Day 1 of the 15th annual NAHL Showcase didn’t disappoint as close and competitive games ruled the day in front of almost 200 scouts on just the first day.
The other story of Day 1 was the dominance of the East Division as all five teams won their games.
Day 2 takes place on Thursday, September 21st
Janesville 2 vs. Kenai River 1 – Despite 45 saves from Brown Bears goalie Artur Pavliukov, the Janesville Jets edged out a 2-1 win over Kenai River in the opening game of the NAHL Showcase. Kenai River was first to get on the board with a late power play goal in the 1st period from Luke Posner. The Jets came back to tie the game at 1-1 in the 2nd period on a strike from Erik Palmqvisk. The game-winner came early in the 3rd period as the Jets worked some of their own power play magic with a goal from Jakov Novak. Jets goalie Daniel Lebedeff made 19 saves in his NAHL debut. Boxscore
Philadelphia 1 @ MN Wilderness 0 – Jack Leavy made 26 saves for his first shutout of the year in the Philadelphia Rebels first NAHL game of the season as they blanked the Minnesota Wilderness, 1-0. The lone goal of the game came in the 2nd period as Air Force recruit Jensen Zerban scored on a shorthanded breakaway. Wilderness goalie Trevor Micucci played well in the loss, making 25 saves. Boxscore
Fairbanks 3 vs. MN Magicians 1 – Josh Benson made 31 saves to lead the Ice Dogs to a 3-1 win in their opening game of the season against the Magicians. Fairbanks opened the scoring in the 1st period with a goal from Samuel Ruffin. The Magicians answered back with a goal late in the period from Charlie Weiand to make it 1-1. The eventual game-winner came late in the 2nd period from Erkka Vanska. Caleb Hite would add a late goal in the 3rd period to secure the 3-1 win. Magicians goalie George McBey made 17 saves in the loss. Boxscore
Northeast 5 vs. Coulee Region 3 – The Northeast Generals moved their season record to 3-1 as they erased a three-goal deficit to defeat the Coulee Region Chill, 5-3. It was all Chill in the 1st period as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to two goals from Billy Duma and another from Tyler Ebner. The Generals found their game in the 2nd period as Mike Egan and Colin Bilek found the back of the net to make it 3-2. In the 3rd period, Northeast exploded for three more goals as Bilek scored his second of the game and Hunter Canestra and Brady Gaudette added the others. Marko Sturma made 37 saves in the win, while Joe Marcouiller made 17 saves in the loss. Boxscore
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3 vs. Amarillo 2 – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights kept their hot start of the season going as they moved their record to 3-0 with a close 3-2 win over the Amarillo Bulls. The Bulls opened the scoring with a goal from Marcus Chroney, but the Knights were quick to answer later in the 1st period with a goal from Tyrone Bronte and Curtis Carlson to make it 2-1. The Knights pushed the lead to 3-1 early in the 2nd period with a goal from Reed Robinson. The Bulls kept the game close with a 3rd period power play goal from Jon Russell, but Knights goalie Christian Stoever shut the door the rest of the way with 23 saves in the game. Bulls goalie Jason Grande made 35 saves in the loss. Boxscore
Bismarck 3 vs. Corpus Christi 1 – Vladimir Cibulka made 19 saves to lead the Bismarck Bobcats to a 3-1 opening day win over the IceRays. Bismarck jumped ahead 2-0 with two 1st period goals from Zach Van Sant and Lukas Millen. The IceRays made a game of things with their lone goal, which came midway through the 2nd period from Matt Novo. The game remained 2-1 until the last minute when Adam Stacho added an empty-net goal to secure the 3-1 win. Chad Veltri took the loss in goal for the IceRays, making 22 saves. Boxscore
Shreveport 3 vs. Minot 1 – Shreveport outshot Minot 30-14 on their way to a 3-1 win in both team’s Showcase opener. After a scoreless 1st period, it was the Minotauros who lit the lamp first as veteran Alex Adams scored less than a minute into the period for a 1-0 lead. The Mudbugs tied the game at 1-1 midway through with the first of two goals in the game by Cam Cook. In the 3rd period, defenseman Jordan Fader scored the eventual game-winning goal and Cook added his second of the game to make it a 3-1 final. Gustavs Grigals made 13 saves in the win, while Samu Lonkila made 27 saves in the loss. Boxscore
New Jersey 1 vs. Lone Star 0 (SO) – Despite the best efforts of Brahmas goalie Mitchell Gibson, who still has not allowed a goal this season in 190 minutes and three games of regulation and overtime, the New Jersey Titans got a 28-save shutout from their netminder Brandon Perrone in a 1-0 shootout win over the Brahmas. After neither team could find the back of the net in regulation and OT, the Titans scored back-to-back beautiful goals in the shootout from Hunter Alden and Nick Boyagian to secure the win and extra point. Gibson made 30 saves in the shootout loss, which was the second straight for the Brahmas. Boxscore
Brookings 2 @ Odessa 1 – Two, 3rd period goals and 24 saves from goaltender Jeremy Forman helped the Brookings Blizzard to a 2-1 win in the opening game of the NAHL Showcase. It was the Jackalopes who held a 1-0 lead through two periods of play thanks to a 1st period goal from James Crossman. The Blizzard tied the game early in the 3rd period with a goal from Derek Hammer and then took the lead late in the game with a goal from Doug Larson with 1:52 remaining. Forman made the lead hold the rest of the game for the win in his NAHL debut. Brett Epp took the loss in goal for Odessa, making 17 saves. Boxscore
Johnstown 5 vs. Topeka 2 – A 4-2 win by the Johnstown Tomahawks completed a perfect 5-0 day by East Division teams as Karim DelPonte and Joe Kile both scored twice in the win. The teams were even at 1-1 through one period as Joe Kile scored for Johnstown, which was answered by a goal from Topeka’s Dylan Rauh. DelPonte then scored two straight goals to make it 3-1. Topeka drew back within one in the 3rd period with a tally from Joey Moore, but the Tomahawks would add a 4th insurance goal from Joey Baez and a second goal from Kile to make the final 5-2. Vinnie Purpura picked up the win in goal, while Topeka’s Sam Metcalf took the loss. Boxscore
Springfield 2 vs. Aberdeen 1 – Jr. Blues goalie Jurja Ovecka made 40 saves to lead the Jr. Blues to a come-from-behind 2-1 win over the Aberdeen Wings in the final game of Day 1 of the NAHL Showcase. The Wings put in a dominant 1st period, which saw them lead 1-0 thanks to a goal from Nathan Burke. However, the Jr. Blues would make a game of it after that as Jordan Muzzillo would knot the game at 1-1 with a goal late in the 2nd period. The eventual game-winner came off the stick of Nikita Kozyrev in the 3rd period as Jr. Blues head coach Tyler Rennette picked up his first win behind the bench. Daniel Pavlicko took the loss for the Wings in goal, making 23 saves. Boxscore