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WHS Boys' Hockey: Windom Area scores 5 goals in 2nd period to defeat WHS 8-6

jocelyn syrstad/daily globe WHS's Alex Kremer (left) skates with the puck in a hockey game versus Windom Area Tuesday in Worthington.1 / 4
jocelyn syrstad/daily globe WHS's Levi Leach skates with the puck in a hockey game versus Windom Area Tuesday in Worthington.2 / 4
jocelyn syrstad/daily globe Windom Area's Mitchell Baumhoefner (4) skates around Worthington's Jonah Oberloh (16) in a hockey game Tuesday in Worthington.3 / 4
jocelyn syrstad/daily globe Windom Area's Brett Larson (blue jersey) skates in a hockey game versus Windom Area Tuesday in Worthington.4 / 4

WORTHINGTON -- In a high-scoring Southwest Conference boys' hockey contest, the Worthington Trojans and the Windom Area Eagles played to an even score through one period Tuesday night.

However, it was the Eagles rattling off seven unanswered goals (one to tie the game at 2-2 late in the first period, five in the second period and the other six seconds into the third) to put the game into running time early in the third and while the Trojans closed the gap with four goals over the final ten minutes of play, Windom Area held on for an 8-6 victory.

The score of the contest was heavily influenced by penalties, as WA committed nine penalties (two 5-minute majors and one 10-minute major), while WHS committed seven infractions (two majors).

The major penalties were due to new Minnesota State High School League rules that make any checking from behind or contact to the head a 5-minute violation.

The Eagles took the most advantage of the penalties as they widened the gap from a 3-2 game with eight minutes left in the second period to a 7-2 margin with under three minutes left in that period following a 5-minute major for contact to the head and two minor penalties over the duration of the major penalty.

"To be honest the game got out hand," Eagles' head coach Jon Ammerman said. "That's the unfortunate thing about contact sports as, occasionally, emotions get the best of people.

"We had a few good shifts in a row and with the new rules, (the official) were calling it tight. And I think that was something both teams weren't used to."

WHS head coach Pat Christopherson agreed that the new rules affected the course of the game.

"Now we see exactly how the 5-minute major rule affects the game," Christopherson said. "We gave up four goals on the major penalty and two others on power-play goal, so we gave up six power-play goals. I think if the 5-minute major rule isn't in place like the way it is, it's a different outcome."

Meanwhile, the Trojans also capitalized on Eagles' penalties with four power-play goals of their own with one in the first and three in the third.

Alex Kremer opened the scoring for WHS five minutes and 20 seconds into the game by receiving a nice feed from Seth Meier and then racing past WA's Dylan Pigman through the left circle and beating Eagle goaltender Tyler McGowan glove side for a 1-0 lead.

Following a WHS penalty, WA knotted the game at 1-1 when Adam Eisenmenger scored a power-play goal by taking a failed Trojans' clearing attempt near the net and lifting the puck high into goal past Trojan goalie Rylan Scholtes (36 saves).

It didn't take long for WHS to regain the lead as Kremer struck again by beating McGowan stick side off an assist from Jacob Molden with 9:54 left in the first.

"We started off really hot and I think we surprised Windom a little bit," Kremer said. "We expected them to come out hard and we came out even harder. We had some good plays early but then we got down from the penalties later in the game."

The Eagles' Travis Janssen was able to find the equalizer with 1:54 left in the frame as he won a faceoff in the Trojans' end and put the puck past Scholtes for a 2-2 game.

Following a slow start to the second period, the Eagles broke the tie with 8:32 left as Zach Bartosh skated through the slot and lifted a backhand shot past Scholtes to make it 3-2 in favor of the visitors.

Shortly after that goal, WHS was assessed a major penalty and minor penalty that gave WA a 5-on-3 advantage with eight minutes left in the second and the visitors quickly capitalized on the two-man advantage as Mitchell Baumhoefner rifled a shot from high above the left-faceoff circle past the glove of Scholtes for a 4-2 lead (assisted by Janssen and Eisenmenger).

While that goal ended the minor penalty's time, the Eagles weren't done capitalizing on the major penalty as Baumhoefner scored two minutes later with a another long shot from the high slot for a 5-2 lead.

"The 5-on-3 really helped us get going," Baumhoefner said. "That was the momentum we needed to carry us through."

The Eagles continued the momentum as Janssen posted his second goal of the game at the 5:00 mark with a wrap-around goal to make it 6-2, and Brett Larson closed out the second-period scoring for WA with 2:52 left in the second by cleaning up a rebound off a Ryan Evers' shot for a 7-2 lead.

"We had to redeem ourselves from our last game with Worthington as we let up a tie the last time with them," Janssen said. "We came out hard and felt comfortable with our lead but we let them back in it in the third.

"They are grinders. They work hard and earn all of their goals but we just had to stick with it."

In the third period, the Eagles capitalized on a pair of late second-period penalties on the Trojans and put the game into running time six seconds in as Kyle Luhmann won the opening faceoff with a 4-on-3 advantage and drove down into the left circle, beating Scholtes glove side for an 8-2 advantage.

However, the Trojans didn't back down and eventually got the game back to a four-goal differential at the 8:53 mark as Jacob Oberloh shoved the puck between McGowan's pads to make it 8-3.

"I got that first goal when we were on a 5-on-4," Oberloh said. "Once you get the first goal, you just keep going and I had a little bit of adrenaline going."

Indeed, Oberloh had the adrenaline going as he continued to lead the Trojans down the stretch as the junior forward netted a power-play goal three minutes later off a rebound from a Jacob Molden slap shot from the blue line and then recorded a hat trick with another power-play goal (assist Levi Leach) at the 1:46 mark after cleaning up a lose puck in the slot to make it 8-5.

WHS closed to 8-6 with 54 seconds left in the contest on yet another power play as Kremer recorded a hat trick of his own by wrapping the puck around the goal and sticking the puck past McGowan for the game's final tally.

In the contest, WA outshot WHS by a 44 to 22 margin.

The win improves the Eagles to 9-6-1 overall and 4-4-1 in the conference, while the Trojans drop to 3-12-1 overall and 0-7-1 in the SWC.

While Christopherson was disappointed with the loss, he was pleased with his squad's ability to battle back in the final period.

"The third period was fantastic," Christopherson said. "A light turned on in their heads and they decided that they had taken enough and started to play hockey. It was nice to see."

Both teams play against Luverne next with WHS hosting the Cardinals on Thursday, while WA travels there Tuesday.

"That will be a good test for us," Ammerman said. "Luverne has shown they are one of the best teams in the section. Skill-wise, they have a lot of good players. They skate well, move the puck well and they are well coached.

"As a team we are feeling alright, but we still have another level that we have to play at if we want to be competitive at the end of the year."

WA 2 5 1 -- 8

WHS 2 0 4 -- 6