Final AA Rankings

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Final AA Rankings

Post by karl(east) » Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:54 am

Another high school season has come and gone, and it’s time to close it out with one last set of rankings. Here you go:

1. BENILDE-ST. MARGARET’S
-It was a wild ride for the Red Knights, who entered the season as one of the favorites, quickly lost that status, found their minds driven far from hockey by a tragic accident, then came together to pull off their first AA championship. A lot of the top teams stumbled, making their road easier, but with a little help from Grant Besse, Benilde made sure they were the last team standing. Congrats to the Red Knights.

2. Hill-Murray
-Like Benilde, the Pioneers benefited from some timely upsets--White Bear and Eagan going down made their road to the final much easier. But they were playing very good hockey by the end of the year, and it all came together in the convincing upset of Maple Grove. They fought hard in the final, and with Lechner at the helm and the talent they keep on bringing in, they’ll keep on being one of the favorites.

3. Duluth East
-In terms of the body of work, the Hounds had one of the greatest high school seasons in recent memory. After watching them grab the consolation title, I still think they were the team to beat this year. But they chose the wrong time to have a bad night, and were left with only a fifth place trophy. In the end, they join the long line of great #1s that have gone down over the years.

4. Eagan
-Like East, the Wildcats fell flat at State. But as with the Hounds, that loss doesn’t take away a fine season and the many accomplishments of a very talented senior class. They’ve turned themselves into a player on the state scene, and in a section like 3AA, they will have further opportunities.

5. Lakeville South
-The regular season wasn’t quite on par with some of the other top teams, but the upset of Duluth East gets the Cougars their first ever trip into the top five. Wrapping up third place was a huge step forward for this program, and I expect we’ll see more of them in the coming years.

6. Minnetonka
-A brilliant season came to a crashing halt in the 6AA title game, but the Skippers were clearly a top team throughout. Someday they will finally break through and win a big one.

7. Maple Grove
-Yet another AA team that saw it all go wrong when they got to State. The Crimson made their first trip to St. Paul and had the finest season in school history, but peaked just a tiny bit too early in that rout over Blaine. They’ll be back.

8. Edina
-The Hornets got a nasty draw at State, as they went down in tight games against streaking Benilde and a Duluth East team in search of redemption. Given their youth simply making State was a pretty good first step, and if they can keep all of this talent around, they’re going to be a favorite over the next few years.

9. Moorhead
-The Spuds notched a big upset at State to punctuate a steady year, and hung with Hill and Lakeville South quite well. Bitzer was the star, but credit Morinville and company for putting together teams that always do Moorhead proud at State, even when they don’t have the talent of their opponents.

10. Eden Prairie
-The Eagles exceeded expectations in a rebuilding year after the title run, though even so the loss to Robbinsdale Armstrong in sections was a real disappointment. They should be a dangerous team yet again next year.

11. Wayzata
-The Trojans had a pretty strong year, but were buried in a deep section and were clearly just a little ways behind their competition.

12. Burnsville
-Gave Edina a decent run, but once again the season came to a close in the 2AA championship. Someday Edina’s streak will have to end, and they’re as good a threat as any to make that happen.

13. Elk River
-Came on towards the end of the season with a win over Maple Grove, and gave East a better run than Andover did in the 7AA final. Will be a force in 7AA in the coming years.

14. Andover
-Took a step forward by making the 7AA title game; it was hard to ask for much more this year. Should continue to improve as they build up their program.

15. Brainerd
-It’s tough to find a good team to put here, so I’ll go with the Warriors for making it into the 8AA final and giving Moorhead a good game.

Others worthy of mention, in no particular order:

Roseville. Like Brainerd, did well to make a section final and did better than expected this season.
Blaine. Had a pretty nice regular season, but that section final against Maple Grove is going to sting for a while. Should be back with a vengeance in the coming years.
Grand Rapids. A decent regular season, but never quite met expectations, and folded in the first round of sections.
Cloquet. Improved as the season went on and gave Elk River a good run in sections; as long as they have Kuhlman they’ll be a factor.
Prior Lake. Another program on its way up that should make some noise in the not-so-distant future.

So, how did I do this year? During the regular season things lined up pretty well; the first round at State sure did everything in, though, and there was really no way to anticipate that in the rankings. There were a handful of misses--last year I underrated Grand Rapids and Bemidji at the start of the year; this year I did the opposite. Hopefully I’ll find middle ground next year. I also missed Andover’s rise; I was expecting them to take another year to show up on the state scene. Beyond that, most things were within a reasonable margin of error.

