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New Ulm's late goal sinks LDC

Brody Peterson, left, of New Ulm and Quinn Impola of Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato battle for the puck during the Section 3A championship game Friday in St. Peter. (Photo special to the Tribune by Pat Christman, Mankato Free Press)

ST. PETER -- Ryan Koivisto kept Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato in the game for as long as possible before New Ulm muscled a shot past the senior goalie late in regulation as the Eagles blanked LDC 1-0 Friday in the Section 3A boys hockey championship.

The teams played 48 minutes of scoreless hockey before Aaron Pfaff scored four seconds into a New Ulm power play with just 2:25 remaining in the game. The Eagles had a 26-16 advantage in shots as Koivisto came up with 25 saves.

New Ulm repeated as the section champion after upending LDC 5-2 in last year's section final. The Eagles (22-4-1) outscored their three opponents in the section tournament 15-1 and will now participate in its third state tournament in the program's history.

A seeding draw will be held today to determine the state tournament bracket. The tourney kicks off Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Koivisto collected many spectacular saves in the LDC net, but New Ulm goaltender Blake Burgau was equally as tough. Burgau made 16 saves to help New Ulm beat LDC for the second time this season. The Eagles drubbed LDC 4-1 on Jan. 6 and the Dragons won a later meeting 2-1 in overtime.

LDC fired off nine shots in the opening period Friday, but the Eagles' defense limited the Dragons to four shots in the second period and just three in the final stanza.

New Ulm 1, LDC 0

Litchfield/DC (16-11-1) 0 0 0 -- 0

New Ulm (22-4-1) 0 0 1 -- 1

FIRST PERIOD - no scoring

SECOND PERIOD - no scoring

THIRD PERIOD - NU: Aaron Pfaff (Zach Hoffmann) 14:35, pp

GOALIE SAVES - Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato: Ryan Koivisto 25 ... New Ulm: Blake Burgau 16