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The Drill: Trojans' Benson gives something extra to hockey

Andrew Benson, a co-captain on the Worthington High School boys hockey team, learned to skate when he was young. Now he brings his football talents to hockey, combining toughness with finesse.

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Andrew Benson action photo Drill. Tim Middagh/The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- You’ve gotta be nimble on your feet to be a hockey player, and it helps also to be ready to engage in physical contact.

Andrew Benson, a co-captain on the 2021-22 Worthington High School boys hockey team, learned to skate when he was young. Now a well-built senior who played tight end and defensive end on the fall football team, he easily carries his talents over to the winter sport that combines toughness with finesse.

When asked which positive hockey attributes he most sees in himself, he chooses one -- then adds something a little extra.

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“I can see the ice really well. I know where all my teammates are at. I know just how to get the puck around, how to keep it flowing,” he explained recently. “The physical aspect of the game is probably the best part, besides scoring. Yeah, hitting people is fun, the body contact.”

The season is still young for this new Worthington Trojans boys hockey team, so coaches and players are feeling optimistic. The squad posted a 4-16 record a season ago, though it could have been much better with all the close games the Trojans wound up on the wrong side of. This year’s team is more experienced.

Benson, who plays three high school sports -- baseball , too -- is a defenseman on the ice. He’s also called upon to be a team leader.

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Worthington High School Trojan football seniors are (front row from left) Jake Ahrensforff, Cristian Lopez, Abby Bristow, Andrew Benson, Octavio Flores, Levi Kuhl, Cole Hennings, Tanner Hennings, (back row) Kevin Chicas, Antonio Heser-Leiva, Jake Brandner, Blake Ahrenstorff, Blake Luinenburg, Drew Dorcey, Matthew Becker, Teyel Lowe, Riley Widboom and Luke Gordon. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

“Being a captain, I do things on and off the ice, like make sure everybody’s getting to the weight room, make sure everybody’s bonding well together, make sure everybody’s having fun, especially. And also, on the ice, gotta keep everybody going, everybody pushing, working harder every day. And just being a good role model,” he said.

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He believes the 2021-22 Trojans are “much better” than the previous model. Experience, alone, justifies that assessment. Now, said the second-year captain, more of the players understand what’s expected of them.

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Worthington Trojans Andrew Benson (10) takes a shot on goal past New Ulm defenders Josh Gulden (On left) and Jacob Berg (22) during Thursday night's game at the Worthington Ice Arena. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

This week’s Globe Drill subject , Benson -- who enjoys hunting and fishing when he’s not playing a sport -- was interviewed and videotaped at a recent practice. You can see the video online at www.dglobe.com . Here’s a sample of the interview:

QUESTION: How did you become interested in hockey ?

ANSWER: “I started hockey when I was really little. That’s just what the older people in my family played; my brother, my cousins, everybody. They didn’t really push me, they just put me on the ice. And I guess it was my thing.”

QUESTION: Have you got a special story to tell about something that happened to you in your sports experience? Something funny? Something dramatic or just plain weird?

ANSWER: “A story that I’ll always remember -- pretty sure it was my second year as a Squirt. So really little. I can’t remember who, but someone shot it at our own goalie, and it hit off me, and then I ended up skating all the way down to score a goal. It was pretty crazy.”

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QUESTION: Have you made some plans for after you graduate?

ANSWER: “After I graduate, I want to study aquatic biology. Not sure where yet, but I’ve kind of got an idea. Aquatic biology interests me because I just want to help with lakes and waterways, make ‘em nice again. And that started when I was young. I’ve always had a dream of trying to help save the wildlife.”

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