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Luverne boys hockey team clips Worthington, 5-3

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Luverne's Jacob Von Tersch (right) receives congratulations from teammate Cade Wenninger (13) after scoring a goal Thursday night against the Worthington Trojans. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)

LUVERNE -- Jacob Von Tersch said his team wanted to be aggressive.

And from the onset, he made sure to set the tone for the Luverne boys hockey team.

Von Tersch scored two first-period goals as the Cardinals earned a 5-3 victory over Worthington on Thursday night.

“We’ve been talking about it a lot, just buzzing around and being fast and being aggressive,” he said. “Tonight we were finally aggressive and it worked out for us.”

Nothing has come easy this season for the Cardinals, so it wasn’t a surprise to be locked in another tough contest with the Trojans.

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“That’s the battle I was expecting tonight,” Luverne head coach Phillip Paquette said. “We have a team here that’s finding their strengths offensively and really starting to turn the corner there. But we’ve been in a lot of close games so far, win and loss, everything’s been tight. We’ve won a couple one-goal games right down to the wire coming into this game.”

But, like they’ve been doing all season, the Cardinals found a way.

“Tonight we were really flying around and that’s probably the best game we’ve played all year,” Von Tersch said. “We finally got the boys to work hard. We were in their zone most of the game and finally got some shots to go in. That’s what we’ve been looking for this whole year and it finally started to click.”

In each of Von Tersch’s first-period goals, he used some nice puck movement to skate around the Worthington defense to find the net.

“I just saw the puck, saw the guys coming at me, went around a few and shot it in,” he said.

Worthington answered in the second as Blake Ahrenstorff scored to cut the deficit. However, Easton Braun scored for the Cardinals before Ahrenstorff added his second of the period. But again, Luverne responded with a Tyler Roberts goal, which was short handed.

“The kids played a good game, they brought a really good effort,” WHS head coach Tyler Nienkerk said. “We’ve been talking about it, right now there are some little things we have to be able to clean up if we’re going to beat a team like Luverne. We’re still having a struggle battling in front of the net and constantly picking that guy up. It cost us tonight.”

In the third, Kipton Jenson brought the Trojans within a one after an early goal. Six minutes later, the Cardinals put the game away with a power-play goal.

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“In practice, we’ve been working on it a lot, just sliding it over to that guy,” Von Tersch said. “Colby Crabtree just ripped one home and scored for us. Hopefully that sets a spark for the rest of the year.”

It was their first power-play goal all season.

“I’m very relieved to see that one go in,” Paquette said. “We have found a way to score when we needed a goal so far this year. They have not come easy, but we have found a way to get a goal when we needed. Look back to the last game, Windom tied it with less than two minutes left and we found a way to score before regulation was over. We’ve kept teams in it, we’ve kept games close, but we’ve found a way to put it away in the end. So I have to hand it to our kids.”

Despite a rush by the Trojans -- including a power play in the final three minutes -- the Cardinals (5-2) held on for yet another close victory.

Worthington 0 2 1 -- 3

Luverne 2 2 1 -- 5

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Making a sharp turn, Worthington boys hockey player Carlos Garcia (12) tries to elude a pair of Luverne Cardinals Thursday night in Luverne. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)

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