Acknowledgements:
-mnhockeyprospects.com, for giving these rankings a platform beyond the forum and for my press box experience at the State Tourney.
-MN Hockey Hub, for its ever-improving coverage of hockey across the state.
-FollowThePuck, for quick and easily accessible scores.
-Lee’s site for PS2 and plenty of hockey history.
-MyFoxHockey and OTSN for continuing to expand my online viewing options and allowing me to see pretty much every top team in the state without leaving my bedroom.
-MnSportsNetwork for their radio coverage of so many games, especially during sections.
-The various radio stations out there that get their game broadcasts up online.
-My many editors and critics on the forum for their constant input and interest.

Thanks again for another fun season on here. I thank everyone for their contributions, and hope you’ll pitch in your thoughts this offseason and next year. I’ll have some final thoughts on this season a little later.

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Post by wbmd » Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:58 am

Duluth East is over rated!

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Post by minnscout » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:29 am

Not sure why u don't give Benilde the credit they deserve. They are far and away the best team in the state and didn't benefit from anything. They would smoke East just like they did everyone else.

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Post by Krispy » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:36 am

minnscout wrote:Not sure why u don't give Benilde the credit they deserve. They are far and away the best team in the state and didn't benefit from anything. They would smoke East just like they did everyone else.
Was the #1 ranking not giving them any credit at all?

I, myself, don't feel that they are "far and away" the best team in the state. Are they the best? They wouldn't be the champs if they weren't. To say that they would "smoke" east like they did everybody else, isn't very accurate. Unless you consider the 1 goal game against Edina being "smoked", then they haven't "smoked" everybody. East would play them close, could go either way.

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Post by east hockey » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:42 am

minnscout wrote:Not sure why u don't give Benilde the credit they deserve. They are far and away the best team in the state and didn't benefit from anything. They would smoke East just like they did everyone else.
I guess if scoring a goal in the final minute of the game equates to "smoking someone", then we have a new definition of "smoke".

Karl, maybe you should have put the "1." in front of Benilde's name in bigger font, so some would understand it. :roll:

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Post by gopherpuck516 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:25 am

Great job on the rankings all year! Very insightful and always creating good discussion.

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Post by tonkafan77 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:14 am

Karl-

If you could go out on a limb, assuming all current juniors stay, what do you think the Top 5-6 teams will look like next year?

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Post by Nostalgic Nerd » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:23 am

wbmd wrote:Duluth East is over rated!
Yeah LVS should be ahead of them.
I can splash in the rink puddles!

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Post by karl(east) » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:36 am

tonkafan77 wrote:Karl-

If you could go out on a limb, assuming all current juniors stay, what do you think the Top 5-6 teams will look like next year?
The top five will probably look something like this:
Edina
Benilde
Hill
Minnetonka
Eden Prairie

I think there's a pretty clear top tier. After that you'd have Wayzata, Blaine, Burnsville, and a mess of 7AA teams (Elk River, Andover, East, Grand Rapids).

There are so many early departures these days that it's hard to say too much, but regardless, I think we should get used to those top five teams being the main contenders for state titles in the foreseeable future.

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Post by East Side Pioneer Guy » Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:32 pm

Nice work again, Karl. This is always interesting to read through out the season. Once nice feature is a look ahead to games coming up that week. Back when daily newspapers covered high school hockey that info was easy to find. Some days the Pioneer Press doesn't even publish games and times for west metro games that same day.

My only quibble is calling Edina's draw of Benilde "nasty". There was a lot of debate about Eagan, Edina, and Benilde and which should be 3 or 4 or not seeded. For seeding purposes there were good arguments all around. And once Edina drew the 4 seed it was fair that they drew Benilde as they would have been the 5 seed. Also, as the other seeds lost in the first round no one could complain about their draw.

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Post by CitiesSpudsGuy » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:12 pm

Moorhead should be ranked ahead of Eagan! :shock: The Wildcats were overrated all year.

