Girls hockey: Aljets, Trojans beat Fairmont
BY AARON HAGEN
WORTHINGTON -- It was only a matter of time for Kessey Aljets.
A ninth-grader on Worthington’s girls hockey team, Aljets kept getting good looks at the net in Thursday’s game against Fairmont.
After the Cardinals scored to cut the deficit to one in the third period, Aljets closed the game with a pair of goals in the final four minutes as Worthington earned a 4-1 victory.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten a goal, so it was nice to finally put one in the net,” Aljets said. “If you get a good shot, sometimes the goalies are quick and they get them, but you have to keep shooting, that’s how you get them.”
Worthington’s offense continued it’s hot hand against the Cardinals. The Trojans have averaged nearly five goals per game in their last five games.
“I feel like at the holiday tournament, they were really high-scoring games,” Aljets said. “We were just putting goals in the net and that boosted our confidence and showed us that we can put them in the net. We need to shoot and they’ll go in.”
On Thursday, it took awhile for WHS to get started. Worthington’s first shot on goal came with 9:32 left in the first period.
“I feel like we were a little frazzled in the beginning,” Aljets said. “Sometimes it takes a little bit to get in our groove and kind of slow it down, but keep the pressure. We have to slow it down and think, instead of, ‘shoot it, shoot it, shoot it.’ And just slow it down and control it so we can get a good shot.”
The first shot was a good one as Riley Nickel scored with Ashton Fogelman and Brynne White assisting as WHS led 1-0.
“It helps when we get up on the board first,” WHS goalie Kaylee Bents said. “It boosts our self esteem and it calms us down a little bit because we know we can get in there and get a goal.”
The second periods haven’t been kind to the Trojans this year, but Thursday was a different story as WHS outshot Fairmont 13-7 in the period.
“That was our best period all year. They actually came out and played right from the beginning of the period. That was a huge asset for the girls to play that way,” WHS head coach Chad Nickel said. “The girls played physical tonight. Things happen when our girls play physical.”
Late in the period Fogelman scored with an assist from White as WHS led 2-0.
“At practice we’ve been working on more creative drills and it’s helped us be more creative,” Aljets said. “When we’re doing drills where we’re doing the same thing over and over, I feel like it takes away the creativity. So when we’re doing those creative things at practice, it really shows in the game.”
The teams played back and forth throughout the third. However, Fairmont struck with 6:33 remaining to cut the deficit to 2-1.
“The girls were playing a little more defense and allowing them to move the puck a little more than the coaches would like them to move the puck,” Chad Nickel said. “They held their ground and held the pressure and toward the end, turned it the other way.”
In the final four minutes, Aljets put the game away. She scored on a breakaway with an assist from Kya Nickel to give Worthington a 3-1 lead and a little breathing room.
“Whenever I’m on a breakaway, I’m trying to figure should I deke or should I shoot,” Aljets said. “My coach told me at practice the other day he’s been watching me and we’ve been doing one-on-one and breakaways in practice and I’ve been shooting and I haven’t been getting them in. So at practice he told me start deking and it was working and I figured, ‘go for it.’ I missed the first breakaway on a deke, but I knew I had it I just lost control of it. I stuck with one play instead of changing my mind as I went down the ice.”
She later scored with 17 seconds remaining on an open net to seal the victory.
“We played really well as a team,” Bents said. “We stuck together and we knew where each other were on the ice. We were able to able to get it down on the other end and stay down there as much as we could.”
WHS finished with 29 shots on goal in the game, while Bents turned away 29 Fairmont chances.
“It was a fast game,” Bents said. “I had to keep moving and stay focused. It was a really, really fun game.”Fairmont 0 0 1 -- 1Worthington 1 1 2 -- 4