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Friday Finals: Wilderness sweep defending champs

May 2, 2015

Jack Berry made 36 saves to help keep the Soo Eagles season alive thanks to a 4-0 win over Janesville in Game 3 on Friday.

Midwest Division Finals (Minnesota wins series, 3-0)
Game 3: MN Wilderness 6 @ Fairbanks 3 – The Minnesota Wilderness won their sixth straight playoff game and in the process became the first team in the NAHL to secure one of the four spots in the Robertson Cup Semi-Finals as they defeated the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, 6-3 in Game 3 in Fairbanks. The Wilderness trailed in the game 3-0, but came back to score six unanswered goals to unseat the defending champions. Late in the 1st period, the Ice Dogs jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead as they scored three goals in a span of less than two minutes. Hans Gorowsky netted the first goal, Jacob Hetz the second and Tyler Tomberlin scored on the penalty shot to make it 3-0 after one period. The Wilderness held strong and tied the game in the 2nd period with three goals, all courtesy of special teams. Michael Covach scored on the power play, as did Tyler Cline less than a minute later. Later in the period, Dan Litchke added a shorthanded goal to knot the game.  The game-winner would come late in the 3rd period thanks to the leading scorer in the NAHL playoffs, Darian Romanko, who scored the game-winner with six minutes remaining. Romanko added a second goal on an empty-net to make it 5-3 and Ian Mansfield capped off the win with another empty-net goal. Brock Kautz made 28 saves in the win, while Patrick Munson took the loss, making 23 saves. Romanko ended up with five points on the night. Boxscore

North Division Finals (Janesville leads series, 2-1)
Game 3: Janesville 0 @ Soo 4 – Soo Eagles goalie Jack Berry stole the show as the rookie goalie stopped all 36 shots that came his way in his first career playoff start as the Eagles staved off elimination with a 4-0 shutout of the Jets in Game 3. Berry only played three times in the month of March heading into the playoffs and came in relief of starting goalie Chad Catt in Game 2 of the series, stopping 14 of 15 shots in a game that was out of reach for the Eagles. So, with the season on the line, the Eagles went with Berry, who came through. Forward Trevor Cope also came through for the Eagles, scoring the first two goals of the game in the 1st period to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead. Leo Lumm scored in the 2nd period to stretch the lead to 3-0 and Denver Pierce added a empty-net goal late in the 3rd period to complete the scoring. Bruno Birzitis and Sandis Zolmanis each posted a pair of assists in the win. Janesville goalie Matt Jurusik took the loss, making 27 saves in what remarkably was his first loss since November 22nd. Boxscore
 
South Division Finals (Lone Star leads series, 2-1)
Game 3: Lone Star 3 @ Topeka 2 – Two, 3rd period goals just :15 seconds apart were the difference as the Lone Star Brahmas moved one win away from capturing the South playoff crown with a 3-2 road win in Topeka on Friday night. It was the RoadRunners who struck first as Mike Gornall continued his hot streak with a goal on an offensive rush. Later in the period, it was the Brahmas who tied the game as they converted after some good pressure in the Topeka end as Ludvig Larsson fired a shot that beat Topeka goalie Matej Tomek over the glove. In the 2nd period, a shorthanded goal from Sly Sutter put the RoadRunners back up by one, but the Brahmas came back in the 3rd period as Storm Wahlrab and Roman Uchyn scored just :15 seconds apart. Jake Kupsky got the win in goal for Lone Star, making 28 saves, while Tomek took the loss, making 21 saves. Boxscore
 
Central Division Finals (Austin leads series, 2-1)
Game 3: Austin 4 @ Minot 1 – Another great game from Austin goalie Evan Smith gave the Bruins their second straight win in the series and moved them to within one win of another trip back to the Robertson Cup Semi-Finals as the Bruins claimed a 4-1 win in Minot on Friday. The Bruins got off to a fast start with two, 1st period goals.  Alex Pettersson scored first as he slipped a backhander past Minot goalie Atte Tolvanen. Just over a minute later, Josh Wilkins roofed a shot over Tolvanen to put Austin ahead 2-0.  After a scoreless 2nd period, the Bruins took a 3-0 lead early in the 3rd period on a power play goal from Derek Olmschenk.  Minot got on the board later in the period with their lone goal of the night, which came off the stick of Nate Poink on the power play.  An empty-net goal from Nico Sturm secured the 4-1 win. Smith made 27 saves in the win, while Tolvanen made 29 saves in the loss. Boxscore
 
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