No. 3 seed Wayzata advanced to the Class 2A, Section 6 final after beating No. 2 seed Cretin-Derham Hall 4-0 at Braemar Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Goalie Reid Waszczenko recorded his second consecutive shutout, stopping all 19 of the Raiders shots. Waszczenko was 1-13-1 during the regular season -- his first win didn't come until Feb. 11 against Hopkins -- but his regular season woes did not discourage his team or coaches.
"You can't say enough good things about this kid," assistant coach David Brown said. "You start a goalie with one win and people think you're crazy, but the amount of resiliency in this kid is incredible. He knows he's got the skills and he puts in more work than anyone on the team."
The teams played an even first period with no penalties or goals. Both teams played stingy defense, allowing just five shots to reach Waszczenko and Cretin-Derham Hall goalie Manny Hertel-Bauman. Hertel-Bauman stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced and held the Trojans scoreless for most of the first two periods.
"Trying to find that first goal is tough, but this team seems to feed once it gets one," Brown said. "Our second period has been our best period all year. The players came out and they buzzed and buzzed and we got them pinned in their own zone. This game has a lot to do with confidence and our guys started to play with confidence in the second period."
Tristan Nelko opened the scoring with an unassisted goal with 53 seconds left in the second period. Nelko recorded a game-high two points (one goal, one assist). His goal gave Wayzata a 1-0 lead and allowed Wazszcenko to play a little more relaxed.
"I had ups and downs throughout the season, but I've learned to stay calm and fine that fine line," he said. "There was a little bit of nerves but seeing the crowed and our team get pumped after that first goal helped me settle in."
The Trojans carried the momentum from Nelko's goal into the third period and extended their lead to 2-0 on a backhand by Andrew Urban 1:18 into the frame.
Wayzata protected its 2-0 lead by dumping pucks deep into Cretin-Derham Hall's zone and forcing the Raiders to endure long, tiring shifts. The Raiders pulled Hertel-Bauman for an extra attacker with two minutes, but were unable to hold the zone and allowed Colin Schmidt and Joe Ocholik to score empty net goals just 29 seconds apart.
With a red-hot goalie in Waszczenko, Wayzata will face the winner of No. 1 seed Edina and No. 5 seed St. Louis Park on March 3 in the Class 2A, Section 6 championship at Mariucci Arena.
Wayzata completed its second shutout of the Class 2A, Section 6 playoffs with a 4-0 semifinal win over Cretin-Derham Hall at Braemar Arena on Saturday afternoon.
After a scoreless first period that saw a total of 10 shots reach goalies Reid Waszczenko and Manny Hertel-Bauman, Tristan Nelko opened the scoring for the Trojans (9-17-1) with 53 seconds left in the second period. Nelko had a game-high two points after assisting an empty-net goal in the third period.
With momentum from Nelko's goal, Wayzata extended its lead to 2-0 just 1:18 into the third period. Andrew Urban stole a puck on the forecheck and flipped a backhand shot over Hertel-Bauman's shoulder.
With the 2-0 lead, the Trojans relied on dumping the puck deep into the Cretin-Derham Hall zone and forced the Raiders into long, tiring shifts.
Cretin-Derham Hall (19-8) pulled Hertel-Bauman for an extra attacker with two minutes left in the game, but gave up back-to-back empty netters to Colin Schmidt and Joe Ocholik.
Wayzata will face the winner of No. 1 seed Edina and No. 5 seed St. Louis Park on March 1 in the Class 2A, Section 6 final at Mariucci Arena.
Tristan Nelko (17) led Wayzata with a goal and an assist on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine
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