Balance boosts Wayzata in hockey playoffs
Wayzata’s fast start, combined with Hopkins’ slow start, led to an 8-2 Trojan victory in the first round of the Section 6AA boys hockey playoffs Feb. 21 at Plymouth Ice Center.
With four goals in the first period, Wayzata virtually put the game on ice. Chase Heising, Jalen Wahl, Brian Machut and Akash Batra all found the back of the net.
The Trojans took a 5-0 lead on Batra’s second goal early in the second period before Josh Laven scored for Hopkins on assists from Jimmy Coupols and Tim Weiner.
Chase Haller, Chad Olson and Heising added goals for Wayzata, and then Austin Bizal of Hopkins scored the final goal of the night.
“It just wasn’t our night,” said Hopkins head coach Rolf Ulvin, whose team finished the season 10-15-1 overall. “From the drop of the puck Wayzata performed well. They had poise with the puck and made the plays.”
Wayzata head coach Pat O’Leary said he wasn’t taking Hopkins for granted, even though his team came into the playoff game as the higher seed.
Wayzata pulled off a stunner in the section semifinals Feb. 23, beating Lake Conference champ Minnetonka 5-1. That win gave WHS a date with Benilde-St. Margaret’s Wednesday, Feb. 27. The game was in progress as this edition hit newsstands Wednesday night.
Wahl was the No. 1 star for Wayzata as he scored the first two goals against Minnetonka. He completed his hat trick in the third period when teammates Matthew Freytag and Maxwell Zimmer also had goals. Goalie Aaron Dingmann was the No. 2 star for Wayzata with 31 saves. Wayzata had 21 shots on goal as its record improved to 20-7-0.
“Close games are usually won in the third period,” said O’Leary. “You can’t take a shift off.”