Burnsville skates to 6-3 girls’ hockey win over New Ulm

File photo by Steve Muscatello New Ulm’s Caleigh Heck takes a shot during a recent game at the New Ulm Civic Center.

NEW ULM — For the second time in two games, the New Ulm Eagles girls’ hockey team had a new goalie in nets as starting goalie Cassie Reed recovers from an injury.

Freshman McKenna Strong — listed as a freshman defenseman on the New Ulm roster — got her first start in the nets.

While she matched Burnsville goalie Riley Prester with 19 saves in the game, the Blaze were able to score three more goals than the Eagles as they downed New Ulm 6-3 Saturday afternoon in nonconference girls’ hockey.

Ali Beltz scored twice for the Eagles with Molly Scheid adding a goal. New Ulm falls to 5-2 overall on the year.

Dani Weiss and Jackie Cowing each had an assist.

“I felt that the whole team stepped up today,”New Ulm coach Kristin Faber said. “We hung with them for two periods [trailing 3-1 after two periods] and we played well — they were probably two of the better periods we have played all year — before we ran out of gas in the third period.”

Burnsville grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first period when Hannah Benfer beat Strong at the 6:18 mark.

The Eagles, who get back into Big South Conference action Tuesday when they host Waseca, tied the game five seconds into the second period when Beltz scored on Prester.

But Burnsville scored twice on scores from Kennedy Anderson and Maria Widen for a 3-1 lead going into the final period.

The Blaze increased their lead to 5-1 in the third period before the Eagles got an unassisted goal from Beltz and a Scheid goal off an assist from Cowing to pull New Ulm to within 5-3 at the 14:43 mark.

“I was proud of the way that the girls played today,” said Faber. “They battled — they worked their tails off — and to see them play like that. I know we talked about the [4-3] loss to Delano being a good loss but I really liked the way we played today.”

Burnsville added a goal late for the 6-3 final.

Faber was also happy with the play of Strong, who stepped up in Reed’s absence.

“She practiced (Friday) and she was all jacked-up to play and I thought that she did a heck of a job,” Faber said. “She made some big saves on the power play for us. It is nice having girls who are willing to step up and fill that role for us.”

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