State Tourney Predictions

By Jessi Pierce

03/06/18

The 2018 Minnesota high school boys hockey state tournament is here. To get ready for four days of puck (and hair) madness in the State of Hockey, we had our elite hockey minds predict who will hang the banner. On Saturday, champs will be crowned, and we’ll find out who among us has bragging rights for the next year. Let’s play hockey!

Dave (sr. vice president, No. 100 in the 1980 NHL draft but No. 1 in our hearts) 
Class A: I’m taking the gritty squad from the Eastside, Mahtomedi, another crowd favorite, over Hermantown. Tough to not pick a repeat from Hermantown, especially after a huge come-from-behind OT win over Greenway in the section final but I do think it’s Mahtomedi’s time to slay the previous champs.

Class AA: It’s the year of the Skippers. Tonka, in a battle of two teams that just don’t like each other against Edina. The first ever AA State Championship for Minnetonka. Tonka will be a huge crowd favorite throughout the tourney.

Aaron Paitich (editor, Minnesota Hockey Journal, best flow in the office)
Class A: Orono ousts Hermantown. Orono’s group of seniors won a Bantam state title together in 2015. Strong forechecking team and good goaltending.

Class AA: Minnetonka over Edina. Tonka has the Hornet formula, giving them their only two losses of the season. Time for Tonka to hang that banner.

Bryan (sr. account executive of USA Hockey Magazine, above average bubble hockey player)
Class A: Hermantown over Orono. This Class A dynasty will three-peat with ease.

Class AA: Edina over Minnetonka (sorry Dave…) Edina is loaded with the most Division 1 recruits. Lost twice to the Skippers during the regular season but the Hornets get revenge by winning a state title. The “Cake Eater Anthem” will be revisited this weekend:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvU_Zhe8tpw

Elizabeth (sports marketing coordinator, Sioux superfan — but we don’t hold it against her) 
Class A: Hermantown over Mahtomedi. As a regular in the state tournament, I think the back-to-back champs have a good chance of taking home the title once again.

Class AA: St. Michael-Albertville over Minnetonka. After beating top-seeded Moorhead to clinch their first-ever appearance in the state tourney, the underdogs might have what it takes to win it all.

Jessi (editor, Minnesota Hockey Journal, mom of the No. 1 NHL draft pick in 2036)
Class A: Mahtomedi over Hermantown (in OT if we wanna be specific). Not only is this selection incredibly biased as a proud alumnus of Mahtomedi High School, but with size and skill I do think the Zephyrs have what it takes to dethrone the back-to-back champs.

Class AA: Duluth East over No. 1 seed Minnetonka (sorry Dave…). With no Moorhead or Grand Rapids in St.Paul this year, Duluth East is the lone team from “greater Minnesota” in AA, and I have a special place in my heart for teams outside of the Twin Cities hockey hub. Not to mention, how can you not cheer for a team this pumped?

Jake (sr. editor, a member of UND’s worst intramural hockey squad)
Class A: Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato over Hermantown. Who wouldn’t enjoy watching local media try to say that school name over and over? Plus, they’re the Dragons. Nobody beats a dragon, except for the Night King, and he doesn’t play hockey.

Class AA: Duluth East over Minnetonka. As the only northern team to make the tournament—and doing it in dramatic comeback fashion—the Greyhounds should be playing with a lot of pride, and the backing of greater Minnesota. They will be eager to show what made them Kings in the North.

Girls State Hockey Tourney
We can’t forget about the ladies, who crowned their state tournament champions on Feb. 24 at Xcel Energy Center.

In Class A, extra time was needed for No. 2-seeded Breck to top No. 1 Warroad with a 3-2 overtime victory. Warroad forced OT with just 27 seconds remaining in regulation but Breck’s freshman forward Sadie Lindsay took just seven seconds to clinch the school’s second state title (2012).

On the Class AA side, another repeat champion as the Edina Hornets have certainly lifted their championship curse, now owning back-to-back championship banners. The top-seed and defending champion Hornets defeated Centennial 2-1, grabbing the go-ahead goal on the power play in the third period. Read more about Edina’s latest success in the March issue of MHJ.