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Girls hockey: Cardinals come up short again for state berth

REDWOOD FALLS — Sooner or later, the Luverne Cardinals girls hockey team is bound to get over the barrier that New Ulm has built on its way to the state tournament.

But Thursday was not one of those days.

New Ulm, the top seed in Section 3A, edged second-seeded Luverne 2-1 in the finals of the section tourney — for the sixth year in a row.

Thursday’s loss was obviously a disappointment to the Cardinals, but head coach Tony Sandbulte chose to look at the bright side of the six-year drought.

“It’s quite an accomplishment getting there, too, that many years in a row,” he said.

New Ulm won this time with single goals in the first and third periods, assuming a 2-0 lead before LHS got on the board.

With 2:40 left in the first period, Ali Beltz scored for the Eagles while assisted by Brittany Denn and Brooke Schugel. Then with 11:45 left in the third, Lexie Weiss scored assisted by Morgan Schaefer and Schugel.

Luverne got its lone goal with 4:28 remaining in the game on a shot by sophomore forward Makayla Sterrett. Carly Serie had the assist.

Emily Bartel was in goal for the Cardinals, who were out-shot 35 to 17.

Sandbulte said Luverne’s strategy going into the contest was to keep New Ulm to the outside on the defensive zone and to attempt to catch the Eagles on two-on-ones. Bartel, he said, played an outstanding game.

Offensively, he said, “We just kind of missed that bounce when we needed it. The girls played extremely hard, though, and they’re proud of what they brought.”

Luverne defeated Marshall 6-1 Tuesday in the section semifinals.

New Ulm 1 0 1 — 2

Luverne 0 0 1 — 1