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State berth not automatic for number one seed

02/14/2018, 11:45pm CST
By Michael Trzinski, WiPH Staff

Since 2000, state field has never featured eight top seeds

The WIAA website has detailed state hockey information since the the 2000-01 season. That includes game stats for the contests in Madison, and also results for the playoffs.

I, like many of you, wondered how many times all eight number-one seeds have made it to Madison.

The answer may surprise you.

In the 17 years that the WIAA website provided detailed info, it was discovered that all eight top-seeded teams have never made it to the tourney in the same year.

Here is a breakdown of top-seeds that have made it to Mad City in a particular year:

  • 8 top-seeds (0)
  • 7 top-seeds (3)
  • 6 top-seeds (4)
  • 5 top-seeds (2)
  • 4 top-seeds (5)
  • 3 top-seeds (3)
  • 2 top-seeds (0)
  • 1 top-seed (0)
  • 0 top-seeds (0)

So, if top-seeds don't always qualify, which seeds are most successful in making the trip to the state tournament?

The trend is probably not surprising, which is a testament to the seeding meetings accuracy.

Seeds that made it to state, other than #1s, since 2001:

  • #2 (33)
  • #3 (8)
  • #4 (7)
  • #5 (1)
  • #6 (2)
  • #7 (0)
  • #8 (1)

Last year, #6 Bay Port advanced to state in Sectional 5 by beating #3 Antigo, #2 Notre Dame, and #1 Neenah/Hortonville/Menasha in the sectionals.

Unfortunately, their magnificent run came to an end after a 3-2 quarterfinal loss to Sun Prairie.

Prior to that, low-seeded teams (#5 or lower) had not make it to state since 2007.

That year, #5 Madison West took down #4 Monona Grove, #1 Sun Prairie, and #2 Madison Edgewood in Sectional 6 to earn a place on the state stage. They lost in the quarters, defeated by Eau Claire Memorial 8-3.

In 2005, #8 Janesville had one of the greatest playoff runs of all time.

The Bluebirds won the play-in game in Sectional 6 over #9 McFarland, and then took down #1 Madison Memorial, #4 Beloit, and #3 Middleton in the remaining three games to make it to the Clamshell.

Janesville beat University School 2-1 in OT in the quarters before dropping a 2-1 heart-breaker to Arrowhead in the semis.

One of the greatest Cinderella stories of all time was the advancement of Sauk Prairie in Sectional 5 in 2004.

The Eagles beat #3 Reedsburg, #7 Tomah, and #5 Baraboo in which was perhaps a perfect storm, where #1 Sparta and #2 LaCrosse were both knocked out earlier in the brackets.

Sauk Prairie had a 3-2 lead in the middle of the second period against Hudson on Quarterfinal Thursday when starting goalie Josh Johnson got run over and was carted off the ice on a stretcher. Johnson had stopped 24 of 26 shots and basically was 'winning' the game for SP. 

Hudson scored the tying goal a couple minutes later and dominated the third, winning 6-3.

What does it all mean? I don't know, but since a #7 seed has never made it to state, River Falls, Rhinelander, Rice Lake, Sauk Prairie, Bay Port, Greendale, Waunakee, and West Bend—you have your work cut out for you the next couple weeks.

Good luck to all teams!

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