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2021 Tier I League Playoff Preview

By Minnesota Hockey, 09/28/21, 12:45PM CDT


The CCM Minnesota Hockey High Performance Tier I and Prospects Leagues will host their League Playoffs starting this Friday, October 1 through Sunday, October 3 at the Super Rink in Blaine, MN.

Teams from each league will compete in a double elimination tournament. The top teams at each age group will advance to the Minnesota District Playoffs at Plymouth Ice Center on October 9-10 where they will compete for the chance to represent Minnesota at the 2022 USA Hockey National Championships.

Below is a preview of the opening round games at each level. For brackets, scores and statistics, follow the respective links below for each age group and follow @MinnHockeyHP on Twitter for live updates.

Girls 14U Tier I

#1 Lakers vs #8 Polars – The Lakers extended their run of regular season League titles to three years and are aiming to make it three consecutive League Playoff championships. Despite a poor record, the Polars have shown flashes of holding down the league’s top teams with strong goaltending and will look to put it all together at the right time.

#4 Loons vs #5 Walleye – After a relatively slow start, the Loons have been hot down the stretch winning five of their last six games, handing the Lakers their only loss of the regular season and allowing only total five goals in that stretch. The Walleye won two of out three games against the Loons though and feature two of the top five scorers in the league, setting the stage for an intense battle of opposing strengths.

#2 Green Giants vs #7 Voyageurs – The Green Giants enter the playoffs with high expectations as over half of the team are returning players from last year’s runner-up finish at USA Hockey Nationals. Their path to a League title won’t be an easy one as the Voyageurs recently held them to just two goals.

#3 Blue Ox vs #6 Moose – The Blue Ox earned their highest seed in league history this season, racking up nine wins on the strength of their defensive play and goaltending. They will face off against the Moose, who closed the gap between them and the league’s top teams as the year progressed, are riding a three-game win streak and have the talent to be a dangerous underdog.

To view the full Girls 14U Tier I League Playoff bracket, click here. The top four teams in the CCM HP Girls 14U Tier I League Playoffs will advance to the Minnesota District Playoffs.

Youth 14U Tier I

#8 Voyageurs vs #9 Grey Ducks – After tying in the regular season, these two teams should provide a great opening to the League Playoffs at the Super Rink. Both teams fared much better against league opponents than their record or seed suggest and will be looking to surprise teams as the playoffs go on.

#1 Walleye vs Winner of #8 vs #9 – The Walleye narrowly earned the top seed, edging out the Loons thanks to a head-to-head win and strong season start to finish. The Walleye boast the league’s top offense, scoring 52 goals in 11 league games and 39 more in four games at the NAHL Showcase.

#4 Blue Ox vs #5 Moose – A total of two points separated the top five teams in the league standings this fall so both of these teams have their sights on a league title. The Blue Ox beat the Moose 6-2 in their only regular season meeting.

#2 Loons vs #7 Polars – The Polars had an up-and-down season, and the day they played the Loons earlier in the season was a perfect example. After beating the top-seeded Walleye in the morning, the Loons flew by them 8-1 later in the same day. Expect a much closer game than that initial score would indicate in this rematch as the Polars go upset hunting.

#3 Green Giants vs #6 Lakers – This game will feature the Green Giants’ top-ranked defense against the Lakers, who scored the third most goals in the league. The two teams tied 3-3 in their only regular season game, proving this should be an intense battle to the final buzzer.

To view the full Youth 14U Tier I League Playoff bracket, click here. The top three teams in the CCM HP Youth 14U Tier I League Playoffs will advance to the Minnesota District Playoffs.

Youth 14U Prospects

#8 Moose vs #9 Grey Ducks – The Moose enter playoffs looking to prove they are the best versions of themselves after an inconsistent season was highlighted by a few impressive performances, including a near upset of the top-ranked Walleye this past weekend. The Grey Ducks should have confidence in this opening game as they beat the Moose in their only matchup this year. 

#1 Walleye vs Winner of #8 vs #9 – As the reigning league and Minnesota District champion, the Walleye picked up where they left off last year winning 13 of 14 games and piling up 88 goals (6.3/game) en route to the top seed this fall.

#4 Lakers vs #5 Polars – The Lakers had a disappointing finish to the regular season in Little Falls, but they should be the favorite to advance in this game after dominating the Polars earlier in the year. The Polars are looking to prove that game was an anomaly and show they’re capable of competing with the league’s top teams.

#2 Loons vs #7 Blue Ox – Boasting two of the league’s top scorers, the Loons rode a high-powered offense to a 12-win regular season including a 7-4 win over the Blue Ox and were the only team to beat the Walleye. The Blue Ox have shown glimpses of competing with the top teams though and are looking to play spoiler before the Loons hopes get too high.

#3 Green Giants vs #6 Voyageurs – The Green Giants displayed a winning recipe of strong defense and goaltending throughout the season, allowing only 24 goals in 14 games. The Voyageurs have found themselves playing more of a run-and-gun style as they’ve played five games in which both teams scored four or more goals. They will likely need to prove they can win a tight defensive battle to advance as the Green Giants’ blueprint worked to the tune of a 2-1 win in these teams’ only matchup so far this season.

To view the full Youth 14U Prospects League Playoff bracket, click here. The top four teams in the CCM HP Youth 14U Prospects League Playoffs will advance to the Minnesota District Playoffs.

Youth 15 Tier I

#1 Blue Ox (Bye) – The Blue Ox are looking to make their third straight trip to Nationals after another strong regular season, leading the league in wins and goals scored.

#4 Polars vs #5 Moose – The Polars enter playoffs on a roll having won nine of their last ten games. However, the Moose should have extra motivation to upend them after dropping two close games on back-to-back days to the Polars earlier in September.

#2 Walleye vs #7 Loons – This matchup should showcase the depth of this year’s Youth 15 League as the Loons represent a tough out despite what their seed shows. The Loons have tied the Blue Ox and Lakers, showing they can compete with the league’s best teams, so the Walleye will need to play at a high level to move on.

#3 Lakers vs #6 Green Giants – The final game of the Youth 15 quarterfinals should be tightly contested as the teams tied 5-5 and the Lakers eked out a 4-3 win in the second matchup.

To view the full Youth 15 Tier I League Playoff bracket, click here. The top three teams in the CCM HP Youth 15 Tier I League Playoffs will advance to the Minnesota District Playoffs.

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