Flying high again, Eagles get back to state

Staff photo by Ari Selvey New Ulm goalie Bryer Hoffmann (1) leads teammates in celebration by the boards in front of New Ulm fans after the Eagles’ 4-2 Section 3A championship game win over Marshall on Wednesday at Lund Arena in St. Peter.

ST. PETER — The New Ulm boys hockey team will be returning to the state tournament for the first time since 2019, coming away with a 4-2 win over Marshall in the Section 3A Boys Hockey Tournament championship game Wednesday at Gustavus Adolphus College’s Lund Arena.

Ian Brudelie had two goals for the Eagles (23-5), while Brody Nordby and Brody Wenner had one goal. Bryer Lang and Austin Uecker had two assists, with Kayden Klein, Kaden Larson, Brock Wellman and Talan Helget each getting an assist for New Ulm.

Bryer Hoffmann had 19 saves in net for New Ulm.

Andrew Seanor had two goals for the Tigers (16-12), with Talan Plante adding an assist. Gavin Welsh had 15 saves.

Hoffmann had a particularly good night, with many clutch saves during the game. Hoffmann and many other Eagles were coming off of an illness that swept through the team this week, but they were able to hold it together for the win.

Staff photo by Ari Selvey New Ulm Eagles’ Austin Uecker (5) handles the puck during the Section 3A championship game against Marshall on Wednesday at Lund Arena in St. Peter.

“I felt good,” Hoffmann said. “In our last game, I got ill after the second period. It was kind of a weird bug, but I felt great today. We came out and showed them that we felt great.”

Hoffman said Marshall was a strong defensive team, so the offensive success that the team saw was important to the win.

“We knew going into it that they were a strong defensive team and they were solid in the defensive zone,” he said. “We knew we had to move our feet and cycle and get them moving and put the puck in the net.”

New Ulm’s first goal came on a rebound off of a Klein shot by Nordby, who slipped the puck past Welsh’s left foot for a goal at 10:01 of the first period. That was followed by a pass from Larson from behind the net to Wenner, who was skating down the left slot and hit the back of the net for New Ulm’s second goal at 16:20 of the first.

“We bought in and we cycled the puck,” New Ulm head coach Ryan Newman said. “We got some dirty goals off of that. Those first two goals were just us finding open guys. The first one was a scrum in front of the net, we got behind the defensemen and got that rebound. And the second one was, our defensemen made a good play and pinched in, and we caught them in the slot and it was a good shot.”

Marshall responded with a goal by Seanor, who skated into the offensive zone alone and came away with a score 59 seconds into the second period. The game got more physical in the second period, with roughing and cross-checking penalties being assessed to both teams. This advantaged New Ulm, however, as they converted on their first power play with a shot by Brudelie, assisted by Lang and Uecker, at 2:26 of the second.

New Ulm killed both of the penalties they received for the game, while Marshall allowed one goal in five penalties.

Marshall made a push in the final period with another goal by Seanor, scoring at 8:33, assisted by Plante, again skating alone in the offensive zone for a breakaway goal. However, New Ulm responded once more with a goal by Brudelie, assisted by Wellmann and Helget, to give the Eagles a 4-2 lead at 9:49 of the third. Marshall pulled their goalie with 2:28 to play, but the New Ulm defense held off the Tiger attack as they came away with the victory.

New Ulm isn’t finished, however, and await their first-round opponent in the state tournament.

“Obviously that first game is going to be a tough draw no matter who we play,” Neuman said. “We’re going to have to play good defensively, Bryer’s going to have to play solid in net like he has all season and his entire career for us, and we’re going to have to capitalize on chances when we get them and just have some fun up there. Our goal is to win a game this year.”


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