Two days prior to the Wayzata High girls hockey team’s Section 6AA semifinal game against The Blake School, Trojan sophomore forward Sloan Matthews made a prediction to several teammates.
“We’ll beat them 4-2,” she said.
Imagine how happy Matthews was when the third-seeded Trojans upset second-seeded Blake 4-2 Wednesday, Feb. 12, at Parade Ice Garden in Minneapolis. She was just ecstatic.
“We came out tonight and played Trojan hockey,” Matthews said. Although Blake’s top players - Audrey Wethington, Lily Delianedis and Addie Burton - were as good as advertised, no one else figured in Blake’s two goals.
Conversely, three different girls scored for the Trojans and Matthews was the top playmaker with three assists.
Mallory Coffin opened the scoring for Wayzata in the first period with assists from Sami Hackley and Matthews. Then Gretchen Branton scored from Matthews and Abby Prodahl. Before the end of the first period, Blake bounced back when Burton scored from Wethington and Delianedis.
In the second period, a goal by Delianedis, on Burton’s assist, tied the game.
Wayzata regained its lead when Coffin scored her second goal of the night from Matthews and Branton. A goal by Sophie Heyer, on Prodahl’s assist, iced the game late in the third period.
“The main thing is that everyone played their role,” Wayzata captain Sophie Urban said after the game. “We were able to count on our whole team.”
“We were playing against some of the best forwards in the state,” captain Addy Hackley added. “Our defensive corps stuck to the system, and it worked.”
Branton, the Trojans’ second leading scorer behind Matthews this season, said the Trojans expected a physical game. Although Branton isn’t a big player by any means, there were times when she went hard to the corners, times she dove to gain possession of the puck in the neutral zone.
“We want to make plays with passion, not emotion,” she said.
Matthews, who had scored five goals in Wayzata’s 9-0 playoff opening victory over Osseo/Park Center, did more passing than shooting against Blake.
“Their defense was tight on me,” she said. “And that gave my teammates opportunities to score.”
Coffin, who plays on Matthews’ line, had her first two-goal game of the season.
Early in the 2019-20 season, Wayzata lost a 3-2 decision to The Blake School.
Urban said the Trojans weren’t thinking about that before the rematch.
“That was so early in the season,” she commented. “We are a completely different team now. There has been incredible growth since the beginning of the season.”
With that growth, the team has adapted to a new head coach, former Edina High and University of Minnesota star Taylor Williamson.
“This was such a great night for Wayzata hockey, and a well deserved victory for our girls,” Williamson said. “I knew they had it in them. Since the first time we played Blake, the difference is the team that we have become.”
Ironically, the win over Blake put Wayzata into the section finals against the Edina team Williamson had once starred on.
Matthews wasn’t making predictions before the Edina game, but she did have this to say about the Hornets, who entered the championship game with 25 straight wins: “We know Edina is super good.”
Entering the title game, Edina had a 25-1-0 record and Wayzata stood 17-9-1.
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