Wayzata's Mario Lucia (No. 22) sets his eyes on the Lakeville North zone as he is watched by teammate Tony Cameranesi and Panthers' Tory Merz, left. Photo by Adam Crane
Wayzata's Mario Lucia brings the puck in against Lakeville North's Tory Merz. Photo by Adam Crane
Wayzata had a rough week during the St. Louis Park Holiday Tournament. Back-to-back losses against Moorhead and Maple Grove dropped the Trojans in the Class 2A rankings and left several questioning their elite status.
Mario Lucia had an answer Tuesday night against Lakeville North.
With his team up 1-0 in the second period, Lucia took over the game as the junior forward scored goals 7 seconds apart. Wayzata went on to win 5-1.
"That's exactly what he can do - change the momentum," Wayzata coach Carl Davis said. "He does some pretty special things.
"He's got such great hands, he can move laterally so well. The instincts that he has is really amazing for a big kid like that with nice, soft hands. He does so many good things for us and we need him to score."
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Lucia's second goal was especially spectacular as he was given plenty of room, made a pretty move on Lakeville North goaltender Charlie Lindgren and tapped the puck into a wide-open net. The Ames Arena announcer hadn't finished recapping Lucia's first goal when the Trojans' star forward netted his second.
"Chuck (Lindgren) is a good friend of mine, so it felt pretty good scoring on him," Lucia said. "Getting those two goals and getting our team out in front was great especially after we lost those two games. It was important for us to get this 'W' and we came out and did it."
The Trojans didn't seem as though they were beating themselves up after their rough end to 2010.
"Our coaches came in after those two losses to practice on Monday and told us it doesn't really matter until sections," Lucia said. "We burned that into our minds, came out here and got business done.
"Games don't really matter until March. Once the conference play starts it will get fun. We got to keep getting better every day. Hopefully we'll be able to take another conference championship, back-to-back."
Coach Davis was pleased with his team's performance as well.
"That was a tough week for us last week," Davis said. "A lot of really frustrated, disappointed players in that locker room. They got a lot of pride so they wanted to come back and play well tonight. It was a good road game for us. We came in here with a lot of good intensity. It was a good night. I really liked the way we came out and played hard tonight."
Wayzata's Aaron Dingmann stops a shot by Lakeville North's Johnny Domina. Photo by Adam Crane
Wayzata sophomore goaltender Aaron Dingmann started the year on junior varsity and has only started twice for the Trojans' varsity.
So far, so good.
Dingmann made 25 saves in his team's 5-1 victory over Lakeville North on Tuesday, Jan 4.
"Today I was feeling good," Dingmann said. "Rebounds weren't the best but I made up for it with some good saves. I just felt on my toes today."
Dingmann's only other start was against Osseo on Tuesday, Dec. 7. He made 15 saves in the 10-2 victory.
Thanks to his performance Tuesday night against the Panthers, Dingmann improved his varsity record to 2-0-0 and has an impressive .911 save percentage and 1.71 goals-against average. His latest victory was an important one as his team snapped its two-game losing streak -- a hefty task for a sophomore.
"I just tried to stop the first puck I saw and control rebounds," Dingmann said. "I knew if I did that we'd have a pretty shot to win. After the two losses it feels good to get back on track."
Although senior Andrew McIntyre has frequented the stating job this season, Dingmann's teammates and coach has confidence in him as a solid backup.
"(Dingmann) was on my Bantam team, led us to the state championship and won it for us," Wayzata junior forward Mario Lucia said. "He's a great goalie. It's good to have as a good backup goalie to backup Mac. We'll see how he progresses throughout the season."
"Dingmann is a good goalie," Wayzata coach Carl Davis said. "He's only had one other start for us but we thought the timing was really good. (Andrew) McIntyre played all three games in the (St. Louis Park) tournament and so we wanted to give him a little break. We gotta keep another goalie in the mix because Andrew (McIntyre) has played most of our games now.
"We have just one game this week and we have a couple more non-conference games next week so we can get them each (McIntyre and Dingmann) some more playing time. Then we hit it hard with conference play the week after with both Edina and Eden Prairie."
