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Posts Tagged ‘Shattuck St. Mary’s’

Today I’m looking at winter in southern Minnesota, which for the most part to me means hockey. Since I know zero about basketball I won’t bother looking at that, it’s hockey I’ll work on.

It’s easier to talk about this by school, with the exception of…..

High-School Hockey-
Tons of options, very few of which I know much about. I’ve only seen a game in just a few of the arenas. I don’t know much about girl’s hockey, but I’m willing to learn. For now I’m mostly talking about the boys game. (more…)

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A check of the various websites around leads me to know that hockey season is almost exactly one month away. Thanks to the juniors, hockey season starts in the fall. Hey NCAA and Minnesota State High-School League get on board! Move your seasons up a few months! Yes, I realize this won’t happen, but can’t blame a fellow for dreaming can you?

With my wife Amy and I in the process of making southern Minnesota our home (we close on the house in under 2 weeks), that makes me think of what the sporting life will be like. I’ll give my thoughts and grade things on how I currently think of things right now. Some time a number of years in the future I will come back and grade things again. Depending on where it is, the Twin Cities is roughly an hour away but for this purpose I will not include cities sports in my ratings. I will look only at southern Minnesota.

We’ll go as the seasons change, four seasons in four posts. Although hockey in southern Minnesota technically starts in the fall, thanks to having a NAHL team, hockey will be in the winter post. We’ll start with where we (almost) are, fall.

Fall usually conjures up the thoughts of one thing…

Football. I have only started to learn about Division II and Division III college football in the last year or so. My knowledge of the teams and other things at this point is pretty poor. If anyone has any knowledge about southern Minnesota football or the other sports I will post about, please let me know. Gaining knowledge, especially when it comes to sports, is a beautiful thing.

Professional – None, at least none I am aware of.
Grade: N/A

DI College – None.
Grade: N/A

DII College –
Minnesota-State Mankato: At just over an hour it’s not too far away. They play UMD so they’ve got that going for them. Also them being a hockey playing school is good as well.
Southwest Minnesota State: Up until today I hadn’t heard of them, of course my growing up in the north probably is the reason why. They’re in Marshall, Minnesota. A three hour drive is likely not to happen, especially since I can make a trip to Duluth in three hours. Maybe sometime in my lifetime, who knows though.
Winona: Also a team I didn’t know existed. At almost a two hour drive they’re also a little far away.
Grade: B-

III Division –
Carleton: Walking distance away right now, biking distance away from the house we are buying. A very nice stadium. Instead of cheerleaders they have “the cheer boys”. Very different. I attended a quarter of a game, but then left for other plans, but Carleton game would be enjoyable.
St. Olaf: Also very close by. A long bike ride now or from the new house. That or a very short car ride. Passing by their campus, their stadium looks beautiful.
Gustavus Adolphus: Just over an hour by car, maybe an hour and a half. Not too horribly far away.
Martin Luther: I hadn’t even heard of them until today. Not too horribly far away for me though.
Grade: A

High-School –
Plenty of high-schools of course. No clue who is good, who has great stadiums, what rivalry games I need to see, and other things like that. No mention over on the Shattuck St. Mary’s website about the Sabers having a football program. I can’t give this category a great rating, but also can’t give a bad one.
Grade: B+

Overall Thoughts – Division II and III football can be fun. Thanks to increased advertising (and along with that the power big business increasing) Division II and Division III athletics are quickly becoming more important to me than Division I. You have none of the over-hype that happens with the NFL and Division I football. I really don’t know much about the fall sports. I’d love to grade the volleyball or other things going on, but I know nothing about those things. I can’t see giving a bad overall grade for fall sports since I don’t know much about it. A Great number of teams is a very nice thing and gets a pretty good overall grade.

Overall Grade: B+

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How sweep it is! tUMD takes two versus Michigan Tech. Before getting on with the series, I’ve got to get one thing out of the way.

Great to meeting some of the great hockey fans that are USCHO members. I spied MEg down rinkside (what can I say, she’s hard to miss), so I journeyed down there in-between the first and second periods. Boosh’s and her Tech hockey blog is here. She introduced me to Minnesota North Star and Shirtless Guy. Turns out that Dirty was also there, in Tech apparel. For those not in the know, Dirty is a Sioux fan. It hasn’t been confirmed, but he may have sold his soul to get onto the Tech Misfits. Then again, depending on who you ask, he may have sold his soul when he became a Sioux fan. I’ve still got to meet up with Running with the Dogs (link to her blog) one of these games. Maybe it makes my blog look unprofessional talking about these kind of things in it, but really if you’ve been reading for some time you should know my blog isn’t about professionality anyhow.

Back to the series. Yes, that is not a mis-print. tUMD gets the home sweep against the Huskies (the black and white kind, not the black and red kind). tUMD has now one three straight games (two versus MTU and one against Bowling Green), which is the first time in a long time. The home sweep is the first one in over two years. Man it’s been a while. Last home non-conference sweep was against Yale on November 2005. Last WCHA home sweep was way back in October 2004, against Mankato. People around me were screaming for Staalock to get back in the net, but once again he did not allow a goal at all with his playing the way he does. He may have had some luck on his side, but I’ll still take him. He’ll get UMD out of more situations that he will get them in to.

