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#USPHLPlayoffs Preview: Hudson Havoc vs. Steele County Blades 

Steele County Blades (6) at Hudson Havoc (3)

All Games At Hudson Sports and Civic Center 

Friday, March 1, 6:30 p.m. CST

Saturday, March 2, 8 p.m. CST

Sunday, March 3, 6:30 p.m. EST (If Necessary) 

 

By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com

 

The Hudson Havoc are hoping they can remain part of “the Nationals crowd,” coming off two straight Nationals appearances and also having qualified for the ultimately canceled 2020 Nationals. It’s going to take a lot to get there – namely four wins out of six possible games. The Steele County Blades, on the other hand, would love to start a new glorious phase in their team history by earning their first playoff series victory and potentially earning their ticket to the big dance in Utica, N.Y. 

Hudson comes into the playoffs as the No. 3 seed, finishing 30-12-0-2, while the Blades captured sixth at 19-22-2-1. 

“We are excited to square off with a formidable opponent in Hudson,” said Blades Head Coach Nick Adamek. “We are working on the details of our game to be ready. We’ve always preached that the season is a learning experience in preparation to bring it all together at the end for playoffs. The season was a battle with them. I think that a few of the games could’ve gone to either team. Coach Sanden has assembled a great team together and it’s our job to come into their building prepared.”

Every game between the two teams was decided by three goals or less. The Havoc went 4-1 in the season series, winning their first four before the Blades nabbed them 3-1 on Feb. 9. With that last game fully in mind, Head Coach Todd Sanden isn’t taking anything for granted – and they’re not letting this opportunity slip by without enjoying every moment. 

“Our young team is looking forward to the playoff journey and hoping it’s a long ride!” he said. 

For the Havoc, much of the offensive story this year has been written by Evan Luxford (49 points) and Bryce Laager (37 points), but depth is truly their game – 35 different players have registered points for Hudson this year. Defenseman Gavin Jensen was the third-leading scorer this season with 30 points. Evan Luxford also ranked as the team’s plus-minus leader at +23 and fellow blueliner Ian Leiviska put his body in front of a team-leading 71 shots. 

Veterans Noah LaFleur (56 points) and Brody Ward (54) points were a 1-2 punch for the Blades this season, and they are second and third for the Jr. Blades in the USPHL Premier with 107 and 93 points, respectively. Arturas Laurynavichus put up 48 points to stand third in team scoring. Ward led the team in blocked shots, while defenseman Ethan Jerge was the plus-minus leader at +15. 

Levi Preugschas is the Jr. Blades’ all-time leader in wins (25) and save percentage (.917). He won 11 games this year and pushed a .920 save percentage. Hudson’s Kaleb Bents finished third in save percentage league-wide at .937, and he came in eighth in GAA at 2.10 while racking up a 15-2-0-0 record.

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