Although Dingmann says McIntyre remains the Trojans' starting goaltender, both goalies are sure to battle for playing time throughout the remainder of the reason.
Living up to his reputation of being a tough goaltender, Charlie Lindgren played a phenomenal game for Lakeville North.
"We knew (Lindgren) was outstanding - he's one of the best goalies in the state, so we knew that challenge was ahead of us and I thought we responded real nicely with 54 shots," Wayzata coach Carl Davis said.
Lindgren made 49 saves on those 54 shots but it was not enough for the Panthers to beat Wayzata.
"He's a good goalie, obviously, you see that with how many saves he had," Wayzata forward Mario Lucia said. "Our plan was to get as many shots as we can, get rubber to the net and get rebounds. We had two or three rebound goals and we executed well."
Lakeville North has played close games against Eden Prairie, Eagan, Grand Rapids and Wayzata - all four are Class 2A Top Ten teams - and Lindgren has been at the center of it all.
In those four games, the junior goaltender has posted a 1-2-1 record but has made 166 saves for a .917 save percentage. He has a 4-4-1 record this season with an overall .913 save percentage.
Lakeville North's Charlie Lindgren makes one of his 49 saves during the Jan. 4 game against Wayzata. Photo by Adam Crane
After snapping its two-game losing streak against Lakeville North Tuesday night, Wayzata will be looking to continue this success - building up to a rematch against Moorhead at Plymouth Ice Center on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 2:30 p.m.
The Spuds shocked the Trojans in the semifinals of the St. Louis Park Holiday Tournament on Wednesday, Dec. 29, winning 2-1.
Wayzata will have its chance at revenge when it hosts Moorhead in what is sure to be a heated matchup.
"It will be a battle," said Wayzata forward Mario Lucia. "We want to beat them and we want to show them we're a better team.
"We want to come out just flying and absolutely destroy them. That will be our goal."
Even Wayzata coach Carl Davis displayed some excitement when the game was brought up.
"We're excited to get another chance at them," Davis said. "We're really looking forward to it."
Mario Lucia scored twice in the second period and Aaron Dingmann made 25 saves in Wayzata's 5-1 victory over Lakeville North on Tuesday, Jan. 4, at Ames Arena in Lakeville.
Lakeville North's Charlie Lindgren furthered his reputation as one of the state's best goaltenders while making 49 saves in the loss.
The Trojans scored four times in the second period and it was Lucia's two goals in seven seconds that set the tone for the remainder of the game. Lakeville North was able to score a late goal in the second period but that would be the only time it could get the puck past Dingmann.
Sam Majka scored once and had one an assist for the Trojans. Kenzie Vold and Tyler Klein had the other goals for Wayzata.
Charlie Hayes had the only goal for the Panthers.
Lakeville North will be looking to bounce back from the loss as it travels to Bloomington Ice Garden to take on Bloomington Kennedy on Thursday, Jan. 6, at 7:30 p.m.
Wayzata will get to rest as it does not play until Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 7:30 p.m. when the Trojans play at Champlin Park.
Wayzata's Mario Lucia. Photo by Adam Crane
1. Mario Lucia, Wayzata
The junior forward proved he can change the momentum of a game in a manner of seconds. Lucia (pictured above) scored in traffic in front of the Lakeville North net then scored seven seconds later after putting a pretty move on Panthers' goaltender Charlie Lindgren. Lucia also assisted on Tyler Klein's third-period goal.
2. Aaron Dingmann, Wayzata
For a goaltender that started the year on the junior varsity, Dingmann's transition to varsity has been a smooth one. The sophomore made 25 saves for the Trojans and showed poise and control during the winning effort.
3. Charlie Lindgren, Lakeville North
Normally, a goaltender allowing five goals in a loss would not be considered for one of the game's three stars. This is an exception to that rule. With the puck in his end for most of the game, Lindgren (pictured below) did everything he could to stop Wayzata's powerful offense. The junior goaltender made 49 saves, and several of them were extremely impressive.
Lakeville North goaltender Charlie Lindgren. Photo by Adam Crane