Minnetonka's Charlie Huminski dives to control a loose puck as Wayzata's Alec Hemenway (20) and Trojans' goaltender Aaron Dingmann take their defensive positions. Photo by Brian Nelson
Puck after puck was being launched at Wayzata goaltender Aaron Dingmann.
This wasn’t a shooting gallery so much as it was a blitzkrieg. Dingmann might just as well have been a piñata for all the abuse he was taking.
“It’s fun when I can see a lot of shots,” he said.
If being peppered by frozen rubber biscuits is Dingmann’s path to happiness, then the senior had the time of his life in the second period of the Trojans’ 5-1 victory over Minnetonka in the Section 6AA semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Bloomington Ice Garden.
Trailing 2-1, No. 2-seeded Minnetonka spent at least 5 uninterrupted minutes pounding away at Dingmann, who made 13 of his 31 saves in the second.
“The end of the second period was getting a little scary, but huge shout out to Dingmann,” said Wayzata senior forward Jalen Wahl, who scored three goals. “He kept us in that period.”
Wayzata's Jalen Wahl
At the height of the onslaught, the Skippers’ Connor Thie blasted a shot in off Dingmann’s chest. The goal was waived off because the whistle had blown.
“He said that he had blown the whistle before it went in,” Minnetonka coach Brian Urick said about one of the referees’ explanation for the call “You can’t argue with that, but I don’t understand why he would have blown the whistle.”
Added Dingmann, “I think we got the better of that call, I would say.”
With Dingmann’s brick-and-mortar craftsmanship at one end and Wahl’s Midas touch at the other, this was a do-no-wrong night for the No. 3-seeded Trojans.
After a scintillating start to the season in which they won 15 of their first 17 games, Wayzata closed the regular season with five losses in their final eight games. The Trojans, ranked No. 8 in the state, lost both regular season matchups to No. 5 Minnetonka.
Wahl said Wayzata was undeterred by those losses.
“We knew those games didn’t really matter, and that we still had a chance,” Wahl said. “It said we were underdogs on paper, but we thought it was pretty even and that we could win.
“And we did.”
Wahl , who had scored just six goals during the regular season, said he and his teammates were geared up for the game played in electric atmosphere that included the Wayzata pep band and a huge Trojans’ student section among the estimated 2,300 fans.
“It was a huge game,” Wahl said. “And you try to play good in these big games. As a senior you want to lead the team. I guess that’s what happened.
“All the bounces went my way, and they went in."
Wayzata goalie Aaron Dingmann keeps another puck from finding the net as Minnetonka's Max Coatta's backhand attempt slides wide left. Photo by Brian Nelson
Senior forward Jalen Wahl scored three goals and senior goaltender Aaron Dingmann stopped 31 shots to lead No. 3 seed Wayzata to a 5-1 victory over No. 2 Minnetonka on Saturday, Feb. 23, in the Section 6AA semifinals at Bloomington Ice Garden.
Wahl, who had six goals in 25 regular season games, scored the lone goal of the first period and then made it 2-0 midway through the second.
His third goal came on a blistering snapshot that sailed over Minnetonka senior goaltender Paul Ciaccio’s shoulder in the third period. That power-play goal put the Trojans ahead 4-1.
Dingmann was outstanding during a 12-minute stretch of the second period when play was almost entirely in the Wayzata zone and he was peppered with an array of shots. He finished with 13 saves in the second period.
Minnetonka senior Connor Thie tucked the puck inside the right post in the second period to pull the No. 5-ranked Skippers (19-7-1) to within 2-1. Thie appeared to have scored again to tie the score at 2 later in the period when he ripped a shot between Dingmann’s arm and his chest, but the goal was waived off because the officials had blown the whistle.
No. 8-ranked Wayzata (20-7-0) got a goal from freshman Max Zimmer to go up 3-1 early in the third. After Wahl’s goal, Matthew Freytag capped the scoring with a breakaway goal with 3:44 remaining.
Wayzata lost twice to Minnetonka in the regular season by scores of 3-1 and 4-2.
1. Jalen Wahl, Wayzata
The senior forward benefitted from some nice passing to score his first two goals, although he did position himself perfectly to put the puck away when it did arrive. Wahl’s third goal was self made, as he wheeled to the top of the right faceoff circle, spotted an opening in the upper right corner and unloaded a rocket that hit its mark.
2. Aaron Dingmann, Wayzata
The unflappable senior has always said he likes to see a lot of shots, and he got his wish in the second period when Minnetonka threw everything but the Zamboni at him in an attempt to tie the score at 2. Dingmann never found himself out of position as he made an array of spectacular saves during the Skippers’ shooting gallery.
3. Connor Thie, Minnetonka
The Skippers’ top line of Thie, Max Coatta and Jack Ramsey dominated for long stretches and the tenacious play of Thie was a big reason why. He scored a nifty tuck-in goal in the second period and appeared to have tied the score at 2 minutes later but the goal was ruled to have been scored after the officials blew the whistle.