The New Ulm/Sleepy Eye boys hockey team split its last two games.
On Dec. 12, the Eagles hosted Northfield where an exciting game played out. Junior Jon Kopacek scored the only goal in the first period which gave NUSE a 1-0 lead. The goal was on even strength and assists came from Colin Huffman and Alex Stark. The quick offense from the Eagles continued to strike when Kopacek scored another goal on an assist by Jared Beltz to start the second period. The power-play goal put the Eagles up 2-0.
Just as things were looking up for NUSE, the Raiders took the game into their own hands. Rather, the game was taken into the hands of Northfield freshman Grant Parrish, who scored three consecutive goals to earn not only a hat trick but the 3-2 lead as well. The lead was brought to 4-2 when Northfield scored its second power-play goal of the second period. A total of eight penalties were made in the second period, and the Raiders were able to capitalize on the two of the three penalties made by the Eagles. Meanwhile, NUSE had multiple opportunities as well, after Northfield committed five penalties in the second, but the Eagles were still unable to take advantage of the extra man.
The momentum went back on NUSE’s side in the third period, as two goals in a row were made to tie the game at four. The first came from senior Judd Davis on even strength, after a nice set-up was made by Wyatt Peterson. The second goal came from Beltz, who was assisted by Kopacek and Huffman. But just as the Eagles were looking to score the game winning goal, junior Lucas Heiderscheidt was called for a minor slashing penalty. The Raiders took full advantage of the power play and scored at the 8:24 mark to take a 5-4 lead. NUSE had some final opportunities late in the third, but another penalty by the Eagles, this time by Brandon Helget, was all she wrote.
On Dec. 14, the Eagles hosted Minnehaha Academy where NUSE won 2-0.
The Redhawks had 25 minutes of penalties while the Eagles had just two. Even outside of the penalties, NUSE had puck possession for most of the game with its strong defense and relentless offense. The first period was uneventful. Despite plenty of opportunities for the Eagles from three power plays, the net remained empty.
But the second period came to life for NUSE after Kopacek put in an unassisted goal at even strength at the 8:41 mark. The Redhawks had a few opportunities to tie it, but multiple penalties, including a check-from-behind to start the third period didn’t help their case. A final goal was made by Helget with 12 seconds left in the game on an open net.
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New Ulm’s Brach Kraus saved all 20 shots made by Minnehaha. The Eagles had twice as many shots on goal with 40. NUSE coach Erik Setterholm said playing a complete game was the key to the win.
“I think the biggest thing is we played for 51 minutes tonight and that’s something we’ve struggled with this year so far,” Setterholm said.