The Pine City Dragons made Section 5A even more of a mess last night coming from behind to defeat St. Francis 7-6 in overtime. With only five games left to go let's take a look at the Section 5A Hockey Standings
These standings are based off the current QRF rankings and may not reflect actual playoff seedings. Section 5A is seeded based on a coach's vote that will take place before the playoffs start.
Section 5A Boys Hockey Standings
1. Northern Lakes 12-1 (3-0)
Northern Lakes boasts an impressive 12-1 record with three section wins. People will be skeptical of their position as a top seed with having no games against a team in the top half of Section 5A. That is soon to change with their final three games being at Cambridge-Isanti, at St. Francis, and at home against Monticello. The Lightning will have a huge opportunity if they can pick up wins against those three teams it will be hard to not place them in the top two of the section.
2. Chisago Lakes 8-2-1 (7-1-1)
Chisago Lakes is once again one of the toughest teams in the tournament. They have beat St. Francis twice and handled Cambridge-Isanti 4-0. They picked up an early loss to Monticello and then tied Monticello in the rematch. They are averaging 3.64 goals per game and only giving up 2.27. They should be a lock for a top 4 seed and a first round bye.
3. Monticello 6-5-1 (6-3-1)
Early on it looked like Monticello was going to be a lock for the number one seed again this year defeating Chisago Lakes, Pine City, and North Branch. But the Moose are not as dominant as they have been in the past squeezing out one goal wins against Princeton and Becker/Big Lake and they most recently have lost their past two games to Sauk Rapids/Rice and Cambridge-Isanti. They need to regroup with big games against Pine City, St. Francis, Northern Lakes, and North Branch if they want to hold a top 4 spot.
4. Cambridge-Isanti 7-4-1 (6-4-1)
The Bluejackets are a tough team to get a grasp on this season. After losing the opener to Becker/Big Lake (the only section win for the Eagles) they went on a four game tear beating Pine City, Princeton, St. Francis, and Mora/Milaca. The Bluejackets got revenge on Becker/Big Lake later in the season with a tight overtime win but then tied Sauk Rapids/Rice in a game they probably will want back. After losing to Monticello 5-1 they came back and beat the Moose just 5 days later picking up a very key win for their section standings. All six of their remaining games are against tough section opponents. They will have an argument for a top five spot especially if they can win at least half of their remaining games.
5. Pine City 7-6 (6-5)
The Pine City Dragons are a team on the move. After dropping their first four games in a row they are 7-3 since. They have a couple bad losses early on to Cambridge-Isanti and Mora/Milaca that hurt them in initial standings, but have gritted out some tough wins lately over North Branch and St. Francis. With two games coming up against Chisago Lakes and rematches against Monticello and Princeton the Dragons control their own destiny in the section seedings. If they can continue this winning streak they can jump to a top 4 seed. Their offense is averaging over four goals a game and have several games where they scored over 5. If they can figure a few things out defensively (allowing 4.62 goals per game) they can make a deep playoff run.
6. St. Francis 4-7 (4-6)
St. Francis is another team that is tough to figure out exactly what you are going to get. They only have 4 section wins which is a couple wins behind some other teams in this spot but those wins have been against Pine City, Monticello, North Branch, and Mora/Milaca. They have lost close games to Pine City, Princeton, and Chisago Lakes. They also lost an 8-6 battle against North Branch early in the season. The Fighting Saints may a little friendlier stretch coming up with games against Becker/Big Lake, Moose Lake Area, and Princeton. While their record may not be as impressive as some of the other teams they have proven they can play with the top seeds and will be a tough out in the section.
7. Mora/Milaca 4-4 (3-4)
The Mustangs haven't played a game since February 6th due to a run in with COVID but they are back on the ice on Saturday against Proctor. It will be interesting to see how the Mustangs bounce back after missing so much ice time. After their big win over Pine City earlier in the year they lost to Northern Lakes, Cambridge-Isanti, and St. Francis. Their other two section wins have come against Moose Lake Area. They have a big game coming up against Chisago Lakes and at Pine City. They will probably lose some votes due to being one of the few teams not in the Mississippi 8 but they have proven they can be a tough out in the playoffs.
8. Sauk Rapids/Rice 4-5-2 (2-2-1)
Sauk Rapids/Rice picked up a win on their first game of the season over Mora/Milaca and then went the better part of a month before winning their next one. But things are on the move for the Storm as they have won three in a row including a huge overtime victory over Monticello. Much like Mora/Milaca the Storm will struggle to gain respect because they do not play in the Mississippi 8 but can move up a few spots if they can pick up key wins down the stretch against North Branch, Monticello, and Becker/Big Lake.
9. North Branch 4-6-1 (4-4-1)
North Branch is surprisingly low on the standings this season. They still have a lot of offensive fire power averaging 5.09 goals per game. But they are lacking some defensive depth giving up 5.18 goals per game. They started off the year strong beating Princeton and St. Francis and winning four of their first five. But they haven't picked up a win since February 4th losing to Chisago, St. Francis, Pine City and tying Becker/Big Lake. If things hold on and North Branch ends up being an #9 seed they will be one of the best #9 seeds in the state. They still have seven games left to play and a lot of time to better their standings.
10. Princeton 3-6 (3-5)
Princeton is another team that started off the year slow losing their first four games of the year. They have since regrouped and have gone 3-2 since. They are currently on the sideline and have had a few games postponed. They come back on Monday to host Pine City in a must-win game for the Tigers. They are a team that has kept it close in a lot of games, but haven't been able to quite get in the win column. They are able to make a top team sweat out a tough playoff game.
11. Becker/Big Lake 2-9-1 (1-9-1)
The Eagles are another team that just quite get in the win column. They have played to one goal losses to Chisago Lakes, Monticello, Cambridge-Isanti and Pine City. They tied North Branch on February 12th. They are a team that may not go on a big tournament run but they will not be overlooked come playoff time.
12. Moose Lake Area 1-7 (0-2)
Another tough season for the Moose Lake Area Rebels with just one win on the season so far against Ely. They only have one section opponent left on their schedule and will have an uphill battle to get out of the basement.
Photo Credit: Four Seasons Photography