With a a three point differential in the standings heading into the game, it gave the Blades an opportunity to try and create some separation. It also marked goaltender Tim Grounds' first game against his former team. Grounds backstopped the River Falls Renegades (formerly known as the St. Croix Valley Magicians) in 21 games last season before making his way to Steele County.
The Blades entered the first period with a shoot first mentality. Soren Colstrup opened the scoring for the Blades at the 4:19 mark of the period when he beat Renegades goaltender Jack Bernhagen between his legs on a Blades odd man rush. Colton Sprenger and Tristan Klewsaat collected the assists on Colstrup’s goal. Continuing the trend of throwing shots on net paid off when Sprenger crossed the blue line and threw a puck on net; Jake Friese crashed the net and buried the rebound, giving the Blades a 2-0 lead. Sprenger tallied his second assist on the night while Colstrup added to his point total with the secondary assist. On the other half of the ice, Grounds posted a strong first period outing, stopping all 14 shots the Renegades put on net.
Just under five minutes into the second period, Tristan Klewsaat beat Bernhagen with a wrist shot from the top of the circle that snuck just under the crossbar for his first goal of the season. River Falls would not be silenced as Cory Sebastian found the back of the net on a rebound attempt while on the power play. Just 18 seconds later, before the Renegades could shift the momentum, Kyle Wadden took a slap-shot from just over the redline that went off Bernhagen’s blocker into the back of the net. Bernhagen would be relieved of his duties for the night before be replaced by Holton Stricken. Stricken allowed one goal for the remainder of the period as Chase Wedding sprung forward Kory Potach on a breakaway and shot the puck past Stricken in the midst of being tripped on the play. Potach’s third goal of the season gave the Blades a 4-1 lead heading into the final frame.
Grounds held the Renegades scoreless for the remainder of the game, stopping 38 shots in the process. The Renegades tightened up defensively in the third period as well while the Blades couldn't solve Stricken, giving the Blades a 4-1 victory.
Grounds was happy about beating his former teammates. “It meant a lot to see the guys and to reconnect with them for a bit. From a team perspective, it was a big win for us and it was a little bit sweeter considering the opponent. We stuck to the game plan, played as a team, and did a good job of keeping our noses clean.”
The Blades are back home this weekend, playing the Chicago Cougars Friday and Saturday night.
Make sure to follow the Steele County Blades on social media for updates on tonight's game.