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Blizzard take hot streak on the road to Marquette Friday

ALEXANDRIA - Not many teams in the North American Hockey League are as comfortable playing on the road as the Alexandria Blizzard - even when the road is a long and winding two-lane all the way to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

ALEXANDRIA - Not many teams in the North American Hockey League are as comfortable playing on the road as the Alexandria Blizzard - even when the road is a long and winding two-lane all the way to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

On Thursday, the Blizzard will make the trek to Marquette, Mich. for a two-game series with the Rangers.

When they last met in October, Marquette (21-18-3) swept a series in Alexandria (14-16-3) with 5-4 and 5-1 victories. At the time, the Rangers were sharp and looked like one of the top teams in the NAHL.

In recent weeks, however, the Blizzard and Rangers have been moving in opposite directions. After posting a 5-2-1 mark in December, Marquette struggled to a 2-8-1 record in January. Alexandria is 11-2-1 since December 1.

On Friday in Fargo, the Blizzard were down by two goals early in the third period before storming back to score four straight on the Jets.

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Luke Nesper and Mikael Lickteig had a goal and an assist each in the 4-2 victory while Garrett Grimstad and Taylor Vichorek had a goal apiece. Ryan Leets made 41 saves to earn his 11th win of the season.

Sunday, the Blizzard struggled in a sloppy, penalty-filled contest at Southern Minnesota, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Express. It was Southern Minnesota's first win over Alexandria this season in six attempts.

Jens Nilsson, Dustin Trail, and Brandon Larson had the Blizzard goals. "We weren't as sharp on Sunday as we have been in recent games," said Blizzard Assistant General Manager Grant McGinnis. "Neither team played very well."

The loss ended Alexandria's eight-game road winning streak, giving the team a weekend split. Fortunately, the Blizzard did not lose any ground in the standings. They remain fourth in the Central Division behind North Iowa, Southern Minnesota, and Springfield. Marquette was swept last weekend by cross-state rival Alpena.

"I don't think it really matters what their record is over the last few weeks," McGinnis said. "Marquette is a solid team and we will have to bring our 'A' game if we expect to come out of there with points."

Faceoff both nights is 6:30 p.m. Central Time and the games can be seen on the B2 network via www.alexandriablizzard.com . The Blizzard return to home ice next weekend with games February 8 and 10 against Springfield.

BLIZZARD BITS - Mikael Lickteig and Luke Nesper remain one-two in scoring for the Blizzard with 39 points each in 33 games. Jerry Freismuth is next with 28 while Brandon Bahnemann has 27...Joe Hartman leads Blizzard defensemen with 17 points, six more than Brandon Larson...Minnesota State - Mankato coach Troy Jutting was on hand Sunday to scout Lickteig and Bahnemann. The Mavericks swept St. Cloud State Friday and Saturday.

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