The Dogs did what they needed to do: fought hard, didn’t make any world ending errors, did something on the powerplay (not great mind you. Side note: Good grief is MTU’s power-play aweful), and well…… finished. They’ll have to keep it up and step it up a notch or probably three notches to keep winning, but it’s a great start to 2007.

Driving home Amy and I got passed by a coach which had the Shattuck St. Mary’s logo on it. It’s likely it was the Bantam A team, they had a tourney up just north of Duluth in Thunder Bay, Ontario over the weekend. Speaking of Shattuck, the Sabers’ Prep team (SSM’s varsity team) is a rock solid 21-4-3 this year. They’ve only lost to the Southern Minnesota Express (Faribault/Owatonna’s junior team) twice, Northwood Academy, and to Team Illinois. Towards the end of January things get interesting. They play Culver (Culver, IN) twice at home. They also journey up to St. Louis Park (Minneapolis suburb) to play the Blake Bears and play the Academy of Holy Angels at home. All should be good games.

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tUMD is in Madtown this weekend to face the Badgers. UMD is undefeated in this early season. A win and a tie against Lowell and a easy win against Canda’s Lakehead. Not exactly top notch competition, but no losses none-the-less. Madison hasn’t been kind to the Bulldogs historically. Bucky has a certain trophy in their cabinet that they didn’t have last year at this time as well. Going for the Dogs favor is the Badgers are a little beaten up. UMD didn’t visit Madison last season, the series at the DECC was a split with UMD winning the second night. The official UMD site correctly says that UMD has won 3 of the last four against Wisconsin, but doesn’t give the whole story. The last four all have been played at the DECC. In the last twelve meetings in Madison UMD is only 3-8-1. The last series played there (in 2004-05), was a Badgers sweep with identical 3-2 wins. Alex Staalock started both nights last weekend, that could be a sign that he’ll be playing a lot this season.

NAHL – There’s a three way tie for the Central lead and the Fargo-Moorhead Jets are one of the three (Springfield and Bismarck being the others). The Jets have a 7-4-0 record. Jesse Echternach is tied for second in the league in goals. The Southern Minnesota Express are 5-4-0 overall. They’re fourth in the division, which is a little deceiving since they’ve only played nine games. All other teams in the division have played at least ten games, with Bismarck having played thirteen already. Shane Bailey is the only one in the league who has more than one shorthanded goal, Bailey has two of them. As for Alexandria, they’re at 4-7-0 and are only 1-4-0 at home.

I had my first chance to check out my first ever Shattuck St. Mary’s home game. The Prep team (their varsity equivalent). The SSM Prep team was playing a Midwest Hockey Elite League team. The MHEL team basically was just a bunch of players from different Minnesota highschools thrown together. Not much of an atmosphere at the game. The MEHL goalie didn’t even have the same jersey as the rest of his team did. Probably a better atmosphere will be when the play some of the NAHL teams and play some of the other highschool teams (they’re scheduled to play Culver (IN), Holy Angels, and Blake. Since that game wasn’t exciting, I went through the tunnel and watched SSM’s boys under-16 team play the Dallas Stars. No not those Dallas Stars, but yes that team is from Dallas, Texas. According to one of the parents the NHL’s Dallas Stars have their own youth teams. She said the kids went to school that day, flew up here to Minnesota, and then that night played Shattuck. So they were pretty tired, but kudos to them for doing it.

And now for things not involving a puck:

tUMD football team returned to winning ways with a close 16-13 win over Mankato. The ship is righted after they got whumped at home by Augustana. Saturday they face the other Mavericks, Nebraksa-Omaha makes a journey into Duluth.

Carlton lost a close one at home to Hamline 11-16. That makes the Knights on a three game losing streak, which comes after their three game winning streak. So now they’re an even three wins and three losses. Carleton got to eleven points the unconventional way, with a touchdown, an extra point, and two safeties. Next up is a trip to Augsburg to play the winless (0-6) Auggies.

As for St. Olaf, they’re sitting very nicely with a 6-1 record. They’re 4-1 in the MIAC which has them second only to St. Johns. The problem is that their only loss was to St. Johns. They’re at Bethel this week.

As for my hometown Esko Eskomos, they finished the regular season at 5-3. Their losses came to Greenway, Deer River, and Moose Lake/Willow River. As for sectionals, they play Pine River/Backus on the road.

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State of Hockey – an overview of the teams

This offseason there is one more Minnesota team added to “The State of Hockey”. The team is the Southern Minnesota Express, who are located in Owatonna. The Express are added as a team in the NAHL (North American Hockey League) is a junior league, which is part of USA Hockey. They are now the third NAHL team in Minnesota, joining the Fargo-Moorhead Jets and Alexandria’s Minnesota Blizzard. As a side note, our neighbors to the south (Iowa) have also added a new NAHL team. Mason City, Iowa now has the “North Iowa Outlaws”.

A league I just discovered this morning is the Minnesota Junior Hockey League. Beware their site is slow loading. The league includes the St. Paul Lakers (located in White Bear Lake) , the Twin-Cities Northern Lights (Bloomington), and Minnesota Ice Hawks (Rochester).

Here’s the teams/clubs I know are currently operating within the boundaries of the state of Minnesota. Since I can’t even begin to list the tremendous numbers of the youth teams, I’m assuming (generally) highschool age and above. I’ve included website links when I’m able to find them. If anyone knows of anything that I’m missing let me know.

The full list

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