The Steele County Blades junior hockey team may have served notice during a weekend series hosting first-place Wisconsin Rapids. The Riverkings came away with the sweep, but the Blades traded blows in Friday's opener before falling 6-4 in front of an enthusiastic, fired up crowd at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna. Saturday's wrap up went to the 'Kings 5-1.

[Scroll down for interviews with players Pierce Lee and Jakob Kalin.]

The Blades pressured right away Friday with good scoring chances. When Wisconsin Rapids scored at 7:34 of the first period, the Blades responded with a power play from Braden Trivelpiece (Moscow, ID) 40 seconds later. The game went to intermission at 1-1.

The Riverkings scored the next two goals for a 3-1 lead, but the Blades netted back-to-back goals 45 seconds apart by Gavin Ellis (Highland, CA) and Noah Murphy (Faribault) to tie the game at 3-3. Wisconsin Rapids grabbed a 4-3 intermission lead on a 5-on-3 power play goal with 21 seconds left in the second.

Steele County tied the game again, this time on a scrum at the net put in by Brady Nance (Bakersfield, CA) at 9:44 to make it 4-4. About 90 seconds later Wisconsin Rapids went ahead and they added an empty net goal for the 6-4 win.

Blades' goalie Joe Young made 40 saves, many of them deserving of a highlight reel or top ten list of some sort.

Saturday's rematch didn't have the electric feel inside the rink of Friday. Still the Blades generated plenty of good scoring chances on their limited shot total in a 5-1 loss. Keiton Klein (Bellingham, WA) scored off a face off win by Connor Lee (Sydney, Australia) early in the second period that drew the Blades within 2-1 at the time.

Steele County opens the week with a busy stretch of games. Monday (February 15) they host the Minnesota Blue Ox at 7 pm in a possible playoff preview. The Blue Ox are fourth and the Blades fifth in the Midwest West Division standings. Tuesday Steele County goes to Hudson for a 12 pm face off. Wednesday the Blades are back home with Rochester for a 7 pm encounter.  The Blades are allowing a limited number of fans into their games.

Click below to get-to-know Blades players Pierce Lee (Delta, British Columbia) and Jakob Klein (Calgary, Alberta).

Steele County Blades forward Pierce Lee

Blades forward Jakob Kalin

Get to know Blades' veteran Connor Lee and newcomer Joe Young from a previous story. PREP HOCKEY: OHS swept Winona on Thursday, February 11.

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