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Minnesota Amateur Hockey League - 1957 Kellogg Cup Final

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The 1953/55 season concluded and here are the stories.

 

Granite Hockey League:

Spoiler

With only 4 teams in the league, all teams are guaranteed a playoff birth which has made teams from all of the other leagues upset, claiming that the teams in the Granite League only formed the league with the 4 teams to have a better chance at winning the cup. Despite what the rest of the league thinks of them, the Granite League still played a whole season. St. Cloud won the league in its first year, the Bear Cats look to be the only team in the league that could potentially do any damage in the playoffs. Little Falls took the second place spot in their first season in the league thanks in large part to the emergence of their star goaltender Ben Nodl. Fergus Falls took third, but had a losing record. And the Norsemen from Alexandria took last place, winning only 4 games, but will still make the playoffs.

Iron Range Hockey League:

Spoiler

Hibbing won the Iron Range for the second straight year, and they look to get back to the finals this year but are hoping for a better end result. The defending champs improved from last year, finishing in second this year, hot on the heels of the Greyhounds. Eveleth dropped to third after losing their top player to the NHL. Virginia had a nice season, jumping up to fourth place and clinching a playoff spot. Ely dropped to fifth place and will not be in the playoffs this year, despite a great season from Andrusko. Chisholm finished in sixth place, but looks like a team on the rise, winning 8 games in a season for the first time in over 20 years. And the lowly Miners finished in last place again this year.

Lake Superior Hockey League:

Spoiler

Duluth was strong this year, with the Hornets and Voyageurs finishing in the top 2 spots in the Lake Superior League. Thunder Bay took third place and looks like a dark horse contender come playoffs. Cloquet jumped up to fourth thanks to a strong youth core, despite losing 19 year old phenom Brady Millen to the University of Minnesota Duluth, Cloquet is a serious team on the rise. On the other side of things, Superior looks to have finally hit the bottom, the core that led them to their only Kellogg Cup is past their prime and is likely to retire in the next few years to avoid the risk of injuring themselves for work. Two Harbors finished in last again, but don't seem like a bottom of the league team, I wouldn't be surprised if they came back to relevance soon.

Northland Hockey League:

Spoiler

For the first time, the Fort Frances Trappers have won the Northland League. They were followed closely by their bitter rivals from across the border in International Falls. Roseau dropped to third place, but could still be a threat in the playoffs. Bemidji rounded out the playoff teams thanks to a solid all around season by the Ox, Motzko led the team in points with 43 points in 24 games. Warroad finished in second last, but didn't look like a second to last place team, the Lakers had a good season and just missed the playoffs. In last place we have Thief River Falls who remained in last despite another great season by the Smith Twins.

Twin Cities Hockey League:

Spoiler

The Victorias remained atop the Twin Cities thanks to a star studded roster and great coaching. West St. Paul made the jump to second place in the league and looks to finally live up to the hype that has been building around them for the last few years. Minneapolis dropped to third, but like many other 3 seeds, could be a possible dark horse to steal the cup come playoff time. The Saints reemerged this season as a power, clinching the final playoff spot after missing last year. That left the Mavericks on the outside looking in, South St. Paul was good this season, finishing above .500, but they just weren't able to get it done in the end. White Bear Lake had a good season despite missing the playoffs, Henderson really emerged as a big D man who the Braves will look to build on in the coming years. The Vulcans continue to fall from grace as they finished in seventh place, winning only 6 games all year. And the Minneapolis Bruins continue to look like second class citizens as they got bullied by the rest of the league yet again.

Valley Hockey League: 

Spoiler

The league title stayed in Rochester, but the Mustangs reclaimed the honor, winning their fourth Valley League title. The Robins dropped one spot, finishing in second. Red Wing had a great season, thanks in large part to a breakout season by center Lee Larsson. Albert Lea hung onto the last playoff spot, keeping their streak of making every playoff since the VHL formed alive. Austin had an average year, just missing the playoffs and finishing at .500. Winona remained in sixth place, and the Brewers had another really poor season, winning only 5 games.

 

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Let me know what you think, comments are appreciated!

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When seeing all the logos on the standings image, the Pilots look like their logo is a basketball logo, not hockey.

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3 hours ago, Dan O'Mac said:

When seeing all the logos on the standings image, the Pilots look like their logo is a basketball logo, not hockey.

 

I see what you mean, the lines are meant to look like the lines on a globe that are found on old pilots wing pins rather than a basketball. I have an updated version of the wings already made, but they likely wont change their logo for 10+ years.

