It’s never too early to start making predictions and preparing to watch Minnesota High School Hockey. Focusing on players to watch will make it exciting to tune in to games when they start again in the fall. That being said, here is my list of players to watch in Section 7A and my “way too early” playoff prediction.
Kade Shea – Duluth Denfeld – Sr. Forward
Kade started the season hot last year by tallying 13 points in his first 5 games. He continued to go on an 18 game point streak. He finished the regular season with 21 goals and 27 assists in 25 games played. Out of those games, there were only three games in which he did not record a point. Shea has proven to be a top performer in the playoffs as well. In his career, he has played in 5 playoff games and has recorded 4 goals and 5 assists. Going into his senior year, Kade Shea is going to be one of the top scorers in the northern Minnesota.
McClure Brothers – Duluth Denfeld – Jr. Forwards
Not far behind Shea, the McClure brothers both averaged over 1.5 points per game last season. Connor finished the year with 18 goals and 29 assists in 25 games played. As Cooper finished with 11 goals and 14 assists in only 16 games played. They both started their sophomore season on fire as Connor tallied 18 points and Cooper with 14 points in the first 6 games. With these two, Shea, and fellow junior forward Simon Davidson (15G, 18A), the Hunters are going to have some intense offensive firepower.
Joey Pierce – Hermantown – Sr. Defense
Joey has had a very impressive career for the Hermantown Hawks. Going into this senior year, the defenseman has a career total of 46 goals and 70 assists in 69 games played. Those are incredible numbers considering there are a lot of forwards that don’t produce that much. The UMD commit finished last season with 15 goals and 32 assists plus another 8 points in the playoffs. The Hawks will also have some offensive threats with senior forwards Ethan Lund (16G, 26A) and (9G, 20A) returning upfront. Hermantown once again will be the team to beat in the section.
Brady Wicklund – International Falls – Sr. Forward
Heading into his senior year, Brady has had two very solid seasons for the Broncos. He finished both seasons with just over 30 points. He stayed very consistent by scoring 17 goals each year which means he is due for a breakout year by surpassing 20 next year. With his ability to score on the power play, he should have no problem. Out of his 17 goals last season, 7 came on the man advantage. Right now he is sitting on a career total 65 points, so it will be very fun to see him it the 100 point milestone in his last year in the Broncos jersey.
Jacob Snyder – Duluth Denfeld -Sr. Goalie
Jacob is looking to play a lot more minutes this season as last year he split time with his goalie partner who just graduated. Snyder finished the year logging 647 minutes and had a record of 9 wins and 2 losses. He also had a 1.75 GAA and a .933 save %. He had two shutouts last season, one of them being a huge 23 save goose egg against Greenway. The Hunters are going to need Jacob to step up and play a larger role between the pipes this year if they want to make the trek to the X.
My section final prediction is going to be a battle of Duluth as the Hawks face off against the Hunters. I love a good underdog story so I am picking the Hunters to win. Thanks for reading and stay tuned because as the summer goes on I will be doing “players to watch” for every section in the state of Minnesota.