Eagles advance in 3A with win over Dragons

NEW ULM – Judd Davis recorded a hat trick and Brach Kraus allowed just one goal for 2 1/2 periods as New Ulm topped Litchfield-Dassel/Cokato 6-3 in the Section 3A quarterfinals on Friday night.

Davis’ effort was aided by goals from Ethan Kraus, Alex Stark and Wyatt Peterson.

Peterson also added three assists with Colin Huffman adding two helpers. Brandon Helget, Lucas Heiderscheidt, Ethan Kraus and Stark each added an assist.

Brach Kraus recorded 25 saves.

Ethan Niemela, Mason Marelic and Bailey Emery scored the Dragons’s goals.

New Ulm (16-10) will now meet Willmar, a 7-0 winner against Windom Area, at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter in a semifinal game.

“Beating a team three times [in the same season] is never an easy thing to do,” said New Ulm coach Erik Setterholm. “The boys came ready to play tonight. I was real pleased.”

And pleased is what Setterholm was with the overall play of his team, especially Davis, who got the Eagles going with the first goal of the game and then added consecutive goals that built a 5-1 lead.

“He is the epitome of what we want a hockey player to be,” Setterholm said. “He works hard every shift on the ice – he does not say anything – he does not get into any penalty trouble. He just goes hard. He is a big-game kid. He got us going tonight.”

Davis’ backhander on a feed from Peterson beat Dragon goalie Braeden Wahl (29 saves in the game) for a 1-0 lead at the 4:55 mark.

But Litchfield’s Ethan Niemela knotted the contest less than two minutes later when the Eagles turned the puck over in their own zone.

Then perhaps the biggest goal of the game came from Ethan Kraus when the sophomore winger put the puck by Wahl with less than two minutes to go in the period for a 2-1 New Ulm lead.

Setterholm said that Kraus’s score was huge.

“We gave them that goal back and that took some momentum away from us,” Setterholm said. “But Ethan’s goal definitely got us going. We knew that we could get the puck on [Wahl] and get the puck deep on him.”

New Ulm did that with four consecutive goals – three in the second period – to take a commanding 6-1 lead.

Stark followed Kraus’ goal with a one-timer at the 5:49 mark of the second period before Davis scored two consecutive goals less than four minutes apart.

Peterson’s goal – one of two power-play goals in the game for the Eagles – made it 6-1 at the 8:47 mark of the third period.

Litchfield tallied two late goals to make it 6-3.

“We changed our game a little bit up 6-1 and we called the dogs off offensively,” Setterholm said. “It came back to bite us.”

New Ulm now faces a Willmar team that won 4-3 matchup at home earlier in the season.

“We match up pretty well with them. I really like the matchup,” Setterholm said.

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