In our third installment of Players to Watch, we tackle our boys hitting the ice at Xcel Energy Center for the biggest event in the state of hockey, the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament. It's the dream of just about every young Minny boy to play in the Tourney. And it is basically a universal goal set by all of our members of high school and youth ages to make it to the dance. So here are some boys to keep an eye on this week in Saint Paul. Each of these players will be busy this offseason at our South Campus.
Junior Defenseman, St. Thomas Academy
STA is back at The Tourney, having earned the #2 seed due to a strong regular season and section tournament. And while a great deal of offensive depth has been a driving factor in their big year, Chase's dynamic play from the blue line has also made a significant impact. A natural forward coming up through peewee and bantam, Chase possesses a unique blend of vision, offensive awareness, puck skills, and a nose for the net. While his overall hockey IQ has allowed for a smooth transition to defense, his offensive upside is still evident every time he hits the ice. Look for Chase to make his presence known on special teams, specifically with the top PP unit. Chase is returning to MAP South after several years in the program.
Junior Forward, Northfield HS
A newcomer to the South Side, Halverson is coming off of a monster season for Raiders. An offensive juggernaut that posted 23 goals and 18 assists during 25 regular season games, he is clearly one of the main attractions on the Northfield squad. Jacob uses his size at the net as well as in the corners. With good speed, puck skills, and passing abilities, he gets involved in scoring chances on a regular basis. Halverson is also a performer of consistency, with points in all but 4 regular season games as well as 4 points in 4 section games. We are excited to get Jacob on the ice this Spring.
Sophomore Forward, Lakeville South HS
Adam is not only a player to keep an eye on this weekend, but one to definitely watch for in the coming years. Adam comes from strong bloodlines of offensive firepower (and MAP South members). His older brother, Alex, was a big point producer for the Cougars who also played in the State Tourney back in 2012. And his cousin, Nick Swaney, is a University of Minnesota-Duluth commit who is the current point leader for Waterloo of the USHL. So it's no surprise that Adam possesses a strong skill set and great instincts around the net. Adam only tallied 8 points in 25 games during the regular season, but has been a more consistent producer of offensive chances in the back half of the season. Adam will be a returning member to the South Side after a terrific first year in 2016.
Sophomore Forward, Northfield HS
Devon is another one of our boys taking the ice for the Raiders this week. Devon is a gifted forward who makes play with his speed, quickness, and overall athleticism. Since a very young age, he has also been a strong competitor who doesn't shy away from any of the dirty work. During the regular season, Devon put up 10 goals and 13 assists in his second season at the varsity level. If he's not jumping on loose pucks or open ice around the net, look for Devon to make plays on the forecheck and backcheck. He is a returning member to the South and a popular figure among his peers and our staff.
Sophomore Defenseman, Mahtomedi HS
Our streak of sophomore standouts continues with a solid defender from the Zephyrs. 2017 will be Noah's 4th year with the MAP, and he has made gigantic strides in each of those offseasons. With a much-improved overall skating ability, solid passing skills and awareness at both ends of the ice, Noah has made good on the top 4 role he carved out in his first season of high school hockey. His eagerness towards the physical game adds to his impact on the blue line. Noah will be faced with matchups against many of the top offensive units that Mahtomedi goes to battle with. And we know he'll be up for the challenge.
Sophomore Defenseman, St. Thomas Academy
The depth of the Cadets has been well documented. Having young players like Thomas making regular contributions can be a difference maker at this point in the season. Like his teammate Foley, Thomas is a skilled blue liner with a lot of versatility to his game. A beautiful skater with hands and a heavy shot, Thomas uses his abilities both while generating breakouts and regroups as well as in the offensive zone. Thomas' defensive game has also made a solid step forward this season. So look for him to make an impact defending the rush and also out of d-zone coverage. Thomas is another one of our valued returning members.