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TROJAN GIRLS HOCKEY: Trojans, Eagles end in tie

BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE Worthington senior Kirsten Aljets (4) brings the puck up the ice in front of teammates Betsy Thompson (5), Shelby Veen (18) and Amanda Bristow (31) during a non-conference game Thursday at Windom.1 / 2
Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Windom Area's Addison Beaty (11) brings the puck into the Worthington zone during Thursday night's game in Windom.2 / 2

WINDOM -- After splitting their first two meetings of the season, the Worthington Trojans and the Windom Area Eagles finished their third contest of the year in a 1-1 tie during a Southwest Conference girls' hockey game Thursday.

"We had our chances, but it was kind of fitting that it ended this way," Windom Area coach Dean Drahota said. "We will have to settle who the better team is next year, I guess."

Worthington's Amanda Bristow and Windom Area's Emily Steen stole the show between the pipes for the both teams with a combined 52 shots faced between the two goalies.

"They are a good team, but I feel like we are a better team now than we were before," Drahota said. "We really outplayed them, but Amanda Bristow played a great game against us. In the last two games we've only been able to get one by her."

It was a back and forth battle for most of the first period with the Eagles outshooting the Trojans 10-5.

"It was a great game, the intensity was just like last game for both teams," WHS coach Eric Milbrath said. "It was exciting and everyone played hard. The penalty kill worked and the power play was fantastic for us."

Even though the Eagles were able to outshoot the Trojans, Worthington got on the board first on a hard shot by Betsy Thompson.

After breaking the puck out of their own zone, the Trojans' Kirsten Aljets sent a cross-ice pass to Thompson as she flew through the neutral zone. Thompson corralled the puck and fired a shot on net, beating Steen low on the far side.

Early in the second period, Worthington's Bailey Kruse took a hard hit from Windom Area's Katie Schoenenberger, which sent her to the ice where she stayed for several minutes. Kruse was eventually carted off the ice on a stretcher and taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

"The second period this game was hugely intense," Milbrath said. "It was unfortunate that Bailey [Kruse] got hurt right away, but that kind of set the tone for the period. It lit a fire under our butts and made them want to go out there and win one for Bailey."

The period ended with neither team scoring, but the Eagles had their chances, especially on a 5-on-3 opportunity after the Trojans took back-to-back penalties early in the period. However, Worthington was able to kill off both penalties and get out of the period unscathed.

"Our power-play and penalty kill has gotten a lot better lately," Veen said. "We are playing the box more and when we do have to play the triangle we are able to do well with that too. We just try to keep the puck on the outside and keep everything away from Amanda."

The Eagles finally broke through with 11:42 remaining in the third period when Jolyssa Higley-Purrington was able to put the puck past Bristow on a rebound in front of the net.

"We did a lot of good things in the game," Drahota said. "We got a good number of shots on goal and did a lot of other good things tonight. I think the puck movement we saw tonight was the best we have had all year."

With neither team able to break the tie throughout the remainder of the third, the game went into overtime. The Trojans tried their hardest to end the game with multiple close calls in front of the net, but were unable to put past Steen.

"The pressure we put on in the overtime period was phenomenal," Milbrath said. "They didn't look tired and our girls looked like they had more jump than Windom did."

Bristow faced 33 shots through four periods, while only allowing one puck to end up in behind her. Steen stared down 19 shots in the game and made 18 saves, including a flurry of shots by the Trojans in the final minutes of the third period and overtime.

"We kind of broke down there at the end of the third and in overtime," Drahota said. "We gave up a lot of shots in the last few minutes of regulation and in overtime. We have to try to fix that before next Friday."

The Trojans (1-15-1) finish out their regular season schedule Monday on the road against St. Peter/LeSueur-Henderson/Tri-City United, while the Eagles (1-17-1) will face the Marshall Tigers in the opening round of the Section 3A tournament Friday, Feb. 8 in Marshall.

Worthington 1 0 0 0 -- 1

Windom 0 0 1 0 -- 1

Daily Globe Reporter Jordan Willi

may be reached at 376-7335.