Ok, maybe it was just an "upset", but I still believe Eagan was overrated all year.
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Post by BodyShots » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:47 pm

karl(east) wrote:
tonkafan77 wrote:Karl-

If you could go out on a limb, assuming all current juniors stay, what do you think the Top 5-6 teams will look like next year?
The top five will probably look something like this:
Edina
Benilde
Hill
Minnetonka
Eden Prairie

I think there's a pretty clear top tier. After that you'd have Wayzata, Blaine, Burnsville, and a mess of 7AA teams (Elk River, Andover, East, Grand Rapids).
If nothing else, you are loyal to your roots. :lol:

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Post by karl(east) » Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:35 am

BodyShots wrote:
karl(east) wrote:
tonkafan77 wrote:Karl-

If you could go out on a limb, assuming all current juniors stay, what do you think the Top 5-6 teams will look like next year?
The top five will probably look something like this:
Edina
Benilde
Hill
Minnetonka
Eden Prairie

I think there's a pretty clear top tier. After that you'd have Wayzata, Blaine, Burnsville, and a mess of 7AA teams (Elk River, Andover, East, Grand Rapids).
If nothing else, you are loyal to your roots. :lol:
You really think these teams won't be good? I'm only going off of the Bantam success of each of these groups in recent years...

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Post by DubCHAGuy » Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:06 am

BodyShots wrote:
karl(east) wrote:
tonkafan77 wrote:Karl-

If you could go out on a limb, assuming all current juniors stay, what do you think the Top 5-6 teams will look like next year?
The top five will probably look something like this:
Edina
Benilde
Hill
Minnetonka
Eden Prairie

I think there's a pretty clear top tier. After that you'd have Wayzata, Blaine, Burnsville, and a mess of 7AA teams (Elk River, Andover, East, Grand Rapids).
If nothing else, you are loyal to your roots. :lol:
Agreed. 7AA will a mess next year. Maybe not a top 5 team in there, but all 4 of those teams, and possibly Cloquet could all be in the top 15.

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Post by puckster15 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:27 am

The Schwans Cup curse lived another year. Thought DE had a chance to break the curse.

DE and Eagan will definitely have to rebuild over the next few years. Both programs losing too many seniors. Edina is really yound and would appear to have the significant edge for the team to watch next year.

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Post by Doc Holliday » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:40 am

Good job all year, Karl. But I do disagree.

1: Benilde
2: Hill-Murray
3: Lakeville South
4: Duluth East
5: Edina
6: Minnetonka
7: Eagan
8: Moorhead
9: Maple Grove
10: Wayzata, Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Brainerd, Elk River. Insert who you want, all depends what time of the day you ask me.

Bottom line is MG had two 3 goal losses at state without a win, so they deserve a huge drop. Duluth may be better than Lakeville South, but unfortunately, LS won and has bronze medals to prove it. Despite going 2 & cue, Edina should be 5 because they just as easily could have won the title. But they also can't be above Duluth East either. Two one goal losses at state in the 3rd period to what's probably the two best teams in the state weighs a bit in my book.

Nevertheless, great job this year as always. At least the Eagan fans can't squabble at you any longer in 2011-2012. :D

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Post by Bluewhitefan » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:47 am

Krispy wrote:
minnscout wrote:Not sure why u don't give Benilde the credit they deserve. They are far and away the best team in the state and didn't benefit from anything. They would smoke East just like they did everyone else.
Was the #1 ranking not giving them any credit at all?

I, myself, don't feel that they are "far and away" the best team in the state. Are they the best? They wouldn't be the champs if they weren't. To say that they would "smoke" east like they did everybody else, isn't very accurate. Unless you consider the 1 goal game against Edina being "smoked", then they haven't "smoked" everybody. East would play them close, could go either way.
Far and away???? What are you watching? They barely beat Edina with 30 seconds left on a defensive breakdown. They werren't far and away better than Edina, DE, MG or probably Eagan. Get ahold of yourself. They had a nice run, and deserve their trophy, but you could throw them in a hat with five other teams and pick a different winner each time.

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Post by almostashappy » Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:17 am

Doc Holliday wrote:Good job all year, Karl. But I do disagree.

1: Benilde
2: Hill-Murray
3: Lakeville South
4: Duluth East
5: Edina
6: Minnetonka
7: Eagan
8: Moorhead
9: Maple Grove
10: Wayzata, Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Brainerd, Elk River. Insert who you want, all depends what time of the day you ask me.

Bottom line is MG had two 3 goal losses at state without a win, so they deserve a huge drop. Duluth may be better than Lakeville South, but unfortunately, LS won and has bronze medals to prove it. Despite going 2 & cue, Edina should be 5 because they just as easily could have won the title. But they also can't be above Duluth East either. Two one goal losses at state in the 3rd period to what's probably the two best teams in the state weighs a bit in my book.

