There’s a fairly big prep boys hockey game at Hobbs Ice Center in a few hours.

Second-ranked Eau Claire Memorial, undefeated at 7-0, takes on 6-1-1 Eau Claire North at 7 p.m.

A year ago, the two teams split the season series with each winning an overtime game. They were two of the most exciting games you’ll find in a high school sports setting.

Tonight, the rivalry is renewed. I’ve seen both teams this season. Here are what I view as three keys to the game. 

1) Goaltending. We know what Memorial’s Trevor Hudecek can do. But this is North’s Tyler Schreiter’s first start in the big game. He’s been really good in net so far this winter and has a .935 save percentage. Schreiter will have his hands full with Memorial’s speed, but if he’s on his game, he’ll certainly give the Huskies a chance.

2) The clash of styles will be fun. North plays physical and makes teams work. Memorial balances grit with skill. Both teams emphasize getting pucks to the net, and both have guys who can score on rushes. I think whoever dictates the pace early will have a big say in the final score. 

3) Memorial hasn’t played in a week, while North played on Thursday night and is fresh off a grueling 4-2 win over Hayward that was a grind fest. We’ll see if heavy legs play a factor late tonight. 

Hobbs should be rocking. These are always two of my favorite nights of the school year. See you there.