PREP GIRLS HOCKEY: Tigers can’t get past New Ulm
MARSHALL — With a Big South Conference leading seven shutouts so far this season, the New Ulm girls hockey team has presented opposing teams with a stymying defensive challenge that few have been able to solve.
After experiencing that challenge first-hand in a 5-0 loss last month, the Tigers turned the page on the disappointing result and put together a much stronger effort in Thursday’s rematch. The vast improvement was not enough to come away with a win, however, as the Eagles proved too strong in a 3-1 final at Red Baron Arena.
Though it wasn’t the result they were hoping for, Marshall coach Cassi Weiss was pleased with her team’s effort after making it a point of emphasis leading up to the game.
“We just more talked about our effort,” said Weiss. “It’s something that we haven’t been the most proud of this year so that’s really what we focused on was just giving it everything we’ve got and leaving it all on the ice all three periods and I think we did that very, very well. They got two power play goals, one beautiful goal that’s almost unstoppable so I was very proud of the way we played.”
After making her 2,000th save in the team’s previous game against Worthington, Marshall goaltender Emma Klenken got a head start on her pursuit of 3,000 with a busy evening in net that began with a 12-shot barrage in the first period. Equal to the task, Klenken turned them all aside to keep the game scoreless into the first intermission.
The sharp play in net by Klenken provided an extra boost of confidence for the rest of the team according to Weiss.
“I think Emma making those big saves and keeping it 0-0 after one was key to the forwards having and defensemen having a lot of confidence,” said Weiss. “She did a great job of keeping the pucks out of the net, keeping her rebounds to the outside and that was just a really big confidence booster for the whole team.”
With an extra spring in their step, the Tigers doubled their shot total from the previous period and nearly broke through with a goal in the opening minute of play when Kaitlyn Timm led a solo rush up the ice but came up empty. The two teams remained deadlocked at zero apiece until just under six minutes left in the period when the Eagles capitalized on their first power play attempt to make it 1-0. The goal came on New Ulm’s 29th shot on net.
Before the buzzer, the Eagles struck again on the power play with just under four minutes to play and added an even strength goal in the final minute to make it 3-0 after two. Shots on goal heavily favored New Ulm after 34 minutes of play at 31-7.
In the third period, the Tigers were only able to record one shot on goal but made the most of it as Timm prevented the shutout with an even strength goal with 38 seconds remaining in the game. Though the outcome had long since been decided, Weiss was proud of the way her team battled to the very end and hopes the late tally can provide some momentum for their next game.
“It definitely goes to show that we never gave up and we were giving 100% until the buzzer which is really something that we wanted to do today,” said Weiss. “I think being able to score that goal will definitely bring some momentum into next week.”
Klenken finished the game with 38 saves on 41 shots faced.
The Tigers (9-9-1) will be back in action on Thursday when they travel to Fairmont to take on the Cardinals at 5 p.m.