WHS BOYS' HOCKEY: Trojans move on in 3A playoffsWORTHINGTON — The Worthington boys’ hockey team set many goals for itself at the beginning of the season.
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington boys’ hockey team set many goals for itself at the beginning of the season.
Some were met, like playing competitive in every game. And others were not, like the number of wins the team wanted to achieve.
But the Trojans’ biggest goal of the season was put to the test Tuesday night, and much to their happiness, WHS managed to reach that goal — winning a first round playoff game.
For only the fourth time since 1998, the Trojans made it past the first round of the sectional tournament. They did it this time by defeating Redwood Valley 7-3 at the Worthington Ice Arena.
“This was one of our goals at the beginning of the season. We wanted to win this game,” WHS head coach Pat Christopherson said. “We were working for this from the very start. This was a big one for us.”
Worthington (5-16-1) opened up its scoring with 14:36 remaining in the first period on a goal by Jacob Oberloh (assist Alex Kremer).
The goal was quickly followed up by a goal from Ethan Stofferan with an assist from Jacob Molden and Kody Honius at the 8:22 mark of the first period.
The Trojans shut out the Cardinals in that period, entering the first break with a 2-0 lead.
It took until halfway through the second period for another goal to be scored. Kremer scored with 8:14 left in the middle period on an assist from Molden.
RV responded quickly, getting on the board just two minutes later on an unassisted goal from Austin Kretsch.
Stofferan closed out the period with his second goal of the game (assist Honius and Jonah Oberloh) to give the Trojans a 4-1 lead entering the final intermission.
“We knew we had to come out with fire because they wanted to avenge their last game against us, but we came out harder than I think we have all year,” Kremer said. “We just came out and got it done from the drop of the puck to the last buzzer.”
The third period opened up with a goal from Cardinal Kollin Joines (assist Lane Stadther) with 15:06 left to play.
Jacob Oberloh scored his second goal of the game at the 8:49 mark (assist Kremer) to give the Trojans a 5-2 lead.
Then, with 6:02 left to play Kremer became the third Trojan to score his second goal of the game on an assist from Jonah Oberloh.
“We got the faceoff and I knew Jonah was going to whip it around there so I started skating as fast I can up the ice,” Kremer said. “I got around the guys and the guys over-committed to me and I stopped and they couldn’t stop with me. I got a good shot between the goalie’s legs and it was dribbling right in the crease and I just slammed it home the second time, but I got it done. I was pretty excited.”
Honius scored the final goal of the game for WHS with 5:01 left to play on an assist from Stofferan. The Cardinals would score one more goal in the game, but the damage was already done.
RV was elminated and WHS was advancing to the next round of the tournament.
“One of our goals this year is that we’ve wanted to be competitive and we played 22 games this year and I would say we weren’t competitive in maybe three,” Christopherson said. “With the five wins and the tie, winning this first round playoff game I think proves we’re trending in the right way.
“[The guys] are jacked about it. That’s all we really want is passion and commitment and effort and we got all three of those tonight. It was a good job by the guys.”
Christopherson said the Trojans’ had good hustle and stamina in their first playoff game.
WHS also took advantage of power plays, scoring three power play goals.
Goalie Rylan Scholtes had 45 saves on the night, while the Trojans had 36 shots on goal.
“Rylan made some spectacular saves tonight,” Kremer said. “He was amazing.”
Worthington advances to the next round of the playoffs Thursday when the Trojans take on No. 1 seed New Ulm at 7 p.m.
The Eagles (14-11) have advanced to the state tournament in each of the previous two seasons and are considered a favorite from the section to advance again.
“We’re going to try to at least stay competitive with New Ulm,” Christopherson said. “They’re the section champion and the No. 1 seed. It’s going to be a tough game, but I know we’ll play hard. They boys are jacked to advance and it will be an exciting experience for them.”
RV 0 1 2 — 3
WHS 2 2 3 — 7
Daily Globe Sports Reporter Jocelyn Syrstad can be reached at 375-7336.