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MAC hosts PeeWee B state tourney; Marlin team seeded seventh

This weekend, the Mitchell Activities Center will host its first state tournament since the addition of its second sheet of ice in December.

Ten South Dakota teams, along with one team from Iowa, will take the ice Friday in the PeeWee B state hockey tournament in Mitchell. The tournament begins at noon Friday and concludes Sunday with the championship contest.

“The second sheet of ice helps improves game times and gives us more ideal practice times,” Mitchell Marlins PeeWee B coach Jamie Grosdidier said. “As a team and as an association, we are real thankful to the city for making the project happen.”

Out of 16 league games this season, Mitchell’s PeeWee B team (7-9) played five one-goal games. Because of the familiarity with close matchups, Grosdidier believes his squad could make a run at the state title.

“The kids have really been working hard all season,” Grosdidier said. “I think we have a chance to win the tournament and we are certainly looking to finish in the top five.”

Heading into the tournament, the Marlins are seeded seventh and plays 10th-seed Yankton in a preliminary matchup at noon Friday. The Marlins have defeated Yankton in both meetings this season.

Of the last eight games, Mitchell has won seven. The only loss for the Marlins was a 4-3 loss at the hands of Huron Sunday in the final game of the regular season. During the final eight-game stretch, Mitchell has two wins over third-seed Sioux Falls East.

“Like any sport, defense is where it all starts,” Grosdidier said. “We need to play good, solid defense to win the hockey tournament. Keeping the puck out of our net will be the start of everything. We also have some good kids who can handle the puck, and that should give us some opportunities to score.”

Last year, Mitchell hosted the PeeWee A state tournament. This year, Mitchell’s PeeWee A team travels to Sioux Center, Iowa, where it opens its state tournament Friday against Brookings. The Marlins head into the tournament seeded eighth, boasting a 5-10 record.