Steel continue to cruise

With 2-1 victory over Granite City, Steel take West Division lead

File photo by Steve Muscatello New Ulm’s Luc Kreuser launches a shot on goal during a recent game at the New Ulm Civic Center.

NEW ULM — There is a new leader in the West Division of the NA3HL.

Trevor Woytcke scored two goals, Steel goalie Ryan Kenny stopped 30 of 31 Granite City shots and the New Ulm Steel took over first place in the west with a tight 2-1 win over the Lumberjacks Saturday night at the New Ulm Civic Center in an NA3HL game.

Alex Nagel, Tom Reilly, Jimmy Miller and Dylan Boysen each had assists for the Steel.

The Steel now sit a point ahead of Granite City in the tough West Division.

And it was a game that came down to the final seconds.

Trailing 2-1, Granite City went on a power play with 1:17 left in the game and with the face-off coming in the Steel’s end, pulled goalie Ridge Gerards (18 saves) for a two-man advantage. But Kenny was up to the task, stopping five Lumberjacks shots in that span to preserve New Ulm’s fourth win in their last five games.

“And he made three or four grade “A” saves early in the game.” New Ulm coach Andrew Kolb said, as the Steel moved into first place for the first time in their seven-year franchise history (Twin City and New Ulm) after Christmas. “And Trevor — I always tell him to shoot the puck,” said Kolb about his defenseman, who got his sixth and seventh goals of the year in the game.

Woytcke’s first goal came from a bad angle and beat Gerards at 11:06 of the second period before earning his second goal and eventual game-winner when his shot was blocked but had enough steam to crawl over the goal line at 3:48 of the third period.

“I want our defenseman to hammer the puck when they have the chance and clean the roof off with their stick,” Kolb said.

The Steel are off until next Saturday, Jan. 6, when they again host Granite City.