The Minot Minotauros got their first franchise win, behind a five-goal effort from Chad McDonald Kalamazoo posted their first win in the NAHL since 1994 and seven teams (Amarillo, Kenai River, Janesville, Port Huron, Fresno, Fairbanks and Michigan) remain in the hunt for the 2011 NAHL Showcase title heading into the final day on Saturday.
Port Huron Fighting Falcons 7 – New Mexico Mustangs 3
The early feel-good story of the 2011-12 season is the Port Huron Fighting Falcons, as they moved their season record to a perfect 3-0 with a 7-3 win over the New Mexico in the first game on Day 3 of the Showcase. After the Mustangs scored first with a goal from Matt Robinson, the Fighting Falcons scored six unanswered goals putting the game out of reach midway through the 3rd period. Kody Polin not only had the first hat-trick of the 2011-12 season, he scored four goals in all during the game. Maxwell Reavis and Easton Powers added the others for Port Huron, while Patrick Anderson and Evan Johnston scored the others for New Mexico, who fell to 1-2 on the season.
Janesville Jets 4 – Odessa Jackalopes 0
Jets goaltender Tony Kujava posted his second shutout of the season, stopping all 27 Jacks shots as Janesville stayed perfect on the season, defeating Odessa 4-0. Chris Cattivera, Jordan Bancroft , Trevor Landgraf and Connor McBride all scored for Janesville, who has only allowed one goal in three games at the Showcase. Justin Davis made 39 saves in the losing effort for the Jackalopes.
Aberdeen Wings 5 – Traverse City North Stars 4 (SO)
Aberdeen erased a 3-0 deficit with four straight goals late in the 1st and into the 2nd periods only to see the North Stars tie the game late in the 3rd period to send the game to a shootout where the Wings would get the lone goal from Ryan Doner as they beat Traverse City, 5-4. Eric Rivard scored twice for the North Stars in the losing effort and Jared Van Wormer and Chris Waterstreet had the other goals for the North Stars. The Wings got regulation goals from Steve Obarzanek, Lane Mahoney, Alex Brooks and Doner. The Wings improved to 2-1 while the North Stars fell to 2-0-1.
Alaska Avalanche 2 – Jamestown Ironmen 0
Alaska got their first win of the season thanks to the first shutout of the season from goaltender Nick Kulmanovsky, who stopped all 28 Ironmen shots in a 2-0 win. After a scoreless 1st period, Evan Janssen would score the eventual game-winning goal late in the 2nd period. Patrick Kinkopf would add an insurance goal in the 3rd period and Ryan Dau assisted on both Avalanche goals. Alaska’s record improved to 1-2 on the season, while the Ironmen fell to 2-3. Joe Ballmer suffered the loss for Jamestown, making 28 saves on 30 Alaska shots.
Wenatchee Wild 2 – Corpus Christi IceRays 0
Robert Nichols posted his first career NAHL shutout stopping all 32 Corpus Christi shots as Wenatchee won their first game of the season with a 2-0 win over Corpus Christi. Matt Cope scored just :47 seconds into the game for the eventual game-winning goal and Jerad Tafoya added an insurance goal late in the 3rd period for the Wild. Kale Robertson got the loss in goal for the IceRays, stopping 15 of 17 shots. Wenatchee improved their record to 1-2, while the IceRays fell to 1-2.
Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings 8 – Dawson Creek Rage 2
Not only did Kalamazoo get their first NAHL win since the 1993-94 season, but 18-year-old forward Chad McDonald had a career day scoring five goals and adding an assist for a six point night in the Jr. K-Wings 8-2 win over Dawson Creek. McDonald also completed the hat-trick of goals, scoring a shorthanded goal in the 1st period, an even strength goal in the 2nd period and three power play goals in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Kyle Gattelaro, Andrew Graves and Chris Hughes had the other goals for Kalamazoo, while Mitch Gagnon and Jason Wark scored for Dawson Creek. Kalamazoo improved to 1-2 on the season while Dawson Creek fell to 0-3.
Fairbanks Ice Dogs 5 – St. Louis Bandits 4 (SO)
In a game that was about as good as it gets in the NAHL, former student and Fairbanks head coach Trevor Stewart bested his former boss in St. Louis Bandits head coach Jeff Brown as the Ice Dogs erased a 4-1 deficit to win in dramatic fashion in a shootout, 5-4. St. Louis had a 4-1 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the game thanks to goals from Josh Dangel, Ryan Stouffer, Stephen Bopp and Max Terhar. However, in a stretch reminiscent of last year’s Robertson Cup final, the Ice Dogs scored three goals in the last four minutes of the 3rd period, including one from Alec Hajdukovich with just :11 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to a shootout where Alaska would score on all four shooters to win the game. JT Osborn had two goals and Logan Wendling had the other for the Ice Dogs who remained perfect at the Showcase, while St. Louis fell to 2-0-1.
