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Boys hockey: New Ulm sacks Cards in OT

ST. PETER — New Ulm’s Jon Kopacek scored a power-play goal 3:17 into overtime to expel the Willmar Cardinals from the postseason 5-4 on Saturday evening.

The Eagles made two comebacks to put the Section 3A semifinal into the extra session at the Don Roberts Ice Rink at Gustavus Adolphus College.

Willmar scored three times in the first 10 minutes: First-line center Hunter Mottinger in the first 30 seconds and then his left wing Isaac Kobienia at 6:30 and again at 10:26 with left wing Evan VanDenEinde assisting on the first and third goals.

But the Eagles staked claim to the second period, firing 17 shots at Willmar goalie Levi Goosmann, who saved 14 but three got through thanks to the Brandon Helget-Judd Davis-Wyatt Peterson line.

Thirty-eight seconds into the third, VanDenEinde, from Nate Ackerman, put Willmar back up 4-3.  Helget’s second goal, at 7:46, tied the game again.

Both teams got four shots on net in the scheduled eight-minute extra period before Kopacek’s game-winner.

Willmar, the No. 2 seed, finishes 12-13-1, and faces a major remodeling job with the graduation of 14 seniors. New Ulm (17-10) takes on No. 1 seed Luverne (26-0-1), which scrubbed Hutchinson 4-0.

New Ulm 5, Willmar 4, OT

New Ulm (17-10)               0  3  1  1 — 5

Willmar (12-13-1)              3  1  1  0 — 4

FIRST PERIOD – Wil: Hunter Mottinger (Evan VanDenEinde) 0:23 … Wil: Isaac Kobienia (Mottinger) 6:30 … Wil: Kobienia (VanDenEinde, Buzzy Tollefson) 10:26, pp

SECOND PERIOD – NU: Brandon Helget (Judd Davis, Wyatt Peterson) 5:09 … NU: Peterson (Davis, Helget) 7:16 … NU: Davis 12:47

THIRD PERIOD – Wil: VanDenEinde (Nate Ackerman) 0:38 ... NU: Helget (Peterson) 7:46

OVERTIME – NU: Jon Kopacek (Alex Stark) 3:17, pp

GOALIE SAVES – New Ulm: Brach Kraus 6-9-10-4-29 … Willmar: Levi Goosmann 9-14-8-3-34

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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