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UMD’s Plante guides US to semifinals

Minnesota Duluth assistant men’s hockey coach Derek Plante has guided the United States Under-18 Select Team into the semifinals of the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in the Czech Republic following a 9-4 win over Finland on Wednesday.

Team USA and Finland were tied at 3-3 in the second period when the U.S. scored six of the next seven goals, including four in the final seven minutes.

“Despite the final score, the game was very even,” Plante said in a USA Hockey release. “Finland is a good team with excellent coaches. We want to play the same way in the upcoming games and continue to improve.”

Plante’s USA squad will meet Canada in the semis at 10:30 a.m. Friday in Slovakia.

Hockey Day location to be revealed Friday

The host community for the 2015 installment of Hockey Day Minnesota will be announced Friday, according to a news release Wednesday from the Minnesota Wild.

Additionally, the teams for the high school games will be revealed.

The big unveiling takes place at 10 a.m. at Holman Field Airport in St. Paul. This will be the ninth consecutive year of Hockey Day, a celebration of the sport that includes a day-long slate of prep and college contests, capped by the Wild playing at Xcel Energy Center.

It’s a good bet that this year’s Hockey Day will take place Jan. 17, as that’s one of only two Wild home dates in the month of January (the traditional month for HDM). That night, Minnesota hosts Phoenix at 8 p.m. The team’s other Saturday home game is a 1 p.m. affair on Jan. 10.

Last year’s host was Elk River.


Mankato wins, now faces Lakeshore squad

Peter Maris, Levi Scott and Craig Lepre had three hits apiece as Mankato overpowered Willmar 9-5 to win its Northwoods League playoff series 2-to-1 on Wednesday night in Willmar, Minn.

Tanner Rockwell added a two-run home run as Mankato scored early and often, collecting 16 hits.

The MoonDogs advance to the best-of-three NWL championship series, where they will play the Lakeshore Chinooks. Game 1 is at 7:05 p.m. today in Mankato, Minn., with the second and third game, if necessary, on Friday and Saturday at Kapco Park in Mequon, Wis.

The Chinooks are coached by Eddy Morgan, a former St. Scholastica and Wisconsin-Superior coach. Morgan is assisted by Mark Moriarty, who like Morgan played his college baseball at St. Scholastica. The two coach together at Concordia (Wis.).


Saints picked to win UMAC title

St. Scholastica received five out of 10 first-place votes and 74 total points from league coaches to top the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference preseason football poll released Wednesday.

No. 2 Greenville with 70 points and No. 3 Northwestern at 69 points each received two first-place votes, while No. 4 Eureka at 55 points received one first-place vote.

The Saints, who are coming off a 2013 UMAC title, have reached the NCAA Division III playoffs each of the past three seasons. In UMAC play, the Saints are 25-1 over the previous three seasons.

Kurt Ramler takes over as St. Scholastica’s head coach in 2014 after the retirement of the program’s first head coach in Greg Carlson.

The Saints return 12 starters from last year’s squad that went 9-1 overall and 9-0 in the UMAC, including two-year starting quarterback Tyler Harper.


UWS picked to finish last in WIAC

The Wisconsin-Superior women’s soccer team on Wednesday was picked to finish last in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2014 by the league’s coaches and sports information directors.

The Yellowjackets, who went 0-8 in the WIAC and 4-15-1 overall a year ago, still are in search of a coach after Melissa Hanson resigned Aug. 1 after six seasons.

In addition to its head coach, UWS is losing seven letter-winners and three starters from the 2013 squad, including its leading scorer from each of the three previous seasons in Chelsea Cossin of Hermantown.

The 2014 season is the Yellowjackets’ last in the WIAC before moving to the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.