St. Louis Jr. Blues (23-11-1, 47 pts) vs New Ulm Steel (17-11-3, 37 pts)
VENUE: Affton Ice Rink, Affton, Missouri
GAME TIMES: January 25 at 4 pm, January 26 at 1 pm (all times Central)
WHERE TO FOLLOW: All Jr. Blues home games are streamed live and in high definition on HockeyTV.com (subscription required). On Twitter, follow @JrBluesHockey and follow @stljrblues on Instagram for live updates, and search “St. Louis Jr. Blues” on Youtube for highlights.
A QUICK RECAP: St. Louis had the MLK Day weekend off, but will be looking to get back on the right track after a sweep at Coulee Region two weekends ago. They lost 5-1 on Saturday evening and were stymied 3-0 Sunday afternoon.
NO DAYS OFF: Multiple Jr. Blues players took advantage of last weekend’s bye to skate with NAHL teams, gaining both valuable exposure and experience. Defenseman Chase Morgan and forward Valentin Kovalenko both practiced with the Janesville Jets, forwards Evan Ross and Mike Deeba spent time with the Topeka Pilots, fellow forward Mike Ivory and Jake Stevenson were invited to join the Shreveport Mudbugs, and a trio of Jr. Blues—goalie Brett Tome, forward Joey Solimando, and blue-liner Trey Walton—made the drive up Interstate 55 to skate with the Springfield Jr. Blues.
GET SQUARED UP: Once again the Jr. Blues are running their Super Bowl Squares game, and this year entry is easier than ever and can be done from anywhere. Just go to www.runyourpool.com, ask to join pool 125452 with the password “affton”, and pick your preferred square. Price is $25 a square, with half the pot going to the Jr. Blues and half going to the prize jackpot, which will be paid out after every regulation quarter. If you want to sign up, send your money via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCOUTING THE STEEL: New Ulm has opened up a bit of daylight between themselves and fourth-place Alexandria in the West Division, with a 6-4 win on Wednesday night widening the gap between them to six points. The veteran core of Jake Halvorson (19 G, 19 A), Mike Savelkoul (10 G, 24 A) and Keegan Bauman (15 G, 21 A) has paced the Steel back into playoff contention, while recent acquisition Igor Samokhvalov (2-1-0, 3.33 GAA, .907 SV%) has been challenging incumbent starter AJ Cohen (7-4-2, 2.69 GAA, .900 SV%) for time between the pipes. The two teams split the earlier series on the big ice at New Ulm, with St. Louis winning 6-1 before New Ulm responded with a 5-3 win in November.
JUNIOR NOTES: The Steel will be finishing off a stretch of four road games in five days with this series: this began with the win at Alexandria on Wednesday and continued with a trip to Mason City to play the North Iowa BullsFriday night….For the fourth straight season, Jr. Blues head coach Chris Flaugher will be behind the bench of the Central Division team at the 2020 NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament, to be held February 17-18 in Attleboro, Mass: the Jr. Blues’ playing representatives for this tournament will be announced at a later date.