Junior defenseman Chandler Lindstrand was one of four Wayzata players to score their first varsity career goals in Friday's 4-1 win over Maple Grove. Photo by Katherine Matthews
Freshman Max Zimmer scored a goal, then junior Chad Olson got one. Both were the first of their varsity careers.
Pucks were being saved as mementos, Wayzata’s whacky student section was going bonkers and the Trojans were on their way to beating Maple Grove 4-1 on Friday, Nov. 23, in front of a huge Plymouth Ice Center crowd in the season opener for both teams.
All Chandler Lindstrand could do was watch. The junior defenseman, a varsity regular all last season, was called for a 5-minute checking from behind major late in the first period. That penalty automatically comes with a 10-minute misconduct.
That’s 15 minutes in the box – almost a third of the game. High school periods only last 17 minutes.
“You are a little disappointed, but you just try to watch the game and get over it,” Lindstrand said about his alone time during the semifinal of Wayzata’s annual Turkey Trot tournament. “It happens sometimes.”
Maple Grove's Nate Erickson (18) takes a faceoff against Wayzata freshman Max Zimmer. Photo by Katherine Matthews
Not long after Lindstrand returned to the ice, he found himself with the puck and an interstate-wide lane to then net. He put his head down and all his weight into the shot. Lindstrand, it should be mentioned, did not score a goal all of last season despite logging heavy minutes.
“He was on our second power play,” Wayzata coach Pat O’Leary said. “He was out there a lot on the power play, but he just didn’t get the opportunity to get a goal.”
Lindstrand’s cannon shot beat Maple Grove goaltender John Danielson high. Then, another wild celebration. Another puck transformed into a keepsake.
“I was just trying to shoot it as hard as I could,” Lindstrand said. “I was just thinking, ‘I’m going to get all of this one. It’s going to go where it is going to go.’ It just found a corner and went in.”
Sophomore Matthew Freytag completed the scoring for Wayzata in the third period. Sticking with the night’s theme, it was Freytag’s first career goal.
The Trojans have a freshman and seven sophomores in their lineup. They also have six juniors, most of whom saw little or no varsity action last season.
“The refs were like, ‘Geez, four new guys scoring?’ ” O’Leary said. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, well, we’re young.’ ”
Maple Grove junior defenseman Drake Thomsen gets some serious whip in his stick as he unloads a shot. Photo by Katherine Matthews
Maple Grove, much like Friday’s opponent in Wayzata, is a re-tooled team long on enthusiasm and short on practical experience.