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WHS boys hockey team reinforced by strong senior class

Worthington High School boys hockey team begins the season with three good lines and the return of both captains from a year ago.

WORTHINGTON — Seniors Konner Honius and Andrew Benson were captains on last year’s Worthington High boys hockey team, and both will be Trojan leaders again this winter.

And they’ve got a lot of help.

“It’s a really good senior group,” said head coach Tyler Nienkerk. “If everybody’s available I think we’ve got three good lines. But we’ll have to prove it out on the ice.”

The Trojans open the season Tuesday at New Ulm. The team’s first home game was supposed to be Dec. 2, but that one has been moved to Feb. 14. So the Trojans’ home opener is Dec. 14 against Fairmont.

Worthington, which is in Section 3A’s Big South Conference, finished 4-16 last season and has an abundance of talent and experience returning. But graduation losses included starting goaltender Preston Thavixay. He had a solid 4.33 goals-against average in 17 starts last year.


“Losing Preston is a hit, but we’ve got two senior goalies who are really good, themselves, and they’ll step in and be just fine,” Nienkerk said, referring to Steven Adams and Matthew Becker.

The Trojans’ top six scorers from last season return. WHS was outscored 96-47 last winter, according to statistics on , and there is reason to believe the Trojans will be much improved.

Honius and Benson are talented forwards. Benson had a team-high 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) last year, while Honius led the squad with nine goals.

Other solid players back for the Trojans include senior forwards Blake Ahrenstorff (seven goals, seven assists last year), Blake Luinenburg (nine goals, six assists) and Alec Langerud (seven goals, eight assists.)

“Our first line (Langerud, Ahrenstorff and Honius) is very fast and it will be exciting to see those guys go,” Nienkerk said. “We have good team speed. But we don’t have a big team, in numbers. So we’ve got to stay healthy.”

Several young skaters saw significant ice time last season, including Caden Van Briesen. He impressed during preseason workouts.

“Caden looks good,” Nienkerk said. “Really looks like he’s ready to make some big strides.”

Also back are senior defenseman Jake Ahrenstorff and sophomore forward Dawson Duangpai, who had four goals in limited playing time last winter.


Nienkerk is a WHS alum and former Trojan hockey player. This is his fourth season as head coach. His assistants are Skyler Wenninger and Kody Honius.

Nienkerk said it’s a special feeling to coach his alma mater.

“We’re trying to keep the numbers up and build toward a winning culture,” he said. “I grew up in the Worthington Hockey Association and I love it. It would mean a lot to get the high school team back to its winning ways.”

It’s been some time since a Trojan hockey team won more than it lost. Nienkerk and his assistants are hopeful this turns out to be a memorable season.

“At the end of the day, we want to be in the top four of the playoffs,” Nienkerk said. “We’d like to be right there, a win away from the final four that advance to Gustavus (for section semifinals and finals).”

Related Topics: HOCKEY
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