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Steel fall again over the weekend

NEW ULM — New Ulm Steel head coach Zach Stepan said that Friday night’s 5-3 loss to Alexandria at the New Ulm Civic Center was a loss that hurt.

The Steel, who fell to 0-3 on the season, had a 3-1 lead early in the final period before the Blizzard scored four straight goals to steal the win.

“We took it to them for 52 of the 60 minutes of the game but they scored some goals that probably should not have gone in the net,” Stepan said. “All of the goals that they scored were on nice shots, they were goal-scorer shots, but they were goals that should not have gone into the net. We needed that extra save to win a game but I will say that we have improved in the last week.”

Stepan said that the problem that he is starting to see in the first three games is that when his team makes a mistake, the puck usually ends up in the back of his team’s net almost every time.

“We need that one extra save or one extra blocked shot or one extra stick on the puck, all of a sudden we win these hockey games.

“And now that we have two goalies in Zac Hattan and Griffin Foster — Hattan was our third-string goalie last season and now he is our starter — and he has played well and I felt that Foster played well [Friday] for two periods,” Stepan said. “But then the pressure went on and you can tell he has not been in that situation before coming from Breezy Point. We saw in the first two periods how much potential he has.”

The play of Hattan and Foster made last year’s starter in net, A.J. Cohen expendable and he was traded to Bozeman, Montana on Monday for assets.

The Steel also will see the return this week of forward James Spaargaren to the ice.

“He drove back Sunday night,” Stepan said. “He was at Wichita Falls in the North American Hockey League. He is going to be a great addition for us.”

And the Steel are going to need all hands on deck this Friday when they host the North Iowa Bulls at 7:10 p.m.

The Bulls are 2-1 and have outscored opponents 12-5 in their games. New Ulm has been outscored 14-7 in their three contests.

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