Important games are ahead for Steel

NEW ULM — The New Ulm Steel have nine games left in their regular season but three of them happen this weekend with two games at the New Ulm Civic Center.

Friday the Steel head to Alexandria for a game against the Blizzard before hosting Alexandria at 7:10 p.m. Saturday night at the New Ulm Civic Center.

The Steel then conclude this weekend’s action when they host North Iowa in a rare 3:10 p.m. game Sunday afternoon at the Civic Center.

But for the Steel and head coach Andrew Kolb, the home-and-away games with the Blizzard are the biggest games of the year for them.

New Ulm trails the Blizzard in the West Division for the fourth and final playoff spot.

“We are three points behind (Alexandria) and we have with a game in hand and that game is here Sunday with North Iowa,” Kolb said. “This weekend is going to determine a lot. One team can separate themselves and take in that fourth spot. It is a huge three-game weekend for us.”

Kolb said that he does not know if his team’s playoff future will be determined this weekend.

“But there are six potential points on the table for us and they will be crucial,” Kolb said.

Kolb knows that the ideal scenario is to win all three games.

“That is the game plan but that will be very difficult against two good hockey teams,” he said. “We need to take it game by game.”

Kolb said that the 3-2 overtime win against Rochester last Saturday night was needed.

“That was our third straight win and it got us six points,” he said. “We have scored 14 goals in our last three games.”

The Steel have added thee new players this week in defenseman Jake Anderson along with forwards Judd Schulz and Brian Louis.

“Brian Louis is going to be more permanent,” Kolb said. “He is a young forward (2001) who we drafted last year. He has some potential and some upside and he is young and raw. He was playing AAA hockey in Detroit this year. Jake is a Mankato East kid and Judd is a Madison Lake kid. Three of our defensemen — Oliver Hoeschen, Michael Smits and Josh Hodgkinson — are still all hurt.”

Saturday night is “Rare Gene Awareness Night”at the Civic Center while Sunday afternoon is “Mike’s Collision and Repair Day.” The first 250 fans get a magnet clip and a discount on an oil change.