Column: Eagle boys, girls both face big test Thursday vs. Tigers

Both the New Ulm High School girls’ and boys’ hockey teams have important Big South Conference games Thursday night with Marshall.

The girls, 7-1 in conference play and 10-6 overall, head to Marshall for a 7 p.m. game to meet the Tigers, who handed them their only conference loss, that coming on Dec. 6, 2018, in a 3-2 home overtime loss.

New Ulm holds a one-game lead on the 6-1 Tigers, who come in at 11-4-2 overall.

Meanwhile, the Eagle boys host Marshall at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the New Ulm Civic Center.

The Tiger boys are 8-1 in conference play (13-2-0 overall), one game ahead of both New Ulm and Minnesota River, who are each 7-1 in the Big South.

For the Eagle girls, tonight’s road game is a big test for them.

“They gave us our only loss in the conference and it was a game where we did not do what we needed to do to win,” Eagles head coach Kristin Faber said. “We let them come back from a 2-1 deficit late in the third period, tie it up and then win in overtime. We talked about that game (Monday) and this game is going to be a big start to the rest of our games.”

Faber has also made some changes.

“We have made some changes and cleaned up some things in our defensive zone and offensively we have some different things going,” she said. “We now have more ability to put the puck in the net. We were not mentally prepared for that game — we thought that it was only a conference game and we were going to win. We had a talk and the girls realized that we need to play better. They know the implications of this game. We have been at the top of the Big South for many years and I have no expectations of that changing and I think that our girls feel the same way.”

New Ulm also has a big home game next Friday when they host Hutchinson in a Section 2A game. Right now, New Ulm is third in 2A according to the QRF ratings, with Hutchinson fourth.

“They have played a couple of teams who are common to us and have done well,” Faber said. “Every game we play now that gets closer to February is huge for us. When we play Hutchinson, it is also our ‘Senior Night’ and ‘Parent Night’. There is a lot on the line for us.”

Meanwhile, the New Ulm boys have a chance to perhaps take over first place or share the top spot in the conference with a home win tonight.

Marshall defeated the Eagles 5-2 on Dec. 6, 2018. Currently, the Tigers are No. 1 in Section 3A ahead of No. 2 Litchfield-Dassel/Cokato and New Ulm.

This game is also a chance to see two of the top hockey players in Class “A” on the ice.

Marshall’s Mason Plante is the leading goal scorer in Minnesota with 28 goals and 23 assists.

New Ulm’s Glavine Schugel is fifth in the state with 21 goals. He also has 10 assists.

BATT AT TOP FOR SCORING IN BASKETBALL: New Ulm High School’s Joey Batt is second in the state in scoring with 336 points, trailing Cretin-Derham Halls’ Franny Hottinger’s 376 points. Batt is leading the state in scoring with a 30.5 average a game. Also, Batt is 10th in the state with 30 3-pointers made. New Ulm’s Ellie Bute is 13th with 28 3-pointers made, followed by teammate Iyanna Wieland’s 22 3-pointers, which is 29th.

STEEL DEFENSEMAN SIGNS WITH CHIPPEWA FALLS: New Ulm Steel defenseman Sam Ayd has signed an NAHL tender with the Steel’s NAHL team in Chippewa Falls with the Chippewa Steel.

PERKINS NIGHT SATURDAY: Remember when you come to the New Ulm Steel’s game Saturday against Coulee Ridge to register for pies that will be given away during the game at “Perkins Night” at the New Ulm Civic Center for the 7:10 p.m. NA3HL game.