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Elite II league expands to southwest

By Special to MN Hockey Hub, 10/20/09, 11:13AM CDT

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Expansion team based in Mankato off to strong start

This year’s Elite II League season has included an expansion to southwest Minnesota with the addition of a team based in Mankato.

Team Southwest is comprised mostly of players from Owatonna, Albert Lea, Marshall, New Ulm, Redwood Valley, Waseca, Prior Lake, New Prague and Mankato. To complete the roster, players were added from St. Thomas Academy, Rosemount and Eden Prairie.

The addition of the Southwest team was intended to encourage participation from players who otherwise might not have joined the league because of long driving distances or the competition for roster spots with other teams.

Team Southwest opened its season with a full weekend at Wakota Arena in South St. Paul with a four-game schedule. Southwest debuted with 3-1 win over a team from Norway. The other games that weekend were against Metro West, Northeast and Iron Range. Team Southwest finished the weekend with a 2-2-2 record.

The next weekend Team Southwest played three games in Fargo, N.D. Team Southwest lost to the Minnesota Islanders in a shootout. In the second game, a big third-period effort resulted in a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Hornets. The North Dakota Starz defeated Team Southwest 6-3 to cap the weekend.

In the league’s third weekend, Southwest beat Metro West 6-3 and lost to Metro Northeast 5-3.

Midway through the season, Team Southwest is 6-6-1.