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I haven't posted here in a while and just caught up on the thread. Very exciting! I love the idea of the All-Star Game now. Also love the storyline of the four-team division with all of their teams making the playoffs. 

 

It's starting to feel like this whole league is turning into a "collegiate/NCAA" league (instead of a "pro league with only 20-30 teams) where each league (conferences) would try to outdo another and whatnot. Like, I can see in the Twin Cities league, the Minneapolis teams break away from the St. Paul teams while the suburbans are stuck with the other suburban teams. 

 

I can also also see a random team that completely OWNS a league start looking to join a stronger league to see if they can hold their own. Like how a G5 team would move up to a P5 conference. Like how TCU moved from Mountain West to the Big 12.  

 

The possibilities are endless! 

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"Chisholm finished in sixth place, but looks like a team on the rise, winning 8 games in a season for the first time in over 20 years" Theres bad... and then there's Chisholm.

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2 hours ago, RoughRiders99 said:

I haven't posted here in a while and just caught up on the thread. Very exciting! I love the idea of the All-Star Game now. Also love the storyline of the four-team division with all of their teams making the playoffs. 

 

It's starting to feel like this whole league is turning into a "collegiate/NCAA" league (instead of a "pro league with only 20-30 teams) where each league (conferences) would try to outdo another and whatnot. Like, I can see in the Twin Cities league, the Minneapolis teams break away from the St. Paul teams while the suburbans are stuck with the other suburban teams. 

 

I can also also see a random team that completely OWNS a league start looking to join a stronger league to see if they can hold their own. Like how a G5 team would move up to a P5 conference. Like how TCU moved from Mountain West to the Big 12.  

 

The possibilities are endless! 

 

That analogy is actually really close to what I imagine will happen in the future, there will definitely be stronger leagues, much like in college football. This is already starting to be seen in the Valley Hockey League, they have been around for 4 playoffs, yet has only won 3 series combined, with one coming against another team in their league.

 

1 hour ago, TargetToad said:

"Chisholm finished in sixth place, but looks like a team on the rise, winning 8 games in a season for the first time in over 20 years" Theres bad... and then there's Chisholm.

 

Poor Chisholm, a team that should be just as good as their neighbors from Virginia, Eveleth, and Hibbing... but they just can't seem to get it together

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15 hours ago, Section30 said:

 

That analogy is actually really close to what I imagine will happen in the future, there will definitely be stronger leagues, much like in college football. This is already starting to be seen in the Valley Hockey League, they have been around for 4 playoffs, yet has only won 3 series combined, with one coming against another team in their league.

 

 

Are you saying that the Valley Hockey League is generally seen as a weak league or no? 

If you had to rank the leagues by their prestige and strength, what would the order be? Are they all close to each other, or are they batched up into tiers?

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6 hours ago, RoughRiders99 said:

 

Are you saying that the Valley Hockey League is generally seen as a weak league or no? 

If you had to rank the leagues by their prestige and strength, what would the order be? Are they all close to each other, or are they batched up into tiers?

 

At this point in time I would say the the Valley League is definitely the weakest league, hockey just isn't as big of a deal as it is in the more northern cities or in the twin cities. If I had to rank the leagues form best to worst overall (there are definitely competitors in all the leagues) I guess it would go like this.

1. Iron Range

2. Northland

3. Twin Cities

4. Lake Superior

5. Granite

6. Valley

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In case anyone cares, I updated the OP of the thread to be more condensed. Team logos, league maps, rivalry trophy winners, the Kellogg Cup, and the list of past winners are all under their own tabs and will be updated every season.

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Ok, so with the increase in playoff teams and therefore series, I am slightly changing the way I post the playoffs. Rather than post all of it at once, I will go round by round, filling in the bracket as we go along. I'm hoping that this way I can be more detailed in my descriptions of series, rather than just trying to get it all done at once.

 

Without further adieu, here is the knockout round of the 1954 Kellogg Cup Playoffs!

 

8PfNpCZ.png

 

Thunder Bay Giants v. Bemidji Blue Ox

Spoiler

Thunder Bay and Bemidji played close with each other all game, neither team giving the other anything. These two evenly matched teams forced overtime with still no goals scored. The Blue Ox finally got the break they needed when Thunder Bay was called for too many men on the ice. Bemidji was able to capitalize on the chance when winger Riley Read put the rebound in the back of the net to advance his team.

 

Little Falls Pilots v. Cloquet Broncos

Spoiler

The Little Falls Pilots surprised the league this year, doing much better than anyone expected, finishing in second place in their league in their inaugural season. Going up against the Broncos who were in their first playoff game since 1932, the Pilots just managed to get the better of them and will move on the play the Waves.

