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Boys' top games: Irondale jousts with Cretin-Derham Hall in Suburban East showdown

By Ryan Williamson, SportsEngine, 05/09/22, 11:00AM CDT


May 11: The Knights attempt to hold their advantage atop the league standings with a win while visiting the Raiders.

Photo by SportsEngine

We task our reporters with identifying several intriguing games throughout the state to assemble our Top Games of the Week. The matchups are presented in no particular order, and when there are additional games we want to highlight, we’ll include them with brief notes.

Irondale vs. Cretin-Derham Hall

7 p.m., Wednesday, May 11

Irondale has been flying under the radar the past few seasons. The Knights haven't had a losing regular-season record since 2016, but recognition as one of the state's most successful programs has been sparse at best.

But this year, Irondale is getting plenty of attention. The Knights, ranked No. 8 in the coaches' poll released May 2, sit atop the Suburban East Conference standings and look to keep it that way when they face Cretin-Derham Hall on Wednesday.

Irondale enters the week with a 6-1 overall record and is 6-0 in league play. 

The Knights are riding some experience to this success in the form of senior midfielders Sam Zupfer and Connor Kvaal. Zupfer leads the team with 21 goals while Kvaal, who was named to the Star Tribune All-Metro Second Team a year ago, is doing double duty with 19 goals and 17 assists.

Cretin-Derham Hall remain in the hunt for the conference crown, and a victory in this game would cause a significant shake-up in the standings with only weeks left in the regular season. 

The Raiders (5-2, 4-1) have their own dynamic duo in junior Louie Bailey and senior Luke McCarthy. Bailey has 20 points (11 goals, 9 assists) while McCarthy has 19 points (10 goals, 9 assists) this season.

Blaine vs. Maple Grove

7 p.m., Wednesday, May 11

Maple Grove is also building off recent regular-season success and recently moved into the coaches' poll Top 10, checking in at No. 9.

The Crimson look to avoid falling back against old foe Blaine on Wednesday in this Northwest Suburban Conference clash.

Maple Grove begins the week tied with Robbinsdale Armstrong atop the league standings — a place the Crimson (6-1, 5-1) reached thanks to juniors Rory Scanlon and Tanner Brendon. Scanlon leads the way with 17 goals and eight assists, while Brendon has 18 points this season.

Blaine is one of six teams looking up at the Crimson and Falcons in the standings of the highly competitive Northwest Suburban, but the separation is slight. Eight teams, including the Bengals (4-3, 3-3), trail the top two teams by four points or fewer. 

Junior attacker Caden Burnes is off to a fiery start for Blaine. He has 18 goals and five assists. 

Joe Penner, a senior midfielder set to play collegiate lacrosse at Belmont-Abbey next season, has also been a factor with eight goals and seven assists for the Bengals.

Delano/Rockford vs. Holy Family Catholic

6:30 p.m., Monday, May 9

Delano/Rockford meets Holy Family Catholic for the second time this season on Monday. And if it's anything like the first matchup, fans are in for a treat.

The Tigers emerged with a 13-12 win when they hosted the Fire on April 21 — a victory that is part of the reason Delano (4-2, 4-0) sits atop the Wright County Conference standings. 

Senior leaders Gabe Jucha and Joe Nelson were crucial in the victory. Jucha netted a hat trick and Nelson scored a goal while also tallying three assists.

Holy Family Catholic (1-4, 1-2) has been more competitive than its record indicates, having lost close games to Delano and Providence Academy. A victory in the rematch with Tigers could light a fire that powers the Fire the rest of the season.

Other games to keep an eye on

Sartell/Sauk Rapids vs. St. Cloud, 7 p.m., Thursday, May 12. It's a battle in the 320 area code as these rivals meet for a Greater West Metro Conference tilt. St. Cloud (3-4, 0-3) is looking for its first league win while Sartell/Sauk Rapids (5-2, 1-0) looks to stay unbeaten.

Northfield vs. Mankato, 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 10. The Raiders have emerged as the class of the Big 9 Conference this season with a 5-0 league mark. Northfield (6-1 overall) can continue that streak with a win against Mankato (2-2, 2-1).

Shakopee vs. Farmington, 5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 12. The South Suburban Conference continues to be one of the most competitive leagues in the state. The Sabers (7-0, 4-0) currently lead in a tight race for the conference title and look to continue their seven-game winning streak against the Tigers (3-3, 2-3).

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The MN Lax Hub poll is only for entertainment purposes. 

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