With the 2020-2021 season only a month away, we thought it’s time to showcase the real heroes that keep goalies sane and forwards in check. Here are the top defensemen to watch for this year from each team in Section…
With the 2020-2021 season only a month away, we thought it’s time to showcase the real heroes that keep goalies sane and forwards in check. Here are the top defensemen to watch for this year from each team in Section 1AA.
Griffin Ludtke – Lakeville South #3
Ludtke has improved steadily in his three seasons for Lakeville South and showed why he’s deserving of the scholarship that he accepted from Nebraska-Omaha in 2018. Last year he led all Cougar defensemen with 25 points (9G, 16A) including 3 points in playoffs to help secure Lakeville South the 1AA Section Title. After wearing the “A” proudly last season, Ludtke will dawn the “C” for Lakeville South for his final season of high school hockey.
Ben Monson – Lakeville North #17
Lakeville North is losing their top 2 scoring defenders in Cole Pearson (8G, 20A) and Mario Gasparini (4G, 10A), but Monson was not far behind with 14 points (1G, 14A) and he even missed 3 games last year. A 3-year starter for the Panthers, look for Monson to be the new go-to guy on special teams as he is due for a big senior season.
Collin Stewart – Hastings #15
Hastings surprised everyone last season making it to the Section 1AA Championship, and Stewart was a very underrated piece of their success. In his first season of high school hockey, he produced 7 points (1G, 6A) and the team was +12 when he was on the ice. The Raiders are losing their top two scoring defensemen from last season, which means Stewart will get plenty more opportunities to develop into a bigger threat as Hastings looks to make the leap in 2021.
Matt Huan – Rochester Century #17
Rochester Century put up historic numbers up front last season, as the team scored an impressive 134 goals throughout their 2019-2020 campaign. What went unnoticed during their peak, was the stellar defensive play from guys like Matt Huan. In his first season for the Panthers, he produced 10 points (1G, 9A) behind only Sam Williams (4G, 23A) who recently graduated. Now a Junior and familiar with the systems, Huan is set to be the focal point for Rochester Century as they look to take the next step in Section 1AA.
Wyatt Oldefendt – Owatonna #10
One of the biggest defenders on this list, Oldefendt had his second straight season of solid production as he led all Husky D-men with 15 points (10G,5A). He’s clearly a leader in that locker room too, as he was voted as one of the captains for his senior season with Owatonna.
Logan Lukasezck – Farmington #7
Farmington was a lot better than their record indicated last season, as the Tigers mainly struggled on the offensive end. Defensively they played sound versus a difficult South Suburban schedule, and the most consistent blueliner was Logan Lukasezck who led all Farmington D-men with 7 points (1G, 6A). A 3-year starter in hockey and also the primary running back for Farmington football, it’s clear that Lukasezck is a gamer that any coach would want. Expect a strong senior showing from Lukasezck as the Tigers look to close out more games in 2021.
Josh Kruger – Northfield #20
Northfield was a goalie away from making a deeper playoff run last season, and a key part of their success was Josh Kruger at the blue line. Kruger led all Raider defensemen with 26 points (8G, 18A) and was 3rd on the team in total points. Still not clear whether he will return for his senior season or opt for a Juniors program, but if he returns expect a “C” to be on his sweater again.
Javan Hodge – Rochester Mayo #6
Hodge exploded on the scene in his second season for Rochester Mayo, leading all defensemen in points with a staggering 29 (11G, 18A) and finishing 2nd on the team in total points behind Will Weick (21G, 20A). With his size and clear scoring touch, the Spartans need to continue to develop his game and utilize him on special teams more if they want to be competitive in Section 1AA.