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16 Chances for Me to Look Stupid

The connection to college hockey here is slim, but I figured why not. I'm going to preview and give my wild-ass guess(WAG) for all 16 of the Minnesota State High School Sectional championship games.

We'll start with the big guys in Class AA.

Section 1AA- #1 Lakeville North vs. #2 Rochester Century

WAG: I don't have much of a clue on this one. Lakeville North already dispatched one Rochester school in John Marshall, and I think they'll take care of Century too.

Section 2AA- #1 Cretin-Derham Hall vs. #3 Woodbury

WAG: CDH won the first meeting between these Suburban East conference foes 5-1, but got taken to overtime in the second game before winning 3-2. I think CDH has too much talent though and wins in a close one.

Section 3AA- #1 Hill-Murray vs. White Bear Lake or Centennial

WAG: The WBL/Centennial semifinal is tonight, but I think WBL will win, setting up a rematch of the great 1-0 game earlier this season. I think Hill-Murray will win once again in another very close game.

Section 4AA- #1 Blaine vs. Armstrong or Wayzata

WAG: Blaine hasn't lost since mid-December, including a win over Armstrong. I think they'll keep their streak alive and make it to the XCel.

Section 5AA- #4 Apple Valley vs. #2 Eagan

WAG: Eagan is the higher seed, but Apple Valley split the season series with Eagan, winning the last meeting 4-0 at home. Apple Valley is also coming off a huge win over Holy Angels. I think the momentum carries over for Apple Valley and they make it to the XCel.

Section 6AA- #1 Bloomington Jefferson vs. #3 Minnetonka

WAG: Minnetonka crushed second seed Eden Prarie, but I think Bloomington Jefferson is an excellent team. I think Bloomington Jefferson will win.

Section 7AA- #4 Cloquet-Esko-Carleton vs. #2 Grand Rapids

WAG: This is a very tough one to pick between two pretty good teams. I think CEC will get great goaltending again from Reid Ellingson and advance out of the regional.

Section 8AA- #1 Moorhead vs. #2 Roseau

WAG: Two-storied programs. I think Moorhead is just a little bit better this season, but I wouldn't be surprised if Roseau won this one.

Section 1A- #4 Marshall vs. #3 Mankato East

WAG: So far the craziest bracket after the lower seed won both district semifinals. East won the earlier match-up between the two and should be able to ride their good goaltending and solid defense to a win.

Section 2A #1 Duluth Marshall vs. #3 Sauk Rapids

WAG: Sauk Rapids upset a pretty solid St. Cloud Cathedral team, but Marshall looks like a very solid team. I think they'll win.

Section 3A #1 St. Thomas Academy vs. #2 Red Wing

WAG: St. Thomas won this section last year and look to be pretty dominant again. I think St. Thomas wins easily.

Section 4A #1 Little Falls vs. #2 Alexandria

WAG: Little Falls has a very solid team. I expect their talented group of youngsters to dominate the game.

Section 5A #4 Totino-Grace vs. #2 Blake

WAG: Totino-Grace upset top seed Breck, though Blake very easily could have been the top seed in this section. I expect a close game, but I think Blake's goaltending will give them the slight edge and the win.

Section 6A #4 Faribault vs. #3 Orono

WAG: This has been a crazy bracket. First 7th seed Holy Catholic Family upset second seed Shakopee. Then fourth seed Faribault destroyed top seed Delano by a score of 8-3. I'll say Orono gets the win and 2007 Recruiting Board prospect Adam Estoclet regrets transferring from Orono to Benilde-St. Margaret's.

Section 7A #1 Hermantown vs. #2 Hibbing

WAG: This was almost a match-up between two of the state's best sophomores in Nico Sacchetti(Virginia-MIB) and Jake Youso(Int'l Falls), but the higher seed prevailed in both semifinals. In the absence of any sort of knowledge on the two teams, I'll just pick the upset and choose Hibbing.

Section 8A #1 Thief River Falls vs. #2 Warroad

WAG: This should be a great game. Thief River Falls is led by Mike Forney while Warroad is led by Aaron Marvin. Warroad may be slightly less talented, but I think they'll be able to steal the win.