pair of teammates across the state. Junior goaltender Hampton Slukynsky has been the backbone in net for the Warriors with an impressive .928 save percentage and a state-leading nine shutouts. One of Warroad’s three losses this season came at the hands of top-ranked Hermantown back on January 15- a 2-1 overtime loss at Hermantown that could have gone either way. It seems like the two teams are once again on a collision course to meet, this time in the Class A Championship. Only time will tell. Warroad will open up tournament play against Monticello on Wednesday at 11AM. 

Tag(s): State Of Hockey