Friday Finals: Wings advance to Central Finals with sweep of Bruins
Central Division Semi-Finals, Game 3: Austin 3 @ Aberdeen 6 (Aberdeen wins series, 3-0) – The Aberdeen Wings are back in the Central Division Finals for a third straight time as they doubled up the Austin Bruins in Game 3, 6-3 to complete a series sweep. The Wings got off to a big start, taking a 3-0 lead in the 1st period with goals from Anthony Galante, Jacob Bosse, and Ronan Walsh. Austin got on the board late in the period to make it 3-1 as Nick Catalano scored a power play goal. The Wings kept adding to the lead in the 2nd and 3rd periods as goals from Cade Neilson and Patrick O’Connell made it 5-1. Austin tried to mount a 3rd period comeback with goals from Alex Trombley and Jack Malinski that made it 5-3, but an empty net goal from Galante secured the win and the series. Anton Castro made 33 saves in the win while Klayton Knapp (7 saves) and Ethan Robertson (20 saves) both played in the loss.
Central Division Semi-Finals, Game 3: St. Cloud 1 @ Bismarck 2 (Bismarck leads series, 2-1) – Bobcats goalie Oskar Spinnars Nordin made 38 saves to lead the Bobcats to a 2-1 win in Game 3 and take a 2-1 lead in the series. The Bobcats led 1-0 after the 1st period as Chase Beacom scored his first goal of the series. The Norsemen tied the game in the 2nd period as Brandon Lajoie found the back of the net. Late in the 3rd period, the Bobcats found the game-winner off the stick of defenseman Jon Ziskie with just under two minutes remaining. Norsemen goalie Tomas Bolo made 24 saves in the loss.
Midwest Division Semi-Finals, Game 3: Fairbanks 1 @ MN Wilderness 4 (Fairbanks leads series, 2-1) – The Minnesota Wilderness got 27 saves from Matthew Smith to stave off elimination and post their first win of the series as they beat Fairbanks, 4-1 on Friday. The Wilderness went up 1-0 in the 1st period thanks to a shorthanded goal from Ethan Wolthers. Minnesota then put the game away in the 2nd period as goals from Nicholas Rexine and William Persson made it 3-0. The Ice Dogs netted their lone goal later in the 2nd period off the stick of Billy Renfrew. Jared Mangan added a 3rd period goal for the Wilderness to complete the scoring. Ice Dogs goalie Kayden Hargraces made 28 saves in the loss.
South Division Semi-Finals, Game 3: New Mexico 5 @ Wichita Falls 4 (3OT) (New Mexico leads series, 2-1) – The Ice Wolves survived a big comeback attempt from the Warriors and outlasted them in triple overtime, 5-4 to take a 2-1 lead in the series. New Mexico jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals from Nicholas Haviar, William Howard, and Sully Scholle. The Warriors storme back in the 2nd and 3rd periods to tie the game at 3-3 as Brendan Williams, Dean Bauchiero, and Hunter Jones all found the back of the net. In the 3rd period, Scholle scored again for the Ice Wolves to make it 4-3, but less than a minute later, the Warriors again tied things up as Bauchiero scored his second goal of the game. After two scoreless overtimes and same clutch saves from both goalies, the Ice Wolves netted the game-winner as Jake Keller pounded home a loose puck from the low slot for his first goal of the series. New Mexico goalie Beni Halasz made 47 saves in the win, while Daniel Duris made 40 saves in the loss. Dillan Bentley assisted on all four goals in regulation for New Mexico.
South Division Semi-Finals, Game 3: Lone Star 1 @ Shreveport 4 (Lone Star leads series, 2-1) – Defenseman Davis Goukler had a three-point night to lead the Mudbugs to a 4-1 win in Game 3 as they staved off elimination from the Brahmas. Shreveport jumped ahead 1-0 in the 1st period thanks to a goal from Burke Simpson. The lead swelled to 3-0 in the 2nd period for the Mudbugs as Goukler and Connor Gatto both scored. The Brahmas netted their lone goal later in the period as Blake Benson scored to make it 3-1. However, an empty-net goal from Jacob Onstott completed the 4-1 final. Mudbugs goalie Simon Bucheler made 28 saves in the win, while Arthur Smith made 26 saves in the loss.
East Division Semi-Finals, Game 3: New Jersey 3 @ Northeast 0 (New Jersey leads series, 2-1) – Titans goalie Andrew Takacs stopped all 21 shots that came his way as New Jersey took back home ice advantage and a 2-1 series lead as they shutout the Generals on Friday, 3-0. The Titans scored a goal in each period as Brendan Dumas scored in the 1st period, David Posma added a goal in the 2nd period, and Chris Carroll added an empty-net goal in the 3rd period. Generals goalie Cullen DeYoung made 19 saves in the losing effort.