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Trojans squeeze by Cardinals in boys hockey game, 2-1

GETTING DEFENSIVE — Fairmont Area’s Lucas Flohrs (front left) clears the puck out of the zone as Cardinals’ goaltender Carsen Musser and defender Carter Olson (back left), along with Worthington’s Konner Honius, watch during Big South action Thursday night in Fairmont. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — One second-chance shot made the difference in Worthington’s 2-1 Big South Conference hockey win over Fairmont Area.

Konner Honius hit the eventual game-winning goal for the Trojans after having a breakaway chance blocked Thursday night at Martin County Arena.

Krew Aljets collected the puck behind the Trojan goal and fired a pass to a cutting Honius who had gotten behind the back line of Fairmont Area’s defense. Honius sprinted ahead for a one-on-one with Cardinal goalie Carsen Musser, then tried to wrist a shot past the Fairmont Area netminder.

Musser blocked the initial shot, but the rebound slid out to Honius as he came closer to the goal. Honius connected to send the puck into the right side of the webbing, putting Worthington ahead 2-1.

The Cardinals had chances in the final period, with Worthington committing three penalties, including a five-minute major when Colby Nickel charged for a puck near the Fairmont Area goal and made head contact with Musser, causing a pause in the game.

Musser was checked out by head coach Dylan VanBrocklin and determined to be healthy enough to stay in the game.

VanBrocklin said though the contact looked rough, he didn’t see it as an intentional play.

“I think (Musser) seems to be all right,” VanBrocklin said. “You’re supposed to play to the whistle, you’re supposed to drive to the net. I didn’t see it that well. … He didn’t mean to do it, so it wasn’t intentional. It was just unfortunate.”

With a 5-on-3 situation in the Cardinals’ favor for 1:30 near the end of the period, Fairmont Area could only muster two shots on goal. The advantage was back to 5-on-4 for the final 1:18, but the Cardinals didn’t get a single shot on goal.

The Cardinals got an early lead when Hudson Artz took an Eli Anderson pass near the bench-side boards, controlled through the Trojan defense into the right faceoff circle then fired the puck upper shelf on the right side of the net with 4:04 left in the opening period.

Worthington wouldn’t let the lead stand for long as Kipton Jenson used a power-play opportunity for an equalizer. Jenson sped past the Fairmont Area defense before wristing the puck into the right side of the webbing to tie the matchup at 1.

Worthington outshot Fairmont Area 49-15 in the matchup.

Musser made 47 saves in net for the Cardinals, while Steven Adams made 14 to net the win for the Trojans.

VanBrocklin said the team is continuing to improve, but still faces the same issues it has faced all season. He said with nearly half the roster not dressing for various reasons, there is still more the players could give.

“We had more hustle than last game,” VanBrocklin said. “We’re just still losing those little battles. Those battles at the blue line or in the corner, all those little one-on-one battles that we continually lose. When we do finally get the puck out, we win that one battle then we lose the next two. We’ve got to win all of them.

“None of the kids were exhausted, they all still had more. … Getting up to that, to the point where they are exhausted, that’s what we need to get to.”

Fairmont Area (2-12, 1-8 Big South) travels to Morris for a 3 p.m. matchup Saturday with Morris/Benson Area in the second half of a girl-boy doubleheader.

Worthington (3-11, 3-7 Big South) plays host to Waseca at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Worthington 1-1-0–2

Fairmont Area 1-0-0–1

Scoring Plays

1st Period

FA–Hudson Artz (Eli Anderson), 4:04.

WO–Kipton Jenson (unassisted), 2:11 PP.

2nd Period

WO–Konner Honius (Krew Aljets), 4:25.

3rd Period

No scoring.

Shots on goal: FA 7-5-3–15; WO 20-15-14–49.

Saves: Carsen Musser (FA) 47; Steven Adams (WO) 14.

Penalties: Fairmont Area 6 for 12 minutes; Worthington 6 for 15 minutes.

Power-play chances: Fairmont Area 0 for 6; Worthington 1 for 6.

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