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Minnesota River blanks Worthington boys hockey team

Worthington Trojans

WORTHINGTON -- The Minnesota River Bulldogs were dogged enough to shut out the Worthington Trojans 3-0 Monday night in a boys high school hockey game.

After a scoreless first period, the Dogs scored back-to-back goals in a span of less than two minutes, then added a late third-period goal for insurance.

The Trojans received a solid effort from junior goaltender Preston Thavixay, but the offense didn’t show up all the way.

“There was some good battle. Just not enough finish,” said WHS head coach Tyler Nienkerk. “Can’t give up 41 shots.”

Both teams came ready to play early in the first period. Both squads were aggressive and showing off some fast action. Thavixay stopped a couple of shots in the opening minutes with his midsection, and he later stopped a 3-on-1 breakaway.

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Worthington had a few chances, too. One hard shot ricocheted off the Minnesota River pipe.

Then in the second period, with 6:05 showing on the game clock, the Bulldogs’ Charlie Weick found net from about 15 feet away on the right side, assisted by Brady Sowder and Shawn Lehtinen. Quickly after, at 4:38, Reece Weydert scored on assists from Brock Olson and Matt Fink.

With about six minutes to go in the third period, Worthington found itself with a power play opportunity, but no shots hit the mark. Lehtinen broke away from a pack with 2:38 remaining to get some insurance.

Thavixay, Nienkerk said, “played well again. He kept us in it for sure. There were a lot of odd-man rushes. He kept us in the game.”

For the rest of the Trojans, the effort was there. But Nienkerk gave credit where credit was due -- to the Bulldogs, who worked hard without the puck and knew where their teammates were on the ice.

His Trojan players, said the coach, need to increase their awareness. Too many times they get control of the puck and then look to see where their teammates are at. Teams that finish know where teammates are already at when they get the puck.

A little more grit near the finish line wouldn’t hurt, either.

“It’s really just to battle a little harder at the net, and get a few more shots on the net. It doesn’t have to be pretty,” Nienkerk said.

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Worthington attempted 15 shots in Monday’s game, compared to Minnesota River’s 41. The loss dropped WHS to 3-15 on the season while Minnesota River improved to 11-9.

Minnesota River 0 2 1 -- 3

Worthington 0 0 0 -- 0

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