By: E Koehler, nusteelhockey.com
The New Ulm Steel had a strong weekend with a, 5-2, win over the Willmar WarHawks on Friday night and a, 3-2, OT win over the Rochester Grizzlies Saturday night. These two wins got the Steel just three points away from moving back into a playoff position.
AWAY @ WILLMAR WARHAWKS – FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1
With only 30:18 of regulation time at even strength, this game was dominated by power play opportunities. In addition to an abundance of penalties, New Ulm was awarded two penalty shots, James Spaargaren in the first period and Jack Parks in the second period. Both penalty shots were no goals, however.
New Ulm finished the first period with a 3-0 lead. Michael Savelkoul opened the scoring with a backhanded shot that snuck in under Nelson Schiiler’s glove hand. Jake Ford made it a 2-0 game, burying a rebound off the boards from behind the net after Baylor Hudson’s shot went wide. 13 seconds later, Jordan Cooper took a shot from the point that was deflected off a Willmar player’s skate and found its way into the back of the net.
Marquez Ginger got Willmar on the board in the second period with a power-play goal at the 12:17 mark.
Savelkoul struck again for New Ulm with a backdoor power-play goal at 18:31 of the second period. Jarrett Cammarata passed the puck through the slot over to Savelkoul that gave him a wide open net to score on.
Brandon Holt got Willmar within two goals of New Ulm at the 15:39 mark of the third period.
Parks scored on the empty net with just 1:40 remaining in the game to seal the 5-2 win for New Ulm.
HOME v. ROCHESTER GRIZZLIES – SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2
New Ulm had a slow start Saturday against Rochester, but it turned into a tight game with competing strong efforts from both sides.
Rochester’s Peyton Hart scored the lone goal in the first period on the power-play at the 4:30 mark from the high slot that beat Henry Baribeau glove-side.
Down on one knee, Spaargaren ripped a one-timer from just outside the crease that went in top shelf to tie the game up at 1-1.
Keegan Bauman got credit for the go-ahead goal in the second period. Jacob Halvorson attempted to make a centering pass to Bauman, but the puck appeared to have been deflected off a Rochester player, over the goaltender’s right shoulder, and into the top of the net.
New Ulm’s 2-1 lead was erased when Richard Szabo fired a wrist shot from the top of the far circle 5:54 into the third period.
The game was forced into overtime all tied up at 2-2. Savelkoul won the game for New Ulm with a wrist shot that went in five-hole at the 3:05 mark of overtime.
Henry Baribeau was in net for both games, facing a total of 74 shots and making 70 saves for New Ulm.