Topeka RoadRunners 8 – Chicago Hitmen 1
It was a rough day for the Hitmen as Topeka won their first game of the season, equaling a Showcase-high eight goals in the process. Ben Bahe had a four-point game with a goal and three assists for Topeka, and Kyle Sharkey and Brian Christie each had three point nights. Chris Bond and Ryan White each had two assists for the RoadRunners who also got goals from Austin Azurdia, Julian Van Lijden, Zach Schrotenboer and Cory Ramsey. Zach Mudge scored the lone goal for the Hitmen, who fell to 0-5 on the season.
Minot Minotauros 5 – Wichita Falls Wildcats 4
The expansion Minotauors won their first game in franchise history as they edged out the Wildcats, 5-4. Jadin Martin was the offensive star for Minot with two goals, while Cote Dickerson, Denis Dalidovich, and Matt Lindquist had the other goals for the Minotauros. Tucker Poolman had two goals for the Wildcats in a losing effort and Richard Young and Nick Szopinski also scored for Wichita Falls. With the win the Minotauros improved to 1-2, while the Wildcats fell to 0-3 with the loss.
Texas Tornado 6 – Springfield Jr. Blues 1
The Tornado blew open the game with four, 3rd period goals to win their second straight game by a 6-1 score in a game that featured eight combined fighting majors. Joe Mottiqua, Jordan Greenberg and CJ Reuschlein all had multi-point nights for Texas who outshot the Jr. Blues 44-28. Lucas Whelan, Conner Burton, Jack Prince and Justin Greenberg scored in addition to Mottiqua, while Shayne McLaughlin had the lone goal for the Jr. Blues. Joakim Jutras won his second consecutive game in goal for Texas making 27 saves, while Connor Girard took the loss for Springfield making 38 saves.
Amarillo Bulls 5 – Bismarck Bobcats 1
A battle of 2-0 teams turned out to be one-sided as the Amarillo Bulls blew open the game with a three-goal 2nd period to win going away, 5-1. TJ Sarcona had two goals and an assist for the Bulls, who also got goals from Joe Kozlak, Jude Warner and Brandon Lubin. Donald Olivieri scored his fourth goal of the Showcase on the power play in a losing effort for Bismarck. Brooks Behling also had two assists for the Bulls. Mike Taffe got the win in goal making 19 saves, while Tommy Burke suffered the loss for Bismarck making 34 saves. Amarillo stays perfect on the season with a 3-0 record, while Bismarck fell to 2-1.
Michigan Warriors 7 – Austin Bruins 6 (OT)
In one of the more thrilling and offensive games of the Showcase, the Michigan Warriors stayed perfect for the season by coming back from a 5-2 deficit to defeat the Austin Bruins in overtime, 7-6. AJ White scored the game-winner off a turnover in the Bruins end. Austin had leads of 3-0, 5-2 and 6-3, but the Warriors kept coming back. Michigan was led by White who had three points. Other goals came from Andrew Huckleby, James Kline, Joey Sanchez, Martin Gruse and Joseph Ferriss. Austin got goals from six different players including: Christian Folin, Riley Colvard, Jonathan Gehrt, John Kirby, Brandon Wahlin and CJ Smith.
Kenai River Brown Bears 5 – Alexandria Blizzard 1
The Kenai River Brown Bears stayed perfect at the Showcase with a convincing 5-1 win over the Alexandria Blizzard, who fell to 0-3 on the year. Brett Lubanski had three assists and Miikael Arkimo and Skyler McKnight had two goals apiece to pace the Brown Bears offense. Alexandria scored the game’s first goal just 2:07 into the 1st period off the stick of Michael Mooney, but it was all Kenai River after that. Paul Bourbeau got the win in goal for Kenai River, making 28 saves, while Zach Woodman suffered the loss for the Blizzard with 32 saves.
Fresno Monsters 5 – Coulee Region Chill 4
In a battle of unbeaten teams, the Fresno Monsters remained one of the feel-good stories of the young season by defeating the Coulee Region Chill in a thrilling game by a score of 5-4 to remain undefeated on the season at 3-0. Jeffrey Pauluk had three assists for the Monsters, but the star of the game was DJ Carnley, who recorded a hat-trick for Fresno. The other Monsters goals came from Zack Wallace and Matthew Ragains. The Chill, who had several chances to tie the game in the last minute, got goals from Ben Jaremko, Jake Useldinger, James Hughes and Tate Rusk. Coulee Region fell to 2-1 on the season, while Fresno remains one of the seven teams with a perfect record at the Showcase with one day remaining.