Feb. 21—WORTHINGTON — Call it a crazy kind of Covid schedule. The Worthington Trojans girls hockey team will go six days between Saturday's 6-2 victory over Morris-Benson and its next game, a Friday contest against Waseca in Worthington. Then it's six games from March 2 to March 12 to close out the regular season.
Fortunately for the Trojans, their home victory over the Storm was sufficiently one-sided to give the locals a much-needed boost.
Heading into the Saturday afternoon contest on home ice, the Trojans had lost five straight games to fall to 2-6 on the season. Before Morris-Benson came to town, the girls had lost consecutive games to Luverne by a combined score of 24-0.
That's enough to make a lesser team pull up stakes. But the Trojans answered with a sneer, and the Storm felt the brunt of it. WHS controlled the tempo of Saturday's game for more than 50 minutes, leading 6-0 before giving up a pair of meaningless goals with under a minute to play.
Junior forward Kessey Aljets scored two goals and had two assists for the bounce-back Trojans, and after the game she testified that her team is right where it's supposed to be now.
"When we do bad, we can't hang our heads on it, we just gotta let it go," she said. "Normally, we always do pretty good against Morris, but after those two losses against Luverne, we just thought, 'Let's just play hockey and show everybody what we got."
Worthington scored three times in the first period, twice in the second and once more in the third.
The very first goal was scored four and a half minutes into the game by junior defender Rosamaria Rodriguez on flurry just in front of the MB goal, assisted by Brynne White and Ashton Fogelman. With 8:23 to go in the period, Kory Nickel scored goal No. 2 with an assist by Aljets.
With about 35 seconds to play, Rodriquez lay almost motionless with a knee injury (she did not return) and the action was halted as teams returned to their locker rooms and the Zamboni appeared during the interval. When the teams returned, Worthington scored its third goal with 13 seconds remaining in the period on a goal by Aljets within a short distance of the net. Nickel and Lauren Nelson were credited with assists.
The Trojans continued to dominate in the second period. Aljets scored on a breakaway at the 4:01 mark, starting at the red line and confidently moving the puck side to side on her stick before depositing it into the back of the net. White then scored unassisted with 1:35 to go.
WHS made it 6-0 with only a minute gone in the third period as Angie Randgaard took charge of a loose puck and found an opening from 15 feet away.
The shutout was denied as Morris-Benson's Taryn Picht scored on breakaways with 52 and 30.2 seconds to go.
Despite the ending, Alexis Lyons played a strong game in goal for the winners, a fact noted by head coach Chad Nickel, who said, "She worked hard this week to be where she needed to be to make the saves."
Nickel was happy with the whole team.
"We were moving the puck. The big thing, we felt more confident this game," he said. "Going up against Luverne, it's always tough. The girls, usually they rebound pretty good. So we're just moving on. We're gonna figure on skating hard. Playing hard the next two weeks is our goal."
What Nickel said he saw on Saturday was a team that played its positions well, passed well, controlled the offensive zone, won races to the corners and moved the puck smartly through the neutral zone.
The win over Morris-Benson (1-5) certainly pleased Aljets, who moments afterward began looking with more confidence to the future.
"It's kind of nice to get these breaks in, and kinda work on some new things," she said.
Morris-Benson 0 0 2 — 2
Worthington 3 2 1 — 6