2012 should provide plenty of postseason hockey thrills. The playoff seeds have been set, but in both boys and girls hockey, I believe there’s a lot more parity than in recent years, which figures to make for some very competitive games…and perhaps a few surprises.
GIRLS HS HOCKEY
New Richmond Sectional
Hayward/Spooner is a deserving #1 seed, but the Hurricanes’ record includes a 5-4 home loss to #4 seed Chippewa Falls/Menomonie, and a 5-4 loss at #3 seed Eau Claire/Altoona. 3-time defending state champ St. Croix Valley plays a very tough non-conference slate, including a number of strong Minnesota teams, but are the Fusion deep enough to get through a rugged sectional bracket again?
Here’s how I see it:
Regional finals: Hayward/Spooner over New Richmond, Chippewa Falls/Menomonie over WSFLG, ECA over Hudson, St. Croix Valley over Superior.
Sectional semifinals: Hayward/Spooner over Chippewa Falls/Menomonie, SCV over ECA.
Sectional final: St. Croix Valley over Hayward/Spooner. (I’m leaning on a couple of cliches: playoff experience, tough to beat a team 3 times in one season)
Other sectional winners: Central Wisconsin Storm, Onalaska, Bay Area Ice Bears.
BOYS HS HOCKEY
Eau Claire Sectional
This year reminds me a lot of 2009, when #1 seed EC Memorial had home ice advantage through the sectional final, and had beaten Rice Lake twice during the regular season, but it was the Warriors winning the sectional final over the Old Abes, in overtime, at Hobbs Ice Center. Will history repeat itself? Once again, a good (but not great) ECM team has the #1 seed and home ice advantage. 2nd-seeded Rice Lake has the tougher path through the brackets, but a tough sectional semi with # 3 seed Chippewa Falls looms before any showdown with the Abes. Is this the year when being battle-tested trumps having fresh legs?
Regional semifinals: Hayward over Ashland, R-M-B over ECN, Altoona over Medford.
Regional finals: ECM over Hayward, Chequamegon/Phillips over Marshfield, Chippewa Falls over R-M-B, Rice Lake over Altoona.
Sectional semifinals: ECM over Chequamegon/Phillips, Chippewa Falls over Rice Lake.
Sectional final: ECM over Chippewa Falls.
Regional semifinals: River Falls over Spooner, Amery over Baldwin-Woodville, Somerset over Barron
Regional finals: Superior over River Falls, Menomonie over WSFLG, Hudson over Amery, New Richmond over Somerset
Sectional semifinals: Superior over Menomonie, New Richmond over Hudson.
Sectional final: Superior over New Richmond.
Other sectional winners: Homestead, Wausau West, Marquette University, GB Notre Dame, Onalaska, Verona.
It promises to be a very exciting high school hockey postseason. Agree with the picks? Disagree? Feel free to add your comments below.
See you at the rink!
Posted under Hometown Sports
This post was written by bbradovich on February 7, 2012