The third time wasn't the charm for the Minnesota River Bulldogs girls hockey team in the Section 2A playoffs.
The Bulldogs (11-8) and the Eagles (15-3) split two games during the regular season with New Ulm winning 4-2 on Feb. 18 and Minnesota River winning 2-0 on Feb. 23.
But the No. 2 seeded Eagles shut out the No. 6 seeded Bulldogs 3-0 on Tuesday in the opening round of the six-team playoffs at New Ulm Civic Center.
The Eagles out shot the Bulldogs 45-14. Bulldogs goalie Amelia Messer made 42 saves. New Ulm goalie Ava Brennan stopped all 14 shots for the shutout.
The Bulldogs kept the score close, trailing by only 1-0 after two periods. Jada Rahe scored. assisted by Evie Sellner and Mya Hornick, at 8:33 of the first period.
After a scoreless second period, Mya Hornick scored a power-play goal, assisted by Rahe, at 9:50 of the third period, to up New Ulm's lead to 2-0.
The Eagles finished off the scoring with an empty net goal by Berkley Wilfhart with 1:12 to play.
New Ulm next faces No. 2 seeded Delano Rockford (8-10), which had a bye in the first round, at 7 p.m. Thursday at Delano Sports Center.
In the other first-round, play-in games Tuesday, No. 4 Hutchinson (7-11) shut out No. 5 Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato (3-11-1) 4-0. Hutchinson plays at No.1 seeded Mound-Westonka/Watertown Mayer/Southwest Christian (12-2 and ranked No 5 in the state) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Thaler Arena.
The section championship will be at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The Bulldogs graduate six seniors: defenders Mary Rella and Gabby Prochaska and forwards Emma Seaver, Nicole McCabe, Elle Davis and Tahya McKenney.