FAIRMONT - Brook Schugel needed less than 10 minutes on the Martin County Arena ice on Tuesday to produce a hat trick.
Only teammate Brittany Denn's goal prevented the New Ulm freshman forward from netting a natural hat trick - three consecutive goals - during the first period as the Eagles soared to a 9-0 South Central Conference hockey shutout over the Fairmont Area Cardinals.
"She's in a class of her own in our section (3A). She's quick, smooth, decisive and has a motor that doesn't stop. She definitely makes it happen for New Ulm," Fairmont Area head coach Scott Kuhl said in reference to Schugel, who added an assist to her three-goal night.
TRACKING IT DOWN — Fairmont Area defender Abby Rahm (4) tracks down the loose puck as New Ulm’s Erika Ries (10) and Fairmont Area’s Jenna Klages continue their pursuit during South Central Conference hockey action Tuesday night at Martin County Arena in Fairmont. Photo by Leanna Becker
Schugel shifted the Eagles' potent offensive rush into high gear by intercepting an errant clearing pass in the Cardinals' defensive zone before weaving her way for a net-finding backhander at the 15:07 mark of the opening period.
Schugel then proved in the right place at the right time just 3 minutes later, picking up the loose puck off a half-struck pass along the left wing. Schugel skated directly at Fairmont Area goaltender Miranda O'Connor before finding the net on a quick-wrister for a 2-0 edge at the 12:03 juncture.
Brittany Denn needed only 10 seconds to convert New Ulm's faceoff victory into another lamp-lighter via a left-wing wrister to the left top shelf. Ellie Dittrich and Erika Ries combined for the double-assist on the goal.
Schugel then completed her first-period hat trick by rushing the left wing on a semi-breakaway chance and drilled a shot inside the left pipe for a 4-0 lead at the 7:27 mark.
Ries then chipped home Goal 5 only 15 seconds later from the point to cause Fairmont Area to call timeout with 7:12 remaining in the first frame.
Lexi Fischer capped the Eagles' first-period offensive output by slapping a one-timer from the point just inside the right pipe to beat newly-inserted Cardinal netminder eighth-grader Sadie Sandersfeld with 1:29 to go.
Kali Denn and Lexie Weiss chipped in second-period goals for New Ulm, while Schugel put the wraps on her four-point performance by feeding Sam Guggisberg for the Eagles' lone netfinder of the third.
"I was proud of our girls tonight. Even when we got down 6-0 early, they didn't quit. We chipped away and got some shots on net," Kuhl said.
Tieryn Arens, Jalyssa Wilson and Brooke Lemon produced Fairmont Area's best offensive chances during the final two frames.
Arens drilled a left-wing blast that New Ulm freshman goaltender Bailey Landreville blocked with her stick during the opening two minutes of the middle segment.
Landreville then utilized her knee pads to deny Wilson's low rocket off a right-wing rush midway through the second period before stonewalling Lemon's right-wing charge during the initial stages of the third frame.
Landreville made 11 saves to earn the victory for the Eagles. Sandersfeld chalked up 26 saves in relief between the pipes for the Cardinals, while O'Connor tallied nine first-period stops.
Fairmont Area (5-10, 0-4 SCC) is idle until traveling to Windom Area for a non-league game on Friday, Jan. 25.
New Ulm (10-6-1, 5-0) plays host to Austin at 1 p.m. Saturday in a nonconference contest.
New Ulm 6-2-1-9
NU - Brook Schugel (unassisted), 15:07.
NU - Brook Schugel (unassisted), 12:03.
NU - Brittany Denn (Ellie Dittrich, Erika Ries), 11:53.
NU - Brook Schugel (unassisted), 7:27.
NU - Erika Ries (unassisted), 7:12.
NU - Lexi Fischer (Brittany Denn), 1:29.
NU - Kali Denn (unassisted), 12:57.
NU - Lexie Weiss (unassisted), 12:13.
NU - Sam Guggisberg (Brook Schugel), 1:03.
Shots on goal: New Ulm 23-8-13-44; Fairmont Area 2-6-3-11.
Saves: Miranda O'Connor (FA) 9-x-x-9, Sadie Sandersfeld (FA) 8-6-12-26; Bailey Landreville (NU) 2-6-3-11.
Penalties: New Ulm 3 for 6 minutes; Fairmont Area 3 for 6 minutes.
Power-play chances: Fairmont Area 0 for 3; New Ulm 0 for 3.