BOYS HOCKEY: Storm overpowers TrojansTwo major penalties hurt WHS
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — On Saturday, the Worthington Trojans boys hockey team welcomed the Morris/Benson Area Storm to the Worthington Arena for the backend of a Southwest Conference girls/boys doubleheader on Hockey Day Minnesota.
The Trojans got exactly what they wanted to start the game, jumping out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of markers in the game’s first 11½ minutes.
From there, however, the Storm scored 11 of the next 13 goals to claim an 11-4 league win.
“I liked the way we came out,” Trojans head coach Nate Grimmius said. “We came out hard and we had the pressure early and that’s what we are about. We said in the locker room to ‘set the tone early, (Morris/Benson Area) has been on the bus all morning, so let’s get out and jump on them in the first period.’
“I think we did that, but then we kind of shot ourselves in the foot in the second period by taking too many penalties — too many major penalties and, obviously, that’s the difference in the game, right there.”
Andrew Johnson put Worthington in front 2 minutes, 2 seconds into the game when he cleaned up a rebound off Storm goalie Kyle Kennedy from a strong shot from Levi Leach, who created a turnover in the neutral zone and let a shot rip from the blue line.
Kody Honius scored 9 ½ minutes later to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead when he scored, unassisted on a power play, by lifting a shot from the left circle into the shoulders of Kennedy (14 saves) and the puck bounded into the net.
However, Brody Gimberlin cut the hosts’ lead in half 17 seconds later when he scored from the slot off nifty puck movement between the circles from Mac Beyer and Tanner Picht.
The Storm knotted the game with 2:11 remaining in the first when Lincoln Pahl buried a rebound past Trojans goalie Rylan Scholtes (26 saves), but Worthington managed to retake the lead 42 seconds later when Nick Newman stole the puck off a M/BA defender at the Trojans’ blue line, creating a breakaway that Newman capped off by lifting a shot over Kennedy’s shoulder.
The Trojans’ lead didn’t hold up as Tanner Mikkelson beat Scholtes glove-side off a rebound from a Corey Storck shot with 32 seconds left and the score went to the first intermission tied at 3.
While Worthington didn’t take any penalties in the first period and were able to capitalize on 1 of 2 Morris/Benson Area infractions, the first penalty the Trojans took in the game proved to be costly.
A 5-minute major and 10-minute misconduct was assigned to Zach Heidebrink with 2:17 gone by in the second. Worthington successfully killed the first 3 minutes of the penalty before a flurry of Storm markers created a 6-3 bulge in a span of 1:02.
Beyer accounted for the first two goals of the long power play, scoring two goals in 22 seconds (5:16 and 5:38) with Brody Gimberlin and Tanner Picht each assisting on both markers. Riley Blake stretched the lead to 6-3 before Heidebrink’s penalty expired by beating Scholtes from the left circle with Storck and Darion Helberg earning assists at 6:18 of the second period.
“Those are big opportunities for us,” Storm head coach James Kennedy said. “Worthington came out hard right away. Our biggest thing all year long is to get a good start in every game and it obviously went in (Worthington’s) direction right away. It took us awhile to get this going and those 5-minute penalties definitely helped us.”
Honius trimmed the Storm lead to 6-4 with 8:57 left in the second when he created a steal, closed in on Kennedy in the slot and then rifled the puck past the M/BA goalie’s glove, but that goal was that last for Worthington as Morris/Benson Area scored the game’s last five goals.
Picht scored his second goal of the game with 8 seconds left in the second on a power play following a 5-minute major and 10-minute misconduct on Johnson and a minor for interference on Seth Meier that created a 5-on-3 advantage for the Storm.
Brody Gimberlin and Blake each netted goals early in the third period before Worthington’s second major infraction expired, while Picht completed a hat trick with his second goal coming at 4:58 and scoring his third marker at 9:26 on a power play to conclude the game’s scoring.
“All year, we’ve been telling the kids that these major penalties are going to affect your game,” Grimmius said. “Those are going to make a huge difference on the game when you’re taking 5-minute major penalties. And we took two of them in the second period.”
Worthington’s seven penalties totaled 36 minutes, while Morris/Benson Area committed five penalties for 10 minutes.
The Storm improved to 9-7-0 overall and 4-3-0 in the league with the win. Morris/Benson Area hosts the Luverne Cardinals Saturday.
Worthington dropped to 3-10-0 overall and 0-7-0 in the Southwest Conference. The Trojans host Windom Area Tuesday in a SWC battle.
“Windom’s had a good year and they have some good players that can move the puck and they’re really fast,” Grimmius said. “We’re going to have to pick our defensive play as our defensive play wasn’t there (on Saturday).
“Hopefully, we can get after it on Monday in practice — change a few things and be ready for Windom on Tuesday.”
MORRIS/BENSON AREA 11, WORTHINGTON 4
Morris/Benson Area 3 4 4 — 11
Worthington 3 1 0 — 4
First Period: 1. Worthington, Johnson (Leach), 2:02; 2. Worthington, Honius (Unassisted), 11:30 (pp); 3. Morris/Benson Area, B. Gimberlin (Beyer), 11:43; 4. Morris/Benson Area, Pahl (T. Gimberlin, Staples), 14:48; 5. Worthington, Newman (Unassisted), 15:30; 6. Morris/Benson Area, Mikkelson (Storck), 16:27. Penalties: B. Gimberlin, Morris/Benson Area (Hooking), 5:12; B. Gimberlin, Morris/Benson Area (Roughing), 9:59.
Second Period: 7. Morris/Benson Area, Beyer (B. Gimberlin, Picht), 5:16 (pp); 8. Morris/Benson Area, Beyer (B. Gimberlin, Picht), 5:38 (pp); 9. Morris/Benson Area, Blake (Storck, Helberg), 6:18 (pp); 10. Worthington, Honius (unassisted), 8:03; 11. Morris/Benson Area, Picht (B. Gimberlin, Beyer), 16:52 (pp). Penalties: Heidebrink, Worthington, Major-Misconduct (Checking from Behind), 2:17; Picht, Morris/Benson Area (Tripping), 10:38; Picht, Morris/Benson Area (Interference), 14:15; Johnson, Worthington, Major-Misconduct (Checking to Head/Neck), 15:20; Meier, Worthington (Interference) 16:11.
Third Period: 12. Morris/Benson Area, B. Gimberlin (Beyer, Staples), 1:24 (pp); 13. Morris/Benson Area, Blake (Helberg, Storck), 2:12 (pp); 14. Morris/Benson Area, Picht (Beyer, B. Gimberlin), 4:58; 15. Morris/Benson Area, Picht (Staples), 9:26 (pp). Penalties: Newman, Worthington (Interference), 1:48; Baumhoefner, Worthington (Interference) 8:32; Schwarz, Morris/Benson Area (Interference), 10:44.
Shots On-Goal: Morris/Benson Area 19-10-7—36; Worthington 8-4-6—18.
Power-Play Opportunities: Morris/Benson Area 5 of 5; Worthington 1 of 5.
Goalies: Morris/Benson Area, Kennedy, 18 shots, 14 saves. Worthington, Scholtes, 37 shots, 26 saves.