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Friday Finals: Minotauros sweep their way to Central title

May 5, 2018

Friday Heroes: Caleb Hite (above) scored twice to help Fairbanks win Game 4 on Friday, 4-2 and help force a Game 5, while Aidan Spellacy (bottom) netted the OT-winner for Lone Star in their Game 3 win.

Central Division Final, Game 3: Austin 1 @ Minot 2 (2OT) (Minot wins series, 3-0) – For the second straight season, Cinderella is alive and well as the #4 seeded Minot Minotauros completed a sweep of their Central Division Finals series against the Austin Bruins thanks to a 2-1 double overtime win in Game 3. With the win, Minot becomes the second #4 seed in as many years to win the Central Division playoff title and advance to the Robertson Cup. All the scoring in regulation came in the 2nd period as the Bruins opened the scoring at the 4:48 mark with a goal from Valdemar Ahlberg. However, just :20 seconds later, Minot had an answer as Keenan Lund scored to make it 1-1. The rest of the way was great goaltending from Samu Lonkila of Minot and Alex Schilling of Austin. After one overtime didn’t solve anything, the game came to a quick end in the second overtime as just 1:24 in, defenseman Nolan Sawchuk got a pass in the high slot from behind the net by Alex Adams and one-timed a blast to send the Minotauros to the Robertson Cup Championship. Lonkila made 36 saves in the win, while Schilling made 40 saves in the loss. Boxscore
 
Midwest Division Final, Game 4: Fairbanks 4 @ Janesville 2 (Series tied 2-2) – The Ice Dogs scored early and survived a comeback attempt the Jets to stay alive in the playoffs and tie up the Midwest Division Finals at 2-2 thanks to a 4-2 win in Game 4 in Janesville on Friday night. The Ice Dogs were bolstered by a fast start, scoring two goals in the 1st period to take a 2-0 lead as Jax Murray and Caleb Hite found the back of the net. The Jets got back in the game and delighted the sold out home crowd as Jakov Novak scored his 4th of the playoffs in the 2nd period to make it 2-1 and then Sam Renlund scored his 8th goal of the playoffs early in the 3rd period to tie the game at 2-2. However, the Ice Dogs found the game-winner later in the period on the power play as Hite scored his second goal of the game, redirecting a shot from Samuel Ruffin. Erkka Vanska would add an insurance goal later in the period to make it a 4-2 final. Ice Dogs goalie Josh Benson had to make just 18 saves in the win, while Daniel Lebedeff made 24 saves in the loss for the Jets. The 5th and deciding game in the series is Saturday night in Janesville with the winner advancing to the Robertson Cup Championship. Boxscore

South Division Final, Game 3: Shreveport 1 @ Lone Star 2 (OT) (Shreveport leads series, 2-1) – Aidan Spellacy scored 6:38 into overtime as the defending champion Lone Star Brahmas lived to play another day as they picked up their first win of the South Division Finals thanks a 2-1 triumph on Friday night in North Richland Hills. As has been the case in the first two games, scoring was hard to come by in Game 3 thanks to goaltenders Mitchell Gibson (Lone Star) and Jaxon Castor (Shreveport). The Mudbugs took the game’s first lead as he scored his 3rd of the playoffs early in the 2nd period. The Brahmas tied the game later in the period as Kimball Johnson converted on a nice 2 on 1 play. After a scoreless 3rd period, Spellacy ended the game as he broke up the ice, cut to the middle and wristed home a shot through a Mudbugs defenseman and past a screened Castor for the OT-winner. Gibson made 22 saves in the win, while Castor made 32 saves in the loss. Game 4 is Saturday night back in North Richland Hills. Boxscore
 
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