It took a little more than a minute for it to become apparent that it was going to be Wayzata’s night.
Time will tell whether this will be the most kind of memorable season for the Trojans, but Friday night’s 6-1 whipping of Moorhead showed the brilliant flashes and proof of Wayzata’s evolving offensive prowess, and it made for a statement win over a top-10 ranked opponent that was never given a chance.
Speed reigns at Wayzata.
“Top to bottom, forwards and defensemen, our skating has been elevated,” coach Pat O’Leary said. “When I saw how ready they were to go on those first five shifts, you could start to feel it throughout the rink. They were feeding off each other.”
Senior captain Rhys Wallin scored just 1:11 into the first period, and the Trojans, ranked No. 4 in Legacy’s preseason Class 2A rankings, were airborne and on the attack.
The talented but young lineup that took the ice for the Spuds had no solution to Wallin and linemate Brittan Alstead, whose speed and pushing off the puck rattled Moorhead. The Spuds’ inability to breakout fed into Wayzata’s plans for puck possession and one-on-one keepaway battles that worked the puck behind the net, from the sides, then back. The proficiency accounted for a 41-15 shot advantage.
“Our top guys, our leaders, really went hard tonight,” O’Leary said. “When that happens, there’s a trickle-down effect on the lineup.”
Wallin and Alstead each finished with a goal and an assist, and set the tone in the first shifts.
“We want to get on them hard and get on them fast,” Alstead said. “Let’s start quick and just keep trying to get shots and shots and shots. Our goal is to get 100 shots a game.”
Wallin said Wayzata will thrive on the chaos it intends to bring.
“We kept forechecking and kept wearing them out,” he said. “We have so much speed and so many players who can skate. I’m excited about how we can use it.”
The linemates were two of eight Wayzata players who starred in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League season that wrapped up in early November. Alstead led the league in scoring (17-15-32), and fellow seniors Luke Miller (15-10-25) and Jake Mattson (7-20-27) all finished among the league’s top 10 scorers.
It almost feels like they’ve got a head start into a late-season kind of form.
“Rhys and I skated together in the Elite League, and yeah, we’ve got the chemistry up,” Alstead said. “I think now we are going to create a lot of opportunities together because of that.
“We’ve been clicking for a while,” Wallin added. "That transferred here into the season, and I think we saw that tonight.”
Wayzata has 12 seniors and eight juniors to lead the way, and the veteran leadership showed.
Six Wayzata players finished with at least two points in the season-opening victory. Junior defenseman Carson Clark led the way with a goal and two assists.
“Speed and depth are two things we really have this year, and we are going to lean on,” O’Leary said. “We’re going to keep working with it.”
Wayzata led from start to finish in a convincing 6-1 season-opening victory over Moorhead on Friday evening at Plymouth Ice Center.
Senior captain Rhys Wallin scored 1:11 into the first period, and the Trojans, ranked No. 4 in Legacy’s preseason Class 2A rankings, were never threatened.
Wallin finished with a goal and an assist, as did senior Brittan Alstead, and Moorhead struggled to contain Wayzata’s top two lines and its blinding overall speed.
Six Wayzata players scored and six Trojans finished with at least two points. Junior defenseman Carson Clark led them all with a goal and two assists.
Moorhead, preseason ranked No. 8-2A, broke the shutout with just under 11 minutes left when Carson Kuntz converted on a partial breakaway as he was brought down and slid into the crease.
Final shots favored Wayzata 41-15.