Monday, January 17, 2011

Class AA Rankings | Week 9 - January 17th, 2010

Edina 9-2-2
1/20 #7AA Wayzata
1/22 #6AA Minnetonka

FTP Logic: Edina moves up to the the number two spot because they are 3-0-1 against the other top five teams, Duluth East (4-3), Eden Prairie (3-2 OT), Benilde-St. Margaret's (5-4) and Hill-Murray (3-3).

Six out of Edina's nine wins were by one goal. Both losses were by one goal. When you add in the two ties, Edina is 6-2-2 in one goal games. Edina has the luck of the Irish (see team color: GREEN) or something on their side to keep them on the winning side of the scoreboard and, sometimes, in dramatic, comeback fashion.

#7 Wayzata and #6 Minnetonka will be looking to knock the Hornets off the top this week.
Duluth East 12-2-0
1/18 at Apple Valley
1/22 St. Cloud Tech
1/25 Forest Lake

FTP Logic: Duluth East is 1-1-0 against the teams in the top five, Eden Prairie (4-3 OT) and Edina (3-4). The Hounds are not number one simply because of their head-to-head loss to Edina. Their win over Eden Prairie on Saturday came down to goaltending (JoJo Jeaneatta) and timely goal scoring (Dom Toninato). The Hounds were outshot 32-14.
Eden Prairie 10-3-0
1/20 Academy of Holy Angels
1/22 at #7AA Wayzata

FTP Logic: Even after their loss to Duluth East on Saturday, it is extremely difficult to put the offensive Eagles in the third spot. If the stats are all correct, no opponent, no matter how defensive, has been able to slow the Eagles down. They have been able to get over 30 shots in 12 of their 13 games they have played, averaging 35.69 shots per game. The only kryptonite against this team is an opposing goaltender on his game.

Shots: 33 (AV), 28 (BJ), 42 (LN), 41 (ERZ), 42 (GR), 32 (EDI), 36 (EAG), 33 (BSM), 37 (MG), 37 (MHD), 33 (H-M), 38 (BURN), 32 (DE)

Edina (2-3 OT) - Connor Girard 30 saves
Eagan (2-4) - Tommy Bodeker 34 saves
Duluth East (3-4 OT) - JoJo Jeanetta 29 saves

Benilde-St. Margaret's 11-2-0
1/18 at Irondale
1/22 at #5A Totino-Grace

FTP Logic: The Red Knights are 1-2 against the top five teams, Hill-Murray (3-1), Edina (4-5), Eden Prairie (5-8). They also defeated #6 Minnetonka (3-2).

Benilde-St. Margaret's has an offense comparable to Eden Prairie but the defense and goaltending struggled against top teams like Edina and Eden Prairie. The Red Knights are averaging 38+ shots per game but their schedule is less difficult than top three teams.
Hill-Murray 10-3-1
1/18 at Academy of Holy Angels
1/22 Henry Sibley

FTP Logic: I still really like Hill-Murray to go far this year, but, right now, they have not deserved to be higher than fifth in the current rankings. I moved them down three spots even though they won both games last week in impression fashion, 8-0 over North St. Paul and 7-2 over Tartan. Still, they are 0-2-1 against the teams in the top four.

The defense is there, the goaltending is there, but the offense has been lackluster at best against the better teams. Against Edina, Benilde-St. Margaret's, and Eden Prairie, the Pioneers averaged just 1.67 goals per game.
Minnetonka 10-3-1
1/20 Hopkins
1/22 at #1AA Edina

FTP Logic: The Skippers were a question mark for most of the season having lost a lot to graduation last spring. They had a couple of good wins against good teams at the Schwan Cup and early in the season. However, it is wins in their last four games that have been the most impressive. With wins over Eagan (4-2), Moorhead (3-1), Blake School (5-3), and Academy of Holy Angels (5-4 OT), Minnetonka is currently the best of the rest after the top five.

