By: Nick Clark ' MnJHL Director of Media Relations
The countdown is winding down for the 2010 Minnesota Junior Hockey League Showcase.
In less than 10 days, all eight MnJHL clubs will descend upon the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine for a two-day showcase that will be held Thursday, Dec. 16 and Friday, Dec. 17.
Games begin each day at 10:30 a.m. (see full schedule below) and will be spread out by a full hour this year to accommodate scouts and fans wanting to see all of the MnJHLs players in action.
úThat was the big change from last year,Ě said MnJHL president and commissioner Ken Gaber. úWe had a lot of positive feedback, but one thing that was asked of us was to spread out the games some. With an hour in between each game, we feel weve been able to facilitate that request.Ě
The 2009 MnJHL Showcase drew as many as 50 college and junior hockey scouts to the area. The hope is at even more show up this year to watch what, once again, will be two competitive days of hockey.
All eight games count towards the MnJHL league standings, and the schedule pits teams against each of their closest counterparts in those standings.
The action begins with a bang, as league-leading Rochester faces off with second-place Granite City in the Showcase opener the morning of Dec. 16.
úYou look back to last year, and it might have been the best game of the entire season,Ě said Rochester head coach Nick Fatis, referring to his teams last second win over the Lumberjacks on the final day of the 2009 MnJHL Showcase.
úBoth teams left it all on the line, and I expect the same again this year. There is a lot to play for. First off, its two huge points. And secondly, Ive heard from a number of college coaches who will be there to watch our kids play. Its a big two-days all around.Ě
Other Day 1 match-ups feature the Minnesota Flying Aces vs. the Minnesota Owls, the Hudson Crusaders vs. the Edina Lakers and the Twin Cities Northern Lights vs. the Minnesota Wildcats.
Games will be played on South Rinks 1 and 4 inside the Schwan Super Rink, which is located adjacent to the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn.
úIts a world-class facility,Ě said Gaber. úThere is no better place for us to showcase our players than at the Schwan Super Rink. It offers every amenity we could ever need, and gives scouts and fans a chance to take in multiple games at the same time.Ě
The rink should see some quality hockey again this year from the MnJHL. Rochester and Granite City have separated themselves slightly from the rest of the league, but places three through seven are separated by just eight points.
úYou look around the league and you can see the parity,Ě Fatis said. úIts been that way for a few years now, but even more so this season. There are some really good teams in the league right now.Ě
And theyll be on display to all who want to come Dec. 16-17.
The scheduled for the 2010 MnJHL Showcase is as follows:
Thursday, Dec. 16:
Rochester Ice Hawks vs. Granite City Lumberjacks, 10:30 a.m. on South Rink 4
Minnesota Flying Aces vs. Minnesota Owls, 11:30 a.m. on South Rink 1
Edina Lakers vs. Hudson Crusaders, 1:30 p.m. on South Rink 4
Twin Cities Northern Lights vs. Minnesota Wildcats, 2:30 p.m. on South Rink 1
Friday, Dec. 17:
Winner of Ice Hawks/Lumberjacks vs. Winner of Aces/Owls, 10:30 a.m. on South Rink 4
Winner of Lakers/Crusaders vs. Winner of Northern Lights/Wildcats, 11:30 p.m. on South Rink 1
Loser of Ice Hawks/Lumberjacks vs. Loser of Aces/Owls, 1:30 p.m. on South Rink 4
Loser of Lakers/Crusaders vs. Loser of Northern Lights/Wildcats, 2:30 p.m. on South Rink 1
Around the MnJHL '
Edina Lakers: The Lakers split a home-and-home series with Twin Cities last weekend, exploding for eight goals in the opener. Tyler Robison (Omaha, Neb.) finished with a goal and two assists, and Anton Martirosian (Austria) and Cosmo Vivirito (St. Charles, Ill.) each had a goal and an assist in what was an 8-1 victory.
Granite City Lumberjacks: Granite City was off last weekend. The Lumberjacks return from their brief hiatus to host the Minnesota Owls Friday, Dec. 10 and then the Minnesota Wildcats Saturday, Dec. 11.
Hudson Crusaders: Hudson played just once this past weekend, skating to a 4-2 home win over the Minnesota Owls. Nick Townes (Crown Point, Ind.) scored twice for the Crusaders, Blake Pederson (Cottage Grove, Minn.) and Cody Crouch (Eagan, Minn.) each assisted on two goals, and Josh Lehr (Appleton, Wis.) posted 30 saves to earn the win in goal.
Minnesota Flying Aces: The Aces picked up a weekend sweep, winning both at Rochester Friday and then at the Minnesota Wildcats Saturday. Dane Shaugabay (Warroad, Minn.) played a major role in both victories. His goal at 2:36 of overtime lifted the Aces past Rochester, then he scored two more goals what was an 8-3 win Saturday. Parker Tomczyk (Mosinee, Wis.) had a hat trick in the Saturday win as well.
Minnesota Owls: Minnesota dropped three games last weekend, losing to the Wildcats, Rochester and Hudson. Cote Dickerson (Williston, N.D.) had a pair of goals against the Wildcats, Nick Ernst (Blue Island, Ill.) scored the Owls lone goal in the loss to Rochester, and Robert Erickson (Coon Rapids, Minn.) had a goal and an assist vs. Hudson.
Minnesota Wildcats: Minnesota forward Adam Mendozas (Taconite, Minn.) five-point night helped lift the Wildcats to a 7-3 win over the Owls Friday. Mendoza had three goals and two assists, Ville Mattila (Kuortane, Finland) and Ryan Minkoff (Corcoran, Minn.) both set up two, and Basil Sampair (White Bear Lake, Minn.) turned away 48 shots in the victory.
Rochester Ice Hawks: Rochester suffered just its third loss the season last weekend, but the Ice Hawks responded by staying perfect on the road for the year with a 2-1 win at the Owls Saturday. Tyler Sheppard (Hermitage, Pa.) had a goal and an assist, Charles Gallagher (Albany, N.Y.) also scored once and Cory Simons (Crystal Lake, Ill.) made 24 saves as Rochester won its MnJHL best 18th game of the year.
Twin Cities Northern Lights: Twin Cities rebounded from a lopsided loss to Edina Saturday by turning around to beat the Lakers 4-3 on Sunday. Four different players scored a goal, Mike Falvey (St. Paul, Minn.) had three assists and Nicholas Sova (Cottage Grove, Minn.) two in the Lights 4-3 victory.
Games scheduled for this weekend '
Friday, Dec. 10
Edina Lakers at Minnesota Flying Aces, 7:05 p.m.
Minnesota Owls at Granite City Lumberjacks, 7:30 p.m.
Hudson Crusaders at Rochester Ice Hawks, 7:55 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 11
Minnesota Owls at Edina Lakers, 7:05 p.m.
Rochester Ice Hawks at Minnesota Flying Aces, 7:05 p.m.
Minnesota Wildcats at Granite City Lumberjacks, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 12
Minnesota Flying Aces at Twin Cities Northern Lights, 5:45 p.m.
Rochester Ice Hawks at Hudson Crusaders, 6:10 p.m.