TROJAN BOYS HOCKEY: WHS shuts out Fairmont
WORTHINGTON -- The Trojans got a goal each from sophomore forwards Nick Newman and Nathan Patten on their way to a 2-0 win over the visiting Fairmont Cardinals Tuesday, to advance to face the Luverne Cardinals in the Section 3A quarterfinals Thursday.
"It was a good effort by everyone tonight," WHS coach Nate Grimmius said. "It was kind of one of those grind out games where you have to get garbage goals, but we were able to do that tonight to get the win."
The Trojans came out firing right out of the gate. Worthington took seven shots on net in the first, including three quality scoring opportunities. However, Fairmont goalie Colton Cunning had an answer for everything Worthington threw his way.
"I was letting them know we have to take our time with the puck," captain Levi Leach said. "I told them we have to start shooting it more at the open parts of the net instead of just shooting it at their chest every time."
Aside from outshooting the Cardinals by a 7-5 margin, the Trojans controlled the puck a large chunk of the period. They were able to keep the play in the offensive zone for most of the first, but were unable to put anything past Cunning.
"We came out with the kind of intensity we wanted to at the start of the game," Grimmius said. "We wanted to get on top of these guys right away. We got a lot of shots, but couldn't put one in the back of the net.
"However, we were working hard and were able to control the puck in the offensive zone. Puck possession was really good in that first period."
Despite a lack of scoring in the first, the Trojans kept putting the puck on the net and were rewarded late in the period with a goal by Newman.
Andrew Johnson corralled a loose puck by the left face-off dot and fired it on net where it took a big bounce out into the slot allowing Newman to put it home.
"People were running around in front of the net and I was floating around up high," Newman said. "Then I saw the puck pop out in front of the net and I took advantage."
The goal came at the 2 minute, 56 second mark and gave the Trojans a 1-0 lead heading into the second intermission. Kody Honius and Johnson were credited with assists on the goal.
Worthington came out flying in the third, using the boost from their first goal to ramp up the intensity.
"We were taking our time with our passes more and actually breaking out of the zone instead of just throwing the puck out," Leach said. "In the second period we weren't passing the puck well, but in the third period we picked up on that and hit the tape more."
The Trojans once again came up with chance after chance early in the third, but it wasn't until 8:23 left in the game that Worthington was able to pick up an insurance goal from Patten.
Patten and Leach found themselves flying down the ice on a 2-on-1 with Leach leading the charge down the left-side boards. The Fairmont defender decided to take away the pass by throwing his body on the ice, but Leach was able to float the puck up and over the defender right to Patten's stick.
"We were skating down the ice and Levi [Leach] chipped the puck over to me," Patten said. "I just caught it and shot it in."
With a two goal lead, the Trojans switched to a 1-2-2 forecheck to ensure they would not allow any odd-man rushes for the Cardinals.
Worthington goalie Rylan Scholtes also came up big in the last minutes of the third, making save after save to preserve the shutout and get the win for the Trojans.
"It was a good game from Scholtes as always," Grimmius said. "He faced some tough shots late in the game, especially with a lot of traffic in front of the net, but he came out big for us tonight. He did an awesome job of controlling his rebounds and kicking them into the corners, too."
Worthington (4-15) travels to No. 1 Luverne Thursday with the winner of the game moving on to the semifinals at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter Saturday.
"We are going to have to take care of the body because Luverne is really good at stickhandling," Newman said. "Then we have to find the back of the net too."
The Cardinals are 21-4 on the season and defeated the Trojans twice during the regular season by a combined score of 22-3.
"It is going to be a tough game, but we have to play to our potential and do our best," Leach said. "Everybody has to play their position, because it is going to be a tough one."
Daily Globe Reporter Jordan Willi
may be reached at 376-7335.
FAIRMONT 0 0 0 -- 0
WORTHINGTON 0 1 1 -- 2
First Period: None Penalties: Baumhotner, WHS (Slash), 13:21.
Second Period: 1. WHS, Newman (Johnson, Honius), 14:04.Penalties: None.
Third Period: 1. WHS, Patten (Leach, Oberloh), 6:37. Penalties: Leach, WHS (Hook), 11:54; Honius, WHS (Rough), 16:24; Claeys, F (Rough), 16:24.
Shots On-Goal: Fairmont 5 8 9 -- 22; Home 7 16 12 -- 35.
Power-Play Opportunities: Fairmont 0 of 2; Worthington 0 of 0.
Goalies: Fairmont, Cunning, 35 shots, 33 saves; Worthington, Scholtes, 22 shots, 22 saves.