Hornets beat Wayzata in 6AA final for third straight year 

by Bryan Zollman

When Wayzata scored on their first shot of the game, it must have stirred up the Hornets nest because Edina came out buzzing the rest of the game..

Edina punched their ticket to state with a 4-1 win over top-seeded Wayzata. It was the third match up of the season between the two Lake Conference foes with the Hornets winning the all-important tiebreaker. The win advances them to their third straight state tournament and fifth in the last seven years.

Wayzata was coming off a pair of wins in which they outscored opponents 16-0. It looked like their sticks were still ablaze when Brittan Alstead got the Trojans on board early on the team’s first shot on goal.  But Edina held pace and although they were held scoreless,  both teams skated to a relatively even first period with Edina leading in shots 9-8.

The Hornets came out buzzing in the second playing a more physical style that put the Trojans on their heels. Mason West tapped in a rebound from the edge of the crease to tie the game 1-1 as the Hornets controlled play for much of the first half of the second frame.

They took a 2-1 lead on the power play when Ryan Flaherty knocked home a loose puck that appeared to be covered momentarily by Wayzata goalie Evan Turek. Flaherty was able to get his tape on the puck and shove it under Turek for his 12th goal of the season.

The period ended 2-1 and included two great saves by Edina netminder Joe Bertram, robbing Eli Molde of a sure goal and making a key stop on another Wazyata point-blank attempt on the doorstep. Bertram would finish with 19 saves.

Barrett Dexheimer scored a short-handed goal midway through the third period to give the Hornets a huge boost with a 3-1 cushion. LPH PHOTO BY JEFF ANDERSON

The Trojans looked to tie it on the power play seven minutes in, but Edina senior defenseman and UMASS commit Barrett Dexheimer picked up a loose puck near his blue line and rather than dumping, raced around a Wayzata defender and flipped the puck past Turek on an outstanding lone effort for a short-handed goal and a 3-1 Edina lead with 8:53 to go.

Bobby Cowan added his 21st goal of the season a few minutes later deflating what air was left in the Wayzata tires as they skated to the 4-1 win, outshooting the Trojans 29-20 along the way.

The Hornets improved to 23-4-1 on the season, winning the season series 2-1. They also defeated the Trojans 4-1 on Jan. 23. Wayzata won the rematch 4-3 in overtime on Feb. 17.

They advanced to the title game after a hard-fought win over No. 3 Benilde-St. Margaret’s.

Wayzata finishes 23-3-2. Edina also defeated Wayzata last season in the section final 2-1 despite the Trojans outshooting the Hornets 39-22. Edina also won in 2022 by a 1-0 margin. Wayzata’s last section title was in 2021 when they defeated Benilde-St. Margaret’s 3-2 in the section final to advance to the Class AA state tournament.

 

PHOTO GALLERY:

PHOTOS BY JEFF ANDERSON