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Friday Finals: Home teams take Game 1 of Division Finals

April 30, 2016

Dean Balsamo had three points to lead Aston to a 5-2 win over Johnstown in Game 1 of the East Division Finals.

Central Division Finals, Game 1: Austin 1 @ Bismarck 5 (Bismarck leads best of 5 series, 1-0) – A strong start propelled the Bismarck Bobcats to a 5-1 win in Game 1 of the Central Division Finals over the Austin Bruins on Friday. It took just :44 seconds for the Bobcats to take a lead for good as Solag Bakich scored to make it 1-0. Later in the period, Alex Strand scored on the power play to make the score 2-0. Late in the 1st period, the Bobcats lead swelled to 3-0 on a goal from Parker Mismash. Early in the 2nd period, the Bobcats jumped out to a commanding 4-0 lead on a goal from Aaron Herdt. Early in the 3rd period, the Bobcats made the score 5-0 as Alex Strand scored. The Bruins would finally get on the board midway through the 3rd period as Jacob Paganelli would score their lone goal. Hunter Shepard made 25 saves in the win, while Kris Carlson made 13 saves in the loss before being pulled early in the 3rd period. Boxscore
 
South Division Finals, Game 1: Topeka 1 @ Wichita Falls 3 (Wichita Falls leads best of 5 series, 1-0) – Justin Kapelmaster continued his hot play by stopping 36 of 37 shots as the Wildcats took an early lead in their series against the RoadRunners thanks to a Game 1 win on Friday. It was the RoadRunners who drew first blood as Andrew Hart scored with 6:55 remaining in the 1st period to give the RoadRunners a lead. However, just :24 seconds later, the Wildcats answered back to tie the game at 1-1 as Austin Albrecht scored. After a scoreless 2nd period, the Wildcats took control late in the 3rd period as Jonathan Lazarus scored the eventual game-winning goal with 6:18 to go in regulation and two minutes later, Erich Jaeger added an insurance goal to make the final 3-1. Juho Niku made 33 saves in the loss. Boxscore
 
East Division Finals, Game 1: Johnstown 2 @ Aston 5 (Aston leads best of 5 series, 1-0) - Andrew Bellant and Dean Balsamo each head three points as the Rebels took Game 1 of the East Division Finals by a 5-2 score. The Rebels were bolstered by a three-goal 1st period as Eric Carreras, Kristofers Bindulis and Bellant scored. Ryan Burr had the lone goal for the Tomahawks in the period, which came on the power play. In the 2nd period, the lead increased to 4-1 as Balsamo scored his lone goal of the game.  In the 3rd period, a goal from Brendan Jaquay made it 4-2 in favor of the Rebels and late in the period, Bellant added an empty-net goal to make the final score, 5-2. Darion Hanson made 18 saves in the win, while Andrew Lindgren took the loss made 15 saves in the loss. Boxscore
 
Midwest Division Finals, Game 1: MN Wilderness 1 @ Fairbanks 2 (OT) (Fairbanks leads best of 5 series, 1-0) – Mitchell Baumann scored 6:08 into overtime to give the Ice Dogs a 2-1 win in Game 1 of their best of 5 series against the defending Champion Wilderness. The game was tight defensively throughout, but the Ice Dogs managed the opening goal midway through the 1st period as leading scorer Todd Burgess lit the lamp with assists to Logan Coomes and Ryner Gorowsky. After a scoreless 2nd period, the Wilderness tied the game at 1-1 with a goal from Koby Bender with assists to Aaron Miller and Connor Bucsis. On the game-winner, Baumann rushed up the ice on a breakout and got the puck along the right wing and then snapped a shot from the hash marks along the boards that snuck through Wilderness goalie Luke Kania. Ice Dogs goalie Gavin Nieto make 19 saves in the win and Kania made 31 saves in the loss. Boxscore
 
 
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