NEW ULM - For two periods, the New Ulm Eagle girl's hockey team played what Eagle head coach Angie Zeig called "two of the best that I have seen our program play in the three years that I have coached."
Unfortunately, the third period was nothing to write home about for the Eagles.
Katy Kvasnicka's clearing shot from just inside Mankato West's blue line went the length of the ice and got by New Ulm goalie Shalyn Salonek to give the Scarlets a 3-1 lead.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm’s Morgan Zollner (10) attempts to get around Mankato West defender Callie Looft (14) Tuesday at the New Ulm Civic Center.
For more photos of this event, go to cu.nujournal.com
West added a fourth goal later in the third period to skate away with a 4-1 win over the Eagles in non-conference hockey at the New Ulm Civic Center.
Kvasnicka's clearing pass that turned into a goal gave her the hat trick on the night.
Callie Loft added a goal for the Scarlets.
Brittany Denn had the lone goal on an assist from sister Kali Denn.
"We looked very good for two periods," said Zeig about her team that was out-shot 25-16 after two periods and trailed just 2-1. "But right at the beginning of the third period they scored that goal - it was a demoralizing goal - and that was when we stopped playing as a team. We started to play more as individuals. We were having so much success in the first two periods."
West scored first when Kvasnicka and the Scarlets were short-handed and her shot snuck by Salonek on her glove side for a 1-0 lead at the 12:36 mark.
But the Eagles, who were out-shot 14-4 in that opening period, got on the board when New Ulm's "Sister Act" combined for the Eagles' first goal of the season.
Kali Denn's initial shot was stopped by Scarlet goalie Theresa Coughlan. But younger sister Brittany Denn was there to put the puck by the senior West goalie.
"That was a nice rebound goal and it was what we are concentrating on with the team cocept," Zeig said. "We want to play together as a team and put shots on the net."
Kvasnicka and the Scarlets got on the board for the lone goal in the second period when Kvasnicka forced a turnover in the Eagle zone and beat Salonek.
"She has been one of their top players for the last couple of years," Zeig said. "She is a good stick-handler. We were able to play with her much better than we have in the past - we had let her control things. I though that we were doing a nice job of trying to separate her from the puck. When she gets close to the net she reminds me of (former New Ulm hockey player) Korinne O'Connor."
With shots nearly even after two periods, the Eagles looked for a solid third period which did not happen.
"It is one of those fluke things that you do not know is going to happen," Zeig said. "It affected us quite a bit. I do think that it was a lack of concentration. She (Salonek) knows that she has to go back and check her angles during that time. I think that her stick was not on the ice - she was not prepared for that. Those shots can be tricky to because you do not know if it is going to bounce up or slide. We will work on that.
"This was a game that had the normal first game of the season nerves," Zeig said. "We can build off of the first two periods."