Eagles score 3 unanswered, move on to section finals

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau New Ulm's Austin Uecker celebrates his game-opening goal against Mankato East in the Section 3A semifinals at Lund Arena in St. Peter.

ST. PETER — Despite allowing third-seeded Mankato East to erase an early 3-0 lead on Saturday night, second-seeded New Ulm got three more goals consecutively to pull out a 6-3 win in the Section 3A Boys Hockey Tournament Semifinals at Gustavus Adolphus College’s Lund Arena.

The win will see New Ulm (22-5) return to Lund Arena for the section championship game against No. 5-seeded Marshall at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Marshall upset No. 1-seeded Luverne in Saturday’s earlier semifinals matchup 3-2.

Austin Uecker led the Eagles with two goals and two assists, while Talan Helget, Brock Wellmann, Bryer Lang and Landon Barstad added a goal. Larson also had four assists, while Ian Brudelie, Barstad, Brecken Neuman and Wellmann each had an assist.

New Ulm was in firm control against the Cougars early on with three first-period goals. Uecker scored first for the Eagles at the 10:17 mark before Helget got his goal a little more than a minute later to put New Ulm up 2-0. A shot by Barstad in the final minute of the period was knocked down, but Wellmann got the rebound and found the back of the net for a 3-0 Eagles lead heading into the second period.

East answered on a power-play goal by Christian Theuninck at 3:43 of second. The Cougars started attacking the net high as shots from Luke Lebens and Caden Hansen got past Eagles goalie Bryer Hoffmann to tie the game in the late minutes of the period.

New Ulm didn’t let East celebrate the tie long as Lang scored a power-play goal on an assist by Larson at the 15:27 mark.

Barstad gave the Eagles a much-appreciated insurance goal and a 5-3 lead at 11:17 of the third.

Hoffmann exited the net in the third with an apparent illness but was able to return and celebrate his win. Uecker’s second goal on Larson’s fourth assist of the night gave the Eagles a 6-3 lead with just over four minutes left in the game.

In addition to generating some more late-game offense, the Eagles’ penalty kill also came through in a big way late, killing off a 5-on-3 power play in the third.

Hoffmann finished with 20 saves, while East goalie Brody Kunst had 22 saves.


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