NAHL Showcase finishes strong on Saturday
The final day of the 2021 NAHL Showcase took place on Saturday, September 18th and featured the closest competition of any of the four days with nine games being decided by just a goal, which included four overtime games.
The other big story of the event was another incredible turnout of scouts and fans. Over 300 NHL, NCAA, and junior scouts were in attendance during the four days and thousands of people came through the building as the NAHL launched its 2021-22 season.
In the Central Division, the Austin Bruins led the way with a 3-0-1 record, followed by Aberdeen and North Iowa, who both finished with 3-1 records. In the East, the Jamestown Rebels were the only team to go 3-1. In the Midwest, the Springfield Jr. Blues, Fairbanks Ice Dogs, and Minnesota Magicians all went 3-1, while the Anchorage Wolverines were right behind with a 2-1-1 record. In the South Division, three teams went 3-1, which included the Amarillo Wranglers, El Paso Rhinos and New Mexico Ice Wolves.
Day 4 Recaps
Jamestown 3 vs. Odessa 2 – Emerick Nadeau scored two goals to lead the Rebels to a 3-2 win on the final day of the Showcase over Odessa. It was the Rebels’ third straight win. Nadeau gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead, scoring first in the 2nd period. That was answered by a goal from Christopher Duclair for the Jacks to make it 1-1. In the 3rd period, Nadeau scored again on the power play to make it 2-1. Odessa tied the game again on a power play goal from Liam O’Hare, but then just :18 seconds later, it was Owen West with the game-winner. Nolan Suggs made 21 saves in the win, while Christopher Brown made 26 saves in the loss.
Amarillo 4 vs. Northeast 3 – The Wranglers finished the Showcase with a 3-1 record thanks to a 4-3 win over the Northeast Generals. Jakob Peterson scored twice in the win, which included goals in the 1st and 2nd periods. Anthony Vidrick and Kristaps Skrastins had the other goals for the Wranglers. Generals goals came from Paul Minnehan, Brent Keefer, and Ryan Gordon. Marco Duronio made 29 saves in the win, while Cameron Kuntar made 20 saves in the loss.
El Paso 3 vs. Maine 2 – Graham Harris scored two goals to lead the Rhinos to a 3-2 win over the Nordiques to finish the Showcase with a 3-1 record. Zion Green got the scoring started for Maine midway through the 2nd period, but his goal was answered by Harris’ first to knot the game at 1-1. In the 3rd period Jonathan Horn and Harris scored the Rhinos to secure the win, while Aidan Connolly had the other goal for Maine. Rhinos goalie Lassi Lehti made 27 saves in the win, and Gus Holt made 29 saves in the loss.
Danbury 3 vs. New Mexico 1 – Danbury posted their first win of the season and in the process handed New Mexico their first loss of the season as goalie Adam Johnson made 23 saves in a 3-1 win. The Ice Wolves scored first as Tony Leahy netted the lone goal of the 1st period to make it 1-0. Danbury tied the game at 1-1 with a 2nd period goal from Ben Biester. In the 3rd period, goals from Wolfgang Govedaris and Jackson Hughes secured the win. Beni Halasz made 10 saves in the loss.
Chippewa 4 vs. Maryland 2 – The Steel and Black Bears each finished with 2-2 records at the Showcase as Chippewa came away with a 4-2 win on Saturday. There was no scoring until the 3rd period, but Chippewa finally jumped ahead 2-0 on goals from Marc Fletemeyer and Nick Sajevic. Maryland pulled within a goal as Jacob Brockman scored, but the Steel pulled away with goals from Joseph Grainda and Jack Brown. Philip Tornqvist had a late goal for the Black Bears. Steel goalie Levi Gho made 23 saves in the win, while Luca De Pasquo made 32 saves in the loss.
Johnstown 4 vs. Anchorage 3 (OT) – The Tomahawks tied the game late in regulation and then scored late in overtime to beat Anchorage, 4-3. The Wolverines took a 1-0 lead in the 1st period thanks to a goal from Drake Albers. Johnstown took a 2-1 lead with a pair of 2nd period goals from Stephen Kyrkostas and Jake Black. The Wolverines regained the lead in the 3rd period as Collin Pederson and Talon Sigurdson scored. With just over a minute remaining in regulation, Jacob Badal scored to send the game to overtime. With :24 seconds left in overtime, Johnny Ulicny netted the game-winner. Salvatore Evola made 34 saves in the win, while Raythan Robbins made 36 saves in the loss.
Wichita Falls 5 vs. New Jersey 2 – The Warriors picked up their first win of the season as five different players scored in a 5-2 win. It was all Warriors the first two periods as Ryan Robinson scored in the 1st period to make it 1-0 and PJ Neal, Joseph Calvarino, and Carter Korpi scored in the 2nd period to make it 4-0. The Titans showed signs of life in the 3rd period with goals from Brandon Avezov and Anthony Mollica to make it 4-2, but a late goal from Riley Brueck made it a 5-2 final. Matthew O’Donnell made 19 saves in the win, while Owen Hains made 21 saves in the loss.