 

Roseau Stars v. St. Paul Saints

Spoiler

The Roseau Stars dropped a bit after winning the Northland League last year, meanwhile the Saints improved, getting back into the playoffs. The Stars were victorious in the end, winning in convincing fashion, 5-1 over the Saints, Baumgartner with a hat trick on the night.

 

International Falls Ice v. Alexandria Norsemen

Spoiler

The dark horse favorites from International Falls were set to play the lowest ranked team in the playoffs, the 4 win Alexandria Norsemen. Confident they had no worries in this game, the Ice decided to rest their top players, including their starting goaltender, and star winger Willy Mason. Luckily, their confidence was just, International Falls went on to shut out the Norsemen 4-0.

 

Minneapolis Millers v. Fergus Falls Cyclones

Spoiler

Minneapolis and Fergus Falls both play a very physical brand of hockey, and it was on full display in this game. The Millers racked up and impressive 56 combined penalty minutes, and the Cyclones set a new MAHL record with 75 penalty minutes in one game! There were 3 fights and a line brawl in the game, and 7 players were ejected, 3 from Minneapolis and 4 from Fergus Falls. The Millers came out on top in the end, capitalizing on their powerplay opportunities.

 

Virginia Royals v. Rochester Robins

Spoiler

The Virginia Royals are another underrated team that could possibly make a run for the cup. They showed this when they upset the 11th seeded Rochester Robins on the road 3-2.

 

Eveleth Reds v. Red Wing Chiefs

Spoiler

Although the glory days of the Reds appear to have passed, Eveleth is still a dangerous team. As shown in this game against the Red Wing Chiefs. The Reds came out quick and didn't let up, winning the game 6-2 and advancing to face a familiar rival from Duluth.

 

Duluth Voyageurs v. Albert Lea Dragoons

Spoiler

Everyone already knew what was going to happen when the match ups were announced and the Voyageurs were matched up with the Dragoons, so it was no surprise when Le Bleus completely slaughtered Albert Lea. Duluth won the game 9-1 and looked like a serious cup threat, Heaslip finished the game with 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists).

 

Let me know what you think, comments are appreciated!

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So how exactly does seeding work for the playoffs? Does the six league champs earn one of the top six seeds or is it best record?

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1 hour ago, Seadragon76 said:

So how exactly does seeding work for the playoffs? Does the six league champs earn one of the top six seeds or is it best record?

 

The top 6 seeds are all the winners of their leagues, after that it is based off of records, so the top 2 teams that didn't win their league also get a bye in the first round.

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Damn. The Granite league is already doing better than the Valley league. Also, I can't wait until the MAHL playoff bracket balloons to 64 teams

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Not sure if this has been mentioned before, but does each league have its own playoffs and championship trophy, or is the Kellogg Cup the main championship?

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Imagine how demoralizing telling your team, "Nice job guys, we made the playoffs. We're the 23rd seed, but we really have a shot," would be. There are just a lot of teams, on a large scale only as large in the US as high school sports and town baseball, which I guess this is like.

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1954 Kellogg Cup Playoffs, Second Round

 

Hs0qL42.png

 

Hibbing Greyhounds v. Bemidji Blue Ox

Spoiler

The top overall seeded Greyhounds show why they finished with the best record in the MAHL and are favorites to win the Cup, dominating a good Bemidji squad. Hibbing put up 9 combined goals in the two game sweep over the Blue Ox, Polich notched 3 for himself.

 

West St. Paul Waves v. Little Falls Pilots

Spoiler

Despite being the 12th seed, due to being in a 4 team league, the Little Falls Pilots were far behind in skill compared to the Waves of West St. Paul. Game one was all Waves, Finnigan had 2 assists on the night, leading his team to a 3-0 shutout victory. When the series went north to Little Falls things got a little closer, tied 2-2 after 2, the Pilots just couldn't stay out of the box, giving the Waves many chances on the advantage. West St. Paul capitalized, then scored again on an empty net to win the game 4-2 and sweep the series, ending Little Falls' first season.

 

Fort Frances Trappers v. Roseau Stars

Spoiler

In a Northland League battle, the Trappers came out on top. Fort Frances knew what they needed to do to beat the Stars, shut down Baumgartner. So from the first drop of the puck to the final horn of game three, they sent out star defenseman Ian Lindberg to make sure Boomer didn't get any good looks on net. It worked, Baumgartner was held to just 1 assist in the 3 game series. Fort Frances won game one, then lost in overtime in game two, but were able to clinch the series on home ice to advance.

