Biggest challenge in section final will be Wayzata goaltender

Tonight%27s+section+6AA+final+game+will+pin+two+forces%2C+the+Red+Knight%27s+top+offensive+line%2C+and+Wayzata+goaltender+Aaron+Dingman+against+each+other.+

Carson Mark

Tonight’s section 6AA final game will pin two forces, the Red Knight’s top offensive line, and Wayzata goaltender Aaron Dingman against each other.

Will Jarvis and Eric Wagner

The Minnetonka Skippers outshot Wayzata 32-21 on Saturday in the section semifinals. The Trojans came out with a 5-1 victory.

The Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knights outshot the Trojans this December 40-24. Wayzata won 7-1.

Why? Wayzata goaltender Aaron Dingmann.

“This game is about one thing and one thing only: Aaron Dingmann,” Red Knights Coach Ken Pauly said.

Dingmann, Wayzata’s senior goaltender who missed last year due to hip surgery, has posted a .927 save percentage and 1.80 goals against average through the season, recording a record of 16-6. With a Wayzata defense that prides itself on blocking shots, they look to be one of the best in-zone defensive teams in the state. There’s an old mantra, “defense wins championships,” and if Wayzata hopes to advance to their first state tournament in program history, they’ll need this to hold true.

As shown throughout the season, the Trojans put up a barricade between the offense and goaltender Aaron Dingmann, blocking shots left and right. In the December 29 contest between BSM and Wayzata, the Trojans blocked 27 shots, 12 of which came in the first period. “Their team is built around him, and the closer you get to the net, the better they get. It’s all about Aaron,” Pauly said.

With goaltending being such a deciding factor, BSM has to take advantage of rushes, and expose the Trojans defense with their first line, which is unstoppable as of late. With the top line in the state, the Red Knights are capable of doing this, especially on a larger sheet of ice.

Mariucci arena is 200 feet by 100 feet, an Olympic size rink, while most rinks throughout the state are regulation sized at 200 feet by 85 feet. This difference in width gives more space to offensive players, and with the high speed team that BSM has, rushes can be formed more easily.

Plymouth Ice Center, home of the Trojans, hosts an Olympic sheet, so Wayzata is used to playing on a rink this size but the Red Knights have a major advantage on their side: speed. “The advantage for them is that they’re used to a big sheet of ice. That’s certainly an advantage, but I’d rather be the quicker team than having played on big sheets of ice a lot,” Pauly said.

The two teams will face off on Wednesday, setting up an exciting matchup between two teams of opposite strengths. In the end, it’s all on Dingmann according to Pauly. “If he shows up and has an ‘A’ game, we’ll have a tough night. If he brings anything less than his ‘A’ game, I think we should win.”