Steel surprise at showcase
For the past three days, two full games and for 57 minutes of their third game, the New Ulm Steel were the talk of the NA3HL Showcase Tournament in Blaine, Minnesota at the Schwan Super Rink.
Forty-two NA3HL teams from around the country attended the eighth annual showcase.
First, the Steel defeated the Yellowstone Quake (Cody, Wyoming), the leaders of the Frontier Division with a 21-5 mark by a 4-2 score.
The next day, the Steel raised a lot of eyebrows around the tournament when they ended the St. Louis Jr. Blues 23-game winning streak with a 4-2 win. The Jr. Blues came into the Showcase at 24-2 and led the Midwest Division.
Then on Tuesday, the Steel (14-7) led the 23-4 Metro Jets 4-2 late in the game before giving up two shorthanded goals and falling 5-4 in overtime.
When asked if he thought that his team would be 2-0 after the first two games and prior to Tuesday’s game with the Jets from Fraser, Michigan, New Ulm Steel head coach Andrew Kolb said that his team went into each game of the Showcase thinking that they were going to win.
In the win over the Quake, Kolb said his team played a solid 60-minute game.
“They were throwing stuff at us and we played solid defensively,” he said. “Ryan Kenny (who played in goal all three games for the Steel) played solid defensively for us all tournament.”
The Steel then turned a lot of heads when they beat the Jr. Blues, who had won 23 straight games by that 4-2 score.
“That was a huge win for us,” Kolb said. “That was the biggest win of the year for us. They are one of the top teams in the NA3HL. We got down 2-0 early but came back. We got a huge goal from Brian Oare — his first of the year — and that sparked us.”
Kolb said that the win over St. Louis generated a lot of buzz.
“There was a buzz around the arenas there about us beating them,” Kolb said. “That is why they have this showcase. Teams that you play up here are from different parts of the country and you do not play them otherwise. They were a team that swept North Iowa two games, so there was a buzz around the arena.”
And even the announcers on HockeyTV, who broadcasted the game, were giving the Steel kudos for their performance.
“This sends a message to the league that we are the real deal,” he said. “And the teams in our (Western) Division are the real deal.”
The Steel and all of the NA3HL are now off for Christmas break and will start up again on Dec. 29.
The Steel will host Breezy Point at 7:10 p.m. at the New Ulm Civic Center on Dec. 29.
TWINS IN NEW ULM
The Minnesota Twins Winter Caravan will be in New Ulm on Monday, Jan. 15 at the Best Western Hotel. Players attending are Jorge Polanco and Robbie Grossman, along with Twins broadcaster Cory Provus and new Baseball Hall of Fame selection Jack Morris.
Tickets for the program, which will be a tailgate meal, are $13 for adults and $9 for kids 10 and under.
There will be an autograph session after the program. Fans can get autographs after the program, but the policy is one autograph per fan, per player.
Tickets are now on sale at KNUJ Radio, Nicklasson Athletic and the Chamber of Commerce.
The New Ulm Baseball Association is also selling raffle tickets for $5 each with a $500 first-place prize among other prizes. These tickets can be purchased from any NUBA board member and the drawing will be held at the Twins Caravan.
LEGION HALL OF FAME INDUCTION SATURDAY
The New Ulm Legion Hall of Fame will induct three former players and one non-player this Saturday at 2 p.m. at the New Ulm American Legion.
Former players Scott Knisley, Tyler Morgan and Brady Mosenden will be inducted along with non-player Vern Kitzberger.