Steele County Blades Close Regular Season with Win
The Steele County Blades junior hockey team grabbed a quick 2-0 lead over the Dells Ducks Saturday but needed a late goal to get the victory, keeping the estimated 800 fans on the edge of their seats throughout the contest. Zach Bettmeng scored the winner midway through the third period for the 4-3 win.
The win moved the Blades up in the final division standings, though they will still be on the road for the playoffs over the coming weekend. Steele County went 3-2 over their last five games. The Ducks finished in the eighth and final playoff spot. The Blades and Youth 1st hosted Jostens' Hearts and Hockey night. The event featured an on-the-ice puck shoot for several Jostens' employees, a photo booth and special chuck-a-puck prizes. Players signed team posters for fans afterward.
Steele County opened with goals 33 seconds apart early in the game. Frank Moore scored at 3:55 with assists to Zak Von Ruden and Cody Arbelovsky. Tanner Booth added a power play goal at 4:28 on a rebound of a shot by Bettmeng. Kyle Wadden also assisted.
The Ducks began their comeback at 7:35 of the second period with a shorthanded goal by Colton Maynard. Steele County reestablished their two-goal margin when Johnny Rowell redirected a blast by Justin Mavalli. Brain Romero also assisted. The Dells scored back-to-back goals six seconds apart late in the second to tie the game at 3-3. Alec Scarsella scored shorthanded and Stone Stelzl converted a quick breakaway after the ensuing faceoff.
The game-clincher by Bettmeng came at 10:49 of the third on a 2-on-1 rush with Wadden. It was Bettmeng's team-leading 52nd point of the season. The game closed out the Blades' sixth season in Owatonna. The team honored its billet families on Saturday. The team consists of players from around the country and several international players who live with local families during the season.