In the last article, the Class AA sections were examined. Now it’s the Class A sections turned to be examined. Like the last article, the rankings come from the weekly publication Let’s Play Hockey.
In Section 1A, Rochester Lourdes has dominated the section the last several years and this year it’s no different since the Eagles have the No. 1 seed. They only lost three games this season, including one to top ranked St. Thomas Academy. he other contender is second seeded Albert Lea.
Section 2A’s top two seeds are identical to last week’s Section 5A girls tournament-Blake and Breck. Breck won the last meeting between the two Tri Metro schools 5-1 and is on a quest to return to St. Paul and a shot at their third consecutive state Class A title. One other school that deserves consideration is third seeded Delano.
New Ulm is the top seed in a wide open Section 3A with Hutchinson the second seed.
Looking at Section 4A, once again Tom and Greg Vannelli have an outstanding St. Thomas Academy team but this year, the section looks a lot tougher with fourth ranked Totino-Grace, seventh ranked South St. Paul and 16th ranked Mahtomedi. This is definitely the toughest Class A section and it shows that any of these teams can win it.
Section 5A has the third ranked Hermantown Hawks as the top seed. Bruce Plante has had some really good teams in the Duluth suburb over the last few years and this year’s could be another.
Section 6A’s top seed is an emerging power in central Minnesota hockey, the Little Falls Flyers. Little Falls has been known for an outstanding scoring punch, especially when Ben Hanowski has been putting the puck in the net. But Ben is now down Highway 10 at St. Cloud State and two other Hanowskis could also contribute to another state tournament berth, Joey, a junior and Hunter, a senior.
Up north in Section 7A, the top seed is Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl. but it looks like another tough section with Hibbing/Chisholm, Duluth Central and perennial Class A power Duluth Marshall. Will it be Duluth or the Iron Range that comes to St. Paul?
The last section to be examined is Section 8A, with three teams that could make the long journey to the X, top seeded Warroad, second seeded Thief River Falls and third seeded Lake of the Woods from Baudette. Should Warroad win, it will be the second trip in two weeks for Warrior fans, since the girls are playing for a state title this week. First, they have to solve a tough Section 8A.
There it is. The road to St. Paul is now open, free of snow and the section season is ready to go.