Do the Skippers deserve to be in the top five? They can prove it if they can knock off rival Edina at Braemar, 7:00PM on Saturday night.

Wayzata 12-3-0
1/20 at #1AA Edina
1/22 #3AA Eden Prairie

FTP Logic: The Trojans cannot figure out Michael Bitzer and the Moorhead Spuds but it is not enough to knock them down in the rankings. Fortunately, the teams below them struggled too last week.

Two HUGE games are coming up for Wayzata this week. The Trojans have not given up more than four goals to any team this season. They may have another one-goal low scoring affair with Edina but are goaltender Andrew McIntyre and the Trojans defense capable of keeping Eden Prairie under four goals?

Eagan 10-4-1
1/20 #9AA Burnsville
1/22 at Prior Lake

FTP Logic: Eagan lost to Bloomington Jefferson, 3-2, despite outshooting the Jaguars 35-18. Eric Fabano had 33 saves for the Jags.

12/18: 2-1 OT loss to Lakeville North (Charlie Lindgren 54 saves), outshot Lakeville North 55-24

1/4: 4-2 loss to Minnetonka (Matt Behounek 46 saves), outshot Minnetonka 48-25

The fourth loss for Eagan was against Edina in a 7-6 wild back-and-forth game.

Eagan will face #9AA Burnsville on Thursday. I'm expecting a 5-4, 6-5, 7-6, high scoring game.

Maple Grove 9-3-1
1/18 at Rogers
1/20 Anoka
1/22 Andover

FTP Logic: The Crimson have only played two games since Christmas break. They had a nice win against Osseo (4-2) last week. I don't see too many challenges this week even though it is a three-game week for them.

Right now, Maple Grove is a head above the rest in Section 5AA. The Crimson
rely on their defense and goaltending to win games. They allow just 2.00 goals and 21 shots per game. Still, the Crimson are beatable. They struggle to score at times.
Grand Rapids 11-3-1
1/18 Cloquet/Esko/Carlton
1/21 Hibbing/Chisholm

FTP Logic: The Thunderhawks hit some major 'road' bumps this past week losing on the road to #2A Hermantown and #2AA Duluth East. Hermantown and Duluth East each held Grand Rapids to just one goal, the only times the T-Hawks have been held to one goal or less this season. They are still a top 10 team. They have three strong tests in row coming up against Cloquet/Esko/Carlton, Hibbing/Chisholm and then Bemidji, all at home.
Academy of Holy Angels 8-4-0
1/18 #5AA Hill-Murray
1/20 at #3AA Eden Prairie
1/21 New Prague

FTP Logic: The Stars have been a top 10 team since the Schwan Cup. They are 7-2-0 since. Their only losses during that time was a 5-4 loss to Edina where Edina scored three times in the last three minutes to steal the win and then an overtime loss to Minnetonka 5-4 last Saturday.

The two losses at the beginning of the season against Roseau and Elk River/Zimmerman are looming less large as the season continues and the Stars continue to improve.

This week they will face Hill-Murray (defensive team) and Eden Prairie (offensive team). Those matchups will give everyone a better understanding on whether the Stars are deserving of a top 10 ranking.

Burnsville 9-3-2
1/20 at #8AA Eagan
1/22 Lakeville South

FTP Logic: A fast starting team that cannot close the deal against good teams. That basically sums up this year's Burnsville team. In their three losses and two ties, they were leading in all five games, most in the third period. They had to hold on in the end to defeat Apple Valley 5-4 last week.

They have a lot of talent on offense and a skilled goaltender in Bodhi Engum. The defense needs to tighten up late in games and they could be a real challenge to Edina's return to the X. Right now, the Blaze are looking like a three seed in Section 2AA with over a month to go in the regular season. Holy Angels would be the second seed since they defeated Burnsville head-to-head at the Schwan Cup.

Eagan will be a tough test on Thursday and the Blaze will face a hot team in Lakeville South on Saturday.

