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Marshall ices Trojan boys, 4-1

It’s often difficult to win a hockey game when your opponent manages 20 more shots on goal. That was the case Friday night for the Worthington High School boys hockey team, which nevertheless played the visiting Marshall Tigers tough to the end in dropping a 4-1 decision.

WORTHINGTON — It’s often difficult to win a hockey game when your opponent manages 20 more shots on goal.

That was the case Friday night for the Worthington High School boys hockey team, which nevertheless played the visiting Marshall Tigers tough to the end in dropping a 4-1 decision. The Tigers and Trojans were knotted at 1-all until late in the second period, when Marshall tallied a go-ahead goal, and the visitors added a pair of scores in the third stanza — including an empty-netter with just over 30 seconds remaining.

The Tigers set the tone for the game early by controlling a majority of the contest’s opening 17 minutes, yet they had little to show for it.

After Marshall’s Braxton Meyer scored at 5:49 of the first period (assisted by Jared Reinsma), the Tigers kept the Trojans virtually shot-free. But WHS goalie Preston Thavixay — a senior playing in his last regular-season home game — was up to the challenge, stopping the other 12 shots he faced in the first.

Then, with just over a minute remaining before the intermission, junior Andrew Benson beat Marshall goalie Ezra Maurice to tie the score at 1-apiece on an assist from junior Alec Langerud.

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“Alec worked hard and went to get the puck back and made a good pass to Benson, who ripped a nice shot on net and scored,” WHS coach Tyler Nienkerk said.

The goal, which came at the 15:54 mark, made the game even despite the Tigers having outshot the Trojans 13-2.

“We settled down after a bit in the first and it felt good to get in at 1-1 after the first,” Nienkerk said. “Then we had a lot of zone time in the second, but just weren’t able to bury any.”

WHS, in fact, outshot Marshall 16-13 in the second period, but couldn’t put the puck in the net. The Trojans actually had four shots on goal in the first minute or so of the second — compared to just two in the entire first period — but came away empty-handed.

As the second intermission approached, Marshall gave Worthington a taste of its own medicine with a late-period score of its own. Sean Nwaiga capitalized on a breakaway opportunity at 15:57, beating Thavixay up close to give the Tigers the lead back.

Though they could have gotten down, the Trojans still had plenty of fight left.

“We’d had a lot of chances, and we didn’t feel like we were out of the game just because they got that one goal,” Nienkerk said.

WHS definitely wasn’t out of it, but Marshall wasn’t done either. The Tigers wound up with an 18-6 advantage on shots on goal in the third period, with Meyer tallying his second score of the game (assists from Reinsma and Jackson Bladholm) at 9:05 for a two-goal cushion. Logan Deutz had Marshall’s final goal after Thavixay was pulled for an extra offensive attacker.

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“You can’t give up 40-something shots on goal and expect to win,” said Nienkerk, whose team was outshot 46-24 overall. “Preston gave us a chance, certainly.”

The victory for the Tigers avenged a 5-3 loss they suffered to WHS on March 6 in Marshall. The Trojans broke a 13-game losing skid with that win.

Worthington, now 3-15 on the year, is done with its regular season and will likely learn of its initial postseason opponent on Sunday afternoon.

Marshall 1 1 2 -- 4

Worthington 1 0 0 -- 1

What To Read Next
Friday night high school sports roundup:
WORTHINGTON – Injuries and fouls plagued the Worthington Trojans girl’s basketball team in a Big South Conference contest against stalwart St. Peter on Friday night. The Saints defeated the Trojans 74-53.
WORTHINGTON – The top 10 teams in Minnesota Class A high school gymnastics will be in Worthington on Saturday (Jan. 28) for the state True Team meet. Participating teams are Becker, Benson, Big Lake, Byron, Detroit Lakes, Mankato West, Melrose, New London-Spicer, St. Peter, and Worthington.
Tom Goehle, son of legendary coach Hugo Goehle, was once a star athlete at Hills-Beaver Creek High School. Now he gives back through coaching and his involvement in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.