Steel continue to struggle this season

NEW ULM — After a 5-3 loss to the Granite City Lumberjacks Saturday night, the New Ulm Steel find themselves carrying a 2-10-1 record, last in the West Division and eight points behind Alexandria for the fourth and final playoff spot.

Despite the home loss to Granite City, the second place team in the West, Steel coach Zach Stepan was emphasizing the positives that he saw in his team.

“I saw some good things from my team,” Stepan said Monday morning as he prepped his team for practice at the New Ulm Civic Center. “From a win-loss perspective, it is never fun losing but I thought that overall we played a really good game. It was a game that could have gone either way (it was a 4-3 game late until Granite City iced the game with an open-net goal). But unfortunately we were on the wrong end of the score. From the players standpoint we were just happy to be back on the ice.”

The Steel got down 3-1 to the Lumberjacks before scoring twice to tie the game at 3-3.

“It was a good hockey game,” Stepan said. “It was unfortunate how they got their fourth goal after (Steel player Joey) Gimberlin looked like he got clipped from behind to give Granite City a 2-on-1 rush. But those things happen. I still think that even in that last minute (of the game) we had some scoring chances. We have had quite a few games like that this season. It was a good back and forth game.”

But the loss was something that New Ulm cannot afford to have right now looking up a four other teams.

“But I think that if we play like that and we fix a couple of pieces it is going to be interesting to see where we are at the end of the season. We need to be consistent.”

Stepan said that the eight-point deficit to Alexandria “Is not that far out of the question. It is going to be an interesting second half of the season because there will be a lot of three-game weekends, three games in three days, four games in five days. Games on Wednesdays and Sundays. It is going to be what team can get on a roll because there will not be a lot of practice time in between games.”

This weekend the Steel have two games as they play at Granite City Friday night before hosting Alexandria Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. at the New Ulm Civic Center.

“We need to beat Granite Friday and send a message,” Stepan said. “We need to go into their barn and send a message and let teams know that we are not going to be an easy team to beat down the stretch.”

Fans are reminded that there is a limit of 150 fans for home games. Masks are required as is social distancing.


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