Two great periods for the Wayzata boys hockey team gave the hometown heroes a 2-1 lead over Lakeville South in the State Class AA Tournament semifinals Friday, April 2, at Xcel Energy Center, but in the third period the Cougars seized momentum and ended the Trojans’ season, 5-3.
Wayzata played its traditional tough defense the first two periods, frustrating the high-scoring Cougars with blocked shots and traps at center ice. Senior captain on defense Carson Peters made a number of outstanding plays between blocked shots, poke checks, rushes up the ice and passes that cleared the puck out of the Wayzata zone.
“We played the way we had to play,” Wayzata head coach Pat O’Leary said. “We had the puck quite a bit. Lakeville South has a good defensive corps and their goalie played really well. At times, their top line gave us fits. We just needed to make a couple more plays. We didn’t get a power play the entire game, and we could have used at least one.”
Senior forward Hayden Davison gave the Trojans a 1-0 lead with an unassisted goal in the first period, then senior forward Jake Schneider made it 2-0 in the second period with his unassisted goal.
Unfortunately for Wayzata, lightning struck at the end of the second period, when with only nine seconds remaining, Ashton Dahms scored for Lakeville South.
“The goal they scored at the end of the third period probably gave them some confidence going into the third,” O’Leary said.
Back-to-back goals in the third period by star forward Cade Ahrenholz put the Cougars on top 3-2, and then Cam Boche scored a much-needed insurance goal.
Wayzata bounced back with a goal from senior forward Dylan Lewis, from junior Gavin O’Connell, at the 15:39 mark. Coach O’Leary had no option for the stretch run, and he pulled sophomore goaltender Will Ingemann in favor of an extra attacker. Boche’s second goal of the night found the empty net to account for the Cougars’ final two-goal margin.
In the battle of the goalies, Ingemann stood up well with 28 saves on 32 shots. Cody Ticen performed up to expectations in the Lakeville South goal with 25 saves on 28 shots.
If there was one player from Wayzata who was able to force the action it was Schneider, who had seven of his team’s 28 shots on net. He skates on the all-senior first line with Davison and Lewis.
“I told our players after the game that this is the group that brought us back,” O’Leary said. “At a big school like Wayzata, you don’t have a lot of players on the team, sophomore year through senior year, but we had some this year. I am thankful for the resiliency of our players through the pandemic. They took full advantage of their time together and coming to practice every day.”
Wayzata was deprived of only one game this season. It would have been a contest against Hill-Murray in the first round of the state tourney, but the Pioneers were eliminated by the Minnesota State High School League’s COVID-19 rules.
The Trojans finished the season with an overall record of 14-6-2, but there is another record the team has achieved that is just as significant.
“Our team GPA this year is 3.7,” O’Leary noted.
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