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Updated state hockey rankings, Dec. 21

By Jimmy Gilligan, SportsEngine, 12/22/16, 9:45AM CST


Click here to see the entire top-20.

Class 2A

Edina retains the top spot in the Class 2A Minnesota state coaches’ poll, earning all 10 first-place votes. The Hornets (9-0) won their Lake Conference opener 2-1 over No. 13 Minnetonka 2-1 last week, before blowing out Bloomington Jefferson to begin this week.

Despite not placing a skater in the top-10 for scoring so far, the Hornets score the 10th most goals per game (4.89), a testament to their depth.

No matter what statistical category you look at Edina is an impressive team, and one that figures to be in the mix at the end of the season.

Checking in at No. 2 is Maple Grove (10-1). The Crimson have ground their way to a 10-game winning streak with a shutdown defense that allows 1.27 goals per game.

If Minnesota-commit Taylor Wente (14 goals, 13 assists) and sophomore Mannon McMahon (11, 15) can keep up their blazing production, the winning streak will only grow larger.

Fourth-ranked Elk RIver/Zimmerman (9-2) moves up from No. 6 last week, as Blaine (8-2) drops out of the top-five after losing their first two games of the season last weekend, to Anoka and the Elks.

Despite a 6-6 record, Chaska/Chanhassen made the jump from No. 14 to No. 11 this week. The Hawks haven’t won consecutive games this season, but a 4-1 win over Wayzata last week proves they’re heading in the right direction.

In the bottom half of the top-20, Mounds View is turning heads. The Mustangs (7-2) rose from No. 18 to No. 14 this week after winning seven straight games, a only recently snapping the streak with a 4-1 loss to No. 12 Wayzata on Dec. 21. For the Mustangs to continue to rise, they’ll need to find some offensive leadership -- a task made more difficult with only two seniors -- because right now they’re only scoring 2.56 goals per game.

Class 1A

Riding a six-game winning streak, Blake continues as the top-ranked team in Class 1A, getting all 10 first-place votes. The Bears (8-1-1) have topped four ranked opponents on the streak, outscoring the opposition 29-6.

It’s truly a team effort for Blake, as 14 different skaters have registered at least a point, and both goalies have played at least 200 minutes each en route to a combined .936 save percentage and 1.28 goals against average.

Although the Bears face several ranked teams in their immediate future, they’ve succeeded against stiff competition through the first half of the season.

At No. 2 is Breck, fresh off a 1-2 week with losses to No. 1-2A Edina and Blake. Led by Minnesota-commit Grace Zumwinkle, who has scored the second most goals in the state this season (24), the Mustangs (8-3) are serious contenders, though they’ll need to find a way past Blake in Section 5A to make the big dance. They’ll battle the Bears in January, as the Mustangs try to recreate the early success that had them on a six-game winning streak earlier in the season.

After checking in at No. 4 and No. 5 last week, St. Paul United (10-2-1) and Thief RIver Falls (10-3) switched places. Both teams face ranked opponents in holiday tournaments to close out the year.

Building a 10-1 record through the first half of the season, Delano/Rockford has earned more and more respect in the polls, moving to No. 6 this week, after checking in at No. 8 last week. The Tigers have one of the strongest goaltending duos in the nation in junior Karly Schmidt and freshman Grace Glasrud, who have both logged significant minutes thus far, combining to allow just 1.09 goals per game.

Delano/Rockford has only faced two currently ranked teams, but with such a strong defensive group they pose a big challenge any team.

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