Upset intrigue fades as Thief River Falls advances

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE
  • Updated: March 7, 2012 - 11:40 PM

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New Ulm injected some intrigue into the fourth and final Class 1A state tournament quarterfinal game.

The Eagles were the only unseeded team to get a lead Wednesday, but the advantage was short lived. No. 4 seed Thief River Falls scored five unanswered goals in a 5-1 victory. A New Ulm loss dropped unseeded teams to 2-22 in six years of seeding tournament fields 1-4 and selecting opponents by blind draw.

New Ulm’s Jeff Banal scored about four minutes into the first period off a well-executed faceoff play.

“It was just what the doctor ordered,” coach Erik Setterholm said. “It gave our kids some bounce.”

Setterholm said his team went on to generate “good pressure, even more than I anticipated.” But the Eagles had not played an opponent the caliber of Thief River Falls this season and it showed as the Prowlers mounted a comeback.

They responded with two goals and took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. And they kept prowling around the New Ulm net. Tanner Nessen scored twice in the second period. On his second goal, Nessen chased down a puck flipped down the ice by teammate Austin Odberg and finished the breakaway chance with a backhand shot. Odberg finished with three assists

. “I saw [Odberg] chip it off the glass and I knew I had the defense beat,” Nessen said. “Then I got in and I knew I had to beat the goalie so I found the corner.”

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