Trojans take unbeaten record into state tournament

The New Prague Trojan adapted floor hockey team followed up on its perfect regular season by winning a state tournament play-in game against Wayzata/Minnetonka 18-3 Wednesday, March 6, to clinch a No. 1 seed in the State CI Adapted Floor Hockey Tournament, which begins Friday, March 15, at Bloomington Jefferson High School.

The Trojans (11-0) scored an astounding eight goals in the first five minutes of their game and coasted to the win.

Stephanie Hayden scored the first goal of the game on an assist from Alex Palma. Then Matthew Schoenbauer took over, scoring three goals. Palma scored two and Schoenbauer added two more to make it 8-0.

New Prague would lead 12-2 after one period and extended the lead to 17-2 after two.

Schoenbauer finished wtih 10 goals, while Palma had three goals and two assists, Jacob Malecha had three goals, Hayden had a goal and an assist and Zach Crawford had a goal - his first of the season.

Schoenbauer’s last goal was his 100th point of the season, setting a new mark for the program. He has 81 goals and 19 assists on the season.

Charlie Zeilinger had a strong game in goal, stopping 14 of 17 shots.

Coach Shellie Kriha said the team is looking forward to the upcoming state tournament.

“We have reached our goal of winning the conference and making it to state,” she said. “We have a wonderful group of players who have worked very hard, and we are proud of all of them.”

Kriha said the team had no thoughts of an unbeaten season when the year began.

“We lost a few players to graduation, and we were looking to replace our goalie,” she said. “We’ve got some good leadership from our captains and that has been an important part of our success,” she said.

The emergence of Zeilinger in goal has been cruical.

“He wasn’t sure at first, but he’s decided now that this is his position and he’s worked hard at it and done a great job.”

Kriha credited a strong core of four players who brought experience and skill to the team.

“Matthew Schoenbauer has been our team leader, working hard and setting a good example,” she said.

“Alex Palma leads the team in assists, and he’s done a great job setting up other players,” she said. “Jake and Cassie Malecha are very strong defensive players, and have helped to keep the shots down.”

Meanwhile, the younger players have learned the game and have begun to conribute as the season moved on.

“Eva Johnson has come on strong toward the end of year, as have Brookelyn and Stephanie Hayden,” Kriha said.

“Everyone else, Zack Crawford, Chris Pena, Nicholas Welter and Sarah Oxborough, have worked hard at learning the game and it’s beginning to pay off for them,” she added. She said the additon of Le Sueur-Henderson to the cooperatively sponsored team, along with Tri-City United, has helped. “We have a great mix of kids,” she said.

The Trojans go into the state tournament as the No. 1 seed from the south. They will face the No. 4 team from the north, Maple Grove, at 8 p.m. Friday at Bloomington Jefferson High School.

Win or lose, the Trojans play again on Saturday. If they win either of their first two games, they will play a third game on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s kind of exciting,” Kriha said. “We’ve nver come in as the No. 1 seed before. The highest we’ve been is at No. 3.

“We’ll meet some strong teams in the tournament,” she added. “Hopefully we’re ready. “

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