Friday Finals: MInotauros grab early series lead on the road
April 27, 2019
Central Division Finals, Game 1: Minot 4 @ Aberdeen 3 (OT) (Minot leads series, 1-0) – The Minot Minotauros got goals from four different players and goalie Nick Grabko made 44 saves as they picked up a 4-3 overtime road win in Aberdeen in Game 1 of the Central Division Finals. Minot seized the early momentum as Justin Kelley scored just over a minute into the game. The Wings had an answer late in the period as John Sladic scored to make it 1-1. Aberdeen took their first lead of the night midway through the contest as Joe Strada scored his second goal of the playoffs. Minot had an answer less than two minutes later as Wilmer Skoog scored his first goal of the playoffs to make it 2-2. In the 3rd period, Minot briefly regained the lead midway through the 3rd period as David Raisanen scored, but the Wings tied the game later in the 3rd period on Sladic’s second goal of the game. In the overtime, it took Minot less than four minutes to net the game-winner as Kevin Ness fired one home from the high slot that beat Wings goalie Matt Vernon. Vernon would end up making 24 saves in the loss.
East Division Finals, Game 1: New Jersey 5 @ Johnstown 6 (Johnstown leads series, 1-0) - The Johnstown Tomahawks outlasted the New Jersey Titans in a 6-5 thrilling win at 1st Summit Arena Friday night. The Tomahawks offense ignited early in the first period when Carson Brière lifted a loose biscuit past TItans netminder Brandon Perrone for his third of the postseason. Johnstown increased its advantage to 2-0 at 3:02 of the first with a marker from Christian Gorscak. New Jersey chipped away at a 2-0 deficit with a goal from Mitch Machlitt one minute later at 4:12. The Titans tied the contest at 2-2 when Kyler Head wristed a shot over the glove side of Tomahawks goalie Carter McPhail for his second of the playoffs. Johnstown tallied another goal at 13:42 of the first period to take back the lead 3-2 when Mitch Hale slid the puck through the open five-hole on Perrone. However, New Jersey battled back to tie the score 3-3 less than one minute later with a tally from Jake LaRusso. But, the Tomahawks regained the lead when Hunter Toale's slap shot solved Perrone at 15:06 of the first frame. In the 2nd period, Sam Solensky capitalized on a late penalty to New Jersey to score his first of the postseason to make it 5-3 with 40 seconds remaining in the second period Machlitt was awarded a penalty shot 13 seconds later and converted to cut the Tomahawks lead to 5-4. Just 2:48 into the third period, the Titans used a power play goal from Gavin Gulash to knot things up at 5-5. However, the Tomahawks rebounded at 11:28 of the period when Cam Hebert deposited his second goal of the playoffs to give Johnstown a 6-5 lead. McPhail made 17 saves in the win, while Perrone made 25 saves in the loss.
Midwest Division Finals, Game 1: MN Magicians 1 @ Fairbanks 5 (Fairbanks leads series, 1-0) – A four-goal 2nd period led the Fairbanks Ice Dogs to a 5-1 win in Game 1 of the Midwest Division Finals on Friday night. After a quiet 1st period, which saw 16 combined shots and just one penalty, the action headed up in the 2nd period as the Ice Dogs lit the lamp four times, which included a pair of goals from Jonathan Sorenson and others from Jack Johnston and Ty Proffitt. Meanwhile, Logan Severson had the lone goal for the Magicians in the period, which briefly tied the game at 1-1. In the 3rd period, Tyler Deweese scored to secure the 5-1 win for Fairbanks. Ice Dogs goalie Mattias Sholl made 18 saves in the win, while Magicians goalie Ethan Haider made 29 saves in the loss.
South Division Finals, Game 2: Shreveport 1 @ Amarillo 4 (Series tied 1-1) – Cooper Fensterstock had two goals and an assist to lead the Bulls to a 4-1 home win in Game 2, which tied the South Division Finals at 1-1 as the series now heads to Shreveport. Fensterstock gave the Bulls a huge lift, scoring both of his goals early in the 1st period to put the home side ahead 2-0. The Mudbugs cut into the lead with their lone goal of the night, which came midway through the 2nd period as Gueorgui Feduolov lite lit the lamp. However, in the 3rd period, the Bulls put the game on ice with goals from Gabriel Seger and Alex Peterson. Bulls goalie Justin Evenson made 18 saves in the win, while Mudbugs goalie Leo Chuard made 42 saves in the loss.