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New Ulm shuts out Fairmont Area

OUT OF REACH — Fairmont Area’s Madison Sokoloski (left) smacks the puck out of the reach of a New Ulm player during Big South Conference hockey action Thursday night at the New Ulm Civic Center in New Ulm. The hometown Eagles went on to post an 11-0 win. (Photo courtesy of Travis Rosenau/New Ulm Journal)

NEW ULM — Behind a pair of hat tricks from seniors Michelle Smith and Malorie Anderson, the New Ulm Eagles rolled to an 11-0 shutout over the Fairmont Area Cardinals on Thursday night in a Big South Conference girls hockey game at the New Ulm Civic Center.

Smith also added three assists, while Anderson added a pair of helpers.

Thursday’s win was a big way for the Eagles to bounce back after a pair of one-goal losses at Marshall and Hutchinson.

“For them, going into tonight, we worked on a lot of things to try to get rid of the puck, and we really have been,” Eagles head coach Jeremy Reed said. “We had a 3-2 overtime loss the other night, we played really well in it, and we were more focused on how were we playing and what can we do with the puck.

“The girls being able to distribute the puck well on the rink tonight by passing and the assists, we wanted them to do that and kind of command the whole game through that.”

Senior Afton Hulke also put two shots in the net and had two assists. Juniors Tristyn Wolner, Jocelyn Peterson and Mya Hornick also had a goal apiece, while Lily Kral had two assists and Hornick, Megan Fingland, Jersey Haugen and Abby Forstner each added an assist.

Eagles goalie Ava Brennan didn’t have to break much of a sweat either as the Eagles controlled the puck with relative ease, outshooting the Cardinals 60-4.

Cardinals goalie Ilana Moeller had a long, busy night with her game-leading 49 saves, but her team wasn’t able to offer much assistance as the Eagles dominated from the jump.

Smith’s first goal of the night on an assist by Kral at the 4:26 mark of the first period got the Eagles on the board before Smith got a power-play goal on assists from Kral and Hulke at the 7:59 mark.

Anderson collected her first goal 16:31 into the first on assists from Fingland and Smith to give New Ulm a 3-0 lead after one.

Fairmont Area generated a little more time with the puck early in the second period with two shots on goal in the opening two minutes, but that was it the rest of the period as the Eagles outshot the Cardinals 26-2 in the period.

Anderson scored her second goal of the night at 6:34 of the second on an assist by Schaefer before Hulke scored on an assist by Smith at the 8:37 mark.

Wolner scored at the 9:18 mark of the second on an assist by Hornick before Smith snapped in her hat-trick goal on assists by Anderson and Haugen 10:08 into the second to put the Eagles up 7-0.

Hulke’s power-play goal at the 13:17 mark on assists by Anderson and Smith had New Ulm up 8-0.

Peterson scored at the 15:28 mark on an assist by Forstner before Anderson netted her hat trick with 10 seconds left in the second to put New Ulm up 10-0 heading into the third.

Hornick added the final goal of the night on an assist by Hulke at 4:41 in the third.

The Eagles have been battling some injuries and sickness early in the season, causing the Eagles to need more from their younger players.

But Thursday night saw the Eagles’ veteran leaders getting their numbers called more than anyone.

“Coming into tonight, our youth had been really driving the thing,” Reed said. “We’d been working through some sickness and injuries. Michelle picking things up, and not just her, but Afton and Malorie, it’s really nice to see their leadership come through and that’s what we’re going to need moving forward. Between our senior leadership and our youth that we’ve been relying on, we’re going to need all that to work together as we move forward.”

New Ulm (3-4, 3-2) plays host to non-league opponent Dodge County at 3 p.m. Saturday, while Fairmont Area (0-7, 0-5) plays host to Winona/Cotter at 7 p.m. tonight at Martin County Arena in Fairmont in nonconference action.

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