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Friday Finals: Rebels claim inaugural East Division crown

April 2, 2016

Brad Power scored twice, including the overtime-winner, to lead Corpus Christi to a 3-2 win on Friday, which moved them back into a tie for the final playoff spot in the South Division.

New Jersey 3 @ Aston 6 – The Rebels captured the inaugural East Division regular season title with a 6-3 win at home over the visiting Titans. Dean Balsamo had a huge game, which included a hat-trick and an assist in the win. Balsamo got the scoring started with the lone goal of the 1st period. New Jersey took a 2-1 lead in the 2nd period with back-to-back goals from Brad Becker. Balsamo and Evgeny Yakovlev answered back to give the Rebels a 3-2 lead, but a late goal in the 2nd period from Anthony Cusanelli made it 3-3 at the end of two periods. The Rebels scored three more times in the 3rd period to capture the win, including the game-winner from Balsamo, which completed the hat-trick and others from Kristofers Bindulis and Frank Spellman. Darion Hanson made 14 saves in the win. Boxscore

Wichita Falls 2 @ Corpus Christi 3 (OT) – Brad Power scored with just :24 seconds remaining in overtime on a 2 on 1 to lift the IceRays to a 3-2 win and move back into a tie for the 4th and final playoff spot in the South Division. The Wildcats, who were seeking the South Division title need just a win, got the only goal of the 1st period from Garrett VanWyhe. The IceRays responded back in the 2nd period with a goal from Power and Mason Krueger. The Wildcats tied the game late with a goal from Nikita Litviak, which set up Power’s second of the game, keeping the IceRays season very much alive. Dryden McKay made 23 saves in the win, while Justin Kapelmaster made 35 saves in the loss. Boxscore

Aberdeen 3 @ Brookings 4 – Thanks to 49 saves from Josh Kuehmichel, the Blizzard closed the gap for the final playoff spot in the Central Division to just a single point with a 4-3 win over the visiting Wings. The Blizzard jumped out to a 3-0 lead with two 1st period goals from Doug Larson and Colton Schmidt and an early 2nd period goal from Mikael Hakkarainen. The Wings closed the gap to 3-2 with goals from Kevin Fitzgerald in the 2nd period and Tyler Bossert early in the 3rd period. Zach Mitchell then scored a power play goal for Brookings to make it 4-2. Fitzgerald added his second of the game with less than a minute remaining to make it 4-3, but the Wings could not find the equalizer. Peter Thome made 32 saves in the loss. Boxscore

Lone Star 4 @ Odessa 1 – Corbin Kaczperski made a season-high 38 saves to lead the Brahmas to a 4-1 road win in Odessa. The Brahmas got the scoring started early in the 1st period on a goal from leading scorer Alex Berardinelli. Odessa answered back late in the period with their lone goal of the game from Derek Brown. Lone Star took a 2-1 lead early in the 2nd period with a goal from Cameron Clarke. The Brahmas added two more goals in the 3rd period with tallies from Martin Mellberg and Hogan Davidson. Jon Flakne took the loss in goal for the Jackalopes, making 27 saves. Boxscore

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3 @ Johnstown 4 (OT) – Alex Alger had a hat-trick, including the overtime-winning goal in a come-from-behind 4-3 win for the Tomahawks. The Knights grabbed an early 1-0 lead on a goal from Braden Brown. The Tomahawks answered back midway through the 1st period on Alger’s first of the night on the power play. The Knights then scored back-to-back goals to increase the lead to 3-1 on power play goals from Blake Busch and Jacob Hamacher. Alger closed the gap to 3-2 with a goal in the dying seconds of the 2nd period and then Logan Hudson tied the game midway through the 3rd period. Andrew Lindgren made 16 saves in the win, while Andrey Svistunov made 24 saves in the loss. Boxscore

Coulee Region 2 @ MN Wilderness 3 – The Wilderness moved back into 2nd place in the Midwest Division with a 3-2 home win over the visiting Chill. Rookie Cole Koepke got the scoring started for Minnesota early in the 1st period with his first career NAHL goal. The Chill responded with back-to-back goals in the 2nd period to take a 2-1 lead as Caleb Schroer and Justin Kendall lit the lamp. The Wilderness would respond late in the 2nd period to tie the game at 2-2 as Brett Heikkila scored. Heikkila would then add his second goal of the game as he netted the game-winner late in the 3rd period to give the Wilderness the 3-2 win. Chase Munroe made 16 saves in the win, while Hunter Vorva made 21 saves in the loss. Boxscore

MN Magicians 2 @ Bismarck 3 – The Bobcats stayed out front in the Central Division with a 3-2 home win over the visiting Magicians. After a scoreless 1st period, the Bobcats took a 2-0 lead with two goals from Travis Wood, who scored late in the 2nd period and then again early in the 3rd period. The Magicians stormed back with goals less than two minutes apart from Braxton Collins and Michael Wilson to tie the game at 2-2. The game-winner would come with less than two minutes remaining in regulation as Alex Strand scored to secure the two points for the Bobcats. Bismarck goalie Hunter Shepard made 19 saves in the win, while Will Ulrich made 37 saves in the loss. Boxscore

Austin 2 @ Minot 3 – The Minotauros kept their division title hopes alive, remaining one point back of Bismarck with a 3-2 win at home over the Bruins. Minot got off to a good start with two goals in the 1st period from Matt Jennings and Jack Murphy to take a 2-0 lead. The Bruins responded with a pair of goals in the 2nd period from Austin Rueschhoff and Evan Cholak to tie the game at 2-2. Early in the 3rd period, it was Derek Frentz who scored to net the eventual game-winner and keep Minot in the title hunt. Gunner Rivers made 30 saves in the win, while Kris Carlson took the loss, making 32 saves. Boxscore

Kenai River 1 @ Fairbanks 4 – The Ice Dogs picked up their 48th win and 99th point on Friday with a 4-1 win over the Brown Bears. The Ice Dogs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st period with goals from Evan Somoza and Cameron Cook. The lead swelled to 4-0 in the 2nd period with tallies from Jakob Stridsberg and Todd Burgess. The lone Brown Bears goal came early in the 3rd period off the stick of Collin Appleton. CJ Boothe picked up the win in goal, making 27 saves. The Brown Bears got 15 saves from Magnus Lindhe, before he was lifted in favor of Nick Nast, who made 32 saves in a relief appearance, allowing just one goal. Boxscore

Janesville 0 @ Springfield 3 – The Jr. Blues gave their playoff chances a shot in the arm with a 3-0 shutout win at home over the Jets thanks to 17 saves from Tommy Nappier in his 3rd shutout of the season. The Jr. Blues got off to a fast start with two, 1st period goals from Matt Long, which came shorthanded and Trevor Stone, which came via the power play. The Jr. Blues increased the lead to 3-0 with another goal on the power play, this time courtesy of Erich Fear. The Jets got 32 saves from Blake Weyrick in the loss. Boxscore

Amarillo 0 @ Topeka 5 – Juho Niku picked up his first shutout of the year, stopping all 36 shots that came his way as the RoadRunners blanked the visiting Bulls, 5-0. Five different players scored for Topeka, including goals in the 1st period from Luka Maver and Jeff Makowski, who netted his first goal of the season. The RoadRunners added three more goals in an eight-minute span in the 2nd period, which included tallies from Dominic Lutz, Max Harper and Johnny Walker. The Bulls got 18 saves from Anton Martinsson before he was pulled after four goals for Brian Baker, who also made 18 saves in the loss. Boxscore

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