Cantwell, Steel take down Loons in shootout

File photo by Travis Rosenau The New Ulm Steel’s Gus Cantwell (3) skates with the puck during an NA3HL game with the Minnesota Loons earlier this season at the New Ulm Civic Center.

NEW ULM — Gus Cantwell had himself a day Sunday afternoon for the New Ulm Steel against the Minnesota Loons.

Cantwell recorded two goals in regulation and later scored the game-winner in a shootout to lift the Steel to a 6-5 win at the New Ulm Civic Center in an NA3HL game.

The win gave New Ulm a weekend sweep over the Loons and also a 4-point advantage over them.

Aiden Swee, Ryan Roszek and Vladislav Ostapenko each added goals.

Nick O’Brien, Johnny Thrasher and Jack Laser each had two assists for New Ulm, with Landen Schwantes, Bryce Hall, Lahoussine Salama and Ostapenko each getting a helper.

Steel goalie Nolan Lacosse stopped 43 shots.

“This was a gut-check time kind of game,” Steel coach Alex North said. “We kept fighting back in this game. And again, this team does not quit. [Today] we finally got rewarded for it.”

And the Steel proved that by overcoming Loons leads of 1-0, 2-1, 3-1, 4-3 and 5-4.

“It was one of those games were we did not do ourselves any favors by giving those up, but it just shows the determination of this team,” North said.

The Steel fell behind 1-0 early in the first period before Swee got his first goal of the season for the Steel on assists from Salama and Hall.

New Ulm dropped behind 2-1 after the first 20 minutes and 3-1 late in the second period.

But Cantwell’s first goal of the game — on assists from O’Brien and and Thrasher — cut the lead to 3-2 at the 18:53 mark of the second period before Roszak tied the game early in the third period.

A 4-3 Loons lead midway through the third period was erased by Cantwell’s power-play goal.

The Steel had to rebound again when they saw the Loons take a 5-4 lead with less than four minutes left in the game.

But Ostapenko lifted the puck by Loons goalie Matthew Rynanen to tie the game with just two minutes left to force overtime.

In the shootout, each team scored a goal, Ostapenko for the Steel, before Cantwell won it.

“He [Cantwell] has a letter on his jersey for a reason,” North said. “He is not the biggest guy in the world, but he plays with heart and he is not afraid of the big moments.

“This win was big. We are still trying to catch Willmar — they are only two points ahead of us — but this was a huge step forward for us.”


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