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Minnesota sports, as seen elsewhere

Hockey nuts use ice-coated streets for extra skating practice

Leading up to the Border Battle on ice this weekend in Madison, Wis., the neighboring states are giving a glimpse as to why the hockey talent in the upper Midwest is so good.

Former Badgers standout Joe Piskula tweeted a video of what appears to be him skating on frozen streets in Wisconsin with the caption, "How Wisco kids get so good at hockey."

Freezing rain and snowfall throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota coated streets with layers of ice thick enough for Piskula and other skaters to dig their blades into for some fun or extra practice.

“Wow, this is good! A little bumpy, but pretty good,” the skater yelled while gliding across the ice. 

The camera operator replied, “that’s crazy.”

The roads were so slick, even the dog in the video struggled to find its footing and slid across the icy driveway.  

Similar videos popped up across Minnesota. Local hockey writer Jess Myers tweeted a video of his son Jacob skating on the street with the caption, "How bad was the ice storm in MSP last night? It provided one HS hockey player a literal road to the Stanley Cup."

“Yeah, that’s our bare asphalt street and those are hockey skates! So, if you don’t have to drive, I suggest you don’t," Myers said on the video. "Just my two cents. Nice work, Jacob. Just getting a little extra hockey practice in … in the street.”

The Gophers and Badgers kick off the Border Battle Friday night at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports North. 

Enjoy the videos: 

Eden Prairie star Casey Mittelstadt rated Top 5 North American skater

Casey Mittelstadt, Eden Prairie’s star forward and the Gophers' prized recruit, is rated fifth among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings of players eligible for the 2017 draft.

A dozen Minnesota high school standouts, several Gophers recruits, and two St. Cloud State freshmen were recognized in the rankings released Wednesday.

Mittelstadt is the top-rated player from Minnesota and outside of the Canadian Hockey League. St. Cloud State’s Ryan Poehling is ranked No. 14 and Edina native Grant Mismash is No. 30.

Mittelstadt, the 6-1, 201-pound left-shooting forward, spent the fall playing in the USHL and scored eight goals, 13 assists in 16 games with the Green Bay Gamblers. He returned to Eden Prairie this winter for his senior season of high school hockey.

The Gophers wanted Mittelstadt to enroll early and begin his college career as a 17-year-old, but his desire to win a high school state championship fueled his decision to return to Eden Prairie. The Eagles lost last year’s 2A state championship game to Wayzata.

Poehling, the 6-2, 183-pound left-shooting forward, has three goals and four assists through 21 games in his first season at St. Cloud State. Mismash, the 6-foot, 183-pound left-shooting forward, has 13 goals and 13 assists in 37 games with the U.S. U-18 National Developmental Team. The Shattuck St. Mary’s alum is committed to North Dakota.

Hermantown’s Dylan Samberg is Minnesota’s second-highest rated prep standout on the list. The 6-3, 190-pound defenseman helped lead Hermantown to a Class 1A title last season with five goals, 13 assists. The Minnesota Duluth recruit has six goals and eight assists through 14 high school games this season.

Scott Reedy, the Gophers recruit and Shattuck-St. Mary’s alum from Prior Lake, is ranked No. 47. The righthanded forward has 11 goals and 13 assists this season in 35 games with the U.S. U-18 team.

Former Edina High School standout and Gophers recruit Clayton Phillips is ranked No. 72. The defenseman has four goals and seven assists in 29 games with the Fargo Force this season in the USHL.

Other Gophers recruits, defenseman Nathan Knoepke (U.S U-18/Farmington) is ranked 106th, and forward Brannon McManus (USHL/Newport Beach, Calif.) is No. 178.

Check out  the complete NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings and college commitments for more Minnesota connections.

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