Eagles edge Litchfield

NEW ULM – The New Ulm boy’s hockey team knew that Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato would give the Eagles a tough match-up physically.

So the Eagles, who have been focusing on defense at practice lately, were prepared for possibly a low-scoring battle, and that’s exactly what they got.

New Ulm got goals from Jon Kopacek and Ethan Kraus as the Eagles (9-7) defeated L/DC 2-1 Saturday in nonconference action at the New Ulm Civic Center.

“We’ve been practicing a lot on defense at practice lately and trying to keep it out of our net,” Kopacek said. “We know we’re going to go put up goals, but we’re trying to keep it out of our net.”

New Ulm goalie Brach Kraus made 25 saves in the game, including plenty of big stops along the way and he was aided by his defense.

The teams have had plenty of big games in the past and this one figured to be no different. Both teams came out hitting hard and Kopacek gave the Eagles the early lift that they needed when he put back a rebound past Dragons goalie Braeden Wahl for the 1-0 lead at 7:37 in the first period.

The Eagles’ defense helped kill off two penalties in the first period as New Ulm had eight minutes worth of penalties in the game.

New Ulm got its second goal of the game, this time when Ethan Kraus found the back of the net in the second period. The goal was assisted by Brandon Helget and Aaron Stark at the 4:11 mark, but the Dragons responded later in the period. David Raisanen cut the lead to 2-1 at the 10:09 mark and the Dragons nearly tied the game several other times, only to be stopped by either Brach Kraus or an Eagle defender.

“We just got our jitters out of the way, we just came back and played the way we know how to play,” Kopacek said.?”We played hard like we know how to do and we finished it up.”

The Eagles and Dragons played to a scoreless third period that saw the Dragons commit two penalties, but New Ulm was unable to capitalize on them.

Overall, it was a big win for the Eagles, who are building toward a deep playoff run once again.

“It’s always good to beat these guys, they’re a tough team and a rival,” Kopacek said. “We just had a nice game over in St. Peter and we’d like to add this to our roll.”

New Ulm returns to action at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at Willmar.

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