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Tourney Team Preview: Northfield

Northfield is truly built from the net-out. Its success starts with senior goalie Keaton Walock, who leads the state with 10 shutouts.

northfield hockey section champs photo.jpeg
Northfield celebrates after winning the Section 1A boys championship against New Prague on Wednesday, March 1, 2022, at the Rochester Recreation Center.
Contributed / @NHSBoysHockey Twitter

Section 1A

No. 5 Northfield Raiders


Coach: Mike Luckraft

Most Recent Let’s Play Hockey Ranking: 8


Players to Watch: #30 G Keaton Walock, #12 F Kamden Kaiser, #11 F Jake Geiger, #2 D Mike Fossum.

2nd Appearance

Last Appearance: 2017

State Titles: none

The No. 8-ranked Raiders came into this season with a chip on their shoulders. They thought they had a state tournament-worthy team a year ago, when they allowed a two-goal lead to slip away in the third period, then lost 3-2 to New Prague in overtime in a Section 1A semifinal game.

This time, Northfield left no doubt. It steamrolled through three Section 1A playoff games, winning by a combined score of 20-2. That included gaining some revenge with a dominant 6-0 win against New Prague in the section championship game, a game in which the Raiders scored three times in the first six minutes and led 4-0 after one period.

Northfield is truly built from the net-out. Its success starts with senior goalie Keaton Walock, who leads the state with 10 shutouts, is second in the state in victories (23), sixth in goals-against average (1.30) and 11th in save percentage (.929). Walock has won 13 consecutive starts, allowing a total of 24 goals in that span. He hasn’t lost in nearly two months, since a 4-2 setback to Rochester Mayo on Jan. 16.

Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament coverage including game recaps, photos, brackets, schedules and more from The Rink Live

In front of Walock is an athletic defensive corps that goes six deep, led by senior Mike Fossum (4-31–35) and junior Ty Frank (4-27–31). Fossum scored the game-winning goal in the section championship game. Seniors Parker Vogt and Brecken Riley, junior Elliott Pontow, and freshman Bridger Riley round out the defensive corps.


The Raiders will also roll three lines consistently, though coach Mike Luckraft refers to his top two lines as “1 and 1a.” Those lines alternated starting games throughout the second half of the season.

Line 1 is centered by junior Jake Geiger, the team’s second-leading scorer (25-33–58), with Kamden Kaiser (40-25–65) and Griffin Kennelly (3-6–9) on his wings. Line 1a features sophomore center Bradyen Olson, a big (6-1, 160) and talented two-way center, with junior Cayden Monson (19-37–56) on one wing and a sophomore with one of the best hockey names in the tournament — Will Cashin (13-29–43) — on the other wing.

The Raiders nicely mix in a shut-down line centered by senior Braden Brakke, with fellow seniors Gabe Sawyer and Cullen Merritt on either side of him.

Northfield is making just its second appearance at The Tourney; it placed fourth in 2017, beating Mahtomedi 3-1 in the quarterfinals, the falling to Monticello 3-2 in the state semifinals on a goal with 3 seconds to go in the third period.

The Raiders enter state on an eight-game winning streak in which they have surrendered just five goals. This season they are outsourcing their opponents by a whopping 4 goals per game — 5.46-1.46.

Ranked Wins (Based on Feb. 23 Let’s Play Hockey Rankings): No. 9A Delano (5-3, Jan. 7).

Ranked Losses: No. 4A Mahtomedi (4-2, Nov. 25); No. 3A Orono (3-1, Dec. 13).

Ranked Ties: None.

Jason Feldman is the sports editor of the Post Bulletin. In addition to managing the four-person sports staff at the PB, Jason covers high school football, golf and high school and junior hockey. Readers can reach Jason at 507-281-7430 or jfeldman@postbulletin.com.
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