Prep hockey: Eagles earn a sweep of Trojans
WORTHINGTON —It was a combination of Parent’s Night and “Meet The Trojans Night” Tuesday at the Worthington Ice Arena, as the Trojans welcomed Windom Area in a high school hockey double-header with the girls playing first and the boys tangling in the nightcap of the Southwest Conference clash between the two long-time Highway 60 rivals.
In the opener, the Worthington girls gave the Eagles a competitive game from start to finish, nearly matching Windom’s shots on goal, 29-25.
But the Eagles (3-13-1, 3-4) were able to score in each period and left the ice with a 4-1 victory.
After a closely-played first period, Windom’s boys dominated the game’s next 17 minutes, peppering 22 second-period shots on goal —putting three of them in the net —as the Eagles completed the sweep with a final 7-1 victory.
Beaty sparks Eagle girls
Neither team scored for the game’s first 11 minutes before Windom Area eighth-grader Addison Beaty scooped up the puck off the boards and pushed in an unassisted goal for the Eagles.
Later, Eagle sophomore Alexis Jellema-Baerg utilized a nifty 45 degree angle —and assists from senior Arica Svoboda and Beaty —to score Windom’s second goal of the period.
Beaty scored again 3:18 into the second period (assist eighth-grader Molly Boyum), giving the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
The Trojans, who had attempted their share of shots, countered four minutes later when junior center Betsy Thompson netted a nifty goal —off an assist from senior defenseman Frida Lundestad.
Leading 3-1 entering the last period, the Eagles stretched their advantage with another goal by Jellema-Baerg (6:46 in), off an assist from Beaty.
“We played very well in the first period,” summed up first-year Eagles’ head coach Nathan Boler, who played high school hockey at Luverne, graduating in 2006. “We did a nice job of limiting Worthington’s shots and we did our best to corral numbers 5 (Thompson) and 15 (junior defenseman Allison Kremer), who are both really good all-around players for Worthington.”
The Trojans —who were defeated by the Eagles, 9-3, early in December at Windom — skated hard and played a solid second period, keeping the game much closer this time around.
“This game was a step forward for our girls,” praised Trojans’ second-year head coach Eric Milbrath. “We are improving more and more with each practice and each game. We have 13 first-year skaters on this team, so we expect to improve.”
Boler echoed those thoughts, pointing out how well the Trojans attacked the goal, getting off 25 shots Tuesday —14 more than when they were outshot 66-11 the first time the two teams played.
Both goalies did a fine job, as Eagle net-tender Emily Steen — one of six eighth-graders on Windom’s roster —recorded 24 saves, while Worthington senior veteran Amanda Bristow turned away 25 of the Eagle shots fired at her.
“Obviously, Amanda had a great game in the net,” declared Milbrath. “I thought that our front line of Betsy, Taylor Bryngelson and Bailey Kruse did a nice job, too.”
One of Bristow’s stops was a high catch, which popular radio announcer Jared Rademacher referred to as a “Willie Mays” type of play.
The Trojans (0-16, 0-5) will travel to Morris for a make-up game Friday night.
Eagles 2 1 1 — 4
Trojans 0 1 0 — 1
Windom boys score quick goal, take command in second period
In the nightcap, Windom’s Dylan Pigman fired in a long shot —assist from Jack Mellstrom —just 55 seconds into the game, giving the Eagles a quick lead.
Neither team scored again until each squad netted a goal 58 seconds apart near the end of the first period.
Zach Bartosh scored for the Eagles (15:36), off an assist from Mellstrom and Worthington’s Andrew Johnson countered —assist Rylan Baumhoefner —at 16:34, slicing Windom’s edge to 2-1.
“After, we gave up that quick goal out of the gate, I thought we played pretty well the rest of the first period,” declared Worthington head coach Nate Grimmius. “But, we did not play well in the second period.”
The Eagles (7-12, 4-3) certainly controlled the second period, pounding 22 shots at Worthington goalie Alex Purdy, who turned away 17 of them.
But with the puck near the Trojans’ net most of the period, the Eagles scored three times.
Sophomore center Devin Nielsen (assists Ryan Evers and Mitch Macek) made the score 3-1 at 4:40.
Junior wing Alex Leopold (asssits Bartosh and Ryan Clark) increased the lead to 4-1 with a goal at 11:50 and Nielsen capped a power play situation at 16:29 with his second goal, coming off assists from Bartosh and Ryley Espenson.
“We rolled three lines at them in that second period,” explained first-year Eagles’ head coach Tim Mellstrom. “Our depth helped us. But, this was a good battle. Worthington played a physical game and our kids are tired, having played through a hard game.”
The Eagles held the Trojans off through the final period and added two late scores as Bartosh (two goals, two assists) collected his fourth point of the night with a goal at 16:00 (assists from Clark and Leopold).
Then at 16:35, with just 25 seconds remaining, Eagle sophomore Brady Haberman tallied a strong second-effort goal —assist Botond Kerekgyarto —to complete the game’s scoring.
“That was Brady’s first varsity goal,” declared Coach Mellstrom. “He’s made a nice adjustment from defense to wing and he showed some good stick-handling on that play.”
Windom goalie Nate Monson, a sophomore, recorded 24 saves —turning away 14 Worthington shots in the third period.
Purdy finished the game with a total of 43 saves, as the Eagles —who held a 37-11 edge on shots on goal after the second period —fired twice as many shots (50-25) through the course of the entire contest.
Worthington (6-11, 1-5) plays at Morris Friday and at Waseca Saturday.
Eagles 2 3 2 — 7
Trojans 1 0 0 — 1