Minnesota's highly regarded tournament opens Wednesday with four Class 1A quarterfinal games and four on Thursday with Class 2A teams.
Asked last week about reaching the state tournament for a seventh consecutive time, Edina boys' hockey coach Curt Giles said, "This is hard to do once."
The state tournament, Minnesota's annual crown jewel event, starts Wednesday with Class 1A quarterfinals at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Class 2A quarterfinals begin Thursday.
Three teams in the large-school field can appreciate Giles' sentiment. Centennial and Wayzata last reached the tournament in 2004. Eastview, located in Apple Valley, waited 12 years for a return trip.
Those teams provide a contrast to the stalwarts occupying the top seeds. Top-ranked and No. 1 seed Hill-Murray qualified for state for the seventh time in eight years. No. 2 Duluth East's five consecutive tournament appearances are second only to Edina's run.
While there is value in experience, last season proved that no seeded team is safe. The top four seeds all were bounced from Thursday's quarterfinals.
"Teams can surprise you when they go into a game thinking, 'Why not us?'" Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner said.
Said Duluth East coach Mike Randolph: "It's pretty wide open."
Hill-Murray opens play at 6 p.m. Thursday against Eastview. Lightning coach Drey Bradley called playing the Pioneers, last season's runner up, "a huge challenge."
Lechner acknowledged his team has "unfinished business" after falling to Benilde-St. Margaret's, and he feels good that about half his roster has state tournament experience.
Conversely, Wayzata coach Pat O'Leary was encouraged to see his No. 4 seed Trojans draw a fellow tournament newcomer in No. 5 seed Centennial in the quarterfinals.
"Our teams are very similar, and I'm sure they will have nerves, as well," O'Leary said.
In Class 1A, two-time defending champion St. Thomas Academy received the top seed ahead of No. 2 seed Breck, No. 3 Hermantown, No. 4 East Grand Forks and No. 5 Rochester Lourdes.
The Cadets, who will opt-up to Class 2A next season, are trying to become the first team to win three state titles in either class since Bloomington Jefferson (1992-94).
Class 2A quarterfinals, Thursday:
#2 Duluth East (24-4) vs. Moorhead (14-11-2), 11 a.m.
#3 Edina (22-6) vs. Lakeville North (11-16-1), 30 minutes after end of 11 a.m. game
#1 Hill-Murray (25-2-1) vs. Eastview (18-9-1), 6 p.m.
#4 Wayzata (21-7) vs. #5 Centennial (22-4-2), 30 minutes after end of 6 p.m. game
Class 1A quarterfinals, Wednesday:
#2 Breck (24-3-1) vs. Marshall (14-10-1), 11 a.m.
#3 Hermantown (23-4-1) vs. Duluth Marshall (16-12), 30 minutes after end of 11 a.m. game
#1 St. Thomas Academy (24-2-2) vs. St. Cloud Apollo (18-10), 6 p.m.
#4 East Grand Forks (22-3-3) vs. #5 Rochester Lourdes (20-8), 30 minutes after end of 6 p.m. game
Semifinals in Class 1A are during the day on Friday. Class 2A semifinals are Friday evening.
The Class 1A championship is at noon Saturday. The Class 2A championship game begins at 7 p.m.
|San Diego||12/12/13 7:25 PM|
|Washington||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|San Francisco||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Seattle||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Chicago||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Houston||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|New England||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Philadelphia||12/15/13 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/15/13 3:05 PM|
|NY Jets||12/15/13 3:05 PM|
|Arizona||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|New Orleans||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|Green Bay||12/15/13 3:25 PM|
|Cincinnati||12/15/13 7:30 PM|
|Baltimore||12/16/13 7:40 PM|
|Orlando||69||4th Qtr 10:28|
|LA Clippers||39||3rd Qtr|
|Chicago||17||2nd Qtr 10:21|
|Detroit||33||2nd Qtr 8:41|
|Philadelphia||39||2nd Qtr 8:21|
|San Antonio||41||2nd Qtr 7:24|
|Oklahoma City||31||2nd Qtr 9:43|
|Los Angeles||1||2nd Prd 14:07|
|Philadelphia||1||1st Prd 2:13|
|Boston Univ||50||2nd Half 4:03|
|Howard||54||2nd Half 4:57|
|North Dakota St||64||2nd Half 2:56|
|North Dakota||57||2nd Half 3:31|
|Penn State||58||2nd Half 5:53|
|UMBC||38||2nd Half 17:09|
|Princeton||50||2nd Half 12:46|
|Bryant||33||2nd Half 13:06|
|Milwaukee||20||1st Half 1:39|
|Alcorn State||15||2nd Half|
|Prairie View||8:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||8:00 PM|
|Northwestern St||8:00 PM|
|Weber State||8:05 PM|
|Utah Valley U|
|Army||12/14/13 2:00 PM|
|UNC-Asheville||50||2nd Half 7:32|
|Army||51||2nd Half 3:10|
|Northwestern St||38||2nd Half 2:49|
|Saint Peters||49||2nd Half 5:49|
|Princeton||69||2nd Half 2:24|
|Hartford||51||2nd Half 0:18|
|Eastern Michigan||66||2nd Half 3:30|
|Indiana Tech||45||2nd Half 0:27|
|Boston U||47||2nd Half 2:24|
|Milwaukee||68||2nd Half 0:01|
|ULM||24||1st Half 3:04|
|(12) Penn State||27||1st Half 3:45|
|South Dakota St||41|
|Air Force||26||1st Half 1:34|
|Lewis-Clark State||8:00 PM|
|Utah Valley U||8:00 PM|