Friday Finals: Rebels take over East lead with win
Johnstown 1 @ Philadelphia 4 – Sparked by three goals in the 1st period, the Philadelphia Rebels defeated the Johnstown Tomahawks, 4-1 on Friday. The win vaulted the Rebels back into 1st place in the East Division. The Rebels jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to 1st period goals from Dusan Kmec, Carson Moniz and Ryan Patrick. After a scoreless 2nd period, the Tomhawks would score their lone goal of the game midway through the 3rd period on Auggie Moore’s 7th goal of the season. Mitchell Hale would then push the Rebels lead back to three as he scored on the power play. Rebels goalie Ryan Keane made 21 saves in the win and Kade Phipps made 19 saves in the loss.
Fairbanks 5 @ Coulee Region 1 – On the heels of four goals in the 1st period, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs stayed hot as they beat the Coulee Region Chill 5-1 on Friday, giving Fairbanks head coach Trevor Stewart his 300th NAHL win. The Ice Dogs scored four goals in the 10-minute span in the 1st period thanks to goals from Daniel Haider, Nolan Schaeffer, and two goals from Tanner Schachle. Brandon Koch had the lone goal for the Chill in the period. In the 2nd period, Samuel Ruffin scored his 11th goal of the season to complete the scoring in the game. Ice Dogs goalie Josh Benson made 30 saves in the win, while Chill goalie Emil Zetterquist made 27 saves in the loss.
MN Wilderness 3 @ Austin 0 – NAPHL grad Ryan Fanti stopped all 36 shots that came his way for his second shutout of the season as the Wilderness closed the gap in the Central Division with a 3-0 shutout win in Austin on Friday. After a scoreless 1st period, the Wilderness would open up the scoring in the 2nd period with two goals from Isaac Kobienia and Luke Dow. Late in the 3rd period, Kobienia would then add his second goal of the game on an empty net. Alex Schilling took the loss in goal for the Bruins, making 23 saves.
Topeka 2 @ Springfield 4 – The Jr. Blues scored all four goals in the 1st period and never looked back as they beat the visiting RoadRunners from the South Division, 4-2. The scoring came from two players as Bradley Marek and Ethan Stewart each scored twice in the 1st period to give the Jr. Blues a commanding 4-0 lead after one period. In the 2nd period, Topeka would find their first goal off the stick of Dallas Tulik and Hugh Quinn would add a 3rd period goal. Evan Fear made 23 saves in the win, while Kyle Konin made 14 saves in the loss.
Corpus Christi 3 @ Odessa 4 (SO) – The Jackalopes jumped out to an early lead then then fought back from a goal down to ultimately win in a shootout on Friday, 4-3. Things looked good early on for the Jacks as they got goals from Zach Heintz and Peyton Frantti in the 1st period to take a 2-0 lead. The IceRays controlled the 2nd period as they scored three goals in a seven minute span to take a 3-2 lead, which included goals from Noah Roofe, Matus Havrila, and Garrett Halford. Odessa would tie the game up at 3-3 with a 3rd period from Frantti, his second of the game. Shootout goals from Petr Miko and Matt Brown secured the extra point for Odessa. Brett Epp made 34 saves in the win, while Jake Acton made 50 saves in the shootout loss.
Minot 1 @ Aberdeen 2 (OT) – In another close battle in the Central Division, the Aberdeen Wings moved into a tie for 1st place in the division thanks to a 2-1 overtime win. Minot led early thanks to a 1st period goal from Fritz Belisle. The Wings would tie the game at 1-1 in the 2nd period as Nathan Burke scored his 14th goal of the season. After a scoreless 3rd period, the Wings would pick up the overtime win as Jonathan Bendorf scored with just :42 seconds in the extra frame to give the Wings the extra point. Wings goalie Matt Vernon made 18 saves in the win, while Samu Lonkila made 40 saves in the OT loss.
Shreveport 0 @ Lone Star 3 – Mitchell Gibson stopped all 24 shots that came his way as he posted his league-tying 5th shutout of the season as the Brahmas blanked the 1st place Mudbugs, 3-0 on Friday. Lone Star got the scoring going in the 1st period with a tally from Aidan Spellacy, which turned out to be the game-winner. After a scoreless 2nd period, the Brahmas would then tack on two more goals in the 3rd period from Chase Pletzke and Connor Stuart. Mudbugs goalie James Durham made 29 saves in the loss.
Kenai River 2 @ MN Magicians 3 (SO) – It took 16 combined shooters, but the Minnesota Magicians picked up the first win for interim head coach Ben Weiand as they defeated the Brown Bears in a shootout, 3-2. The Magicians got on the board first with a 1st period goal from Brendan Skarda. Kenai River tied the game in the 2nd period with Dan Sandvig’s first NAHL goal of the season on his call up from the NA3HL’s North Iowa Bulls. The Magicians would regain the one-goal edge as John Keranen scored his 9th goal of the season. However, just over a minute later, the Brown Bears equalized again on a goal from Zach Krajnik. After a scoreless 3rd period and overtime, Arturas Laukaitis would score the eventual shootout winner. Isaiah Saville made 25 saves in the win, while Gavin Enright made 46 saves in the shootout loss.
Bismarck 1 @ Brookings 2 – Benjamin Beck made 25 saves as the Blizzard edged the Bobcats in another close Central Division clash. The Blizzard jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 1st period thanks to Doug Larson’s 13th goal of the season. The lead increased to 2-0 in the 2nd period as Henry Enebak scored his 3rd goal of the season. The Bobcats made a game of things in the 3rd period as Patrick O’Connor scored on the power play, but the Bobcats could not find the equalizer as the Blizzard moved into sole possession of 3rd place in the division. Bobcats goalie Johnny Roberts made 27 saves in the loss.