Forward Joe Ocholik and his Wayzata teammates found the going tough around the Maple Grove net during a Turkey Trot boys' hockey tournament semifinal. Crimson goalie Nick Lapoint stopped 18 shots in a 5-2 victory. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Maple Grove senior Jarrett Cammarata (16) had two third-period goals to give the Crimson the cushion they needed against Wayzata. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Maple Grove coach Todd Bergland knew he had a number of quality defensemen coming into the 2016-17 boys' hockey season. What he wasn't sure of was where his goaltending was coming from.
Senior Nick Lapoint answered that question with a strong showing Friday in the semifinals of the Turkey Trot tournament at Plymouth Ice Center, stopping 18 shots and helping the Crimson defeat defending Class 2A state champion Wayzata 5-2 on its home ice.
"What we wanted to do from the start of the season was have a goaltender step up," Bergland said. "[Lapoint] really stepped up and wanted the job. Doggone it, he stepped up."
Lapoint, who played two varsity games as a junior last season, had plenty of help from a defense that, despite missing senior Jack Kelly, made things very difficult for the Trojans. Bergland and Lapoint praised hulking defensemen Jayden Walsh and Tyler Borsch and speedy Tevin Neegaard for their play on Friday.
"They blocked a lot of shots," said Lapoint. "They did not let them get the puck in the middle...they made things a lot easier for me."
Wayzata grabbed an early lead when junior forward Colin Schmidt scored just four minutes into the game. Maple Grove reclaimed the lead in the second period with goals from Justin Kelley and Hunter House.
Jarrett Cammarata scored the first of his two third-period goals just over four minutes into the third period, giving the Crimson a lead Wayzata couldn't overcome.
Wayzata goalie Reid Waszczenko stopped 14 shots.
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