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2014 Class AA state boys hockey tournament preview


All games Thursday, March 6 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul

11:00: Roseau vs. Lakeville North (Seed 2)

1:00: Centennial vs. Eden Prairie (Seed 3)

6:00: Stillwater vs. Edina (Seed 1)

8:00: Eagan (Seed 5) vs. Duluth East (Seed 4)

Examining the field: Good news for Roseau fans. The Rams return to state for the 34th time. The bad news. They face a team that has been No. 1 in Class AA this season in the second seeded Lakeville North Panthers. The Panthers have lost only one game since December 7, when they lost to St. Thomas Academy. Can the city of Lakeville bring home it's first state hockey tournament trophy? First they have to play Roseau.

Rounding out the afternoon session is the Centennial Cougars and the third seeded Eden Prairie Eagles. The Cougars got in thanks to a hot goalie in senior Blake Miller, who made a number of key saves to keep the Blaine Bengals from clinching a trip to St. Paul. His next test will be the hot Eden Prairie Eagles, who got out of a tough Section 6 with a double overtime win against the Benilde-St. Margaret's Red Knights. A lot of red clad fans will be in the seats looking forward to an outstanding game. Can the Cougars play giant killer again?

Opening up the evening session will be the Stillwater Ponies and the top seeded Edina Hornets. The Ponies stunned top seeded Hill-Murray on Brandon Jungmann's game winning goal. They will have an even tougher task against the defending Class AA champion Hornets. They are a very good all around team who displays excellent passing. State title number 12 could be a possibility for the Lake Conference school.

Concluding quarterfinal play will be the fifth seeded Eagan Wildcats and the fourth seeded Duluth East Greyhounds. The Wildcats are the second South Suburban Conference team to head to state, ending St. Thomas Academy's quest for their first state tournament berth as a AA school. The Greyhounds, playing an independent schedule head down I-35 once again to the X and though they lost to Centennial and Lakeville North in the regular season, they play a tough schedule and be competitive with the state's top teams. A great way to wrap up quarterfinal play.

There's plenty of action coming up in St. Paul.

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