Monday, March 03, 2008

Thursday HS Preview

Game 1: Cloquet-Esko-Carleton vs. #2 Edina

How C-E-C wins:

It's going to be extremely tough for Cloquet to pull off this upset, but they are on a serious roll right now, beating two excellent teams during sectional play. David Brown played amazing hockey for the Lumberjacks during sectionals and will need to continue to score goals. They also have to stay out of the penalty box to avoid Edina's great powerplay.

How Edina wins:

Edina has such an advantage in terms of strength and physicality that they sometimes look like men amongst boys. I think they'll use that size to create a few turnovers in the Cloquet zone, and any time Edina gets the puck deep in the other team's end, they always seemed poised to make a great pass for an easy goal.

Bottom line: Cloquet is good enough to avoid being blown out, but Edina is just too strong of a team and should win easily.

Game 2: Woodbury vs. #3 Benilde-St. Margaret's

How Woodbury wins:

I think Woodbury has a chance to play with BSM 5-on-5, but if they take too many penalties, BSM's powerplay will kill them. Woodbury put up 8 goals in the sectional final, and they'll need that offense to continue in St. Paul to have a chance.

How Benilde wins:

Benilde has a talented goalie in sophomore Jacob Meyers, who has already played in some important games, but he's still young, and there's always a chance he could be rattled. Defenseman Chris Student will be the best player on the ice, and should be able to control the game.

Bottom line: I don't see Meyers struggling, and I think BSM's senior forwards will find a way to score, be it at even-strength or on the powerplay. Woodbury should keep it close for a while, but I think the Red Knights will pull away.

Game 3: Blaine vs. #1 Roseau

How Blaine wins:

Blaine did a great job of keeping the game close against Roseau earlier this year. They play strong defense and they might be able to keep Roseau to the outside of the rink and help goalie Danny Harper look good. This time around, they'll need senior forwards Mike Schaber and Ryan Johnson to step up and score a couple goals to give Blaine a chance to win.

How Roseau wins:

Roseau just needs to play the type of hockey that they have all year, and not get caught looking ahead to Hill-Murray or Edina. They've been the best, most talented team all year, and have more than enough ability at forward, defense, and goal to win this game.

Bottom line: This should be the best game of Thursday. I'm expecting another game like the outdoor game that ended in a 1-0 Roseau win. Blaine will give Roseau a serious run for their money, but come up just short.

Game 4: Lakeville South vs. #4 Hill-Murray

How Lakeville South wins:

Lakeville will need an amazing game from goalie Hakan Yumusaklar to have a chance in this game, and I think he might be capable of pulling it off. If Lakeville can keep this game low-scoring, and then get a few lucky bounces, they might really surprise some people.

How Hill-Murray wins:

The more wide-open and high-scoring this game is, the better for Hill-Murray. If they do get a lead, they need to keep up their intensity and not let the lead slip away like they did last year against Rochester Century.

Bottom line: I don't think Hill-Murray will get upset two years in a row, but I do think this game will be closer than most people expect. I like Hill-Murray to win a low-scoring game.