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OT goal by Megan Dykstra gives Worthington 3-2 hockey win over Mankato West

The Worthington Trojans girls hockey team won its season opener Tuesday night in exciting fashion

Worthington Trojans goalie Lillyana Newman (1) blocks a shot from Mankato West Scarlets forward Marleigh Jordan (5) Tuesday night at the Worthington Ice Arena.
Worthington Trojans goalie Lillyana Newman (1) blocks a shot from Mankato West Scarlets forward Marleigh Jordan (5) Tuesday night at the Worthington Ice Arena.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
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WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Trojans girls hockey team attempted only one shot in the overtime period Tuesday night against Mankato West.

And it was a doozy.

Megan Dykstra, a senior forward, collected a pass from teammate Lauren Nelson and embarked on a long skate toward the West goal, covering more than half the length of the ice. She outskated a defender to a clearing and reached her destination just a few short feet in front of the net. Then she shot. And the puck went in, giving WHS a 3-2 OT victory over the Scarlets in the Trojans’ first game of the regular season in Worthington.

Only 2:25 had elapsed in the 8-minute overtime period.

Trojans forward Riley Nickel (16) drives into the open ahead of Mankato West Scarlets Ella Olson during a Tuesday night game in Worthington.
WHS forward Riley Nickel (16) drives into an open area ahead of Mankato West's Ella Olson.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

Dykstra’s plan was perfect.

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“I closed my eyes as it went in. And then I opened my eyes and it was in,” she said later.

“I had a good pass from Lauren, and then I knew I had to skate real fast to get past that (Mankato West) player. Then I got past her and I felt I couldn’t stick-handle. And then I just shot, and it went in,” she explained.

She had to think about getting her stick in position to shoot.

“My stick was real far in front of me. And somehow I made the shot,” Dykstra said.

Worthington Trojans Cadence Van Ede (12) looks to pass as Mankato West Scarlets Lori Betancourt (17), Eliana Rickbeil (2) and Maree Zimmerman move in on her  during a Tuesday night game at the Worthington Ice Arena.
Worthington girls hockey player Cadence Van Ede (12) looks to pass as the Mankato West Scarlets' Lori Betancourt (17), Eliana Rickbeil (2) and Maree Zimmerman move in on her Tuesday night.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

It was a great way to begin the season for Worthington. Senior goalkeeper Lillyana Newman made 39 saves Tuesday night, including several difficult ones. Mankato West scored both of its goals on power plays, but the Trojans got two from Riley Nickel and finally the game-winner.

“That’s all that matters. One shot,” said WHS head coach Chad Nickel. “She definitely made that one count. She dug down and kept pushing it, and she made a good quality shot.”

After a scoreless first period, Worthington scored first with 12:30 remaining in the second period as Nickel, a senior forward, let go of a shot attempt only a few yards in front of the blue line near the boards. It nestled into the lower left side of the net.

It appeared as if Mankato West goalie Alyna Smith’s vision might have been partially obscured by a teammate that was hovering just a foot or two in front of her. Regardless, the Trojans led 1-0.

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MORE HOCKEY
Tuesday night high school sports roundup:
WORTHINGTON -- Morris-Benson started well in both games, sweeping the Worthington Trojans girls and boys hockey teams on Saturday.
The Worthington Trojans girls’ and boy’s hockey teams both played home games on Thursday night. The girls’ team celebrated Senior Night and played the non-conference Austin Packers. Austin beat Worthington 6-1.

West scored with 4:16 remaining in the second on a power play goal by Hope Rademaker.

Then with 8:46 to play in the third period the Scarlets took a 2-1 lead on another power play goal. With a 3-on-5 advantage, West’s Maree Zimmerman got the goal in the midst of a scrum in front of the Trojans’ net.

Finally, with just 4:21 remaining in the game, Nickel exhibited some deft skating with the puck, outracing the defense to a clear shot that she finished into the upper left portion of the net. The puck struck the pole and went right in.

Mankato West out-shot Worthington 38-22 through three periods. But like Coach Nickel said, it only takes one. And one, in overtime, was enough for the Trojans.

The coach praised all his players for the exciting win, and he also made sure to credit Newman.

“I will definitely say she was on fire tonight. She was phenomenal. She was focused. There were some quality shots that she stopped.”

Mankato West 0 1 1 0 -- 2

Worthington 0 1 1 1 -- 3

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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