Mankato West (15-11-2) vs. Breck (No. 2, 24-3-1), 11 a.m. Wednesday
Scouting the Scarlets: Heroes were plentiful when Mankato West stunned Northfield 1-0 to reach the state tournament for only the second time in program history (the first was in 2008). Freshman Nick Wieben scored midway through the third period, junior goaltender Jackson Peterson stopped all 25 shots he faced and workhorse defenseman Kyle Looft, a rail-thin 6-3, 180-pound junior, didn't leave the ice during the final 7½ minutes. "He's going to be really fun to watch once he gets his man muscles," seventh-year coach Curtis Doell said of Looft. Mankato West lost to Northfield by a combined score of 13-5 in two regular-season games before knocking off the co-Big 9 Conference champion Raiders in the section final. Senior forward Tyler Loe, the team's leading scorer with 22 goals and 47 points, missed parts of previous seasons because of back and foot fractures.
Scouting the Mustangs: The Mustangs went 4-0 against state tournament qualifiers St. Cloud Cathedral, Thief River Falls and St. Paul Academy (which the Mustangs played twice). Breck won those four games by a combined score of 23-5. Senior Mr. Hockey award finalist Chase Ellingson, who stands 5-5, is touted by Breck coach Les Larson as "pound for pound, the best hockey player in the state." Ellingson leads the Mustangs with 36 goals and 72 points. Puck-rushing junior Dalton Weigel (seven goals, 39 assists) anchors the defense.
Worth knowing: Breck is making its seventh state tournament appearance in Larson's eight years as coach. The Mustangs won titles under Larson in 2009 and 2010.