Notebook: Local hockey teams taking it outdoors

LV South, Eagan, Eastview picked to play at TCF Bank Stadium

The Lakeville South, Eagan and Eastview boys hockey teams will play outdoor games Jan. 11 at TCF Bank Stadium as part of the Hockey City Classic Winter Festival.

The “High School Hockey Faceoff” will feature five games, two of which will be regular-season South Suburban Conference boys contests. Lakeville South plays Bloomington Jefferson, ranked 19th in Class AA by Let’s Play Hockey, at 3 p.m. The final game of the day at 8 p.m. has 15th-ranked Eagan playing 18th-ranked Eastview.

The event starts with a girls game between Eden Prairie and Minnetonka at 10 a.m. Benilde-St. Margaret’s plays Minnetonka in a boys game at 12:30 p.m. White Bear Lake takes on Cretin-Derham Hall in another boys game at 5:30.

Tickets, good for all five games, are $12 and are available by calling (612) 624-8080 or visiting www.mygophersports.com. Tickets also will be available at TCF Bank Stadium the day of the event. Participating schools will sell advance tickets for $10.

The Hockey City Winter Classic will be a 10-day event including youth, high school and adult hockey games. There also will be a free day of public skating. It concluded Jan. 17 with a doubleheader involving University of Minnesota teams. The U of M women will play Minnesota State, Mankato at 4:30 p.m., followed by a Gopher men’s hockey game against Ohio State at 8.

More information is available at www.hockeycityclassic.com, www.Facebook.com/HockeyCityClassic or on Twitter at @HkyCityClassic.

SSC hockey showcase

All 10 South Suburban Conference schools played five boys hockey games Saturday at Bloomington Ice Garden.

Lakeville North improved to 4-1 in league play and kept the conference lead with a 4-2 victory over Bloomington Jefferson. Matt Arnold scored twice for the Panthers, with Jack Poehling and Nick Poehling getting one each. Ryan Poehling had two assists.

Eastview shut out Apple Valley 3-0 in the first game of the day. John Snodgrass scored twice for the Lightning, which got all three of its goals in the final period. Apple Valley goalie Mac Wartick stopped 31 of 33 shots; Eastview’s final goal came after Apple Valley pulled its goalie.

Six players scored one goal each as Lakeville South beat Bloomington Kennedy 6-0. Nick Swaney and Tony Dahlberg each had a goal and assist, and Cougars goalie Daniel Swail made 18 saves.

Rosemount narrowly missed getting its first victory of the season, falling to Prior Lake 3-2 in overtime. Lukas Gillett and Zach Bichler each had a goal and assist for the Irish, and Justin Crowell had two assists.

Burnsville defeated Eagan 3-1 in the final game of the event, breaking a tie by scoring twice in the final period. Brock Boeser scored twice for Burnsville, and Will Missling scored the go-ahead goal 49 seconds into the third period. Jack Ahcan and Carter Dupre had two assists each.

Eagan was outshot 35-16 and got its only goal from defenseman Tommy Muck on a second-period power play.

Breakdown Tip-Off

Lakeville North’s J.P. Macura had another monster game, but Hopkins held off the Panthers 89-84 in one of 15 boys games played at the Breakdown Tip-Off Classic on Saturday at Minnetonka High School.

Macura scored 48 points, which wasn’t even his biggest-scoring game of the week; he had 55 in an overtime victory at Farmington on Dec. 10. Sophomore point guard Drew Stewart added 14 for the Panthers, who lost for the first time in four games.

Macura is averaging 43.8 points through North’s first four games.

Skating for their country

• Lakeville North High School defender Taylor Flaherty is one of eight Minnesota hockey players invited to the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Winter Festival. The festival, scheduled Dec. 27-31 at Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, is an audition for spots on the U.S. team that will play in the world Under-18 tournament in Hungary in March. Twenty-eight players were invited to the festival.

• University of Minnesota men’s hockey players Hudson Fasching and Brady Skjei are competing for spots on the U.S. team for the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship scheduled to begin Dec. 26 in Malmo, Sweden.

Fasching, a freshman forward from Burnsville, is fourth on the Gophers in scoring with 14 points (six goals, eight assists) and has a plus-16 rating. Skjei, a sophomore defenseman from Lakeville, has five points and a plus-9 rating.

Fasching played high school hockey at Apple Valley and Skjei played at Lakeville North before joining the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Twenty-six players skated at a training camp this week at the University of Minnesota, with camp resuming Dec. 19 in Sweden. The final roster is expected to be announced Dec. 23.

Gophers coach Don Lucia is head coach of the U.S. team. The U.S. will be going for a second consecutive world junior championship.

• Eagan native Molly Sparks is playing for the U.S. women’s hockey team at the Winter World University Games currently taking place in Italy. Sparks, a former Eagan High School girls hockey player, now plays for the University of Minnesota women’s club team. She’s one of two U of M players – Ellie Gleason of Edina is the other – playing for the national squad.

The U.S. team went 3-2 in the preliminary rounds, defeating Russia, Great Britain and Spain while losing to Japan and Canada. The U.S. team played Russia in the semifinals on Wednesday. Championship and third-place games are scheduled for Friday.

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