NEW ULM - It didn't take New Ulm's Brandon Helget long to score his first hat trick of the season.
Helget scored three first-period goals and teammate Blake Neumann added two scores in the opening 17 minutes as the Eagles made a statement for the No. 1 seed in Section 3A with a 7-1 win over Marshall Thursday at the New Ulm Civic Center.
Collin Kral and Judd Davis added goals in the second and third period, respectively.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm’s Josh Cooper collides with Austin Leek of Marshall during the first period Thursday at the New Ulm Civic Center.
Wyatt Peterson and Colin Huffman each added two assists with Ethan Kraus, Cole Dulas, Lucas Heiderscheidt, Neumann and Davis each adding an assist.
New Ulm goalie Brach Kraus stopped 16 of 17 shots in the contest.
Marshall goalie Adam Cavazos stopped 34 of 41 New Ulm shots.
"No question, this was the best hockey game that we have played all season," New Ulm coach Erik Setterholm said. "We took care of business tonight. I am very proud of the team -we have waited a long time this year to play a complete game in a huge section win for us."
With both New Ulm and Marshall along with Southwest Conference team Luverne looking for that top seed, it was New Ulm who came out and completely dominanted the Tigers, who entered the game with an 11-7-1 mark.
Helget got the Eagles on the board just over one minute into the game when he lifted a backhander by Cavazos.
Five minutes later, Neumann penciled in his first goal of the evening when he took a pass from Davis, who was behind the Tigers' net, and rifled it into the net for a 2-0 lead.
The tandem of Helget and Neumann each scored three minutes apart for a 4-0 lead.
Marshall's Quinn Horvath got the Tigers on the board before Helget got his hat trick with an unassisted goal at the 16-minute mark for a 5-1 lead in the opening period.
"We have been playing good hockey recently," said Helget, who got his first varsity hat trick and upped his season goal total to 16, second to Neumann's team-leading 22 goals. "We wanted to get on a roll and keep it going into the playoffs."
Setterholm said that his team did not play as well in its defensive zone.
"But we did play better later and we held them to six total shots in the last two periods," the coach said.
The Eagles, who have road games at Waconia and Fairmont to close out the regular season, added a goal from Kral at the 9:39 mark of period two to increase the New Ulm lead to 6-1.
Davis' backhander gave New Ulm a power play goal as the junior recorded his 13th goal of the season for a 7-1 lead to bring up running time with almost five minutes left to play in the game.
"This was a total team effort," Setterholm said. "We dominated and thar was what we needed to do. This puts us undefeated in the section, This was what I was looking for going into the end of the season."
As far as the number one seed, Setterholm said that it does not matter that much.
"The section is a four or five team race and anyone who lets their guard down and has a bad game can get beat," Setterholm said.