More than 100 hockey players from 58 Minnesota communities took part in the North American Hockey League’s 12th annual Showcase Tournament Sept. 17-20.
Blaine and Maple Grove elected to play both Northwest Suburban Conference contests at neutral sites.
The first meeting came Dec. 26 at the Sports Authority Holiday Hockey Classic, organized by Benilde-St. Margaret’s at the St. Louis Park Recreation Center.
Blaine bounced back from its first loss of the season, a 3-1 score against No. 3 ranked (Class A) East Grand Forks Dec. 13, with a pair of 11-0 Northwest Suburban Conference wins against Coon Rapids Dec. 14 and Robbinsdale Armstrong Dec. 19.
It looks like Blaine should challenge for another conference title and perhaps a section title, returning several of its key contributors from last season. Spring Lake Park moved sections and will not have to face St. Thomas Academy or the other Class A powers that made up the section bracket each year.
The latest big win of the season came Saturday evening as No. 8-ranked Blaine (4-0-1) upset No. 4 ranked and defending Class AA champion Benilde-St. Margaret’s (3-2-0) 6-5 in St. Louis Park Dec. 15.
Blaine rallied from a 3-0 deficit after the first period to tie the game up at 3-3 to force overtime. The Bengals held the puck during the eight minute overtime but couldn’t solve Rams netminder Ryan Anderson.
Andover, Blaine, Spring Lake Park, Anoka, St. Francis and Legacy Christian each have a very real chance of playing well past the regular season finale.