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Girls hockey: Three second-period goals for Eagles holds off Trojans

WORTHINGTON — After a very evenly-played first period Thursday evening at the Worthington Ice Arena, the visiting Windom Area Eagles began controlling the puck and repeatedly peppered shots on goal as the second period unfolded — scoring three times in an eight-minute span.

The Eagles scored again midway through the third period and claimed a 4-2 high school girls’ hockey victory over an ever-improving Worthington Trojan squad, which held Windom without a goal for the game’s first 24 minutes.

The Trojans, who won their first game of the season at Morris just five days earlier (Jan. 25) by a score of 2-1, played well Thursday through the entire 17-minute first period and — despite Windom’s steady assault on their goal during the opening minutes of the second — kept the contest deadlocked at 0-0, as Worthington goalie Amanda Bristow was doing a remarkable job in front of the net.

Bristow, a senior veteran, turned away all 12 of the Eagles’ shots in the opening period and made 19 saves in the second, as she had a stellar performance as a goal keeper.

“We came out battling and skated well,” praised Worthington head coach Eric Milbrath. “We didn’t allow Windom many good shots as we played a very good first period. But we seemed to lose our feet somewhat in the second period and we needed those many stops that Amanda made for us.”

But, the Eagles (4-14-1) scored twice in a span of 18 seconds (6:57 and 7:15) to change the course of the season’s third meeting between the two young clubs. Windom won both previous games — which were Southwest Conference contests — by identical 4-1 scores.

Thursday’s clash, which was the final regular season game for the Eagles, was a non-conference affair and was a competitive event during most of the other 50 minutes and 42 seconds.

“This is a good friendly rivalry, both teams are young and improving,” summed up Windom Area head coach Nathan Boler. “We were pleased to get a win here, as Bristow stopped so many of our first shots. But, we concentrated on shooting low and going hard after the rebounds, which we did pretty well.”

Boler noted that the Eagles attacked especially well in the second period, outshooting the Trojans 22-2.

“We held the blue line well and played most of the second period in our offensive zone, sending the puck at the net many times.”

Eagle eighth-grader Porsha Porath lit up the scoreboard first when she broke free and pushed an unassisted goal into the Trojan net.

Following a deflection, Windom quickly scored again with eighth-grader Jolyssa Higley-Purrington getting the goal, off an assist from Alexis Jellema-Baerg.

Just over three minutes later, the Trojans sliced the gap to 2-1 when junior center Betsy Thompson skated past all the Eagle defenders and scored an unassisted break-away goal.

“Betsy just burned them on that play,” praised Milbrath. “She’s a good skater and is great stick handler in the open ice.”

Windom countered with a goal (15:06) by eighth-grader Addison Beatty — her seventh of the season — off of assists from Arica Svoboda and Jellema-Baerg.

Taking a 3-1 lead into the third period and holding a 34-9 advantage on shots on goal, the Eagles stretched the score to 4-1 when sophomore Kaylee Janssen pushed the puck into the net (assists Kaylee Rosenkranz and Elizabeth Schoenenberger) at 6:27.

Thirty-two seconds earlier, Windom eighth-grade goalie Emily Steen had made a great save on a strong break-away shot attempt by Worthington junior defenseman Allison Kremer, who had done her share of disrupting Eagle offensive surges all game long.

“Those two, Thompson and Kremer, are really good hockey players,” declared Boler. “We lost track of them a few times and each of them can make you pay.”

Later, a long — from the left boards, along the blue line — slap shot by Kremer was rebounded by Trojan freshman wing Taylor Bryngelson, who scored her first varsity goal (15:08), trimming Windom’s lead to 4-2.

“I am so excited,” beamed Bryngelson about her goal. “I was just crashing the net like (Coach Milbrath) taught us to do. I couldn’t have done it, though, without Allison, who fired the shot. I just poked the puck into the net on the rebound.”

Both Kremer and Thompson were credited with assists on Bryngelson’s goal.

“Hats off to Worthington,” concluded a gracious Boler after the game. “That team has really improved and gave us another great game.”

“We can get better,” summed up Milbrath. “We played well in the first period and the third, but we still need to improve our passing and we can’t have a lull like we did in the last minutes of the second period.”

Both teams had nine shots on goal in the third period, as the Eagles held a 43-18 overall advantage. Steen finished with 16 saves, while Bristow was credited with 39.

Windom is idle until Feb. 7 when the Eagles (seeded fifth in Section 3A) open tournament play at fourth-seeded Fairmont, a squad which has defeated them three times this season.

Worthington (1-16) travels to St. Peter tonight and hosts Morris/Benson at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The sixth-seeded Trojans will open tournament action Feb. 7 at third-seeded Marshall.

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