The Class 1A field for the 2024 boys hockey state tournament is nearly identical to the one in 2023. The matchups and seeds — and one team — are different.

New Ulm represents Section 3 this year instead of Luverne. Hermantown and Warroad flip-flop as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, with Hermantown grabbing the top seed this time. St. Cloud Cathedral is seeded No. 3 a year after winning the consolation championship. Last year's Class 1A champion, Mahtomedi, returns to defend its title as a No. 4 seed.

Four takes on the tournament:

Mahtomedi looks to defend title

The Zephyrs needed overtime to win their section final and get back to state, with Sam Harris scoring a pair of goals, including the winner 26 seconds into overtime. Mahtomedi, in search of its third state title in five years, racked up several losses this season; the Zephyrs were 3-7 at Christmas with losses stretching across both classes.

But since January hit, Mahtomedi is undefeated against Class 1A teams and rolls into St. Paul this week on an eight-game winning streak. The Zephyrs will first need to beat Orono, a team they defeated 5-2 on Dec. 30, in the quarterfinals if they hope to keep their back-to-back state title hopes alive.

Orono returns with mix of experience, youth

Orono makes back-to-back state tournament trips for the first time since 2006-07. The Spartans have plenty of senior leadership, starting in goal with Peyton Anderson and extending to the top defensive pairing of seniors John Engebretson and Joey Mugaas, who's second on the team in scoring with 10 goals and 25 assists.

But one of the team's most productive lines includes a pair of sophomores. Left wing Jackson Knight leads the team in scoring with 20 goals and 42 points. Sophomore Rory Kvern centers the line with his 15 goals and 29 points. Kvern started the season on junior varsity for two games before getting called up to varsity.

Senior Tommy Lewin (nine goals, 14 assists) is on the right wing. All three players chipped in goals in the team's 4-1 victory over Minneapolis in the Section 2 championship game.

"We've been buzzing ever since we've been together," Knight said. "It's been great playing with those guys. I love it."

Lewin broke his wrist at Delano on Jan. 6. He returned to game action in late January, when that line was put together. Orono coach Sean Fish praised all three.

"Rory and Jack-o and Tommy have been dominant," Fish said. "I mean, Rory and Jack-o are only sophomores, right. So, bright future. And Tommy's been great on that line, too."

The Spartans lost 6-3 to Class 2A foe Benilde-St. Margaret's on Feb. 1. Only two of their eight losses this season are against Class 1A teams (Mahtomedi and Warroad). Fish marked that Benilde-St. Margaret's game as a turning point in his team's season.

"We kind of bought in to getting pucks deep, playing 200 feet, making sure the teams earned it against us," Fish said after his team won its section championship. "Peyton Anderson's been unbelievable for us the second half of the year; he really turned it on. Credit to him, too.

"You need good goaltending to win a championship. We're getting that from him."

Class 1A tournament bracket

Warroad is back again

Warroad returns for its 25th state tournament looking for its fifth state championship but first since 2005. The Warriors come in having lost the past two state championship games, to Hermantown by a goal in 2022 and then to Mahtomedi in double overtime last year.

Warroad needed double overtime in this year's section final to make it past East Grand Forks. The victory bumped Warroad's overtime record this season to 4-3. Mr. Hockey finalist Carson Pilgrim centers the team's top line and is two goals away from 100 in his career over 90 games played.

Any team wanting to make it past Warroad will have to shut down Pilgrim and the rest of the top line — Taven James and Murray Marvin-Cordes — because they produce 58% of the team's goals.

Individuals stand out

Northfield senior Kam Kaiser leads the state with 15 power-play goals. His 36 total goals this season rank 11th in the state. Teammate Jake Geiger has nine power-play goals.

Austin Uecker of New Ulm enters the tournament with the highest individual goal total at 38 goals and points total with 79.

John Hirschfeld of St. Cloud Cathedral leads the state with 51 assists. Teammate Andrew Dwinnell and New Ulm's Uecker each have 41.