Orono goaltender Anna Lisle (33) pushes the puck away from New Ulm forward Dani Weiss (7). Lisle had 29 saves in the 2-2 tie. Photo by Carter Jones, SportsEngine
New Ulm entered its Saturday matinee at Orono Ice Arena as the state’s second-highest scoring team at 6.33 goals per game.
Much of that is a result of the play of University of Wisconsin-River Falls commit Ali Beltz, who entered the matchup with a state-best 42 goals and 25 assists in 19 games.
Beltz's skills were on full display against the Spartans, twice beating goaltender Anna Lisle one-on-one, but it was Lisle who emerged as the difference-maker.
Lisle largely kept the Eagles in check, stopping 29 of 31 shots she faced, including eight in overtime, to preserve a 2-2 tie.
Pent up frustration from last season's scoreless draw helped heighten the physical play on Saturday.
“It was definitely a very intense game,” Lisle said. “I think we could have pulled it out a little stronger, but I’m happy with the result.”
Beltz’s breakneck speed and smooth stickhandling allowed her to slice through the neutral zone and find open lanes to the net, turning those possessions into shootouts with Lisle as she tried to lead the Eagles to a victory.
Beltz used a backhand fake to score a shorthanded, first-period goal. She did the opposite in the third period, faking to her forehand for her second goal of the game and her 199th career point.
“[Beltz] She was pretty good,” Lisle said. “She had quite a few moves out there. Her shots were hard, I caught one to the glove, which really hurt.”
Lisle, however, finished the game while Beltz didn't.
Beltz chased down a puck in the final minute of overtime and collided with Spartans senior Nicole Neuberger. Both players fell to the ice, but Beltz was called for body checking. She left the ice and never returned due to an apparent injury.
Teammates said after the game that Beltz didn’t remember the hit. Faber said neither player acted with malice on the play.
“Honestly I don’t know if either one of them saw it," New Ulm coach Kristen Faber said. "[Bletz will] be fine and we’ll figure things out.”
Lisle, on top of her sore glove hand, also took a hit late in the third period.
New Ulm forward Molly Scheid closed in on the Orono net, where Spartans defender Molly Martini’s stick caught Scheid. Both players collided and crashed into Lisle, who needed to recover quickly with a power play pending after Martini was called for tripping with 1 minute, 27 seconds left in regulation.
Lisle weathered a firestorm in the first half of overtime as New Ulm (15-3-1, 9-0-0), ranked No. 11 in the Class 1A coaches’ poll, held the zone and fired a barrage of shots her way.
It was the game plan followed by the Eagles in regulation, where they did most of their damage on the rush, firing shots from outside and crashing the net for rebounds.
Lisle said she tries keep calm in net by tuning out the good and the bad going on around her.
Her teammates helped by controlling possession throughout the game, despite playing without their top skater in Lizi Norton.
The senior had not returned to the team after winning a gold medal with Team USA’s Under-18 team in the International Ice Hockey Federation championships in Russia on Saturday.
Orono coach Steve Persian said he’s proud of his team for filling in new roles and playing without Norton.
Ellie Schaible netted a power-play goal in the middle period, her third score of the season. Senior Holly Harrison tallied the equalizer off a rebound in the third period to force overtime for third game in a row for the No. 17-1A Spartans (6-11-2, 2-3-1).
“Given where we’re at -- missing one of our top players -- it has an effect on what we’re able to accomplish and so I’m really proud of the effort from these kids this game and frankly the past four (games),” Persian said.
New Ulm forward Ali Beltz (5) fights for the puck against Orono forward Ellie Schaible (26). Beltz scored twice in the 2-2 tie. Photo by Carter Jones, SportsEngine
Orono goaltender Anna Lisle stopped 29 of 31 shots, including eight in overtime, to preserve a 2-2 tie against New Ulm Saturday afternoon at Orono Ice Arena.
Ali Beltz, the state’s leading scorer, gave New Ulm (15-3-1, 9-0-0), ranked No. 11 in the Class 1A coaches’ poll, the lead two minutes into the third period after tallying her second goal of the game. It was her 44th of the season and increased her career point total to 199.
Spartans defender Holly Harrison netted the tying goal off a rebound with nine minutes left in regulation. Ellie Schaible scored the other goal for No. 17-1A Orono (6-11-2, 2-3-1).
Beltz chased down a puck in the final minute of overtime and collided with Spartans senior Nicole Neuberger. Both players fell to the ice, and Beltz was called for body checking.
Cassie Reed made 15 saves for New Ulm.
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