YOUTH HOCKEY: Trojans complete regular season
WORTHINGTON -- The regular season closed with a tie and a win for the Worthington Trojans Pee Wee B hockey team last weekend.
Worthington concluded its District 4 season at home Friday, earning a 2-2 tie in a hard-fought contest against the Fairmont Cardinals. The Trojans defeated Sioux Falls Orange East 4-2 on Saturday to earn a season sweep over the two Sioux Falls Pee Wee B teams.
Friday's game against Fairmont was slow and sluggish through two periods. The Cardinals scored the only goal during that span in the first period on a shot that deflected off the Worthington goalie Sam Fellows' glove for an early 1-0 lead.
The Trojans struggled to clear the puck out of their zone consistently and, if not for a number of fine saves by Fellows, Worthington could easily have been behind by multiple goals entering the final period.
After the break, the Trojans came out strong in the third period and dominated play, outshooting Fairmont 14-6 in the final period. But Cardinals goalie Colby Kuhl was strong and prevented the Trojans from getting on the scoreboard until 3:52 remained in the game.
Ryan Newman deflected a bouncing puck off a pass from Tommy Bauman over Kuhl's blocker to tie the game and ignite the large crowd on Parents Night.
Fairmont's Tanner Dewar scored to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead 90 seconds later and the pressure was on Worthington entering the last minute of the game.
The Trojans came through with 49 seconds left when, after numerous chances, Max Carlson netted a goal off assists from Eric Heidebrink and Karter Honius, tying the game at 2.
Since there are no overtime periods in league play, the game ended with a tie.
Worthington outshot Fairmont 24-21. Fellows made 19 saves to help Worthington gain the tie.
On Saturday, the Trojans were much stronger against the Sioux Falls Flyers East Orange Pee Wee B team. But similarly to Friday's game, Worthington had difficulty finishing plays in front of the net.
The Trojans outshot the Flyers 15-3 in the first period, but strong goaltending from the Sioux Falls goalie resulted in a scoreless tie heading into the second period.
Worthington lit up the scoreboard in the second period with three consecutive goals, starting with a Newman tally off a Bauman pass at 13:49 of the period. Anthony Fogelman scored an unassisted goal with about 8 minutes left in the period and Eric Heidebrink added a tally about 2 minutes later with an assist going to Honius.
Leading 3-0 in the third period, Worthington saw its lead trimmed to one after Sioux Falls scored two unanswered goals midway through the period.
The second of the Flyers' goals occurred after two Worthington forwards accidentally collided facemask to facemask and were down on the ice near the Sioux Falls net, allowing the Flyers to use a 5-on-3 break into the Worthington zone and score.
But the Trojans finished the game strong. Fogelman's second unassisted goal at the 2-minute mark proved to be too much for Sioux Falls.
Worthington's relentless play in the Flyers' end prevented the Sioux Falls from pulling its goalie for an extra skater until only a few seconds remained.
The Trojans outshot the Flyers 42-17. Worthington's Carter Ponto earned the win in goal with 15 saves.
The Trojans (13-6-3 overall and 5-2-3 in District 4) stand second in the league, behind New Ulm and ahead of Windom.
Worthington awaits its seed in the 22-team double-elimination District 4 and 5 Pee Wee B Tournament, which will be held in Hutchinson on Feb. 16-17 and Feb. 23-24
The top four teams from that tournament advance to the Pee Wee B South Regional Tournament in Fairmont.