Steel hope to bounce back on Saturday
NEW ULM — Following back-to-back home losses this past weekend to Alexandria and Granite City respectively the New Ulm Steel — who were alone in third place prior to the past weekend games — are now tied with Alexandria for that third spot, with each team having 29 points.
Both teams are only 5 points ahead of fourth-place Willmar for that final playoff spot.
Steel coach Zach Stepan thinks that his team, who hosts Breezy Point on Saturday at the New Ulm Civic Center, just needs to get back to the way that they were playing before the NA3HL 10-day Christmas break.
“And I think a lot of getting back to where we were has to do with conditioning,” he said. “We need to have our legs underneath us. Our legs were better Saturday night, but we still were not where we needed to be. So the players are going to have a hard week from that standpoint.”
The Steel did not help themselves Saturday when they were whistled for five penalties in the second period and eight in the game.
“As mad as that made me, we have not had a game where we have taken dumb penalties like that.” he said. “So I will chalk that up to just not having our legs — that was part of the laziness. Once you get frustrated, you can fall into that and that was exactly what we did. We need to make sure we are not doing that. It is going to be a hard week in practice on the players’ legs this week.”
Stepan said that he is going to shake up things line-wise.
And there maybe another factor coming up before Saturday night’s contest.
“We potentially may be looking at some personnel changes. We could have new players coming in,” Stepan said. “There are teams in our division and other divisions that are looking to shake things up too and make some moves. It may be a straight up player-for-player trade or if the price is right we could add a player. You just negotiate until something clicks and you go from there.
“We are going to look into more player-for-player trades. Right now we are open to all options.”
When asked if he feels that there will be one or two new faces on the Steel team come Saturday night’s game here, Stepan said yes.
“It will all depend on travel schedules, but there will be some new faces on the Steel this week.”
FORMER STEEL PLAYERS: The purpose of the New Um Steel and the NA3HL is to develop players for college hockey. Some former Steel players who are playing college hockey are forward Fritz Belisle (Augsburg University) Minneapolis; defenseman Sam Storlie ( Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Meyers, Florida); wing Hunter Johnson (Gustavus Adolphus College, goalie Ryan Kenny (Stevenson University, Baltimore County Maryland), forward Alex Nagel (University of Wisconsin-Stout.)