Luverne knocks off New Ulm boys

NEW ULM — With two minutes to go in the third period, the New Ulm Eagles boy’s hockey team held a 2-1 lead on Luverne and were on the power play.

But a bad play on the puck by the Eagles led to Kasyn Kruse scoring his second goal of the game to tie the game with just under  two minutes to play.

Luverne then completed the comeback as Nick Harder got the game-winner at the 1:09 mark of overtime as the Cardinals avenged an  earlier loss to New Ulm with a 3-2 win.

Nate Miller and Bayler Kraus scored goals for the Eagles  (9-10-1, 5-6) with Brandon Mehlhop adding two assists and Miller a helper.

New Ulm netminder Jack Raymond recorded 26 saves in the game as Luverne (16-5-1, 11-2) outshot the Eagles 29-23.

“I just got done telling the team we played a hell of a hockey game,” New Ulm coach Ryan Neuman said. “We battled and we just had a couple of mental mistakes there at the end  that cost us goals.”

The Eagles, who host Redwood Valley at 4:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon, appeared set to  sweep Luverne in the regular season.

On a five-on-three power play with Harder serving a five-minute major for checking from behind and Jim Erickson a cross-checking penalty, Kraus beat Luverne goalie Kaden Erickson with a shot from the slot at the 14:03 mark for a 2-1 lead.

But with the Eagles still on the power play, New Ulm made a mistake that cost it the lead and eventually the game.

“We made a bad play on the puck and we gave up a two-on-one (break),” said Neuman, who said that he had stressed to protect their net in a New Ulm timeout just seconds earlier. “We told them that we have to protect our net first because we are not necessarily trying to score a goal right away. If it happens, it happens but get the puck deep.”

That two-on-one allowed Kruse to knot the game and carry momentum into the overtime where Harder got some revenge with the game-winner.

New Ulm trailed 1-0 when Kruse scored on a backhander midway through the second period.

“Our center got cutoff by the wing — he got out of play — and he took someone that he shouldn’t have and let that guy walk out  of  the corner,” Neuman said. “Again it was a mental mistake. We will talk about them.”

Miller knotted the contest with less than a minute left in the second period.

Neuman said that the loss is tough to take but he said it is better now than in the playoffs.

“This was not a good way to lose a hockey game but I know we will see them again in the playoffs.”