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A dream come true for Owatonna’s Wiese

A dream come true for Owatonna’s Wiese, hockey
Newly signed University of Minnesota goaltender Zach Wiese stays ready in net for the Rochester Grizzlies during a game last winter. Wiese finished the 2021-2022 season with the Grizzlies as a Fraser Cup champion and boasted a 20-2-2 record before signing with the Gophers. Submitted photo
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor

After graduating from high school in 2020 and playing two seasons for the Rochester Grizzlies in the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), Owatonna native Zach Wiese will be staying home to play goaltender for the University of Minnesota next winter.

Wiese, 20, will be taking his next step in his hockey career after a 2021-2022 season that saw the former Grizzlies’ netminder post a 20-2-2 record en route to winning the NA3HL’s Fraser Cup.

“When you’re a little kid you grow up watching the college guys and being like, ‘Man, I want to be like them.’ It was always a dream of mine to put on the ‘M’ and wear the maroon and gold. Now it’s coming true,” said Wiese.

Wiese’s rise to the Division One ranks is also a milestone for his former program as he becomes the first-ever athlete from the Rochester Grizzlies to sign a letter of intent to play Division One hockey.

Wiese was able to turn heads with the Grizzlies over the course of the 2021-2022 season by posting a 1.70 goal against average (GAA) and .927% save percentage to go with his near-perfect record.

According to Wiese, after this past season came to a close he was presented with an opportunity to play for the University of Minnesota next winter, which prompted a quick and easy decision from the lifelong Gophers fan.

“When it came to my attention that it could happen, I was like, ‘I’m going there.’ I’ve been up there before, being from Minnesota, but I mean it’s the University of Minnesota. I can’t turn that down. Not many kids get the opportunity to go play for the Gophers, so I had to take it.”

Wiese will enter next fall with some momentum on his side after three consistent years of success since leaving Owatonna High School.

After posting a 17-5 record and 1.72 GAA his senior season with the Huskies, Wiese posted a 13-3-1 record with a 1.82 GAA in 2020-2021 before reaching his final NA3HL season mark of 20-2-2 with a 1.70 GAA last winter.

According to Wiese, it still hasn’t fully hit him that he will be a part of the Gophers’ squad in 2022-2023, but the Owatonna native said he’s sure that when he puts the “M” sweater on for the first time it will all feel real.

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