Boys hockey preview: PB's Class AA statewide Power Rankings
A glance at the top 10 boys hockey teams in the state and 10 more that are challenging for those top spots.
1. Cretin-Derham Hall
Why they’re No. 1: The reasons are obvious and plentiful when digging into the Raiders' roster. They went 18-2-0 last season and return 11 of their top 12 scorers. Few teams in the state can add that bullet point to their resume. They have three players who recorded 37 or more points last season in 20 games, led by senior forward Drew Fisher (15-27--42). Senior goalie Marko Belak also returns after posting a 17-2-0 record, a 1.78 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. Cretin has all the makings to be a powerhouse.
2. Maple Grove
Why they’re No. 2: The Crimson lost a lot off last season's team, but they also seem to annually produce a new crop of players from their youth program to fill those skates. Junior forward Landen Gunderson (21-27--48) leads a solid group of returners.
MORE 2021-22 BOYS HOCKEY PREVIEW STORIES:
Why they’re No. 3: High-powered forward Gavyn Thoreson is back, as a junior this season, to lead the Huskies. He was their second-leading scorer behind the graduated Garrett Schifskey. Thorseon had 15 goals and 55 total points in 22 games for 18-3-1 Andover. Senior Logan Granvik was also a 30-point scorer last year (15-16--31).
Why they’re No. 4: The Spuds are nearly as deep as Cretin. Moorhead returns eight of its top nine scorers from a year ago, when it went 13-8-1. We had Moorhead at No. 2, but the Spuds opened the season Friday with a loss to Wayzata. They are, however, breaking in a new goalie -- graduated senior Will Kunka played every minute last year. Moorhead will be where it always seems to be at the end of the season: In the state tournament and challenging for a spot in the title game.
Why they’re No. 5: The Pioneers went 18-3-0 last season. They lost some standouts, but senior forward and Wisconsin commit Dylan Godbout could be a Mr. Hockey contender. He had 9-17--26 in 20 games as a junior. Goalie Nick Erickson also put up excellent numbers (14-2-0, 1.18 GAA, .937 save pct. and 7 shutouts).
6. Lakeville South
Why they’re No. 6: The Cougars were oh-so-close to a state championship last spring, going 20-1-2 and suffering their only loss of the season in double-OT against Eden Prairie in the Class AA state title game. While the Cougars lost a handful of outstanding players to graduation, the return of Tanner Ludtke bolsters the offense. The Omaha commit had 16-34--50 last year. South will also be banking on new faces in goal this year, as junior Jack Hochsprung and senior Owen Havlicek step in.
Why they’re No. 7: The Hornets may actually be a little too low, though No. 7 is also where they sit in the first Associated Press rankings of the season. Edina returns its top two scorers, junior Jimmy Clark (15-11--26) and Arizona State University commit Trey Fechko (9-15--24).
8. Benilde-St. Margaret's
Why they’re No. 8: The Red Knights went 15-6-0 last season against a challenging schedule and have two players whose names have been thrown into the Mr. Hockey conversation: Defenseman and Colorado College commit Tristan Sarsland, and senior forward Adam Marshall (13-19--32 in 21 games last season).
9. Prior Lake
Why they’re No. 9: The Lakers get a big lift with University of Vermont commit Alex Bump returning after playing in 14 games with Omaha in the USHL this fall. Bump scored six goals and added five assists in those games. Bump and fellow returning forwards Sam Rice and Will Schumacher combined for 99 points last season.
Why it’s No. 10: We had Wayzata outside of our top 10 to start the season, but after an impressive 5-2 win against Moorhead on Friday, a quick adjustment was needed. The Trojans lost a lot of offense from a year ago, but they found plenty against the Spuds, with five different goal-scorers and eight players recording a point.
The Next 10
11. St. Thomas Academy, 12. Minnetonka, 13. Grand Rapids, 14. Roseau, 15. Gentry Academy, 16. Rogers, 17. Chaska, 18. Blake, 19. Centennial, 20. Stillwater.