After a 19-win season the Pine City Area Boys Hockey team earned the #3 seed in Section 5A. Following the section seeding meeting on Sunday morning the Pine City Dragons are the #3 seed and will take on the winner of #6 Northern Lakes and #11 Becker/Big Lake in the quarterfinals.
The Section 5A Seedings are as follows:
#1 Monticello 17-7-1 (14-0)
#2 North Branch 17-8-0 (10-5)
#3 Pine City 19-6-0 (11-4)
#4 St. Francis 15-9-1 (9-6)
#5 Princeton 12-12-1 (9-8)
#6 Northern Lakes 14-10-1 (7-4)
#7 Chisago Lakes 13-12-0 (9-8)
#8 Sauk Rapids-Rice 7-18-0 (4-7)
#9 Mora/Milaca 15-10-0 (5-5)
#10 Cambridge-Isanti 5-20-0 (3-13)
#11 Becker/Big Lake 3-22-0 (2-15)
#12 Moose Lake Area 6-18-0 (0-8)
Monticello was the clear cut #1 seed finishing the year perfect in section play. After that, seeds 2-7 are very even. Chisago Lakes ended up with a #7 seed, but split games with #2 North Branch, #3 Pine City, and #5 Princeton. This is just one of many examples if you look at the section's head to head matchups that proves that this section is truly up for grabs.
Pine City lost their only matchups to #1 Monticello and #2 North Branch. They split with Princeton and Chisago Lakes and defeated St. Francis and Northern Lakes in their only games against those two schools.
North Branch started the season strong with wins over Princeton, Chisago Lakes, and St. Francis but struggled in the last month losing to Chisago Lakes, Monticello, and Princeton. They also dropped an early game to Northern Lakes.
All of that is just simply to say that this is one of the most evenly matched sections in the state of Minnesota and should see all four of the quarterfinal games coming right down to the wire. None of the regular season stories matter now and all teams look for a fresh start and chance to go to the State Tournament.
With 12 teams now in Section 5A, only the top four seeds avoid having to compete in Tuesday's "play-in" round. Tuesday will see these teams squaring off for a chance to go to the quarterfinals:
#5 Princeton vs #12 Moose Lake
#6 Northern Lakes vs #11 Becker/Big Lake
#7 Chisago Lakes vs #10 Cambridge-Isanti
#8 Sauk Rapids-Rice vs #9 Mora/Milaca
Pine City will play the winner of #6 Northern Lakes vs #11 Becker/Big Lake likely putting them up against the Lightning who the Dragons defeated 7-1 on January 30th. Northern Lakes defeated Becker/Big Lake in their lone matchup this year 6-1.
The Section 5A playoff schedule has the play-in games on Tuesday, quarterfinals on Thursday, semifinals on Saturday and then the Section 5A Championship the following Thursday, February 27th. The high seeds will host all games until the championship that is played at Fogerty Arena in Blaine.
The Dragons will play at home on Thursday night at 7:00. That game will be broadcast on 106.5 FM/AM 1350 and wcmpradio.com
Photo Credit: Four Seasons Photography