Under other circumstances, a group of Owatonna High School seniors would be wearing blue and silver and scoring goals on Dudley Otto Rink at the Four Seasons Centre. They would be getting ready for a trip to Duluth for the annual holiday tournament, while thinking about another run at a Big Nine title.

Instead, Dom Valento, Zach Kubicek, Wyatt Oldefendt, and Casey Johnson are finding the back of the net in Wisconsin and Illinois while wearing the black and orange of the Steele County Blades junior hockey team. The Blades went 4-0 during a showcase event in the Chicago area over the weekend and have won six straight.

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Valento had a 16-point weekend and has a staggering 23 points in nine games with the Blades on 11 goals and 12 assists. He had a hat trick in Saturday's 10-2 win over Decatur and added two assists. Sunday Valento had a goal and three assists in 6-4 victory over the Midwest Blackbirds. He closed the tournament with four assists in Steele County's 9-0 shutout of Motor City. Valento opened the event with a goal and two helpers in an 11-0 shelling of the Detroit Fighting Irish.

Kubicek had an least one point in each of the four games over the weekend, including a pair of markers in both of Sunday's games. He had a goal and three assists Saturday against Decatur.

Johnson had two goals in his Blades' debut Saturday. Oldefendt has been with the Blades all season. The defenseman has appeared in eight games and has two goals and four assists.

Come January 4, the current OHS student-athletes will likely join their prep teammates for the start of in-person practice for Minnesota high school sports. A date for the start of games could come soon from the Minnesota State High School League.

Connor Lee (Australia) leads the team with 16 goals and has 10 assists for a team-leading 26 points in 19 games. Noah Yerdon (Monaca, PA) has 18 assists to lead the team to go with six goals for 24 total points in 18 games. Valento is third with 23 points.

See all the player stats for the Blades. Goalie Michael Leighton (Ann Arbor, MI) got the shutout in Friday's win. Elliot Wrigley (Littleton, CO) got Sunday's clean sheet.

Steele County's six-game winning streak is part of a 10-2 run since November 13 that has them at 13-7-1 overall on the season. The Blades haven't played a game in Minnesota since November 20. After five games in Wisconsin, the last four were in Illinois.

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