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Backyard Brawl

By Loren Nelson, 01/03/23, 7:45PM CST


Top Games | Week of Jan. 3: St. Thomas Academy, Benilde-St. Margaret's go from pond to regional TV

The state of streaming video in the State of Hockey is such that pretty much every game on any given night is broadcast is some shape or form.

That might mean anything from the most bare bones of productions — automated cameras following the play, but not always keeping pace, with no play-by-play — to unabashedly biased broadcast crews questioning most every penalty called against the home team.

The gold standard, usually reserved for Hockey Day Minnesota, are Bally Sports North produced broadcasts. Truck the equipment and expertise used to broadcast NHL games to outdoor venues or cozy high school rinks and you might as well be watching say, an Eden Prairie game, from inside Eagles star forward Teddy Townsend’s shoulder pads.

Bally Sports North added nine featured boys’ hockey broadcasts (not counting the two Hockey Day games) to its schedule this season, the sixth game of which will be held Thursday night when Benilde-St. Margaret’s travels to Mendota Heights to play St. Thomas Academy in a matchup of Legacy Hockey’s No. 9 (STA) and 10 (BSM) teams in its latest rankings.

Star power will be abundant, from the broadcast booth (Anthony LaPanta and Kevin Gorg on the call), to the benches (St. Thomas Academy coach Mike Randolph is approaching 700 victories; Benilde-St. Margaret’s coach Ken Pauly began the season with 547 wins) to the ice (STA’s Tommy Cronin and BSM’s Drew Stewart are the offensive catalysts).

Other top games

No. 3-2A Maple Grove (7-2-0) and No. 8-2A Andover (7-4-1) meet Thursday for the the first time since their double-overtime thriller (Andover won 6-5) for the state championship last March. ... Park of Cottage Grove (9-3-0) is off to one of its best starts in recent history but still lacks a win over an upper-echelon team, a situation that could be remedied Thursday against No. 13-2A Eastview (6-2-0). ... No. 18-2A Grand Rapids (8-4-0) puts its lockdown defense to the test Friday against Section 7AA rival Duluth East (6-5-0) and its offense powered by twin engines Cole Christian (21 points) and junior Thomas Gunderson (16 points). ... No. 20-2A Holy Family (8-3-0) and top scorer Parker Osborn (30 points) head north Friday to play North Dakota's top-ranked team in Grand Forks Red River (8-1-0).

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