NEW ULM - With a majority of the team back from last year's state tournament team, the New Ulm girls hockey team is focusing more on passing and creating scoring opportunities for more players this year.
On Saturday, the Eagles had five different players score a goal and fired 51 shots on goal in a 7-1 nonconference victory over Hutchinson at the New Ulm Civic Center.
Brittany Denn led the offensive attack with three goals and an assist. Brook Schugel, Lexi Fischer, Erika Ries and Lexie Weiss also got into the scoring act for New Ulm (5-1 overall).
Denn said the team chemistry is better this year, and it definitely shows with the puck movement.
"It feels really good from last year, we had a lot of drama and this year we don't have any," Denn said. "We all get along and everybody's really positive and I'm very proud of our season [so far]."
Schugel scored the first goal of the game on an assist from Weiss with 14:47 left in the first period and the Eagles went up 2-0 when Fischer scored (assists to Weiss, Morgan Schaefer).
New Ulm scored two goals within 15 seconds in the second period to grab a 4-0 lead. Denn scored her first goal off of an assist from Fischer and Erika Ries added to the total off of Denn's helper.
The Eagles led 5-0 after the second period when Weiss scored off assists from Schaefer and Sam Guggisberg.
At that point, the five-goal lead was more than enough for the Eagles.
"Having goals helps us to be calm and control the puck," Denn said. "We weren't frustrated, and we can just make plays when we need to."
Although the Eagles are still a young team (the majority of the team consists of sophomores and younger players), they definitely have experience playing in big games and that experience is showing more and more.
"We are all young but we practice a lot on our passing this year," Denn said.
The Tigers finally got on the board in the third period after Baylee Holtz scored a power play goal. Her goal was assisted by Jordan Guggisberg and Allison Neubarth.
Denn added to the lead when she scored a short-handed goal at 8:32 to make it 6-1. She scored again with 2:50 left in the game for the 7-1 margin. Both of her third-period goals were assisted by Ries.
Julia Schaefer stopped 19 shots for the Eagles and Quin McCormick made 44 saves for the Tigers.
New Ulm gets back in action on Tuesday when the Eagles host South Central Conference rival Fairmont at 7 p.m. at the New Ulm Civic Center.