Bemidji 14-1-1
1/21 Brainerd/P/P
1/22 #2A Hermantown

FTP Logic: Bemidji has a great record but the Lumberjacks have only played four games against Class AA teams with a winning record. They are 2-1-1 in those four games and the winning percentage of those four teams is .636 (35-20-2). They lost to Cloquet/Esko/Carlton and tied Moorhead.

Bemidji will face Brainerd/P/P on Friday and the Warriors can be unpredictable. The Jacks will have a tougher test on Saturday against #2A Hermantown. Both games are in Bemidji.

With the Lumberjacks dominate 7-3 win over Roseau last Saturday, they are neck-and-neck with Moorhead for the top seed in Section 8AA. In their 1-1 tie with Moorhead back on 12/9, Moorhead outshot Bemidji 29-28.

Apple Valley 9-5-0
1/18 #2AA Duluth East
1/20 Rosemount
1/22 at Eastview

FTP Logic: The Golden Eagles are struggling big time. They have lost three of their last four games and lost twice last week against Burnsville (4-5) and Lakeville South (2-5). Their goals against average in those three losses was 4.67. In their five loses on the season, they have given up an average of five goals per game. Apple Valley is 1-5-0 against Minnesota teams with a winning record. That one win was against Bloomington Jefferson (7-5-2), 6-3, in their first game of the season.

On the bright side, they outshot four of the five opponents that they have lost to. If they can figure out what ails their goaltending, they should be able to get back on track.
Moorhead 8-4-1
1/20 at East Grand Forks
1/22 Warroad

FTP Logic: There is no real logic to this team. Many players on the Moorhead team were suspended due to hazing and, yet, they still win thanks mostly to their superstar goaltender Michael Bitzer. Bitzer is willing the Spuds to victories.

Moorhead defeated Wayzata for the second time this season, 4-1. All four Spuds goals in Saturday's game were scored in the first period and all within a little over five minutes apart total. Two of the Spuds scorers scored their first goals of the season and the other two had just two and three goals on the season respectively. Shots? 50-14 Wayzata. Where is the logic?

I'm sensing some deja vu. The 2008-2009 Moorhead season seems eerily similar but still very different. In both seasons, the Spuds should not have been winning games but they did, they are. The '08-'09 Spuds should not have made it out of Section 8AA but they made it to the state Class AA championship game. '10-'11 - to be continued.
White Bear Lake 9-4-1
1/20 at Hastings
1/22 Woodbury

FTP Logic: The Bears are 4-0-1 in their last five games with the wins against Breck School, Stillwater, Forest Lake, and Roseville. Their worst games this season was a 3-0 loss to Blaine and a 3-3 tie against Mounds View.

I'm still wondering where Max Birkinbine's scoring punch went to. He had 22 goals in 27 games last season second on the team behind Brandon Wahlin. The senior has just five goals in 13 games this season, third most on the team behind Wahlin and Mac Jansen.

Cloquet/Esko/Carlton 12-4-0
1/18 at Grand Rapids

FTP Logic: The Lumberjacks are just barely above those duking it out for 18th through 20th. They have only played six games against Class AA teams. They are 4-2-0 against those teams with losses to Section 7AA foes Grand Rapids and Duluth East. Only two of those wins were against teams with a winning record, Bemidji and Cambridge-Isanti.

The Jacks did defeat #13AA Bemidji in the Heritage Classic but that has been Bemidji's only flaw compared to the Jacks four total losses.

Seniors Nolan Meyer, Jack McFarlane, and Ben Michaud all have 34 points while FRESHMAN Karson Kuhlman has 29 points to lead the team in scoring.

The Jacks have upset appeal and could take out Grand Rapids and/or Duluth East in Section 7AA. They will try to get revenge on Grand Rapids on Tuesday at Grand Rapids for an early season loss, 4-1.

Put all of the following teams in a hat and pull three out to round out the top 20:

Blaine, Bloomington Jefferson, Centennial, Cretin-Derham Hall, Elk River/Zimmerman, Lakeville South, Roseau, Roseville, Stillwater