WHS BOYS' HOCKEY: Worthington drops one to Sioux Falls 3-1WORTHINGTON — In a physical boys’ hockey game Tuesday night, the Worthington Trojans fell to the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Flyers in a non-conference contest by a final score of 3-1.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — In a physical boys’ hockey game Tuesday night, the Worthington Trojans fell to the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Flyers in a non-conference contest by a final score of 3-1.
SF scored one goal in each period while WHS scored its lone goal in the middle frame as both teams traded hits throughout the contest.
The Flyers outshot the Trojans by a margin of 39 to 15, controlling the time of possession and also maintaining a 41 to 33 edge in the faceoff circle.
The Trojans started the game off sluggishly, allowing their opponents to claim the lead 41 seconds into the game as the Flyers cycled the puck effectively in the WHS zone as Matt Drake centered the puck to Cody Solma in the slot for the opening tally.
After the goal, WHS iced the puck several times over the next few minutes to try to keep SF out of its end and then received a man advantage with 12:55 left in the first as the Flyers committed the first penalty of the evening.
However, the Trojans were unable to capitalize on the power play as the Flyers killed the two minutes off without a shot from the hosts
“We were proud of the kids’ effort,” Trojan head coach Pat Christopherson said. “We were missing two of our top defenseman (Jonah Oberloh and Zach Heidebrink), which didn’t help our cause. Sioux Falls skates so well and it was hard to keep up with them being short defensively.
“The first part of the first period was dreadful as we were slow and sluggish, but we hung our hat on Rylan (Scholtes) and started to get back into the flow of things after that.”
Scholtes, who had 36 saves in the game, remained busy over the balance of the opening frame as he turned away multiple attempts from the Flyers.
In the final four minutes of the period, WHS started to get some opportunities of its own as Ethan Stofferan had a good look at the net, while Alex Kremer had a pair of chances of his own, but Flyers’ goalie Logan Blackburn (14 saves) stymied the shots each time.
The Trojans carried that aggresiveness over into the second period, forcing the Flyers to ice the puck twice early.
WHS received its second power play of the game four minutes into the middle period but again were unable to find the equalizer, although they worked the offensive zone better than on the first man advantage.
SF received a power play of its own at the 10:27 mark and effectively worked the WHS zone, but it was unable to turn the advantage into a score.
However, the Flyers widened the bulge to two goals at even strength with 5:30 left by working the puck around the Trojan end well as Parker Dawes scored with a one-timer shot with assists going to Nick Goetsch and Kyle Knudson.
“Between the blue lines, getting out of their zone, we had no answer for stopping their pace and momentum,” Christopherson said. “The minute they get the puck on their stick in their zone, they had a wing going and we didn’t have the wheels to keep up with them.”
The Trojans finally broke into the scoring column two minutes later as Kremer snuck the puck past Blackburn stick side with Stofferan and Alex Thompson each getting an assist with 3:31 remaining in the second to make it 2-1.
SF picked up the offensive pressure to close out the second and continued that into the third, scoring the game’s final goal with 11:34 left as Josh Angulo sent a hard shot in from the left point and Jackson Davis cleaned up the rebound off Scholtes’ stick for the third Flyers’ counter.
The Trojans had a few threats as the game clock wound down as Kremer created some chances, as did Stofferan and Thompson, but the hosts were unable to close the gap.
“Any momentum we gained off our goal, we just kind of lost,” Christopherson said. “It was such a physical game with a lot of bumping and grinding going on.
“We started to gain some momemtum slowly, zone by zone over the game. We are just running out of gas and its starting to show. Overall, it was a good effort by the kids.”
While the physicality of the game was a change of pace since the Minnesota State High School League instituted new rules to prevent illegal checks and contact to the head, Christopherson felt that the play was clean.
“There wasn’t a lot of the dangerous, cheap stuff going on. It was more of the chippy stuff,” the coach said. “I was surprised, though, by how much they (the officials) allowed players to move people around in front of the net after the whistle.
“Everyone kept their heads and nobody did anything beligerent. The officials just let the players maintain the pace throughout the night.”
With the loss, WHS falls to 3-15-1 overall. The Trojans return to action Friday when they host Pierre (S.D.)
SF 1 1 1 — 3
WHS 0 1 0 — 1