MAC To Host Section Hockey Doubleheader Tuesday
The MAC will be rockin' Tuesday night as a pair of section playoff games with local intrigue play out on the ice. In a playoff doubleheader, the Cathedral Crusaders will take on the Little Falls Flyers at 5:15, followed by the Apollo Eagles hosting the Sartell Sabres.
The Crusaders played one of the toughest schedules in the state of Minnesota and finished with a 13-11-1 record and the second seed in Section 6A. According to Minnesota-Scores.net's QRF rankings, Cathedral was projected to land at fifth in the seedings.
"There are a couple of ways that seeding can go," CHS Activities Director "I think the way seeding went this time is people looked at record in the section, and also common opponents, and voted Cathedral second."
"The only (Section 6A) team that Cathedral had not beaten during the year was Alexandria, they split with Little Falls and beat the other teams," Keenan said. "Otherwise, people can look at overall record and that's the other way it could have gone."
Crusaders coach Eric Johnson says the seeding isn't something that concerns him, as the goal is to win three games to reach state, regardless of seed.
"Wherever (our seed) was in the section this year, we are going to have three battles," Johnson said. "I know we will have our hands full with Little Falls, so ultimately (the seeding) probably doesn't really matter at all."
The Crusaders qualified for the MSHSL State Tournament last season and return a handful of players from that team, experience which should help them rise to the occasion in the playoffs this season.
"Emotion should be there, it's a matter of channeling that and staying focused," Johnson said. "A lot of guys are back from last season, and that will be our centerpoint, that composure wins in the playoffs."
The Flyers finished with a 13-12-1 record on the season, including a 1-1 record against the Crusaders. Little Falls avenged a 6-0 loss on the road on December 18th with a 3-0 win at Exchange Arena on January 27th.
The Apollo Eagles finished their season with a 19-4-2 record and currently boast a six game winning streak. Despite having the second-most wins in the section, the Eagles were seeded fourth in 6A.
"For us, with the section seeds, we knew by losing some of the head-to-head games we put ourselves in the position of letting people make that decision for us," Apollo head coach Pete Matanich said. "I made a good argument at the seeding meeting, but obviously the coaches went the other way."
"For us, it's one of those things we have to overcome and stay positive," Matanich said. "We have to win three games regardless and take care of business."
The Sabres present an interesting matchup for Apollo, with Sartell averaging a section-high 4.8 goals per game and the Eagles allowing a section-low 1.8 per contest.
"It's going to be a great game, their top line scores a ton of goals and they have some good defense," Matanich said. "Their power play has been functioning really high lately, so we will have to take care of our own end."
Apollo swept the regular season-series with the Sabres, winning 2-1 in the Granite City Classic tournament and also posting a 2-0 win at Bernick's Arena later in the year.