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Minnesota River starts fast, beats WHS boys hockey team 6-1

Worthington's  Spenser Nickel (2) intercepts the puck from Minnesota River Bulldogs forward  Kellen O'Keefe (15) and sets up a pass to Trojan teammate Dylan Dykstra (14) Saturday afternoon  at the  Worthington Ice Arena.
Worthington's Spenser Nickel (2) intercepts the puck from Minnesota River Bulldogs forward Kellen O'Keefe (15) and sets up a pass to Trojan teammate Dylan Dykstra (14) Saturday afternoon at the Worthington Ice Arena.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
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WORTHINGTON -- It didn’t take long for the Minnesota River Bulldogs to get started Saturday afternoon in their boys hockey game against the Worthington Trojans.

Just 17 seconds into the game, the Dogs’ Drew Simonette gave teammate Diego Hettig a perfectly-placed backwards pass 25 feet in front of the WHS net, and Hettig scored with it.

After one period, Minnesota River led the home team 3-0 at the Worthington Ice Arena, and the Trojans never recovered, losing 6-1.

Worthington Trojans goalie Collin Ahlers raises his glove to catch a shot on goal from visiting Minnesota River Bulldogs at the Worthington Ice Arena Saturday afternoon.
Worthington Trojans goalie Collin Ahlers raises his glove to catch a shot from visiting Minnesota River Saturday afternoon.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

“Just like the last few games, we have some stretches of some pretty good hockey, but some mistakes. And they cost us,” said head coach Tyler Nienkerk.

Worthington is a youthful team, with just one senior on the roster. They’re also not deep, and Nienkerk pointed out, “We don’t have the depth to kind of roll with three lines consistently. This is a rough game to do it with two lines.”

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The Trojans, however, enjoyed one memorable moment with 12:20 remaining in the second period. Easton Newman, a junior forward, moved all alone with the puck and maneuvered his way for a successful shot. He skated left, veered to the right into a small open place on the ice. He slapped the puck into the net briskly while still moving to the right side.

It was unassisted, and with it the Trojans retained some hope, pulling to within 3-1.

Worthington Trojans Easton Newman passes the puck down ice to a teammate during a game against the visiting Minnesota River Bulldogs at the Worthington Ice Arena Saturday afternoon.
Worthington's Easton Newman passes the puck down ice to a teammate Saturday. Newman scored the Trojans' only goal against Minnesota River.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

Alas, Minnesota River scored the next three goals. The Bulldogs had gotten two more first period goals by Simonette and Isaac Schaffer, with assists credited to Alex Schaffer, Cole Goecke and Brooks Reicks, and then a goal with 4:58 showing in the second period by Ethan Hathaway (assisted by Hettig and Simonette) made the score 4-1.

In the third period, Hettig scored again at 7:30 (Isaac Schaffer and Simonette were credited with assists), and Judson Narum scored unassisted at the 5:59 mark.

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For most of the game, the Trojans weren’t afraid of getting physical with the Bulldogs, but they didn’t show prowess at controlling the puck and left themselves vulnerable.

“It just kind of comes from being a young team,” said Nienkerk. “We just gotta eliminate those high danger mistakes.”

Minnesota River evened its record to 2-2 with the win. Worthington fell to 0-3.

Minnesota River 3 1 2 -- 6

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Worthington 0-1-0 -- 1

Related Topics: HOCKEYWORTHINGTON TROJANS
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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