Minnetonka's Connor Thie squares off against Wayzata netminder Aaron Dingmann on a breakaway, Thie scored one of his two goals for the night on the play. Photo Brian Nelson
Senior Night at Pagel Ice Center couldn't have been sweeter for the No. 4 Skippers as they cruised to a 4-2 victory over No. 6 Wayzata Feb. 9.
Connor Thie scored two goals and an assist while linemate Max Coatta scored a goal and two assists, helping Minnetonka clinch the Lake Conference title.
Minnetonka led 2-1 with less than 4 minutes left when Jack Ramsey stickhandled around his defender and laid the puck in front for Coatta to crash it in. The Trojans countered with a goal of their own, but shortly after Minnetonka senior Charlie Huminski scored an empty net goal to cash in Minnetonka's conference title ticket.
Both teams played solid defensively, blocking plenty of shots and clearing rebounds. Goaltending played a huge factor -- Minnetonka senior Paul Ciacco saved 27 of 29 shots.
"It was a big win to clinch the conference," said Ciacco. "That's what we've been doing this year, it's kind of our identity and we gotta keep rolling with it."
Chandler Lindstrom scored in the second period as he came through the slot and took a pass from Jack Sorensen and fired in a backhand shot. Only 1 minute, 15 seconds later, Coatta centered the puck to Thie who scored top right on Wayzata goaltender Aaron Dingmann.
Thie and Coatta struck again with fellow senior Jimmy Schuldt a minute into the third period. Schudlt passed to Coatta, who whiffed on the shot which sent the puck to Thie who scored top shelf again on Dingmann.
Dingmann saved 24 of 27 shots and weathered the storm well as shots were 25-15 entering the 3rd period.
Minnetonka improves to 17-5-1 and is a perfect 7-0-0 in Lake Conference play. The Skippers travel to Eden Prairie on Thursday, Feb. 14. Wayzata (17-6-0) travels to Braemer Ice Arena the same night to face No. 5 Edina.
-- Trevor Squire, MN Hockey Hub staff
Minnetonka senior Max Coatta celebrates this third period goal by flexing his bicep. Coatta has the career scoring record at Minnetonka. Photo Brian Nelson
On a breakaway, Wayzata's Akash Batra crashes into Skipper goalie Paul Ciaccio and sends him tumbling backwards into the goal (below). Photos Brian Nelson
Minnetonka goalie Paul Ciaccio contorts his body while making a save in the first period. Ciaccio stopped 27 of 29 shots for the game. Photo Brian nelson
Connor Thie scored two goals and an assist while linemate Max Coatta scored a goal and two assists to lead No. 4-ranked Minnetonka to a 4-2 win against No. 6 Wayzata.
Thie's second goal gave the Skippers a 2-1 lead 1 minute, 13 seconds into the third period and occurred moments after Wayzata's Jack Sorensen had a quality scoring chance from the slot, but his shot went over the net.
Coatta's goal in the third period proved to be the game-winner when he put his shot by Trojans' goalie Aaron Dingmann, who made 29 saves.
Chandler Lindstrand gave Wayzata a 1-0 lead in the second period, but Thie scored his first goal just 1 minute, 15 seconds after.
After Thie and Coatta scored in the third, Wayzata's Brian Machut scored from a scrum in front of the Skippers net.
Wayzata pulled Dingmann for the extra attacker, but Charlie Huminski put any comeback to rest when he buried a shot into the empty net.
The Trojans drop to 17-6-0 and will remain in Lake Conference play when they take on Edina on Thursday, Feb. 14 at Braemar Ice Arena in Edina.
Minnetonka improves to 17-5-1 and is a perfect 7-0-0 in Lake Conference play. It will look to stay that way when it travels to Eden Prairie on Thursday, Feb. 14.
Stay tuned for more MN Hockey Hub coverage from this game.
--Justin Magill, MN Hockey Hub Staff
1. Connor Thie, Minnetonka
The senior scored twice, scoring both of them top shelf. The Skippers' first line was working well together all night as Thie supplied the breakout pass to Jack Ramsey on Max Coatta's goal as well. Winning on your Senior Night is nice, but to help your team clinch the Lake Conference title in the same night definitely puts this game in one of Thie's most memorable performances.
2. Max Coatta, Minnetonka
Coatta has been making a name for himself since he was a freshman. Now as a senior, he is leading the Skippers in all scoring categories and he topped the list tonight with with a goal and two assists. He showed great hustle and speed on his goal as he was in the corner and supplied the first breakout pass then was able to backhand a pass from Ramsey into the net. Coatta has had a great career at Minnetonka, breaking the all time scoring record.
3. Paul Ciacco, Minnetonka
With a flashy glove, and multiple sprawling saves, Ciacco was on his game. He had a .931 save average and was able to clean up his rebounds in front and stop the Trojans from getting their scrappy goals. A great defensive unit has been helping Ciacco all year, and he complimented them with a great performance.
-- Trevor Squire, MN Hockey Hub staff