Steel to host Granite City on Friday night
NEW ULM — Monday morning before practice for the New Ulm Steel, Steel head coach Zach Stepan had a decision to make regarding his goaltenders.
He had five on the roster and needed to make some moves at that position.
He carried A.J. Cohen, Zach Hatten, Jack Raymond, James Royce and Noah Frederich at that spot.
“We did not make any trades because right now I have two goalies [Royce and Frederich] who are hurt,” Stepan said. “So we are keeping A.J., Zach and Jack as our rostered goaltenders. James and Noah are going to stay and see doctors here and get their injuries squared away. But regarding our protected list, we are down to three. James and Noah are each battling hip injury issues now.”
Also both Royce and Frederich are 1999 birth years, which means that after this season, both of them will ‘age out’ in as far as being eligible to play Junior Hockey.
Cohen, Raymond and Hatten are each in their first year of Junior Hockey.
“With both of them being 99s it is more if they want to try and come back after their injuries — hip injuries are not a short-term injury. “Do they want to continue to play or help our other goalies with their technique. So if that is something that they want to do we will give them every opportunity to do that.”
Stepan said “the goalies that we have now in A.J., Zach and Jack have shown that they can play in the (NA3HL) so now it comes down to is it fair to the other goalies but we cannot make that decision until they are over their injuries. And they understand that even though it is never an easy conversation — I do know that they are good kids and team players.”
When the Steel (7-3-1-1; third in West) host Granite City (10-3-0-0; second in West), New Ulm will be without two key players in forwards Keegan Bauman (11goals and eight assists) and Michael Savelkoul, who leads the Steel in assists with 15.
Bauman will be out from between 2-6 weeks with a shoulder injury and Savelkoul who is suspended for Friday because of a game misconduct penalty last Saturday.
“They can still be in the locker room and can still play that role there for us,” Stepan said.