Arguably the biggest and most exciting week of the hockey season in Minnesota is upon us - the State High School Hockey tournament held at the Xcel Energy Center in the capitol city. For the next four days, Saint Paul will have an undeniable energy flowing throughout the crowds. The experience that this week offers to participating players as well as attendees is absolutely astounding. Winning a section championship for your school and earning a trip to the X is a dream for just about any young player growing up in the State of Hockey.
For anyone that has helped their perspective team get this far, props are due. Nothing great happens on accident and these boys put the work in to make their dream come to frutiion. We are proud to have thirty-four current MAP South Hockey Athletes on varsity rosters playing in The Tourney this year. Here are a few of the standout performers, followed by the complete list of players. Our staff and community is proud of every one of these boys and can’t wait to see them hit the ice.
Photo credit: Youth Hockey Hub
Jackson Hallum | Junior Forward | St. Thomas Academy
STA heads to Xcel coming off a truly incredible section playoff run and strong stretch of regular season play. The Cadets have won 13 of their last 14 games and have leaders like Jackson at the helm. Tops for his team during the regular season in goals (18) and points (35), this flashy forward brings a regular offensive punch. Jackson’s skating speed and acceleration are among the best in the state. Matched with linemate and fellow MAP South Athlete Jared Wright, STA’s top line is always dangerous on the rush. Look for Jackson to make some noise against a tough Thursday opponent in Andover.
Adam Johnson | Junior Forward | Mahtomedi HS
What a difference a year makes for those on healthy paths of development. After Adam’s sophomore season resulted in just 15 points, he took the proverbial “next step” and tallied 42 this season as a junior. Leading the Zephyrs in points and assists in the regular season, Johnson is a scary site for anyone matched against him. His game is built on a scorer’s touch mixed with a penchant to win puck battles. Mahtomedi is looking to improve on their 3rd place finish from last year’s tourney and Johnson will on the frontlines of that push.
JD Metz | Junior Forward/Defenseman | Mahtomedi HS
Another high-impact Zephyr to keep an eye out for is a player of immense versatility. JD started the season playing big minutes as defenseman and was a significant part of his team’s 7-1 start. But a midseason change from the coaching staff has him back to his natural position of forward to boost the offense. It all resulted in 26 points over 20 regular season games and 10 points in his last 6 games. JD is a menace around the net as both a playmaker and shooter, and also excels on the forecheck. We could see him filling in back at the blue line if needed, making him one of the more valuable skaters on his team.
Photo credit: Youth Hockey Hub
Joe Miller | Junior Forward | Blake School
Regardless of who you might be rooting for, you have to show some love for this Blake team and their first Class AA tournament appearance. Their 19-6 record is the result of a strong crew of playmakers on both sides of the puck. At the forefront of the Bears’ strong season is a legit superstar in Miller. the University of Minnesota-commit posted 59 regular season points and then casually added another 12 points in 3 section playoff games. Joe’s skill & vision are a major catalyst for his team. In games in which he had at least one point, the Bears were 22-2 in regular season and sections. Blake kicks off the Class AA games on Thursday when they go to war with Maple Grove.
Joe Palodichuk | Junior Defenseman | Hill-Murray School
While there are plenty of metro area teams that feature at least one line of skilled forwards that can make plays and produce scoring chances, one X-factor to put yourself in the “contender” conversation is having a true No. 1 defenseman. And the Pioneers have that in Palodichuk. This is a two-way maestro who makes a difference in any zone and any situation. Joe’s 35 regular season points was good for second in the entire state for Class AA blue-liners (tied with 2 others). And a team-leading 31 assists is the result of an elite puck moving and playmaking attributes. Look for the Wisconsin-commit to be a strong contributor in even strength as well as on the power play.
Photo credit: Youth Hockey Hub
Charlie Strobel | Senior Forward | Hill-Murray School
Like the aforementioned Joe P., Hill-Murray’s squad features a number of skilled players and great skaters. Helping lead the Pios’ charge through 4AA section playoffs is a gifted scorer and tenacious competitor in their captain/spiritual leader. Strobes put up a healthy 40 points in the regular season and then balled out in sections with 4 goals & 4 assists in 3 contests. He’s definitely a game changer and has regularly stepped up in big moments throughout the season. Keep at eye on #27 on the PK as well, especially when paired with fellow MAP South Athlete Nick Pierre. The two combined for 4 goals & 5 assists during the regular season when down a man.
Cody Ticen | Junior Goaltender | Lakeville South HS
LV South is red hot as they head to Kellogg Blvd., winning 11 of their last 12 contests. It’s been an exciting season overall for the Cougars, who showed very few lulls within a strong schedule of opponents. And at the core of their success is a stellar netminder in Ticen. A 14-3 record with a .926 save percentage and 5 shutouts during the regular season, Cody has been a beast between the pipes. He maintained excellence in section playoffs with a .934 SV% to go along with 1.31 GAA in 3 games. Facing Eden Prairie in the first game is a tall order for the Cougars, but Ticen's abilities and compete level give his team a chance to win against just about any opponent.
|LV SOUTH||Gunderson, Jacob||8||Defense||11|
|LV SOUTH||Ticen, Cody||30||Goalie||11|
|LV SOUTH||Miller, Eli||37||Forward||9|
ST. THOMAS ACADEMY