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Preugschas shines in 80-save game

hockey, blades, preugschas
Steele County Blades goaltender Levi Preugschas makes a kick-save against the Minnesota Moose in the team’s double-overtime playoff game earlier this month. Preugschas had a memorable 80-save night in a 3-2 loss to the Moose. Staff photo by Johnnie Phillips
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor

Steele County Blades goaltender Levi Preugschas had a game to remember earlier this month when he made 80 saves on 83 shots in a double-overtime playoff loss to the Minnesota Moose.

While one might think that facing 83 shots would be a goalie’s nightmare, to Preugschas, it’s all a part of the job.

“It’s just one shot at a time. The most important shot is always the next one. I know what our guys can do to take care of business on the front end, I’m just trying to do my best to give them a chance to win the game,” Preugschas said.

After saving all 16 shots he faced in the first period, the Blades’ goaltender may have figured he was in for another routine night.

What followed in the remaining periods would be one of the most statistically impressive games of his entire hockey career.

Preugschas made 20 more saves on 22 shots in the second period, but goal support from the Blades initially proved difficult.

The team trailed 2-0 heading into the third period, with Preugschas having made 36 saves on 38 shots.

When the two teams hit the ice for the third, Steele County’s backstop turned into a brick wall for the final 20 minutes.

Two major breakaway saves in a heated playoff game fueled the Blades’ fire and led to an offensive outbreak for Steele County’s own.

With two goals by Noah LeFleur and Brody Ward at the 6:52 and 13:22 marks of the third, head coach Nick Adamek’s team had fans in the stands on their feet with the game tied at 2-2.

The third period was Preugschas’s lightest load of the game. He saved all 15 shots, but the heat would be turned up after the final horn sounded to end regulation.

In sudden-death, five-on-five overtime, the goaltender faced 26 shots and turned each away to keep his team’s chances alive.

Preugschas’s 26 saves nearly quadrupled that of Moose’ goaltender Bridger Fixmer, who faced just seven shots in the first 20-minute overtime period.

When Steele County hit the ice for the second overtime period, Preugschas went right back to his ways with three more quick saves. Ultimately, a two-on-one break for the Moose would end the game when a well-placed shot finally beat him to the top corner.

Despite the loss, Preugschas said he lives for situations such as the game against the Moose.

“My entire life has been in net. My dad was a goalie and so was his dad. I guess it’s just in my blood.”

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