With most sports on hold and the 2020-21 season still months out, it’s time to take a look at teams from all over the State of Hockey and examine what happened this past season and what’s ahead. The next team we’re breaking down is South St. Paul.
How last season went
The Packers had their ups and downs as the team finished the regular season with a 10-10-4 record. One of the key wins for South St. Paul was against St. Paul Johnson, a team that was oftentimes ranked in the top 20 of the Class 1A coaches’ poll.
With a record at .500, the Packers were awarded the No. 6 seed in the Section 4A tournament. South St. Paul opened its postseason with an upset of Gentry Academy. Then, the Packers advanced to the Section 4A title game where they fell to eventual state champion Mahtomedi.
Who’s back and who’s gone
Fortunately for South St. Paul, it’s a mixed bag of returning players and those who are graduating. One of the top absences will be Jacob Saver. He graduates after a 38-point 2019-20 season.also graduates after scoring 8 goals and 16 assists.
The biggest returners for the Packers appear to be Matt Wincentsen and Cole Sitar. Wincentsen is set to return after dishing out 19 assists last season, second most on the team. Sitar looks to be the main goaltender for South St. Paul beginning this November. He posted a 2.91 goals against average and .915 save percentage in 11 starts last season.
What to expect next season
The Packers were not expected to be one game short of the state tournament heading into 2020 postseason play. However, it’s possible that run could springboard South St. Paul to better success for this historic program. The only problem the Packers and other east metro schools looking to jump into the upper echelon face is the amount of teams rising such as Gentry Academy and established juggernauts such as Mahtomedi.