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Girls hockey: Trojans win second game in a row

BY AARON HAGEN The Globe WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington girls hockey team is gaining momentum at the right time. With just one regular season game left before the playoffs begin, the Trojans won their second game in a row with a 3-2 victory over ...

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Worthington Trojans girls hockey player Kessey Aljets (13) takes control of the puck as Albert Lea's Alli Dulitz (6) defends. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)

BY AARON HAGEN

The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington girls hockey team is gaining momentum at the right time.

With just one regular season game left before the playoffs begin, the Trojans won their second game in a row with a 3-2 victory over Albert Lea on Monday night.

“It’s really nice having two in a row because it’s usually been a win, and then two losses and another win,” WHS ninth-grader Kory Nickel said. “Getting two in a row, it shows us that we can do this and we can really work hard and keep it together game after game.”

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A year ago, the Tigers defeated WHS 4-1 in Albert Lea. But from the drop of the puck, Worthington was in control.

“We looked at a lot of our mistakes from Saturday and really tried to fix them, like hustling and keeping our feet moving and geting our pasess, really looking up and seeing where our teammates are,” Worthington’s Kya Nickel said.

The Trojans, who picked up their sixth win this season, had opportunities in other games. But it wasn’t until the last two they’ve been able to close the game.

“These last two games have been a lot better as far as finishing that third period,” WHS head coach Chad Nickel said. “We’re a lot stronger where a lot of the other games we didn’t finish the third period.”

The Trojans have had 10 losses decided by two goals or less this year.

“I think the difference probably is we’ve gained more confidence over the close games we couldn’t pull off because we realize we just need to finish the game in the third period and get it over with and keep working our hardest until the end of the game,” Kory Nickel said.

The Trojans started out hot in the first period as they outshot the Tigers 15-3 and put two goals in the net.

“The first period we were explosive,” Chad Nickel said. “We outshot them 15-3. We were a little sluggish in the second, which we always seem to be. The third period we started off strong, and kind of got weak. It came down to the last two minutes and we held them.”

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Early in the first, Ashton Fogelman scored with an assist to Kory Nickel. Then, late in the first, Fogelman setup Kya Nickel for a goal. Cadence Van Ede was also credited with an assist.

“Ashton got the puck and we were going down two on one,” Kya said. “She backhanded it to me and I shot toward the goalie to the top right corner.”

AL answered with a goal in the second as each team had six shots on goal.

“Second periods aren’t usually our best,” Kory Nickel said. “We kind of slow down a little bit and get a little too comfortable with how we’re playing instead of keeping up what we’re doing and working hard.”

Makenna Nickel (assist from Kessey Aljets) gave the Trojans a 3-1 lead 33 seconds into the third period as the WHS offense continued to click.

“Our passing in the offensive zone was definitely way better from Saturday and that’s what created the opportunities to get shots on net,” Kya Nickel said. “We really got our defense involved in getting shots from the point. It was a really good offensive game for us.”

However, with 5:40 remaining, the Tigers answered with a goal to pull within one. Albert Lea pulled the goalie late in the game and had a flurry of shots, but the WHS defense held to earn the victory.

“I think at the end we were more focused on defense instead of scoring because if we could keep them from our net and out of our zone, we were going to take the win,” Kory Nickel said. “I think our defense was really, really good tonight. We’ve been working during games and during practice on making sure we play defense first and then when we get control of the puck, move on to playing offense.”

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Worthington finishes the regular season at Luverne before starting section play on Thursday.

“We just really have to continue to limit our mistakes and keep playing our game the best we can,” Kya Nickel said.

Albert Lea 0 1 1 -- 2

Worthington 2 0 1 -- 3

Related Topics: GIRLS HOCKEY
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