 

Rochester Mustangs v. International Falls Ice

Spoiler

International Falls looked very good in this series, upsetting the champions of the Valley Hockey League. Despite losing game one, the Ice turned the momentum back in their favor quick in game two, lighting the lamp 3 times in the first period. The series would continue to be all International Falls from then on, game two finished 6-1 Ice, and then they won the deciding game 3 4-0, advancing to play their bitter rivals across the border.

 

St. Paul Victorias v. Minneapolis Millers

Spoiler

A long time rivalry was reborn as the Millers and Victorias faced off in the playoffs for the first time since 1946. These two don't like each other and it showed, much like last rounds Millers-Cyclones series, there were many penalties on both sides, cheap shots were commonplace in these three games. In game one, the Millers checked St. Paul's Cody Klaus from behind, he left the game and wouldn't return for the rest of the series. With their top goal scorer out, the Victorias lacked the firepower needed to take down the Millers. Minneapolis would go on to win the series, stunning the league by knocking out the second seed.

 

Grand Rapids Moose v. Virginia Royals

Spoiler

Grand Rapids looks like a team poised to possibly defend their title. The Royals did their best, but the Moose were just too strong on defense to allow anything against. Virginia only managed to get 1 goal past Baker, which wasn't nearly enough to beat Grand Rapids.

 

Duluth Hornets v. Eveleth Reds

Spoiler

Coming into this series, everyone expected Duluth to walk all over the aging Reds, but the Eveleth Reds aren't ready to go away quite yet. The Hornets knew they were in trouble when they lost game one on home ice. Luckily, they managed to tie things up in Eveleth, but when the series headed back to Duluth, the Reds again embarrassed the 3rd overall Hornets at home. The Reds, despite being on the decline, relied on their playoff experience, and it worked.

 

St. Cloud Bear Cats v. Duluth Voyageurs

Spoiler

Number 5 vs. number 10, two teams who have had playoff heartbreak in recent years who look to change that and get their hands on the cup. The Bear Cats and Voyageurs didn't disappoint in this tilt, both teams offenses were on full display, St. Cloud took game one 4-2 and Duluth took game two 5-4. The deciding game 3 was held in St. Cloud and garnered a massive crowd, approximately 3,500 people were in attendance. Though the game was scoreless after one, things quickly picked up in the second when St. Cloud's Schmidt finally scored the games first goal. Duluth's Heaslip answered with not one, but two unanswered goals to end the second. The third period started and St. Cloud tied things up thanks to a once timer by Sauer that went five hole. With less than a minute left in the game, Duluth was called for tripping, putting St. Cloud on the power play. Chants of "Go Cats Go" rang out around the rink as play resumed. Then, with less than 20 seconds left on the clock, the Bear Cats took a shot that deflected off of a defender in front and dribbled past the goalie into the bottom corner of the net. The crowd erupted as the Bear Cats hugged at the bench, St. Cloud will advance to the next round to face the Eveleth Reds.

 

Let me know what you think, comments are appreciated!

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4 hours ago, NoE38 said:

Not sure if this has been mentioned before, but does each league have its own playoffs and championship trophy, or is the Kellogg Cup the main championship?

 

At this point there are no league playoffs, the only championship is the Kellogg Cup, in the future there might be as a way of deciding who gets into the playoffs or something, I'm not quite sure yet.

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Honestly this reminds me a lot of club hockey growing up. AAA or even AA is filled with so much talent but when two teams match up you usually know who will come out on top unless they are ranked within 10 spots of eachother. This second round felt semi predictable to an extent but was still exciting. I love the series that is being built up and I congratulate you on constructing a topic that feels unique. And of course go Moose, the team out of my 5 favorites who somehow built something out of absolute nothing.

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1954 Kellogg Cup Playoffs, Quarter Finals

 

Js59hz6.png

 

Hibbing Greyhounds v. West St. Paul Waves

Spoiler

The Waves knew they were in for a tough series, facing off against the top seeded Greyhounds, they adjusted their normally offensive heavy game style for a more defensive approach. West St. Paul was able to take game one, holding Hibbing to only one goal. The Hounds bounced back in game two, tying the series at one apiece. The series then went down to the twin cities and the Waves took full advantage of the home ice advantage. The Waves defensive style frustrated Polich and the Greyhounds, not allowing any chances on goal. West St. Paul capitalized on a couple lucky bounces and odd man rushes to take game three 3-0 and game four 2-0 to take the series, upsetting the top ranked Hibbing Greyhounds.

