Hermantown junior Zam Plante has missed the Hawks' last eight games with a shoulder injury but is expected to be in the lineup for Saturday's matchup against Warroad. Photo by Loren Nelson, LegacyHockeyPhotography.com
We're at the midpoint of the season, or thereabouts, and what has been a wildly entertaining ride only promises to offer more thrills, starting with Saturday's big showdown between the top two teams in Class 1A — and possibly the entire state — in Hermantown and Warroad.
Longtime rivals in the northeast corner of the state meet Tuesday when Red Lake Falls (9-5-0), which ranks second in the state with 86 goals, hosts Kittson County Central (3-8-1) and top scorer Tyler Hennen (17 goals, 18 assists). Red Lake Falls senior Ty Kennett ranks second in the state with 53 points. ... No. 14-1A Orono (5-6-1) and leading scorer Bradley Walker (10 goals) would likely accelerate their recent ascension in the Class 1A rankings with a victory over No. 7-1A Minneapolis (9-3-1) Tuesday. ... Chanhassen (7-3-1), which has lost just once in its last nine games, faces a difficult challenge Friday when it meets Sartell-St. Stephen (7-4-0) and top scorer Tory Lund (16 goals). ... Park of Cottage Grove (6-4-0) and scoring leader Jackson Rudh, a freshman with 20 points, square off Saturday against one of the longtime power brokers in the Suburban East Conference in White Bear Lake (5-4-0). ... Blaine (6-3-3) and its defense will be put to the test by Spring Lake Park (8-6-0) and scoring phenom Blake Lueck, the state goal-scoring leader with 30.