It’s Feb. 1 and we’ve seen nary a hint of a groundhog much less a groundhog’s shadow, so it seems a little ridiculous to draw a connection between the girls’ hockey section playoffs, which begin this week, and winter’s demise. Too much frostiness and frigidity on the horizon.
Yet the postseason is at hand as girls’ hockey teams wrapped up their regular seasons last week. Many of the sections have yet to be seeded, but a few sections are set and feature intriguing matchups.
In Section 1, Class 2A, top-seeded Lakeville South (18-5-2) has a possible semifinals matchup Saturday against intradistrict rival Lakeville North, the No. 4 seed. The Panthers will need to beat No. 5-seeded Rochester John Marshall in Tuesday’s quarterfinals to set up the rivalry game.
The 4/5 seeding matchup in the Section 2, 2A quarterfinals pits two teams going in opposite directions. Shakopee (13-9-3) earned the No. 4 seed despite going 1-4-1 in its past six games. No. 5-seeded Holy Family/Waconia (11-12-2) had only one victory in its first 12 games, but has come on strong of late, winning seven of its past eight. They meet 7 p.m. Thursday at the Shakopee Community Center.
South Suburban rivals Eagan and Eastview finished second and third, respectively, in the conference (behind Lakeville South), but their seedings were reversed for the playoffs. Eastview got the No. 1 seed and Eagan No. 2 due in large part to Eastview’s 4-2 victory over the Wildcats on Tuesday.
Cretin-Derham Hall finished 19-5-1 and ran away the Suburban East title but received the No. 2 seed in Section 6, 2A, behind Edina. The Hornets won the only head-to-head between the teams with a 3-0 shutout, but that was on Nov. 13.
Elsewhere this week:
• Tuesday: Maple Grove (15-3) at Champlin Park (16-3), 7 p.m.: The only meeting of the season between these two Northwest Suburban powers.
• Thursday: Minneapolis North (18-4) at St. Paul Central (13-3), 7 p.m.
• Monday: Eden Prairie (4-15) at Minneapolis North (10-7), 7 p.m. Eden Prairie coach Faith Johnson Patterson’s first coaching appearance at North, a program she guided to four state championships and nine consecutive state tournament appearances from 1997 through 2005.
• Thursday: Shakopee (17-0) at Hopkins (17-2): No. 1, 4A Shakopee puts its undefeated record on the line against the team that routed the Sabers in the Class 4A state tournament semifinals last March.
• Tuesday: St. Thomas Academy vs. Mahtomedi (at St. Croix), 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday: Benilde-St. Margaret’s (20-0-1) at Eden Prairie (15-5-1), 7 p.m. Second straight week that No. 1, 2A Benilde-St. Margaret’s plays the team ranked just behind it. The Red Knights downed Minnetonka 4-2 on Tuesday. The first time these two met, their spots in the rankings were flip-flopped. Benilde, then No. 2, beat No. 1 Eden Prairie 6-5 in overtime on a power-play goal by Zach Ristau.