Granite City drops Steel

Steel eliminated from playoff contention with loss

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello Keegan Bauman of the New Ulm Steel passes the puck during the first period against the Alexandria Blizzard Friday at the New Ulm Civic Center. Bauman was credited with an assist on the play after a teammate scored.

NEW ULM — The playoff hopes for the New Ulm Steel are over.

Granite City’s Cooper Smith scored two goals — the second goal coming with less than four minutes left in the game — as the Lumberjacks ended any Steel hopes with a 4-1 win.

Alexandria also won, so even if the Steel had won, they still would have been eliminated.

Michael Savelkoul scored the lone goal for the Steel, with Jordan Cooper getting the assist.

New Ulm is scheduled to finish their regular season Saturday night in Willmar.

Steel goalie Henry Baribeau stopped 36 of 40 shots, while the Lumberjacks’ goalie stopped 19 of 20 shots.

Granite City took a 1-0 lead on Smith’s first goal of the game at the 4:06 mark before Savelkoul tied the contest at the 6:30 mark on an assist from Keegan Bauman.

Matt Moran followed with a goal four minutes later for a lead that Granite City would not lose.

It was a period where the Lumberjacks outshot New Ulm 21-5 for a 2-1 lead.

“We got outshot pretty bad there in that (first) period,” Steel coach Andrew Kolb said. “But we had a much better second period and I thought that their goalie (David Mulligan) made some big saves.”

It was 20 minutes that saw New Ulm fire nine shots on goal compared to eight for the Lumberjacks in the scoreless second period.

Granite City then iced the game with a pair of third-period goals.

Jordan Olson’s goal coming directly off of a faceoff to Baribeau’s left made it 3-1 before Smith sealed New Ulm’s fate at the 16:04 mark.

“They got opportunities at the net and you get rewarded when you get pucks on net,” Kolb said. “They had more chances in critical areas than we did.

“You are not going to win many hockey games being outshot like we were unless your goalie stands on his head,” Kolb added. “It is not rocket science. We did not have enough quality shots at the net tonight.”