t Fairbanks, Topeka win Game 1's on Friday | North American Hockey League | NAHL
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Fairbanks, Topeka win Game 1's on Friday

May 3, 2014

Topeka forward Jason Fernsler drives to the net in a 7-5 win over Austin in Game 1 (photo by Anthony S. Bush/cover photo by Sam Harell).

Austin Bruins 5 @ Topeka RoadRunners 7 (Topeka leads best of three series, 1-0) – In a game billed as a battle between the two best goalies in the NAHL, no one expected the offensive slugfest that broke out at Landon Arena Friday night. Twelve goals later, the RoadRunners earned a hard fought victory over the Central Champion Bruins, 7-5. Topeka can close out the series on Saturday. Five ‘Runners players tallied two points with two ‘Runners players collecting three. Mike Gornall 's first was the game's first score at 2:26 of the opening period assisted by Jasen Fernsler and Daniel Rzavsky. Austin struck back with two goals from Easton Viitala and Alex Petterson to take a 2-1 lead, but Tyler Poulsen would even it back up with an assist by Jake Kamrass at 11:37. Gornall and Rzavsky added another assist to their total at 12:19, slipping the puck to Fernsler for a brief 3-2 edge. The Bruins tied it back up with :14 seconds remaining in the period on a goal from defenseman Josh Bretner and the team's went to their respective locker rooms at 3-3. Early in the 2nd period, Fernsler flew down the boards with the puck, passing it across to a diving Cody Champagne who clipped it into the net to retake the lead 4-3. But Austin would equalize the game again, screening PJ Bridges on a shot from Niko Hildenbrand between the face off circles at 15:30. Knotted at four in the 3rd period, team captain Jerad Tafoya became the latest playoff hero for Topeka, finding the net off a feed from Daniel Rzavsky to take a 5-4 lead at 3:42. Just :26 seconds later, he struck again, beating Nick Lehr for what would be the eventual game winning netter. The Bruins closed the gap yet again with a tally from Brian Bachnak then the Bruins would pull Lehr with less than two minutes to go, igniting a flurry in the Runners zone until Tyler Poulsen stole the puck between the blue lines, raced down the edge and fed the puck to Jake Kamrass who scored on the empty to sink Austin 7-5. Boxscore

Michigan Warriors 1 @ Fairbanks Ice Dogs 3 (Fairbanks leads best of three series, 1-0) - The Fairbanks Ice Dogs emerged with a 3-1 victory over the Michigan Warriors on Friday night in Game 1 of the best-of-three North American Hockey League Robertson Cup Semifinal Series. The Ice Dogs, the top seed in the NAHL playoffs and the winner last week of the Midwest Division Final Series, can capture the semifinal series with a win over the fourth-seeded Warriors in Game 2 at 7:30pm on Saturday. Jacob Hetz, Hans Gorowsky and Yannick Vedel scored and goaltender Kevin Aldridge recorded 30 saves for Fairbanks. The Ice Dogs were ready in the first period Friday, holding Michigan without a shot for the first 11 minutes while sending three shots past Warriors netminder Trevor Gorsuch.Gorsuch came into the semifinal round with an average of one goal per game in seven playoff contests and a 0.90 goals against average. Hetz, with assists from Gervais and Nick Hinz, one-timed in a power-play shot from the low slot at 10:36 of the opening period for the series’ first score. Gorowsky made it 2-0 at 13:23 of the first, taking Doug Rose’s feed and blazing to the left half boards to drill a low shot that skipped in off of Gorsuch’s glove.Vedel, at 16:39 of the first, seized Gervais’ dribbling pass from the left corner and uncorked a slap shot through Gorsuch’s pads.Jake Hopfner provided Michigan’s goal at 10:30 of the third, redirecting in Connor Lyons’ open shot from the left circle. TJ Stuntz also assisted. Boxscore

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