The Steele County Blades junior hockey hit the ice strong in their return to play after an unscheduled, extended time away from the rink. The Blades had nearly three weeks between games, from October 3 at the Dells, WI to October 22 when they opened a four-game stretch at a showcase event in Blaine.

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While the Blades lost that opening game, it wasn't for a lack of opportunities and hard-hitting play. The Minnesota Mullets got a 2-0 victory with the second goal of the empty-net variety in the closing seconds.

On Friday, the Blades scored goals in the first and second periods for a 2-0 advantage entering the final frame. Noah Yerdon and Noah Murphy scored their first goals of the season. The Minnesota Moose evened the score and notched the winner 34 seconds into overtime for a 3-2 victory.

Saturday, Steele County lost 5-3 to Hudson. After trailing 3-0 after one period and 4-0 early in the second, the Blades and Havoc traded goals in the closing minute to go into second intermission with Hudson up 5-1. Yerdon notched his second. Steele County potted goals from Charlie Smith (his 4th) and Gavin Ellis (1st) by the midway point of the third, but that ended the scoring.

The Blades closed on a positive note with a 6-2 victory over Rum River Sunday at Fogerty Ice Arena in Blaine. Steele County built a 4-0 lead five-and-a-half minutes into the second period. Luke Juergensen (1st), Smith (5th), Murphy (2nd), and Ellis (2nd) finding the back of the net. The Mallards scored late in the second, but the Blades answered for a 5-1 lead entering the third period on a marker by Matthew Ebersole (2nd).

Pierce Lee scored his second of the season in the third and Steele County prevailed 6-2 to go 1-2-1 for the showcase, which featured all the teams of the Midwest West Division of the United States Premier Hockey League.

Steele County is scheduled to have their home opener Friday, October 30 at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna.