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GIRLS' HOCKEY: Waseca clips Trojans, 6-0

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington girls' hockey coach Jill Cuperus is tired of waiting.

Not for her team to show improvement -- it already has -- but for her first child to finally arrive.

"I'm anxious to meet (the baby) and be un-pregnant," she said, laughing.

Cuperus, who was due to give birth Jan. 25, coached her final game of the season Saturday in Worthington's 6-0 loss to visiting Waseca.

It was just the second game that Cuperus was able to attend in January. She was able to make the trip for just one of Worthington's eight road games in the month.

"It's hard; it stinks to leave the girls behind and see the bus roll away and have to stay home," she said. "I've been getting updates from (assistant coach) Mark (Raboin) after the games, but it's hard to hear them laughing on the bus and hear how well they've been playing and how they're getting goals and stuff on the road.

"I want to see it."

Cuperus on Saturday saw a little bit of what she's been missing during most of the second half of the Trojans' season.

After being outscored 71-3 and shut out seven times in their first nine games, the Trojans have scored five goals and allowed only 50 in their past nine games. They've been shut out only five times in that stretch.

"It was a big improvement from the beginning of the season -- a huge improvement," Cuperus said.

It was apparent Saturday afternoon.

Taylor Baumhoefner was phenomenal in goal, and the Trojans played very well defensively early in the game, holding Waseca scoreless through much of the first period. But just when it seemed the game would be scoreless entering the first intermission, the Bluejays stole the momentum.

Waseca's Abbe Hoehn went coast to coast on a 4-on-4, and with four Worthington defenders surrounding her, she fired a wrist shot that Baumhoefner initially stopped. But the puck trickled between the senior goalie's legs and across the line for the game's first goal.

"That was a huge momentum killer because we were playing so well in the first period," Cuperus said. "It stinks going into the locker room, after playing so well, knowing you just let in a goal.

"It was a big downer."

Hoehn's goal, which was unassisted, proved to be the winner.

Waseca (4-15) added three goals in the second period and two more in the third.

The Bluejays, who snapped a five-game losing streak, outshot Worthington 57-6.

Baumhoefner made 51 saves for the Trojans (0-18), who must wait until their regular-season finale for their next chance at their first win.

Cuperus won't have to wait that long for her first child.

"If I don't have it this weekend, they're going to induce me Monday morning," she said. "So for sure I'll have a kid by next week."

Then, maybe, the jokes will stop.

"Mark kept joking about it; he said he was going to squirt some water on the floor and say, 'Jill, look!'" Cuperus said, laughing. "I'd be like, 'Yes!'"

Worthington will travel to face Dodge County on Saturday.

Waseca 1 3 2 -- 6

Worthington 0 0 0 -- 0

M/BA 13, Luverne 0

LUVERNE -- Katie Shearer made 14 saves in goal, but Luverne failed to score on any of its 16 shots.

Dani Schultz scored four goals, and Sara Rajewsky added three for Morris/Benson Area, which ended Luverne's regular season with a loss.

The Section 3A tournament begins Feb. 13.

The Cardinals (9-12), who had their two-game winning streak snapped, allowed a combined 11 goals in the first and third periods.

M/BA 6 2 5 -- 13

Luverne 0 0 0 -- 0