Saturday, February 16, 2008

Section 5A High School Preview

Here is The Bracket.

This section looks to be a four-horse race between the top four seeds. St. Cloud Cathedral is the top seed in the section, but they have been without one of their best players, Minnesota recruit Nate Schmidt, for nearly a month due to a bout with mono.

The second seed, Sauk Rapids-Rice has been one of the more confusing teams to follow this year. They have some great wins over some good teams, including a 3-2 win over St. Cloud Cathedral, but also have a couple head-scratching losses to some teams out west.

Sauk Rapids will likely meet 3rd seed Duluth Denfeld in the semifinals. Sauk Rapids won their previous meeting this year at home, with a 5-goal third period burst, and with the game being played in Cloquet, closer to home for Denfeld, I think Denfeld will prevail.

Last year's state champ, Hermantown, is the fourth seed. It's been a rough year for the Hawks, after losing some key seniors off last year's team, and losing Drew Leblanc to junior hockey. I think their playoff experience should carry them to the final.

In the end, however, I'll take Denfeld to win the section. Senior Jake Johnson passed on the USHL for one last shot at the state tournament, and I think he'll lead his tema there.