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Michigan, Wenatchee, Topeka and Austin open up with wins

April 19, 2014

Wenatchee goalie Chase Perry makes one of his 24 saves as the Wild shutout Fairbanks on Friday, 4-0. (Cover photo by Jeffery Smith, Times Herald. Inside photo by Sam Herrel, News Miner).

Michigan Warriors 1 @ Port Huron Fighting Falcons 0 (3 OT) (Michigan leads best of five series, 1-0) – In the second straight triple overtime game in as many playoff nights in the NAHL, the Michigan Warriors took a 1-0 series lead in the North Finals thanks to a 1-0 win on Friday night in Port Huron. Trevor Gorusch stopped all 55 shots that came his way for the shutout. Colin Larkin scored 5:37 into the third overtime to give the Warriors a 1-0 win. Larkin’s shot wasn’t the best of the 107 the two teams combined for in the game, but it was the only one to find the back of the net, causing Falcons goalie Alex Blankenburg to bend backward and hit his stick on the crossbar in disbelief. Blankenburg was almost as equally as good as Gorsuch, making 51 saves in the triple overtime classic. Boxscore

Wenatchee Wild 4 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 0 (Wenatchee leads best of five series, 1-0) – Chase Perry stopped all 24 shots he faced as the Wild went on the road and took Game 1 of the Midwest Finals by a 4-0 score. The Wild would break through for the game’s opening goal late in the second period, as Jakob Ahlgren skated down the slot and tucked home a backhander in close.  The Wild stretched the lead to 2-0 off a turnover at the blue line, as Parker Tuomie broke in all alone and scored, off assists from Troy Loggins and Chris Jones at 7:06, giving Wenatchee a 2-0 lead. Fairbanks would pull their goaltender with 2:30 remaining in regulation time, but Tuomie would score for Wenatchee into the empty net. Then, with the goaltender back in, Mike Coyne scored at 19:10 and the Wild would go on to win, 4-0. Kevin Aldridge made 21 saves for Fairbanks. Boxscore

Topeka RoadRunners 3 @ Amarillo Bulls 2 (Topeka leads best of five series, 1-0) - The Bulls and the RoadRunners combined for five goals in the first 26:13 of the game and then defense and goaltending took over the rest of the way. Topeka came away with a 3-2 win in the opening game of the South Division Final on Friday night. It was an offensively charged opening 20 minutes with each team scoring twice. The RoadRunners opened the scoring in the first 73 seconds with early pressure in Bulls’ territory and a goal from Tyler Poulsen. Amarillo settled down and it was Roman Ammirato who gave the homeside the lead with two goals less than three minutes apart. The RoadRunners pulled even with a goal in the final 13 seconds of the stanza as Sam Rennaker scored his first of the playoffs. The 2nd period featured lots of excitement and just one goal as Topeka took the lead on a shot from the outside that was deflected by Mike Gornall and went in. The Bulls had several outstanding chances to score but were denied by PJ Bridges including a point blank opportunity by Eric Purcell who was alone in the slot area. Bridges made 23 saves in the win, while Paul Berrafato took the loss, making 27 saves. Boxscore

Bismarck Bobcats 4 @ Austin Bruins 5 (OT) (Austin leads best of five series, 1-0) – Sam Kauppila scored 5:36 into overtime to help the Austin Bruins erase an early deficit to take Game 1 of the Central Division Finals. Things looked good for the visitors early in the 1st period as they scored three times in the game’s first six minutes on goals from Tanner Salsberry, Evan Giesler and Tyler Dunagan. That forced Austin head coach Chris Tok to use his timeout to try and regroup the Bruins, which it did. Less than two minutes after the timeout, Austin scored twice in the next three minutes of the game to make it 3-2 as Scott Nelson and Trey Dodd found the back of the net. Ryan Callahan scored for the Bobcats to make it 4-2, but Austin wasn’t done scoring in the 1st period either as Casey Jerry scored with about five minutes to go in the 1st period to make it 4-3. It wasn’t until early in the 3rd period until Austin tied the game as Niko Hildenbrand scored to make it 4-4. Kauppila’s game-winner came just over five minutes into overtime as he collected a rebound after a shot from Jake Arroyo and put it past Bobcats goaltender Aaron Nelson. Nick Lehr made 20 saves in the win, while Nelson made 40 saves in the loss. Boxscore

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