There is no shortage of star power and storylines when it comes to high school hockey in Minnesota. Let’s take a moment to realize how good we have it.
There were 22 roster spots for the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team heading into the 2016 IIHF Women’s U18 World Championship—16 of those spots were filled by Minnesotans. Summoned by their country during the middle of the season, they captured gold behind a game-winning overtime goal from Eastview’s Natalie Snodgrass.
The Olympics are still a couple years away, but it makes you wonder what that roster is going to look like.
We have seen perfection on the boys’ side. Last season Lakeville North won the Class 2A state title with an unblemished 31-0 record. The Panthers were the first team to do so since Bloomington Jefferson back in the 1992-93 season.
“To be a part of a group that completed a perfect season for the first time in nearly a quarter century is somewhat surreal," said head coach Trent Eligner. "It's a joy to reflect on the hard work the boys put in to achieve something so special. High school hockey is a true jewel. It's not to be taken for granted.
"There's nothing like being at the X in March. The high school state tournament is king."
These People Are Going Places
The level of skill and talent is booming at the boys’ and girls’ high school levels. Cover boy Riley Tufte is being coveted by every NHL team as we inch closer and closer toward the draft. The dynamic Grace Zumwinkle is a must-see at Breck.
Little Luverne in the southwest corner of the state features the top two scorers in the state. Jaxon Nelson eclipsed the 100-point total three games before the regular season ended and senior Makayla Sterrett tallied 72 points.
Hibbing/Chisholm’s Scott Perunovich was one of the top point producers in the state as a junior defenseman. Blake’s Carly Bullock potted 42 goals while New Ulm’s Brooke Schugel added 40 of her own. Grab some popcorn and watch Eden Prairie's dynamic duo of Michael Graham and Casey Mittelstadt. They won't disappoint.
There are honestly too many players to highlight. Just another year in Minnesota high school hockey.