Nevertheless, great job this year as always. At least the Eagan fans can't squabble at you any longer in 2011-2012. :D
Eagan fans never “squabbled” with Karl...we might have disagreed with his rationale for one or two of his weekly rankings (not this week, though :) ), but his rationale was always, well, rational. In contrast to your final rankings… :roll:

So what happens at the State Tournament is critically important…your top three mirror State placements. And you insist on a big drop for MG because it lost twice at State. But what about Edina? They went two and out as well, didn’t they? Oh, no…they’re different. Edina is special. They were two-time losers who didn’t even play on Saturday, but they were quality loses, weren’t they? Losing by one goal is much, much more impressive than losing by three goals. Why, they "just as easily could have won the title"!

A loss is a loss is a loss. Enjoy your cake. :P

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Post by Doc Holliday » Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:24 am

almostashappy wrote:
So what happens at the State Tournament is critically important…your top three mirror State placements. And you insist on a big drop for MG because it lost twice at State. But what about Edina? They went two and out as well, didn’t they? Oh, no…they’re different. Edina is special. They were two-time losers who didn’t even play on Saturday, but they were quality loses, weren’t they? Losing by one goal is much, much more impressive than losing by three goals. Why, they "just as easily could have won the title"!

A loss is a loss is a loss. Enjoy your cake. :P
We're simply arguing semantics at this point about who should be five through 9, but yes, the way you lose does matter. It matters in all polls. It mattered when Alabama lost to LSU this past year and it matters in other amateur sports as well.

If you lose by a goal in the last 25 seconds to the eventual state champ that proceeded to then outscore their opponents 15-2, yes I am going to weigh that loss a bit differently. And then if you lose to what was considered for the most part as the consensus #1 team all season by a goal less than 24 hours later, it's going to weigh a bit. Definitely more than consecutive 3 goal losses. In polls, & rankings, how you win & how you lose does matter.

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Post by almostashappy » Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:43 am

Doc Holliday wrote:
almostashappy wrote:
So what happens at the State Tournament is critically important…your top three mirror State placements. And you insist on a big drop for MG because it lost twice at State. But what about Edina? They went two and out as well, didn’t they? Oh, no…they’re different. Edina is special. They were two-time losers who didn’t even play on Saturday, but they were quality loses, weren’t they? Losing by one goal is much, much more impressive than losing by three goals. Why, they "just as easily could have won the title"!

A loss is a loss is a loss. Enjoy your cake. :P
We're simply arguing semantics at this point about who should be five through 9, but yes, the way you lose does matter. It matters in all polls. It mattered when Alabama lost to LSU this past year and it matters in other amateur sports as well.

If you lose by a goal in the last 25 seconds to the eventual state champ that proceeded to then outscore their opponents 15-2, yes I am going to weigh that loss a bit differently. And then if you lose to what was considered for the most part as the consensus #1 team all season by a goal less than 24 hours later, it's going to weigh a bit. Definitely more than consecutive 3 goal losses. In polls, & rankings, how you win & how you lose does matter.

So was Tonka losing by 4 goals in the Section Final a "good" loss, or a "bad" loss? Apparently it wasn't bad enough to see them drop below Eagan or MG in your rankings. :roll:

Your logic looks like a pretzel. But hey, if that's what it takes for you to keep thinking that Edina deserves to be ranked higher than Tonka or MG or Eagan, go for it. \:D/

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Post by TheHockeyDJ » Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:46 am

karl(east) wrote:
BodyShots wrote:
karl(east) wrote:
tonkafan77 wrote:Karl-

If you could go out on a limb, assuming all current juniors stay, what do you think the Top 5-6 teams will look like next year?
The top five will probably look something like this:
Edina
Benilde
Hill
Minnetonka
Eden Prairie

I think there's a pretty clear top tier. After that you'd have Wayzata, Blaine, Burnsville, and a mess of 7AA teams (Elk River, Andover, East, Grand Rapids).
If nothing else, you are loyal to your roots. :lol:
You really think these teams won't be good? I'm only going off of the Bantam success of each of these groups in recent years...
Grand Rapids and Cloquet both went to state when these groups were Bantam A's. I expect Elk River to be a favorite and Andover will remain in the mix with their goalie. Duluth East will probably again be the #1 seed though. With the guys East is losing and the players coming back to the other teams I think 7AA will have very close games throughout their tournament next year.
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Post by Doc Holliday » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:00 am

almostashappy wrote:

So was Tonka losing by 4 goals in the Section Final a "good" loss, or a "bad" loss? Apparently it wasn't bad enough to see them drop below Eagan or MG in your rankings. :roll:

Your logic looks like a pretzel. But hey, if that's what it takes for you to keep thinking that Edina deserves to be ranked higher than Tonka or MG or Eagan, go for it. \:D/
Tonka dropped down to 6. They lost to the state champion. They went down accordingly. And went back up after the performances from Maple Grove & Eagan this past weekend. Teams move up all the time while being idle due the results of other games. Yes, in my rankings, losing in the section final by 4 goals to the state champion on 200 x 100 ice, a size fit perfectly for the skill of BSM isn't as bad as a 4 goal loss to Moorhead.

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Post by Sats81 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:40 am

Very good final rankings. I think EP is back next yr as a force. A lot depends on who stays at BSM, but that section as always will be brutal to get through.

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Post by BodyShots » Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:56 pm

TheHockeyDJ wrote:
karl(east) wrote:
BodyShots wrote:
karl(east) wrote:
tonkafan77 wrote:Karl-

If you could go out on a limb, assuming all current juniors stay, what do you think the Top 5-6 teams will look like next year?
The top five will probably look something like this:
Edina
Benilde
Hill
Minnetonka
Eden Prairie

I think there's a pretty clear top tier. After that you'd have Wayzata, Blaine, Burnsville, and a mess of 7AA teams (Elk River, Andover, East, Grand Rapids).
If nothing else, you are loyal to your roots. :lol:
You really think these teams won't be good? I'm only going off of the Bantam success of each of these groups in recent years...
Grand Rapids and Cloquet both went to state when these groups were Bantam A's. I expect Elk River to be a favorite and Andover will remain in the mix with their goalie. Duluth East will probably again be the #1 seed though. With the guys East is losing and the players coming back to the other teams I think 7AA will have very close games throughout their tournament next year.
Going to state as Bantam's is quite an accomplishment, but it doesn't necessarily mean much. Look at this years bantam regionals and everyone will tell you that the East and South Region were by far the toughest and loaded with most of the talent. Yes, Moorhead and Duluth East Bantam's are going to state this year, but there regions were very weak. Does that mean they will be top teams three years down the road in High School. Matter of fact, I recall several years ago that my sons region had the top 4 teams from Let's Play Hockey rankings in it. Only 1 of those teams made state as Seniors.

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Post by green4 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:41 pm

almostashappy wrote:
Doc Holliday wrote:Good job all year, Karl. But I do disagree.

1: Benilde
2: Hill-Murray
3: Lakeville South
4: Duluth East
5: Edina
6: Minnetonka
7: Eagan
8: Moorhead
9: Maple Grove
10: Wayzata, Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Brainerd, Elk River. Insert who you want, all depends what time of the day you ask me.

Bottom line is MG had two 3 goal losses at state without a win, so they deserve a huge drop. Duluth may be better than Lakeville South, but unfortunately, LS won and has bronze medals to prove it. Despite going 2 & cue, Edina should be 5 because they just as easily could have won the title. But they also can't be above Duluth East either. Two one goal losses at state in the 3rd period to what's probably the two best teams in the state weighs a bit in my book.

Nevertheless, great job this year as always. At least the Eagan fans can't squabble at you any longer in 2011-2012. :D
Eagan fans never “squabbled” with Karl...we might have disagreed with his rationale for one or two of his weekly rankings (not this week, though :) ), but his rationale was always, well, rational. In contrast to your final rankings… :roll:

So what happens at the State Tournament is critically important…your top three mirror State placements. And you insist on a big drop for MG because it lost twice at State. But what about Edina? They went two and out as well, didn’t they? Oh, no…they’re different. Edina is special. They were two-time losers who didn’t even play on Saturday, but they were quality loses, weren’t they? Losing by one goal is much, much more impressive than losing by three goals. Why, they "just as easily could have won the title"!

A loss is a loss is a loss. Enjoy your cake. :P
well to be fair lets say the role was reversed and edina scored with 20 seconds left they probably would have been the team to beat of the final 4, but they didn't win and then play Duluth east and lose another 3-2 game in the last period which does look better than your Eagan's 4-1 loss to DE but your right a loss is a loss and really both teams were in the consolation side so it's not like it matters too much

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