Aberdeen 4 vs. Corpus Christi 3 – Propelled by three goals in the 1st period, the Aberdeen Wings finished the Showcase with a 3-1 record thanks to a 4-3 win over the Corpus Christi IceRays. Patrick O’Connell, Kyle Gaffney, and Cade Neilson all scored in the 1st period to put the Wings ahead 3-0. The IceRays cut into the lead in the 2nd period as Oliver Stumpel scored to make it 3-1. The Wings made it 4-1 midway through the 3rd period as Kevin MacKay scored. The IceRays tried to comeback late in the 3rd period with goals from Cameron Crolley and Grady Friedman, but time would run out. Wings goalie Kyle Kozma made 19 saves in the win, while Damon Beaver made 18 saves in the loss.
MN Wilderness 3 vs. Lone Star 2 (OT) – Wilderness goalie Jacob Zacharewicz made 32 saves to lead his team to their lone win at the NAHL Showcase as they beat the Brahmas, 3-2 in overtime. The Wilderness took an early 2-0 lead in the 1st period with goals from Gunnar Thoreson and Matthew McQuade. The Brahmas came back to tie the game with goals from Artur Turansky and Dylan Smith. In the overtime, Cole Crusberg-Roseen netted the game-winner with a wrist shot from the high slot. Brahmas goalie Arthur Smith made 19 saves in the loss.
Shreveport 3 vs. St. Cloud 1 – Simon Bucheler made 24 saves in his NAHL debut to lead the Mudbugs to a 3-1 win over St. Cloud, as they handed the Norsemen their first defeat of the season. The Mudbugs were bolstered by a strong start with 1st period goals from Lukas Sedlacek and Connor Gatto to take a 2-0 lead. Sedlacek added his second goal of the game in the 2nd period to make it a 3-0 game. The Norsemen scored their lone goal late in the 3rd period from Ryan O’Neill. Josh Langford made 17 saves in the loss.
Fairbanks 4 vs. Minot 3 (OT) – Fairbanks forward Zachary Murray had a hat-trick, including the overtime-winner as the Ice Dogs won their third game of the NAHL Showcase thanks to a 4-3 overtime win over Minot. The two teams traded goals throughout the game, but the IceDogs never trailed. Love Bergvall started the scoring and Murray had the other two goals in regulation. Minotauros goals came from Joe Westlund, who scored a pair of goals and Thomas Gazich. Tyler Krivtsov made 32 saves to win his NAHL debut and Carter Clafton made 25 saves in the loss.
Springfield 5 vs. Bismarck 2 – Joey Dosan had two goals and an assist as the Jr. Blues capped off a 3-1 run at the NAHL Showcase thanks to a 5-2 win over Bismarck. Springfield was bolstered by four goals in the 2nd period, including two from Dosan and others from Carson Jones and Zach Bade. Connor Smith would add a 3rd period goal. Bobcats goals came from Liam Cox-Smith and Blaise Miller. Matthew Smith made 21 saves in the win, while Erik Forss made 30 saves in the loss.
MN Magicians 3 vs. Austin 2 (OT) – The Magicians took and early lead then need to score late in regulation and ultimately won in overtime as they handed the Bruins their first loss of the season in a 3-2 overtime win. Trevor Kukkonen opened the scoring for the Magicians in the 1st period. The Bruins took a 2-1 lead in the 2nd period with goals from Dylan Gajewski and Alex Trombley. In the 3rd period, the Magicians had to pull their goalie late for an extra attacker and it paid off as Spencer Light tied the game with :35 seconds remaining in regulation. In overtime, Lucas Kanta scored his second goal of the season with just :20 seconds remaining to give the Magicians the improbable win as they finished 3-1 at the Showcase. Sami Molu made 35 saves in the win, while Hudson Hodges made 19 saves in the loss
North Iowa 6 vs. Kenai River 2 – The Bulls finished the Showcase with a 3-1 record as the handled the Brown Bears, 6-2. The Bulls scored two goals in each period in a balanced scoring attack. Anthony Galante and Greg Japchen scored in the 1st period, Carter Rapalje and Ryan Coughlin added 2nd period goals, and Rapalje and Japchen would each add their second goals of the game in the 3rd period. David Vieten and Sean Henry had the goals for Kenai River. Cullen DeYoung made 28 saves in the win, while Bryant Marks made 23 saves in the loss.
NTDP 2 vs. Janesville 1 – In a goaltending and defensive battle it was 33 combined saves from NDTP goalies Michael Chambre and Trey Augustine that lifted their team to a 2-1 win over the Janesville Jets, despite a good performance and 18 saves from new Jets goalie Michael D’Orazio. After a scoreless 1st period, the NDTP struck first just under a minute into the 1st period as Oliver Moore scored. The Jets had an immediate answer thanks to a snap shot in the low slot from Robby Newton. Some nifty passing early in the 3rd period led to the game-winning goal from Austin Burnevik.