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Steel host Loons in crucial series this weekend

NEW ULM — This Saturday and Sunday at the New Ulm Civic Center, the New Ulm Steel will play their two most important games of the season when they host the Minnesota Loons in NA3HL games at the New Ulm.

Saturday’s game has a 7:10 p.m. puck drop, with Sunday being a 3 p.m. matinee.

How important are this weekends games to the Steel?

The Loons and New Ulm are tied for fifth place in the West Division at 14 points each — and they do not play each other again for the rest of the season.

“If we take all 4 points (sweep the two-game series), we are back in the playoff face,” Steel head coach Alex North said. “These are the biggest games of the year. Losing both games is not an option for us. We need to play our ‘A’ games both days. We have to come out and play like I know we can play.”

Losing both contests would put them 4 points behind the Loons.

Those games become more important in the fact that the Steel face a tough Alexandria team for three games after this weekend before then meeting 20-1 Granite City after that.

“Our energy is high this week in practice because the players fully understand how important this weekend is for us, “North said.

And North hopes that the Steel fans come out in force this weekend.

And North said fan attendance at the Steel home games this year has been better than last season, with the largest crowd this season being 684 in attendance.

“We have extremely loyal fans that come to every game,” he said. “It would be nice to get some more fans in the seats. The guys like to see the support of the community. I see that support every day. Friday we had MLC Night here. I know that the players have been getting out in the community. Last week we helped unload toys at the armory. Sunday we held a ‘Skate With Santa’ day at the Civic Center with the local kids. I want to get our players out in the community as much as I can.”

Saturday is “New Ulm Chamber of Commerce Night,” with the New Ulm National Guard sponsoring Sunday’s 3 p.m. game where after the game kids can skate for free with Steel players.

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