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Players to Watch | HS Section Playoffs

For our second edition in this year's PTW, top performers from the Varsity level will be featured. There is something to be said about the atmosphere of a playoff game in which the loser's season is over. With everything on the line, you can truly see what a player is made of. And when it comes down to those game-breaking moments, these are the players that will make the difference. Following their seasons, each of these boys will be hard at work to push their game along even further at the MAP South Campus.

ROMAN AHCAN, Senior Forward, Burnsville HS

While the Ahcan family is quickly becoming becoming a household name in the State of Hockey, Roman's play this season suggests he has no intention of riding the coattails of his brother. Always a competitor known for his "sandpaper" and physical presence, Roman's offensive game has reach new heights in his senior year. Burnsville's point leader during the regular season (18 goals, 33 assists, 51 points) brings a lot of prowess to the offensive zone, and has been a deadly finisher in several key games down the stretch. Look for Ahcan to leave it all on the ice and try to get his boys back to the State tourney for the second year in a row. Roman will be a returning member at the South Campus, after several years in the program. His two brothers Jack (St. Cloud State University) and Grant (Burnsville Bantam AA) will be back as well.

ZACH ANDERSON, Sophomore Forward, Eastview HS

What a difference a year makes...when you're one of the most dedicated athletes around. Zach earned a regular shift on the varsity squad last season as freshman, but wasn't quite ready to make the impact he wanted. After a busy offseason of growth and development, he has become one of the top two-way cornerstones on his team. Tied for team lead in points (8 goals, 18 assists, 26 points), Zach is a legitimate threat at both ends of the ice. Regardless of the opponent, the young stud is a matchup nightmare whether he is attacking on the rush or working out of coverage in the defensive zone. Zach's versatility should play a big part in their opening section matchup versus Bloomington Jefferson. Zach will be returning for his 5th year at the South Side.

MATTHEW GELLERMAN, Junior Forward, South St. Paul HS

While SSP is not the powerhouse roster that it once was years ago, there is enough of a healthy culture there for Matthew to have an explosive individual season. A player of great athleticism, compete level and offensive instincts, Matthew made his mark on the year with a team-leading 37 points (22 goals, 15 assists). Matthew's first run with the MAP was last year. And he clearly took advantage of his opportunities and made a sizable jump because of it. We are anticipating more of the same when Matthew gets back in the building this year. Matthew's consistent work ethic, attitude and coachability make for a favorite among his peers and our staff.


MATTHEW GLEASON
, Freshman Forward, Cretin-Derham Hall

21 goals, 20 assists, 41 points. Team lead in all three categories. And yes, you're reading that right: He is just a freshman. Matthew's career thus far through the youth levels has been nothing short of astonishing. And although the jump to high school is a tough one, he had no intentions of his dominant play coming to a halt. Matthew's game benefits from a lot of versatile skills that he possesses. Smart and effective shooting, great vision and offensive awareness, and an undeniable compete level are a couple of the main attractions. As more of his physical tools continue to grow, his impact on the game will only get better. Remember this name, because Matthew is looking to play hockey for a long time. He is another long-time member with the MAP.

LUKE MANNING, Senior Forward, Stillwater HS

Stillwater's State Tourney appearance last year and strong 2016-17 campaign can be attributed to a strong core of leaders on their roster. And Luke is one of the biggest pieces of that group. He's a player of great offensive upside thanks to his skill, awareness and finish around the net. Luke's presence is felt in every game he plays. Keep an eye on Luke to have his hand in many of the scoring chances that the Ponies create, especially on the power play. Luke will be a first-year member with the MAP. and our staff is thrilled at the opportunity to work with a player of his caliber.

SAM MALINSKI, Senior Defenseman, Lakeville South HS

All of the players featured here will have opportunities in hockey after high school. But Sam's future may be one of the brightest. While his game is in a fantastic spot and he has enjoyed a successful season so far (27 points, good for 2nd on the team), his biggest attribute is his growth. Having been voted MAP South Player of the Year in back-to-back years for this tier, Sam is as dedicated and driven as they come. He continue to makes big improvements to his physical tools and understanding of the game. For any player like this that is willing to put the time and efforts in toward their development, the sky is the limit. Sam has a sizable role on his Cougars squad, and he will be play a big part in the longevity of their season.

ALEX MILLER, Junior Defenseman, Bloomington Jefferson HS

Alex is another player in the midst of a strong individual campaign. But his impact on the ice doesn't necessarily translate to a high point total. A true blueliner like Alex takes pride in his ability to defend the rush, maintain strong defensive coverage, and help orchestrate effective breakouts and regroups for his teammates. Alex possesses a versatile skill set and is a strong skater. Especially with the season on the line, look for a some heavy hits out of No. 11 in baby blue. Alex is a returning members on the South Side, and our staff is excited to see what his future has in store.

BRETT OBERLE, Freshman Defenseman, Hill-Murray School

Brett is our only other 9th grader featured, and he has been an invaluable piece of Hill-Murray's big season. Brett brings a great two-way game to the table. He possesses the puck skills and passing ability to create offense, while his skating and hockey IQ allows him to also be a strong defender. In the back half of this season, his role in special teams as well as even strength has grown substantially. And the amount of impact plays Brett is making has grown as a result. This is definitely a name to keep an eye in the years to come. Brett is a returning member at the MAP after a fantastic "rookie season" last year.

ALEX STUCKERT, Senior Defenseman, Woodbury HS

Alex is another blueliner with a lot to offer. While his point total (5 goals, 15 assists, 20 points) is not a monumental accomplishment, his impact on the ice is a gigantic one. Toughness, vision, positioning, awareness, and more toughness are some of the highlight attributes that make Alex one of the most underrated seniors in the state. He has taken advantage of a leadership role of big minutes with an impressive season to finish off his high school career. Alex will be pursuing junior hockey along with the rest of the seniors on this list. He will be in his 4th year with the MAP. 

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