Trojans girls hockey: Going for it
WORTHINGTON — The crackle of skates digging into ice is a sound currently heralding the coming of another season of high school hockey.
The Worthington Trojans girls hockey team is in for an interesting season. For a while in fact, it appeared as if Worthington might not have a girls hockey season at all. Some spoke of a possible merger with Windom.
However, after a strong effort at recruitment, the Trojans are sporting a full squad, with 17 skaters and a goaltender.
However, only six of those 18 have played hockey before.
“The new girls ask questions all the time. The veterans like Allison or Betsy or Amanda are really good about stepping in and answering questions. Their leadership skills with helping the new girls understand, learn how to skate, how to shoot, how to pass, it’s really remarkable,” Worthington head coach Eric Milbrath said.
The returning letter winners for Worthington include Allison Kremer, Betsy Thompson, Bailey Kruse, Ashley Thompson, Tessa Machado and the lone senior, Amanda Bristow.
The Trojans already have a few scrimmages underneath their belts. On Nov. 2, the they played four area teams: Marshall, Luverne, Windom Area and Morris-Benson.
“We played Marshall the first game, and we definitely looked like a team that hadn’t skated a lot. The second game we played Luverne, and it was a little better — we started understanding where to go, where to line up, little stuff like that,” Milbrath said.
“The third game was against Windom, and the returning players definitely had a chip on their shoulder and really wanted to beat Windom, and we ended up getting three goals, and we won three to zero.”
“Our last game against Morris was easily our best game. They ended up squeaking on extra goal by us, and we lost 3-2, so we’re really looking forward to playing them again this year,” Milbrath said.
Milbrath expects his team to continue to improve this season.
“I expect to improve game by game as the girls gain knowledge and experience,” he stated.
The Trojans open up their season against St. Peter on Friday at the Worthington Ice Arena.
Here’s a brief rundown on the other teams in the area, from Luverne and Windom Area:
For the Luverne girl’s hockey team, a new season means a new coach.
Tony Sandbulte is the new girls varsity coach, and he isn’t lacking in experience. He has had six years experience coaching boys hockey.
The girls aren’t lacking experience, either. There are 12 returning letter winners on the Cardinals team, and four seniors provide leadership.
Makayla Sterrett, a sophomore, is coming off a solid season. Last year, the forward had 33 goals and 28 assists. Madisyn Dingmann, another sophomore, also had a productive season for the Cards. She totaled 21 goals and 15 assists. Ellen Dahl, Luverne’s senior defenseman and team captain, finished last year with eight goals and 9 assists.
The Cardinals playing style will be fast-paced.
“We plan to play an up-tempo style, using team speed, with quick transitions,” Sandbulte said, adding, “We want to get the puck moving north and south as much as we can.”
It will be a busy year for the Cardinals, with well over 20 games on the schedule.
“We plan to play a 25 game schedule this year. We hope to do well.”
The Cardinals open this season’s campaign against Windom Area tonight in Luverne.
It was a tough 2012-13 season for the Eagles last year. They finished the season 1-18-1. However, with a tried and tested goaltender and a more experienced squad around her, improvement appears around the corner.
Emily Steen , as a seventh grader, faced nearly 1,000 shots in 2012-13 and recorded a save percentage of 84.9 percent. The Eagles’ coaching staff hopes that with better play in front of her, they can take some pressure off of Steen.
Also on hand to lead the Eagles are eighth-grade forward Addison Beaty, sophomore forward Kaylee Janssen and eighth-grade defenseman Jolyssa Higley. The Eagles are young — there are just two seniors and one junior on the team.
“Our goal basically is just to get better every week,” Windom Area head coach Nathan Boler said on Wednesday. “We’re looking to make steps in every direction.”