Scouting the Trojans (10-17-1)
The defending state champions began the section playoffs with seven victories all season and a starting goaltender who earned just one of them. None of it matters now. The Trojans are back and no team is excited to play them in a win-or-go-home scenario. Gritty, grinding Wayzata is backed by a goalie, Reid Waszczenko, who allowed one playoff goal. Still, Eden Prairie got the better of Wayzata in two games this season after the Trojans beat the Eagles 5-3 in last year’s state final. “We know that we’re one of the underdogs going into the tournament, as people have said,” senior defenseman Logan Lindstrand said. “We have to not worry about that and just be ready to play our game.”
Scouting the Eagles (21-4-2)
Ineffective line combinations and lethargic play left the preseason favorite for the state championship looking quite average around the holidays. Now, the Eagles enter as the No. 1 seed and the hottest team in Class 2A thanks to a 15-game winning streak. Center Casey Mittelstadt and defenseman Nick Leivermann are Mr. Hockey award finalists, but the Eagles’ key player is senior goalie Nick Wiencek. He is 16-3-1 this season, allowing 1.69 goals per game and stopping 93 percent of shots faced. “He’s a really underrated goalie in the state,” Eden Prairie coach Lee Smith said. “He’s a special kid, a special player and if we’re going to do it, it’s because of him.”
Mittelstadt has 201 points in 88 career high school games. … Smith passed the 450-victory milestone this season and sits at 455.
david la vaque