 

Fort Frances Trappers v. International Falls Ice

Spoiler

All eyes were on this series, two bitter rivals who finished neck and neck in the top of the Northland League, fighting it out to keep their Cup hopes alive. Game one was held in Fort Frances, but there wasn't much of a home ice advantage, as the crowd was packed with fans from both cities. Fort Frances scored first, and added 2 more before the Ice could answer back, the game ended 3-1. Game two was when things got ugly, both on and off the ice. It all started when Fort Frances's Ian Lindberg lit up an International Falls player. It was a clean hit, and no penalty was called, but the Ice took exception to the hit. Before you knew it, both benches were cleared and fists were flying. Meanwhile a couple of fans in the crowd got in an argument and began fighting as well. The melee went on for almost 15 minutes before the referees finally were able to get things under control on the ice and the police got those fighting in the crowd escorted from the area. International falls went on the win the game 2-1, but newspapers all over the state wrote about the "Rainy River Rumble", almost forgetting the rest of the game even occurred. Game three was down in International Falls and new security measures were brought, the crowd was split into fans of either team, and there were more police in attendance. Fort Frances took the lead midway through the first, but the Ice answered with two of their own in the second period. The Trappers pulled the goalie with just over a minute left, trailing by one, and it worked. The game was forced into overtime and the tension was thick. Fort Frances took a shot from the point that was blocked, sending the Ice on a 2 on 1 the other way. Willy Mason and John Backus passed back and forth, tick tack toe, until the Trappers goalie commit to Backus, who slid it over to Mason who slipped in in past the downed goalie, into the net, winning the game for the Ice. Game 4 was a close affair, neither team could seem to get anything going on offense, finally the Trappers snuck one past the goalie, this turned out to be the only goal of the game, tying the series and forcing a deciding game 5. The crowd was insane for game 5, it seemed like everyone from both cities was there, with an estimated attendance of 8,100, it crushed the record for highest attendance in MAHL history. International Falls quickly quieted the home crowd, scoring 3 minutes into the game. Willy Mason added on with one for himself to give the Ice a 2-0 lead after one. The second period was scoreless, neither team had any good chances. The third period was much like the second period until about halfway through when International Falls' Backus was sent on a breakaway, he was able to capitalize, going five-hole. The Trappers finally got one of their own with 2 minutes left in the game, but it was too little too late as the International Falls Ice will advance after one of the most memorable series in Kellogg Cup Playoff history.

 

Minneapolis Millers v. Grand Rapids Moose

Spoiler

The defending champions faced off with the Millers who are looking for their first cup in 31 years. The series was very tight as both teams had a similar, physical, style of play. Game one went to the Moose on home ice, as did game two. Down 2-0 in the series, the Millers had to give it their all to stay alive. Luckily for them, Grand Rapids' star goaltender Sam Baker got the flu and didn't travel with the team to Minneapolis. Without their star player, the Moose lost consecutive games, forcing a deciding game 5 back in Grand Rapids. Baker was still sick and unavailable to play in the game, so the Moose were concerned about blowing the series. The game began and things weren't looking good for Grand Rapids, Minneapolis's Ramsey got the Millers on the board early in the first, the period would end 1-0. The second period was scoreless. The third began, both teams exchanging chances, but neither capitalizing. The Moose finally caught a break when a seemingly harmless shot on goal was misplayed by the Millers goalie and found its way to the back of the net. Once they finally netted one, the floodgates opened, the Moose were able to score two more within 5 minutes to go up 3-1. The game would end with that score, meaning the Grand Rapids Moose will advance and keep their hopes of defending their championship alive.

 

Eveleth Reds v. St. Cloud Bear Cats

Spoiler

The Eveleth Reds have shown in these playoffs that they aren't ready to go away quite yet, but the St. Cloud Bear Cats aren't a team to be messed with either. The Cats showed why they were ranked fifth in the league in game one, beating the Reds 4-0, and dominating the entire time. Game two was more of the same, with St. Cloud putting 38 shots on net, scoring 5 of them, while only allowing one goal against. Up 2-0 in the series, the Bear Cats were feeling very good about their chances of winning the series. Eveleth was trying their hardest to get anything going on offense, but nothing was working. The Bear Cats took game three 3-0, avenging their Cup Finals loss from 3 years ago in decisive fashion.

 

Let me know what you think, comments are appreciated!

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Prediction time! Coming down after the HUGE series against the Trappers, the Ice won't have enough, and West St. Paul will advance. On the other side, the Moose have had the easiest road (based on rankings) of any of the teams, and St. Cloud will definitely change that. St. Cloud advances.

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