In the interest of timeliness, which as management here likes to point out, is next to godliness, I’ll hold off on the full player reviews until later in the week and just get this up now.
I made it out to the Bauer NIT this past weekend at New Hope Arena. I opted to go Saturday/Sunday this time around rather than Friday/Saturday, figuring Friday’s games would be less competitive than ones later in the tournament. I was partially right.
The way the draw seems to be set up every year at this tournament is to put the two Minnesota teams on the same half of the draw and give them each one of the weakest opponents in the first round, setting up an all-Minnesota battle on Saturday, and a final game against Shattuck on Sunday, and that’s just how it worked out here.
The only problem is that I’m not sure how they picked the Minnesota teams, but it was basically like they picked an ‘A’ team and a ‘B’ team. Minnesota Red dominated everyone at the tournament. They beat Minnesota White 5-1 in the semis in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicated. Minnesota White goalie Jacob Meyers stood on his head and made 55 saves to keep the game as close as it was. In the final against Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Red jumped out to a 4-0 lead within the first ten minutes of the game and cruised to a 10-3 victory.
That’s not to say there weren’t a few really good games elsewhere in the tournament. Minnesota White had an overtime victory over Michigan in the third place game, and just about every game in the consolation bracket seemed to go down to the wire.
It was a fun weekend of hockey is what is probably the most informative weekend of the year for scouts when it comes to high school hockey players. The thought occurred to me that outside of some U-18 international events, that was probably the best hockey being played by high school aged kids anywhere.