Winning the South Suburban Conference boys hockey championship couldn’t have hurt Lakeville South’s case for a No. 1 playoff seed.
The Cougars, who are defending Section 1AA champions, got the top seed in a section that has a champion from the SSC every year since 2011.
Rosemount, which tied for second in the conference, is the No. 1 seed in Section 3AA. The top four seeds in the section are all from the SSC. Three-time defending Section 3AA champion St. Thomas Academy could manage only a No. 5 seed.
Lakeville South, Rosemount and Prior Lake were tied for the conference lead last Saturday. Prior Lake had already completed its regular season. South’s 5-1 victory at Eagan, coupled with Rosemount’s 5-1 loss to Burnsville, gave the Cougars their first South Suburban boys hockey championship.
Zack Oelrich, Reis Calderon, Ashton Dahms, Mason Johnson and Eli Miller scored in Lakeville South’s victory at Eagan, while Cam Boche had three assists.
Lakeville South (18-7) will open the Section 1AA playoffs against Rochester John Marshall or Rochester Mayo at 7 p.m. Thursday at Hasse Arena. No. 2 seed Lakeville North (17-7-1) is home against Northfield in a quarterfinal game Thursday at Ames Arena. The third South Suburban team in Section 1AA, Farmington (6-17-2), is seeded sixth and plays at No. 3 seed Hastings on Thursday.
Semifinal games are 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday at Rochester Rec Center. The Lakeville teams are heavily favored to meet in the Section 1AA championship game Thursday, Feb. 27th, also in Rochester.
Burnsville’s victory over Rosemount last Saturday likely helped elevate the Blaze (15-8-2) to the No. 3 seed in Section 3AA. Burnsville plays host to seventh-seeded Park of Cottage Grove in a quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Junior forward Cade Nielsen scored Burnsville’s first three goals against Rosemount, giving him 22 in 25 games. He also got an assist on Kole Pearson’s third-period goal. Senior forward Grant Ahcan had three assists.
Section 3AA No. 1 seed Rosemount (19-6) plays host to Apple Valley (7-17-1) in Thursday’s quarterfinals, with the winner playing No. 4 Eastview (13-11-1) or No. 5 St. Thomas Academy (15-8-2) in the semifinals Saturday at the home of the higher seed. Eastview and STA will play at 7 p.m. Thursday at Apple Valley Sports Arena.
The Burnsville-Park winner will play Eagan (16-9) or Bloomington Jefferson (9-16) on Saturday. The Wildcats and Jaguars meet in the quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Thursday at Eagan Civic Arena.
The Section 3AA championship game will be 7 p.m. Feb. 27 at Braemar Arena in Edina.