Steele County Blades junior hockey earned a split last weekend at Wisconsin Rapids. The team has a three-game weekend ahead including a home game on Sunday, December 10. They also boast one of the Midwest West Division Players of the Month for November. And enjoy a series of player spotlight interviews below.

Against the River Kings, Steele County won the Friday night game 3-2 as Steven Pribula (Baster, MN) scored in the third round of the shootout for two points in the league standings. Isaiah VanRyswyk (Albert Lea, MN) and Noah LaFleur (West Salem, WI) also tallied goals.

Saturday’s rematch went to Wisconsin Rapids 6-3. Nate Rakness (Fairmont, MN) got the scoring started. Brody Ward (Annandale, MN) and VanRyswyk pushed Steele County’s lead to 3-1 in the second period. But it was all River Kings after that.

The Blades’ next home game is Sunday, December 10 at 7:30 pm at Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna.

Ward was tabbed as a Player of the Month for November as he “took to the ice and just kept scoring,” according to the news release from the US Premier Hockey League. Ward had seven goals and nine assists in seven games for the month. He won face-offs at a 62-percent rate and was a plus-six to tie for the team lead. Steele County went 3-2-2 over that stretch.

VanRyswyk is a first-year member of the Blades, but a longtime junior hockey player who recently reached his 100th career game. He spent some time in Omaha (NE), Rochester (MN), and Canada before coming to Owatonna, “I decided for my last year that I wanted to stay close to my home and friends and family.”

Home is further away for Laurynavichus, who grew up in Minsk, Belarus. He was looking for a change and told his advisor, “I probably want to go to USA. He knows this team because he sent players to this team before.” This is his second year with the club.

Interview with Aruras Laurynavichus

Heath Jahn (Kearney, NE) is getting used to being away from home in his first season of juniors, “I’ve always loved hockey and there’s not really much support for that in Nebraska…This way I’m able to have a better chance to having a future in hockey. Maybe play in college.”

Heath Jahn

Goalie Liam Luther (Brainerd, MN) is also in his first year of junior hockey. His mother was his youth hockey coach and encouraged him to give goaltending a try. The rest is history.

Liam Luther

The Blades play the Minnesota Blue Ox in Coon Rapids on Friday, December 8, and travel to Isanti on Saturday, December 9. Steele County hosts the Minnesota Mullets on Sunday at 7:30 pm. [Full Blades schedule/results]

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