High School

Elite League set for 12th season

By Loren Nelson
MN Hockey Hub editor

Benilde-St. Margaret’s forward Grant Besse is the top returning scorer with 35 points as the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League released its rosters for the 2012 season.
Besse, who scored all five goals for the Red Knights in their 5-1 state Class 2A championship victory over Hill-Murray, is an early Mr. Hockey frontrunner. He scored 15 goals and added 17 assists in 21 regular season games for Team Northwest last fall, and added two goals and an assist in three playoff games.

Besse is one of six Benilde-St. Margaret’s players on Elite League rosters and is joined by Team Southwest’s Patrick Graham, Dan Labosky and Justin Quale and Team Northeast’s T.J. Moore. Labosky and Moore are forwards, Graham a defenseman and Quale a goaltender. Spencer Naas, who played last season for Blake but is transferring to Benilde-St. Margaret’s, joins Besse on Team Northwest.

Read more: Elite League set for 12th season

Midwest Xposure set for March 16-18

Like it’s “parent,” the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, the Midwest Xposure Tournament adjusts to maintain it’s strength and competitiveness. Consequently, it will be staying with it’s early dates — one week after the Minnesota State High School Tournament (March 16-18). It has also made a decision to adjust the number of teams each year based on the quality of the player applications.

Read more: Midwest Xposure set for March 16-18

Team Minnesota Rosters for the 2011 Bauer NIT

No. Name Pos. High School Grade Team G A P 
2 Sam Wolfe D Eagan 12 SE 1 6 7
3 Jordan Gross D Maple Grove 11 NW 6 10 16
4 Eric Schurhamer D St. Thomas Academy 12 SE 1 12 13
5 Eli May D Eagan 12 SE 1 8 9
7 Cory Chapman F Burnsville 12 SE 5 10 15
8 Will Merchant F Eagan 12 SE 7 6 13
9 Grant Opperman F Breck 12 NW 13 16 29
10 Justin Kloos F Lakeville South 12 SE 17 30 47 
11 Thomas Lindstrom F Breck 11 NW 7 12 19
12 Grant Besse F Benilde-St. Margaret’s 11 NW 15 17 32
14 Charlie Sampair F Hill-Murray 12 NE 4 5 9
15 Jay Dickman F St. Paul Johnson 12 NE 13 9 22
16 Blake Heinrich D Hill-Murray 11 NE 2 6 8
17 Scott Nelson F Eastview 12 SE 15 7 22
17 Nate Flynn F Hastings 12 SE 4 16 20
18 Dylan Steman F Maple Grove 12 NE 10 15 25
19 Jake Guentzel F Hill-Murray 11 SE 14 27 41
20 Michael Brodzinski D Blaine 11 NW 4 10 14
21 Christian Horn F Benilde-St. Margaret’s 12 NW 11 9 20
No. Goalie High School Grade GAA SV%
1 Zach Thompson Duluth Denfeld 11 4.20 .897
30 Bryan Nies Grand Forks Red River 12 3.94 .905
Alt Justin Quale Benilde-St. Margaret’s 11 4.44 .867
No. Name Pos. High School Grade Team G A P 
2 Jared Kolquist D Hermantown 12 N 5 7 12
3 Nate Repensky D Duluth East 12 N 1 10 11
4 Matt Nelson D Edina 11 SW 2 4 6
5 Conor Andrle F Breck 12 SW 10 14 24
6 Eddie Matsushima F Verona 12 WI 9 8 17
7 Jordan Stejskal D Grand Rapids 12 GP 1 4 5
8 Jake Bischoff D Grand Rapids 11 N 4 7 11
9 Kyle Lee F Wausau West 12 WI 10 19 29
10 Lucas Kohls F Forest Lake 11 NE 9 7 16
11 Lou Nanne F Edina 11 SW 7 13 20
12 Jason Ford F Waunakee 12 WI 9 11 20
13 Jake Randolph F Duluth East 12 N 2 7 9
14 Ben Walker F Edina 12 SW 12 11 23
15 Max Coatta F Minnetonka 11 SW 16 11 27
16 Tim Davison D Notre Dame Academy 12 WI 1 11 12
18 Jared Thomas F Hermantown 12 N 7 11 18
19 Vinni Lettieri F Minnetonka 11 SW 14 13 27
20 T.J. Roo F Totino-Grace 11 NW 6 22 28
21 Dom Toninato F Duluth East 12 N 9 14 23
Alt Austin Swingle F St. Cloud Cathedral 11 GP 5 2 7
Alt Meirs Moore D Duluth East 11 N 1 12 13
Alt Terry Leabo D Moorhead 12 GP 2 3 5
No. Goalie High School Grade GAA SV%
1 Michael Bitzer Moorhead 12 3.79 .895
35 Dylan Parker Duluth East 11 3.23 .901

Shattuck-St. Mary's Claims Bauer NIT Championship

Max Becker scored twice in the title game and finished with five goals and four assists in three games to lead Shattuck-St. Mary’s to the championship of the Bauer National Invitational Tournament Nov. 4-6 at New Hope Ice Arena in New Hope, Minn.

A sophomore from Orange, Calif., Becker scored midway through the second period and added a power-play goal in the third as Shattuck-St. Mary’s beat Minnesota Red 5-3 in Sunday’s championship game. Becker led all players in the tournament in goals and in points with nine.

Kyle Hayton, a senior from Denver, made 39 saves against Minnesota Red and stopped 65 of 70 shots in two starts for Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Jake Montgomery registered a tournament-best seven assists for Shattuck-St. Mary’s, which beat Massachusetts 15-2 in the quarterfinals and Norway 9-1 in the semifinals.

Jordan Gross, a junior defenseman from Maple Grove, scored two goals and added five assists to lead Minnesota Red in scoring in the tournament. Gross, who has committed to play at Notre Dame, had a goal and an assist in the third period of the championship game as Minnesota Red scored all three of its goals.

Grant Opperman, a Breck senior committed to Dartmouth, and linemate Christian Horn, a senior from Benilde-St. Margaret’s, each had two goals and three assists in the tournament. Minnesota Red reached the championship game with a 7-3 triumph over Northwood School (N.Y.) on Friday in the quarterfinals and 5-1 win over Minnesota White in Saturday’s semifinals.

Hermantown senior Jared Thomas scored three goals and added three assists for Minnesota White, which beat Norway 5-3 in Sunday’s third-place game. Kyle Lee of Wausau West had four assists to finish second on Minnesota White in scoring.

Northwood won the consolation title with a 7-5 victory over New England on Sunday. Massachusetts won the seventh-place game with a 4-2 triumph Sunday over Michigan.

Read more: Shattuck-St. Mary's Claims Bauer NIT Championship

Southeast Captures Elite League Playoff Crown

Eagan senior forward Nick Kuchera is Minnesota Wild Player of the Week

Eagan senior Nick Kuchera scored four goals and added three assists, and Grand Forks (N.D.) Red River senior Bryan Nies stopped 67 of 69 shots to lead Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League regular season champion Team Southeast to three victories and the league’s playoff title on Oct. 28-30 at New Hope Ice Arena in New Hope.

Team Southeast, which went 14-4-3 to win the Elite League’s regular season championship, beat Omaha AAA U18 10-0 in Friday’s quarterfinals, Team Northwest 2-1 in Saturday’s semifinals and Team North 5-1 in Sunday’s championship.

Nies stopped 27 of 28 shots in each of the victories over Team Northwest and Team North. He finished the playoffs with a 0.67 goals-against average and .971 save percentage.

Kuchera scored two goals and added two assists in the win over Omaha. He scored the winning goal late in the third period against Team Northwest and added a goal and an assist in the title-game triumph over Team North. He earned Minnesota Wild Player of the Week for his performance in the playoffs.

Team Northwest won Sunday’s third-place game in thrilling fashion, beating Team Northeast 4-3 in double overtime on a goal by Benilde-St. Margaret’s junior Grant Besse. T.J. Roo of Totino-Grace set up the goal by carrying the puck into the Team Northeast zone, drawing a defender and whipping a pass through the crease at the last moment.

Defenseman Jake Horton of Benilde-St. Margaret’s scored twice in the final half of the third period for Team Northwest as it rallied from a 3-1 deficit.

The consolation final also was settled in double overtime as Matt Nelson, a junior defenseman from Edina, scored just less than three minutes into the second overtime session to give Team Southwest a 6-5 triumph over Great Plains.

In both double-overtime games on Sunday, the teams played four-on-four in the first overtime, which lasted 10 minutes. The second overtime period was set for seven minutes, and the format was 3-on-3.

Great Plains reached the consolation final by winning its first game of the season, a 6-2 consolation round triumph over Team Wisconsin on Saturday. Avery Peterson of Grand Rapids scored twice and Nick Malvin of Blaine made 45 saves in the victory.

Team Wisconsin finished in seventh place with an 8-0 triumph over Omaha on Sunday. Eight players scored goals for Team Wisconsin, and Eddie Matsushima of Verona and Jason Ford of Waunakee each added two assists.

Read more: Southeast Captures Elite League Playoff Crown