By Jeremy Behnke
Journal Sports Editor
ST. PAUL - It didn't take too long for Red Wing to set the tone for Wednesday's Class A quarterfinal state hockey game.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm's Lexie Weiss (7) gets a shot off despite pressure from Jenna Gillund of Red Wing during the first period of the opening round of the Class A State Tournament on Wednesday at the Xcel Center in St. Paul.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
New Ulm's Brittany Denn launches a shot on goal as Hailee Johnson of Red Wing defends on the play during the second period Wednesday at the Xcel Center in St. Paul.
Just 1:06 after the first drop of the puck, Red Wing's Reagan Haley scored past New Ulm goalie Bailey Landreville. For Landreville and the Eagles, it didn't get any better in the first period.
The Eagles dropped to the consolation bracket with a 7-2 loss to the Wingers. New Ulm (18-8) plays Alexandria at 10 a.m. Thursday at Ridder Arena.
Nicole Schammel, a Minnesota State recruit, had three goals for the Wingers (23-6), who meet The Blake School at 11 a.m. on Friday at Xcel Energy Center. All of her goals came in the first period as Red Wing jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the first 17 minutes. Haley and Emily Stegora also each scored a goal.
Brittany Denn scored both of New Ulm's goals.
The entire first line for the Wingers is committed to Division I schools - Schammel and Stegora to MSU-Mankato next fall, Haley to Minnesota-Duluth in 2015 - so the Eagles knew it was going to be a battle.
"I thought they were phenomenal," Denn said of that first line. "I mean, I personally didn't know how to stop them. They are a great group of girls and our goal was just to stay on the inside and hopefully make them work outside so we could stop the puck."
The Wingers dominated the puck, especially early on. They outshot New Ulm 13-3 in the first period and 26-14 in the game.
"Being down five after one is not the spot where you want," New Ulm coach Kristin Faber said. "We knew going in that defense was going to be the key to either our success or us not winning the game. In that first period we had a ton of breakdowns and with that [first line] group that constantly moves the puck, it bit us."
Denn got New Ulm on the board when she put one past Ashley Corcoran at the 5:15 mark.
"Words cannot even describe it," Denn said of the goal. "It's a dream to play at the 'X' and it's more than a dream to put a puck in the net. It didn't matter to me who put it in, we just needed somebody to get the momentum going."
Stegora answered later in the period on an assist from Haley and Schammel at 14:45.
New Ulm did look more comfortable after the first period.
"We were running our system and when we had the puck, we created some offensive opportunities," Faber said. "We needed more shots and we needed more opportunities in the offensive zone."
The Eagles had a key opportunity to score at about the 5-minute mark in the third period, but they were unable to knock the loose puck in the net after a series of shots were stopped by either Corcoran or a Winger defender on the ice.
New Ulm stopped running time in the third period when Denn scored her second goal of the game at 8:51.
The Eagles hope to carry some of that late momentum over to Thursday morning's contest against Alexandria at Ridder Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
"I don't really think it matters [where we play]," Denn said. "The first period is always nerve-racking but I feel like we're fine anywhere we play, I feel the nerves got to us in the first period and they took advantage of it."
New Ulm 0 1 1 - 2
Red Wing 5 2 0 - 7
1st period: RW: Haley (Schammel) 1:06; RW: Schammel (Hardyman) ; RW: Schammel (Haley) 9:39; Schammel (unast) 10:46; RW: Stegora (unast.) 16:56.
2nd period: NU: Denn (unast.) 5:15; RW: Stegora (Haley, Schammel) 14:45; Haley (Schammel) 16:36.
3rd period: NU: Denn (unast.) 8:51.
Goalies: New Ulm: Landreville 19 saves. Red Wing: Corcoran 12 saves; Anna Vagasky 0 Saves.