NEW ULM - Coming off of two section games where the New Ulm girls hockey team outscored its opponents 17-0, the Eagles were matched up with a little bit more competition Saturday afternoon.
The Austin Packers made the trip to the New Ulm Civic Center and both teams played fairly even throughout. However, it was New Ulm's two third period goals that lifted the Eagles to a 3-2 victory.
Erika Ries, Lexi Fischer and Lexie Weiss each scored for New Ulm, while Brittany Denn and Brook Schugel each had an assist.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm’s Kali Denn (9) battles for the puck with Austin defender Talynn Miller during the second period Saturday at the New Ulm Civic Center.
Both teams failed to score in the first period and after many unsuccessful shots from both clubs, Austin finally got one to go.
After Kali Denn was called for tripping in the second period, New Ulm's defense dominated the entire short-hand stretch until there were just six seconds remaining on the power play. Austin got a shot on goal and Julia Schaefer made a nice save, but the scuffle for the rebound went in favor of the Packers as Kennedy Thompson poked it in.
With one minute remaining in the second period, Ries' one-timer pass to Brittany Denn was stopped by the goalie. However, the puck bounced back to Denn and she quickly passed it back to Ries. Without hesitation, Ries swiftly shot it in the back of the net to tie the game up heading into the final period.
New Ulm wasted no time scoring in the third period as defenseman Fischer had a straight-on look at the goal just 14 seconds in. Fischer skipped the puck right through the legs of the Austin goalie, and just like that New Ulm was on top.
"We knew their goalie had pulled a muscle or something on some of those plays late in the second period, so we knew we just had to keep making her move," New Ulm coach Angie Zeig said. "She was a little bit weaker than she was earlier in the game, so we tried to get our chances, and Lexi took her chance. She had a little bit of open ice, kept her shot low and it went right in."
New Ulm added to its lead just a minute and a half later when after a series of passes in front of the net, Schugel found Weiss open on the left side of the net and she sniped it in to put the Eagles up 3-1.
That two-goal lead didn't last very long because a minute after Weiss scored, it was Kennedy Thompson stepping up for Austin again.
A shot on goal stuck around the danger zone for a little too long and it appeared Schaefer didn't quite know where the puck was as Thompson poked it in for her second goal of the game.
Austin pulled its goalie in the final minute as neither team could score in the final 14 minutes of the game. It was New Ulm's defense prevailing down the stretch as the Packers didn't have any goal-scoring opportunities with the extra attacker.
"Just coming out (in the third period) we just knew a couple things we had to fix throughout the second period," Zeig said. "We kind of talked about them, making sure we back each other up, making some of those plays and keeping our shots low."
New Ulm improved to 11-6-1 on the season with the victory and will play at Northfield on Tuesday.