Sunday Final: Payne's big night puts K-Wings in 1st place
Kalamazoo 8 @ Jamestown 7 - The Jamestown Ironmen and the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings had combined for 13 goals in their previous three meetings. On Sunday they combined for 15. It was Kalamazoo that escaped with an 8-7 victory, dropping the Ironmen for the second consecutive game. Kalamazoo leading scorer, Robbie Payne had a game that most people can only dream about. He was involved in seven of the eight goals, finishing with three goals and four assists, including the game winner in the third period. Payne started the scoring, early in the first period, stealing a pass in front of the Jamestown net and beating Ironmen goalie Joe Ballmer who was hung out to dry by his defense. Andrew Graves added to the Kalamazoo lead later in the period. The second K-Wings goal seemed to wake up the Ironmen who came surging back with three first period goals. Brett Szajner scored his first NAHL goal on a shot directly off an Ironmen faceoff win. Minutes later, his cousin Zack Szajner scored his first NAHL goal to tie the score at 2-2. Anthony Coles scored the third first period goal for Jamestown. Kalamazoo scored four of the next five goals of the game to force Ironmen coach Dan Daikawa to replace goalie Joey Ballmer with backup Joe Gladnick. The goalie change sparked the Ironmen and Jon Smith narrowed the Kalamazoo lead to 6-5 with his first goal of the season. Jamestown roared back in the third period and erased a two goal deficit for the second time in the game. Anthony Coles scored a shorthanded goal in a wild scramble to the left of the Kalamazoo net. Coles initially raced in on a breakaway and was hooked from behind but Jamestown maintained possession and slipped the puck behind K-Wings goalie Alex Okicki. Okicki was pulled later in the period after Jamestown tied the score on a slap shot from the top of the circle by defenseman Wes Elrod. In a wild back and forth game it was the K-Wings that would score last as Robbie Payne slammed home a rebound after Gladnick had stopped Matt Cesna on a point blank shot. Jamestown pulled their goalie in the final minute but never set up a good opportunity as the K-Wings defense tightened up in the final minutes.
Topeka 1 @ Amarillo 7 - The Bulls increased their winning streak to seven straight games as they beat the Topeka RoadRunners 7-1 at home. Amarillo outshot Topeka 44-27 and got four points (2g, 2a) from Brooks Behling. In all, five Bulls players had multi-point nights. Brian Christie scored late in the 3rd period for Topeka, denying the shutout bid of Bulls goaltender Gregg Gruehl, who made 26 saves.
Kenai River 5 @ Fresno 4 (OT) - In the final game of the three game series, all of which went to a shootout or overtime, it was the Brown Bears who would win their second straight game in overtime that triumphed over the Monsters on the road, sending Kenai River into 1st place in the West Division. Sean Muller was the hero in OT and had two goals and an assist in the game. Raymond Stenehjem also had three points for the Brown Bears in the win.