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 8A and my “way too early” playoff prediction.
Jayson Shaugabay – Warroad – So. Forward
Jayson brings a lot of promise to the hockey town. He had a tremendous freshman season after finishing with 19 goals and 32 assists. He had 15 games last season where he managed to have 2 points or more, including putting up 5 points against East Grand Forks in a huge 6-4 win. In the playoffs, Shaggy lit it up! He scored 11 goals and 7 assists in only 6 games. After putting up these numbers as a freshman, the sky is the limit for this young buck. Also, the Warriors have secondary scoring power from senior forward Anthony Foster (24G, 22A). With those two up front, and defensive help from senior (2G, 25A) and junior Carson Reed (7G, 19A), Warroad is looking for a championship repeat in 8A.
Kennet Brothers – Red Lake Falls
Where do I start?! These two brothers combined for 173 points last season. Zak finished with 42 goals and 56 assists, which makes him the state’s leading scorer at 98 points. Not far behind him in points and age, Ty (Jr. Forward) finished his sophomore season with 34 goals and 41 assists, which puts him as the third-best scorer in the state. Just as I expected, they both went the whole season without being held scoreless, including four hat tricks each throughout the season. The Kennet brothers are expected to have a HUGE year and the Eagles are going to be a team to be reckoned with.
Calvin Hanson – Kittson Central – Sr. Forward
On the front end of the ice, Kittson Central has plenty of firepower returning. Leading the charge, Calvin Hanson finished his junior year with 40 goals and 27 assists. His ability to find the back of the net is unstoppable and that’s why he ended the year third in the state in goals. He started the year off hot by scoring 11 goals in just 3 games. Throughout the year, he managed to have 11 multi-goal games with 8 of them being hat tricks. The Bearcats also have scoring power from senior forward Adam Gustafson (23G, 31A), junior forward Landon Sugden (20G, 23A), and sophomore forward Tyler Hennon (21G, 36A). Over 100 goals just between those four. Wow.
Hayden Hennen – Kittson Central – Sr. Defense
Hayden was a very important player for his team this season. He managed to score 10 goals and 36 assists as a defenseman. At the start of his junior year, he had 14 points in just 6 games. He also finished the year with 14 points in his last 4 games. Hennen his going into his fifth year of high school hockey because he started when he was in eighth grade. He is also going into his senior year as one the top returning scoring defenseman and he is going to very exciting to watch.
– East Grand Forks – Sr. Forward
Landon is returning to the Green Wave after leading the team in scoring last season. He finished his junior season with 20 goals and 27 assists. He played a very consistent game throughout the year by managing to be on the score sheet every game besides two. He tallied a hat trick against Greenway as well as a massive 6 point game in an 8-0 win over Lake of the Woods. Also returning on the front end, sophomore UND commitment Jaksen Panzer (18G,10A). Returning on defense, they have senior Logan Spencer (8G, 24A) and another UND commitment in junior (7G,19A). East Grand Forks is going to very tough to beat.
Warroad against EGF tends to be a very consistent rivalry in the Section 8A championship and I’m going to stick with it. I think EGF is going to take it this upcoming season. 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.