The Steele County Blades junior hockey team is on a roll. They've picked up points in seven of their last eight games are within striking distance of a home playoff seed. The Blades are 5-1-1-1 over their recent stretch and are just one point out of fourth place in the division with eight games to play.

HEAR FROM A COUPLE OF PLAYERS...BELOW

Steele County are just behind the Minnesota Moose for a home spot in the Midwest West Division playoffs of the United States Premier Hockey League. Steele County has played two fewer games than the Moose. The squads will also play head-to-head twice more over the final weeks of the regular season.

The Blades have just two more more games, discounting home playoff games for the moment. The teams remaining on their schedule are a mix of clubs above and below them in the standings. Saturday, February 12 the Blades play at third-place Hudson, WI.

The remaining home games at Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna are Saturday, February 19 at 2 pm versus the first-place Blue Ox and Thursday, February 24 against the sixth-place Minnesota Mullets.

Ethan Secord (Bellingham, WA) is a second-year player with the Blades. He loved the outdoor game that was part of Hockey Day Minnesota last month, "Oh my gosh! That was the best experience. I don't I'll ever forget that. The snow was coming down. Everyone was hyped."

Secord says the team's veteran leadership is reason behind a strong winter, "Last year was just a stepping stone for this year. And now we're in full flight."

Wyatt Barton (Lakeville, MN) is a recent addition to the roster after spending some time this winter in Helena, MT. He is excited to be playing hockey again in his home state. Barton was a junior with Lakeville South when the team went to the state tournament, "It's crazy. There's a lot of fans there. Super bright. It's like you're playing in a professional hockey game, which is great."

He was featured in the famous annual hockey hair video, which he talks about in our interview.

Hockey Day Minnesota 2022, Mankato

Minnesota State University-Mankato hosted Hockey Day MN. The eight-day festival featured all levels from youth to Division I, including a junior game for the first time.