Benilde-St. Margaret's was supposed to emerge from Section 6AA. Or maybe Eden Prairie. Or possibly Minnetonka. But Wayzata? The Trojans not only crashed the section party but they took the all the furniture home with them.
No. 8-ranked Wayzata made its run to the championship in the state's toughest section appear relatively easy, following an 8-2 quarterfinal victory over Hopkins with wins over Minnetonka and defending state Class 2A champion Benilde-St. Margaret's by 5-1 and 5-2 scores.
"You get some teams with 10 or 12 seniors like we had last year, and you almost expect them to do everything all the time," Wayzata coach Pat O'Leary said after the winning the section championship. "I think all our guys stepped up. Different guys. Young guys, old guys.
"I don't even know who scored tonight."
No. 4 seed Wayzata (21-7-0) plays No. 5 seed Centennial (22-4-2) in an 8 p.m. quarterfinal on Thursday, March 7.
-- Loren Nelson
FORWARDS: Sophomore Matthew Freytag led the Trojans in scoring during the regular season. The presence of fellow varsity newcomer Max Zimmer, a freshman who also has a goal scorer's touch, gives Wayzata two potent threats. And there's more. Senior Jalen Wahl has the hot hand in the playoffs with nine points in three games.
DEFENSE: Shot blocking is the Trojans' specialty, and they do it as well and as often as any team in the state. Junior Alec Hemenway, senior Chandler Lindstrand and senior Kyle Olson and are among the defensemen routinely throwing their bodies in front of pucks.
GOALTENDING: Senior Aaron Dingmann has recovered from an injury plagued junior season in impressive fashion. The Trojans feed of his consistent play and calm demeanor.
O'Leary, a Robbinsdale Armstrong graduate, is in his second season as Wayzata's head coach. He was a Mr. Hockey finalist in 1998. He was a senior forward on the Minnesota team that won the NCAA Division I championship in 2002. O'Leary served as a Trojans assistant before taking over for longtime head coach Carl Davis.
Section 6AA has produced three of the last four state champions. Wayzata is playing well enough, and has the caliber of goaltending, to reach the championship game. If the Trojans can continue to get consistent scoring from their forwards, look out.
2012-13 Record: 21-7-0
State trips: 1954, 2004, 13
Coach: Pat O'Leary
Assistants: Case Paxton, Duke Johnson, Marc Sorensen
Home arena: Plymouth Ice Center, Plymouth
Last season: Lost to Minnetonka in Section 6AA semifinals, 3-0