Junior forward Tanner Ludtke and Lakeville South host rival Lakeville North on Tuesday. Photo by Loren Nelson, LegacyHockeyPhotography.com
Holiday tournaments aside, the coming week figures to be one of the best of the season in terms of compelling matchups. Top-ranked teams playing top-ranked teams, rivalry games, section opponent showdowns ... everything a fan could want and more is on tap this week. Thursday night alone offers a schedule with a dozen or so matchups of must-see quality. Below are our top picks for the week.
Eastview (4-1-0), easily among the handful of top teams in the South Suburban Conference, takes on one of the league's heaviest hitters on Tuesday in No. 9-2A Prior Lake (3-1-0), led by star forward Alex Bump (6 points). ... Red Lake Falls (3-3-0) and Ty Kennett, who shares the state scoring lead with 23 points, head to Hallock on Tuesday to face Northwest Conference rival Kittson County Central (3-1-1) and 21-point scorer Tyler Hennen. ... No. 8-2A Hill-Murray (3-2-0) and No. 5-2A Wayzata (3-2-0) were supposed to meet in the state Class 2A quarterfinals last spring, a matchup that never happened after Hill-Murray was forced to drop out of the tourney because of COVID-19 protocols. The teams meet on Wednesday at Aldrich Arena in a game with, of course, much lower stakes. ... The best of the Northwest Suburban Conference clash on Thursday in Maple Grove as the No. 4-2A Crimson (4-1-1) host No. 6-2A Andover and leading scorer Gavyn Thoreson (13 points). ... One of the better rivalries in northwest Minnesota renews on Thursday when No. 3-1A Warroad (5-0-0) travels to No. 5-1A East Grand Forks (4-2-0) to face the Green Wave and star forward Jaksen Panzer (11 goals, 18 points). ... Edina's three-day, round-robin holiday tourney at Braemar Arena concludes Saturday with No. 11-2A Grand Rapids (5-2-0) and scoring whiz Joey DelGreco (19 points) playing No. 20-2A Elk River/Zimmerman (5-1-0) followed by the annual finale of No. 16-2A Eden Prairie (2-2-0) squaring off against the host Hornets (No. 1-2A, 4-0-0).