Quote Me, Howie
Lakeville South has powered itself into the top spot in latest MNHockey.TV Boys Power Class 2A Rankings, for Dec. 27-January 3.
The Cougars (7-0-0), led by team scoring leader junior center Tanner Ludtke who collected five points (three goals) in an 8-1 road win at Shakopee on Dec. 23, has pushed past previously No. 1-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall (6-2-0), which slipped to No. 4 after suffering a 5-4 loss at St. Thomas Academy and a 5-3 home win against previously-unbeaten Hermantown.
“Lakeville South is the lone remaining unbeaten in 2A and has enough high-end talent to warrant our top ranking,” said Pete Waggoner, Director of Hockey Media Service at YouthSportsPLUS-MNHockey.TV. “All the previous No. 1's in our 2A poll have fallen off. The Cougars are strong in their defensive zone, transition well and feature guys who can score.
“I’m excited to watch South face Edina in what should be a high-tempo game on Saturday. Will their defensive game hold up against the Hornets’ fast-paced offense? Edina’s defense is strong against stud players such as Ludtke, and when the Hornets are playing really well they have the puck on their sticks. A lot.
Edina (6-1-1) moved up to No. 2, from third, despite losing 6-2 to unranked Eden Prairie in the Edina Holiday Classic final. Ultra-elite junior forward Jimmy Clark, a Gophers recruit, leads the Hornets with seven goals and 14 points.
Roseau (8-1-0) and Grand Rapids (8-3-0) remain at Nos. 5-6, respectively, with Chaska (7-1) moving up to No. 7 and Hill-Murray (6-2-0) to No. 8.
No. 9 Maple Grove (5-2-1) and No. 10 Centennial (5-1) returned to the top-10.
Meanwhile, Hermantown (6-1-0) held a strong grip its top ranking in Class 1A following a 4-2 loss at Cretin-Derham Hall on Dec. 23. Junior forward Zam Plante is expected to return to the lineup early in January, after suffering a shoulder injury against Wayzata in the third game of the season.
No. 2 Warroad (8-0-0) and No. 3 Little Falls (9-0-0) are making a push to move past the Hawks in the rankings.
“I love Hermantown, and they’re doing it without Zam Plante,” said Waggoner. “Hermantown is on my short list of best teams in 1A or 2A. Pat Andrews' teams play a detailed game, support the puck well and never leaving themselves hanging in any situation. And they’ve got a very good sophomore goalie in (Dane) Callaway.”
Delano (6-2-0) has moved up a spot to No. 4, followed by Mahtomedi (4-4-0), Duluth Denfeld (6-2-0), Fergus Falls (7-2-0), Minneapolis (6-2-0), Providence Academy (6-2-0) and Southwest Christian/Richfield (4-2-0).
“Mahtomedi is the most interesting team to watch among the big three or four in 1A,” said Waggoner. “They play a tough schedule and feature the best senior goalie in the state in (Ben) Dardis.”
Hermantown coach Patrick Andrews on brothers Zam and Max Plante: “When Zam and Max are on the ice together, it’s art, it’s poetry. It’s amazing.”