Playoff Preview: Steele County Blades Look to Knock Over the Moose
The junior hockey playoffs begin Wednesday, March 2 at 7:15 pm for the Steele County Blades. As the fifth-seed, they will play the fourth-seed Minnesota Moose at Fogerty Ice Arena in Blaine. The best 2-out-of-3 series will continue Thursday, March 3 at 7:15 pm. If necessary, game three is Sunday, March 6 also in Blaine. All games can be seen on Hockey TV.
The Blades are 1-4-1 against their rivals this season in the Midwest West Division of the United States Premier Hockey League. But that one win gives them confidence says captain Evan Axell (Plymouth, MN), "The boys are electric. We're excited to get this started...We have a lot of potential to go far this year...We've only beaten the Moose one time in the whole history of our organization and that was this year. And I think we're all excited to know that we are caple and able to beat the Moose."
Steele County coach Nick Adamek likes his team's attitude and togetherness, "I like the fact we have done this all year together. Really, that's the biggest thing. We've gone through our ups and our downs together...Like we're a big family. That's important."
Adamek adds other keys for the Blades, "Finding a way to get into their zone with speed and get quality shooting lanes open for ourselves and then being really good defensively in terms of being able to get out of our zone quickly and efficiently."
Steele County (22-18-2-2) won two out of three over the final weekend of the regular season with an overtime loss. The Moose (23-17-1-3) won four of their last five games. They are the second-highest scoring in the division behind top-seed Minnesota Blue Ox.
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First-round series (best 2-out-of-3)
No. 5 Steele County Blades at No. 4 Minnesota Moose
No. 8 Dells Ducks at No. 1 Minnesota Blue Ox
No. 6 Minnesota Mullets at No. 3 Hudson Havoc
No. 7 Rum River Mallards at No. 2 Wisconsin Rapids River Kings