Steel hold off late surge to win 6-5

NEW ULM – With three games in three days, the New Ulm Steel wanted to get off to a good start.

Thursday night at the New Ulm Civic Center, the Steel used a fast start, fought off an attempted comeback before holding on to a 6-5 win against the Alexandria Blizzard in a NA3HL West Division game.

Erik Rainersson scored two goals – his first for New Ulm this year – while Colton Raymond, Fritz Belisle, Alex Nagel and Sam Wenner each netted a goal.

Belisle added three assists with New Ulm’s Bayler Kraus adding two helpers. Sam Storlie, Bennett Witta, Jacob Padley, Orlando Scherz, Nagel and Luc Kreuser all added assists.

Steel goaltender Jon Albers stppped 36 of 41 shots .

“We were up 3-0 [within the first five minutes of the game] and I thought this is too early and there is a lot of hockey left,” Steel coach Jay Witta said. “Then we got up 4-1, they battled back to within 4-3. We got up 6-3 and they battled back again. In this division, no lead is safe.”

The Steel (5-4) jumped to that 3-0 lead on scores from Raymond – on the first shot on goal of the game – before Wenner and Rainersson netted their first goals.

But Alexandria cut the lead to 3-1 after the first period on a goal from Nelson Logan.

Rainersson’s second goal of the game just more than a minute into the second period moved the Steel up 4-1.

But the Blizzard used consecutive power plays to score twiice and cut the lead to 4-3 on goals from Riley Meyer and Luverne’s Logan Norman after two periods.

“We had a couple of slashing penalties here and there,” Witta said. “And we had a charging penalty – it just takes away the momentum from our lineup because certain guys are not playing if we are killing penalties. The same goes for power plays. I would rather have a penalty-free game. We need to roll four lines and six defensemen and wear the other team out.”

The Steel had to match the Blizzard’s physical play.

“We had some breakdowns,” Wenner said. “They are definitely a physical team – they are going to finish their checks. They will do the things that you do not like.”

And the Steel used that to their advantage in the third period when they scored on a power-play goal off of the stick of Fritz Belisle to up their lead to 5-3 just 48 seconds into the third period.

Nagel’s team-leading sixth goal of the year increased the Steel lead to 6-3 before the Blizzard’s Nelson got his hat trick with two goals to cut the lead to 6-5.

“We have six points on the line this weekend,” Witta said. “That would put us in second place if we win in Willmar and sweep Alex here Saturday night.”