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Two West AA Champions: Centennial Peewee AA and OMG Bantam AA

By frederick61, 03/04/13, 1:15PM CST


Osseo/Maple Grove Bantam AA celebrate their West Regional championship win over Wayzata AA 5-2 at the PIC on Sunday

It was a great Sunday afternoon in Wayzata.  The sun was shining and the PIC was packed.  But in the end, the cheers were for the Trojans’ opponents: Centennial and Osseo/Maple Grove.  Centennial peewee AA’s beat the Trojans 4-3 and OMG’s bantam AA team beat then NOW ranked #1 AA Wayzata team 5-2. 

It became a great Sunday evening in Wayzata instead.  The Trojans Peewee AA’s came back to beat Moorhead 3-2 in one evening game to get the West’s #2 seed.  They will go to Edina.  The Bantam AA’s beat Elk River 4-1 to get West’s #2 seed.  They join the peewees at Edina.

Not that the Trojans love the idea of traveling 10 miles down 494 to play at Braemar; but they do love the idea of being in the Peewee AA and Bantam AA State Tourneys.

Sunday at 1:00 in the afternoon noon, the cheers at the PIC were coming from Centennial and OMG.  They beat the Wayzata teams to take the West #1 seeds to the state tourneys at Braemar.

On Friday’s opening day at the West Regional, parking at the PIC was easy despite the fact that eight teams were already at the arena when YHH got there.  PIC was so quiet that tournament ticket takers were bored.  So Sunday’s arrival with only four teams preparing to take the ice, parking should be easy.

It wasn’t.  The only available parking was in the last rows of the “lower forty”.

Wayzata fans had turned out.  Their bantam AA team and peewee AA team were playing in the West Regional finals and the two games started only a half hour apart.  The crowd at each game was high school size and both crowds were into the games.  They had filled the parking lots and the streets with their cars.

Wayzata peewees played Centennial in West Regional Peewee AA Championship game.  That game started first.  The Wayzata bantams were playing Osseo/Maple Grove in the West Regional Bantam AA Championship game that started 30 minutes later.

West Regional Peewee AA Championship

Centennial and Wayzata peewees had split the two games they played this year, the NOW ranked #3 Cougars won 5-2 and lost 4-3 in a game played at the end of January. 

In Sunday’s game, Wayzata opened the scoring early on a goal by Wade Impola.  Griffin Ness got the assist.  Three minutes later, Gabby Hughes scored to tie the game; Andrew Stuart got the assist.  The Cougars went ahead on a power play goal scored by Lucas McGregor.  Hughes got the assist.

The first period ended 2-1.  The first period was mostly a transitional game with both teams having good scoring opportunities.  Penalties were not a factor in the game, seven were called.  Six of the penalties were for tripping.  Each team scored a power play goal.

Both teams continued the transition game in the second period.  The play was getting more physical and neither team was tiring.  Centennial had a power play for the first minute of the second period and generated very little offense.  The Cougars’ power play was not working.

Wayzata’s was gaining control on their power plays and was getting some good scoring opportunities. The Trojans just could not beat Centennial’s goalie Austin Ilvonen.  His quick glove saves kept the Cougars in the lead until the last two minutes of the second period.

With 2 minutes on the clock, Wayzata’s Tyler Dingmann broke loose with the puck inside the Centennial blue line on the right side face off circle, cut to the right slot and beat Ilvonen high on the left side of the net to tie the game 2-2.  Ness got the assist.  The second period ended in a 2-2.

The third period was just intense hockey.  Both teams were into the game and none was giving the other any room to maneuver.  Centennial got the first goal early in the period to go up 3-2.  Jack Menne scored and AJ Wettstein got the assist.

Centennial pulled a tripping penalty with 10 minutes left in the period.  Wayzata’s power play set up in the Centennial zone and had the Cougars “chasing the puck” as the moved it around the zone.

The Trojan’s Dingmann took a hard shot from the left face off circle, 6 feet from the Centennial’s goalie.  The puck hit the left corner of the goal posts and bounced toward Ilvonen.  Ilvonen almost grabbed the short rebound as it came off the pipes, but the puck eluded him and bounced into the top of the crease to Dingmann who was moving right.  He buried his own rebound to tie the game 3-3.  Impola and Ness got the assists.

It was a remarkable play by both Dingmann and Ilvonen.  The tie game held until Centennial scored the game winner with 5 minutes left on the clock.  Hayden Brickner, the Cougars “go to kid” got going.  He picked up a loose puck along the left boards in the neutral zone, beat the defense to the outside, swept across the crease and jammed the puck into the Trojan’s net to score the game winner unassisted.

Wayzata came back hard in the last minutes of the third period, but could not beat the Cougar defense and Ilvonen.

West Regional Bantam AA Championship

The Bantam AA championship game rolled along at the same time.  It was tricky to try and follow both games.  The game was tied 1-1 in the first period when OMG scored to take a 2-1 lead.  The Crimson never relinquished that lead.

After that score, the Trojans attacked the OMG goal fiercely.  Players started to take that little extra hit, back little in to the defender, and grab sticks trying to get that extra advantage.  At more point a Wayzata player trying to turn the corner, slid to the ice and hung on to the OMG goalie’s stick so hard he pulled the goalie off his feet.

When Centennial took a penalty a minute after the tying goal was scored, the Trojans upped the gain.  They are good and they really hammered on the OMG net for the last 90 seconds, but they couldn’t score.

At the start of the third period, the #1 ranked Trojans were in trouble.  OMG scored twice in the second period to take a 4-1 lead into the third period.  If that wasn’t enough a problem for Wayzata, they still had over three minutes remaing on a 5 minute major and 90 seconds left on 2 minute minor.

OMG started the period with a 5-on-3 advantage.  OMG scored a minute into the period.  The Crimson’s Sam Huff (a YHH top 50 peewee last year) took a pass from the end boards at the top of the slot and buried the puck to put the Crimson up 5-1.

The Trojans killed the rest of the penalty and came back to score at the 10 minute mark to end the scoring 5-2.  The crowd kept on rooting for them to get back into the game.  They had a number of good scoring opportunities and a 5-on-4 advantage late in the game.  With two minutes to go, a Trojan missed an easy tip-in failing to get his stick on a hard pass from the right side.

Top teams play hard all the way, Wayzata did that on Sunday.  But OMG won.  The Trojans had to settle for the #2 seed to the state.

At the state, Centennial and OMG will play teams from Duluth East.  The Wayzata teams will play teams from Grand Rapids.  Centennial peewees play the Greyhounds and OMG bantams will play Duluth East with nearly the same start times; the Wayzata peewee AA team plays in an evening game (6:20 start) and their bantam AA team plays an early evening game (4:20 start).

The two hour difference is probably a good thing.  If the Wayzata teams had won the championship games on Sunday, all the Wayzata fans (and more?) could have shown up at the same time.  Parking would have been a lot of fun.  Braemar does not have much of a “lower forty”, but they do have a “north 40”.

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