NEW ULM - The New Ulm boys hockey team started the new year off right with an important 3-2 section victory over Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato Saturday night at the New Ulm Civic Center.
Blake Neumann, Mitch Neid and Brandon Helget each scored goals for the Eagles, who improve to 6-5-1 on the season and 3-0 in section play.
"I'm just happy to get the win," New Ulm head coach Erik Setterholm said. "I don't think it should have been that close - I thought we dominated at times. We didn't have any 'puck luck' tonight, we had a shot go off both poles and a couple crossbars."
Staff photo by Mark Newsom
The New Ulm Eagles’ Blake Neumann (right) takes a shot on goal during the second period against Litchfield goalie Kent Ryynanen Saturday evening at the New Ulm Civic Center.
"The game could have been broken open early," he added. "It shows a lot for that group of guys in there to come and get that win in a game that wasn't going well for us. It's a big win for us."
New Ulm was down 1-0 early in the second period when after a couple breakaway missed opportunities, Brandon Helget put the Eagles on the board.
Helget found himself with the puck right in front of the goalie as he spun around and shot it into the back of the net to tie the game.
New Ulm held control for much of the second period, but they couldn't capitalize and the game was tied heading into the final period.
The Eagles wasted no time scoring in the third period as Blake Neumann's snipe with 15:00 left put the Eagles up 2-1.
Litchfield was tagged with a five-minute penalty with just over 10 minutes remaining, and it looked like it was the perfect time for the Eagles to seal the game.
New Ulm controlled the puck for the entire first half of the penalty. However, after a barrage of shots Litchfield managed to get the puck down into New Ulm's zone and Aaron Haataja shot it past Brach Kraus for the short-handed goal, tying the game up 2-2 with 7:41 remaining.
New Ulm couldn't score for the remainder of the power play, but with 2:18 remaining New Ulm senior Mitch Neid came up huge.
While falling down, Neid found a way to rip it past Litchfield's goalie and the Eagles took a 3-2 advantage.
Litchfield pulled its goalie in the last minute and Brach Kraus made four saves down the stretch as the Eagles escaped with the victory.
The Eagles will be back on the ice on Tuesday night when they travel to Kasson to take on Dodge County before returning home for a tough game against the Rochester Lourdes.
"We just faced Dodge County last week and we played a pretty good game against them (New Ulm won 7-3 at the Rochester holiday tournament)," Setterholm said. "The thing that we have to get over is the bus ride down there - we need to get our legs moving."