Wayzata's Brooks Hanson (7) put a first-half shot over Minnetonka goaltender Jack Bayless. The host Trojans beat the Skippers 7-5. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
After Wayzata’s first 30 minutes without 2016 leading scorer and Mr. Lacrosse finalist Amar Batra, it seemed as though the Trojans had made a seamless transition to life without their former star.
The Trojans led Minnetonka 6-2, sophomore Brayden Nelson and junior Dalton Seesz had emerged as the new offensive lynchpins with two goals each and the Trojans appeared primed to continue the momentum from last season’s fourth place finish at the state tournament.
Then the four-goal cushion evaporated into a two-goal lead in serious peril before a last burst of defensive effort secured Wayzata's 7-5 win over its Lake Conference rival.
“They started putting a little bit of pressure on us, and we fell apart a little bit,” Wayzata coach Chad Herr said.
“(Minnetonka) pretty much dominated the fourth quarter.”
As for adjusting to life without Batra, Herr said that the Trojans (1-0, 1-0) will initially miss his veteran presence.
“We definitely relied on him in areas of experience and finishing games,” Herr said. “We’ll have to learn to do that by ourselves without him.”
While losing Batra and his 64-goal season stings, Brayden Nelson said that the team is looking forward to expanding the scoring responsibilities.
“It’s much more spread out (since) we don’t have Amar Batra anymore,” Nelson said, adding that he’s excited at the prospect of a larger role on the team in his sophomore campaign.
“He’s getting better every year,” Herr said of Nelson. “He’s an elite athlete, and once he kind of figures out that he is that much faster than everybody, he’ll be able to score lots of goals."
Junior Dalton Seesz scored twice for the Trojans, with junior Brooks Hanson and senior Brenton Reddrick each scoring once.
After finishing with three goals in the win over the Skippers (0-1, 0-1), Nelson has already matched a third of his goal total from last season. The sophomore was assured that the bumps and bruises handed out by a physical Minnetonka team will not bother him in the Trojans’ next game.
“Maybe a little bit,” Nelson admitted with a grin when asked if he was banged up after crashing into the Skipper defense for four quarters.
“But definitely good enough to go for White Bear Lake on Saturday.”
Wayzata sophomore Brayden Nelson (22) makes a pass during the Trojans' 7-5 victory. Nelson had three goals in the victory. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Sophomore Brayden Nelson scored three goals to lead Wazyata to a 7-5 victory over Minnetonka on Thursday night at Wayzata High School.
The Trojans (1-0, 1-0) took a 6-2 lead midway through the third quarter and held off a late charge by the Skippers to earn the win over their Lake Conference rival.
In addition to Nelson’s three goals, junior Dalton Seesz scored twice and added two assists, with junior Brooks Hanson and senior Brenton Reddrick each chipping in a goal apiece.
Jack Bayless made 10 saves in net for Minnetonka (0-1, 0-1).
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