Saturday Scores: 7 of 8 series at 2-0 after first weekend
Central Division Semi-Finals, Game 2: St. Cloud 2 @ Aberdeen 1 (St. Cloud leads series, 2-0) – Two goals was again enough as another strong defensive effort by the Norsemen gave them a 2-1 win in Game 2 and 2-0 lead in the series. Norsemen goaltender Eithan Dahlmeir was the star of the night, stopping all 27 shots that came his way and has now stopped 50 of 51 shots in the series. Both goals for the Norsemen came early in the 2nd period, both off the stick of Daniels Murnieks, who scored :29 seconds apart for the 2-0 lead and win. Wings goalie Cole Moore made 19 saves in the loss.
Central Division Semi-Finals, Game 2: Minot 2 @ Austin 4 (Austin leads series, 2-0) – The Bruins scored three power play goals on their way to a 4-2 win in Game 2 and taking a 2-0 series lead. The Bruins wasted no time getting off to a fast start as they netted two power play goals from Jack Malinski and Austin Salani in the first six minutes of the contest. Minot made it 2-1 later in the 1st period with a power play goal from Braden Fischer. Late in the period, the Bruins seized momentum back thanks to a goal from Walter Zacher. Josh Giuliani would add a power play goal in the 2nd period to make it 4-1. Chase LaPinta scored for Minot late in the 3rd period to make it a 4-2 final. Trent Wiemken made 27 saves in the win.
East Division Semi-Finals, Game 2: Northeast 2 @ Maryland 3 (OT) (Maryland leads series, 2-0) – Despite a 62-22 shots advantage, the Maryland Black Bears needed a power play goal from Brad McNeil in overtime to fight off a determined Generals squad, 3-2 in overtime. The Black Bears held a 2-1 lead after one period as Sean Kilcullen and Branden Piku scored, while Ryan Schelling scored for the Generals. In the 2nd period, the Generals tied the game on a goal from Sixten Jennersjo. William Hakansson made 20 saves in the win, while Cullen DeYoung made 59 saves in the loss.
East Division Semi-Finals, Game 2: Maine 6 @ New Jersey 5 (OT) (Maine leads series, 2-0) – The defending champions backs are against the wall after the Nordiques claimed another road win in New Jersey, this time winning 6-5 in overtime in Game 2. Henrik Hallberg, Aidan Coupe, and Brendan Gibbons each had two goals and an assist in the game. New Jersey led 2-1 after one period thanks to goals from Anthony Calafiore and Michael Young, while Coupe scored for Maine. In the 2nd period, Maine took control with goals from Coupe, Gibbons, and Hallberg, while Ben Muthersbaugh scored for the Titans. In the 3rd period, the Titans stormed back with goals from Muthersbaugh and Ben Yurchuk to take a 5-4 lead, but a late goal from Hallberg would send the game to OT where Gibbons would finish it off. Thomas Heaney made 33 saves in the win, while Zakari Brice made 21 saves in the loss.
Midwest Division Semi-Finals, Game 2: Kenai River 1 @ Minnesota 2 (Minnesota leads series, 2-0): Another strong performance from Isak Posch and more goals from Kevin Marx Noren helped fuel the Wilderness past Kenai River and establish a commanding lead in the series. Marx Noren broke the deadlock quickly into the game, finding a way to the slot and beating Nils Wallstrom 4:42 into the 1st. Reid Daavettila extended the lead midway through the 2nd period, redirecting a shot pass from Adam Johnson on the powerplay. In the final frame, the Brown Bears got one back when Ashton Christmann found the back of the net farside from a dish by Kotaro Tsutsumi. Posch and the Wilderness were able to shut down the rest of the game to secure the 2-0 series lead, Posch finishing the night with 24 saves. Wallstrom kept out 29 of 31 in the loss.
Midwest Division Semi-Finals, Game 2: Chippewa 1 @ Wisconsin 2 (OT) (Wisconsin leads series, 2-0): The Wisconsin Windigo extended their series lead against the Chippewa to 2-0 after a 2-1 overtime win. Patrick Isiguzo (3:08) netted the lone goal in the first period as Wisconsin took a 1-0 lead. In the second, Tomas Trunda (13:12) evened the game 1-1 for the Steel which would end up being the overtime forcing goal. In the extra frame, Samuel Jacobs (9:38) took the win for the Windigo, 2-1. Goaltender Maxwell Beckford stopped 34 of the 35 shots he faced in the contest. Steel goalie Adam Gajan made 40 saves in the loss.
South Division Semi-Finals, Game 2: Amarillo 2 @ Oklahoma 6 (Oklahoma leads series 2-0) - Six different Warriors found the back of the net as they once again got out to a quick start and went on to defeat the Amarillo Wranglers in NAHL playoff action. William Ahlrik struck on the power play while Drew Sutton netted an even strength goal in the opening frame for the Warriors. The two teams traded goals as Oklahoma got goals from Mikko Liukkonen and Owen Dyer while the Amarillo offense was provided by Roman Zap and Chase Davis. Garrett Horsager and Brendan Williams put the game out of reach in the third as Warriors now have a 2-0 series lead and are just one win away from the South Division Final. Dylan Johnson needed just 17 saves to earn the win in goal. Luca Ganz and Carter Clayton combined to stop 19 shots for Amarillo.
South Division Semi-Finals, Game 2: Shreveport 3 @ Lone Star 2 (OT) (Series Tied 1-1) - After playing four overtimes on Friday night, the Mudbugs and Brahmas settled for just one on Saturday night as Jaden Goldie was the hero Shreveport, scoring the game winner at 18:24 of the first overtime period. After goals were hard to come by on Friday, the teams traded three goals in 2:20 in the second period. Garrett Steele broke the deadlock with his first of the postseason. That was followed up by Ivan Zadvernyuk’s first of the playoffs. Then Niklas Miller got in on the action just 33 seconds later, giving the Mudbugs the lead heading into the third. Zadvernyuk would find the back of the net again with just over four minutes to play in regulation to force yet another overtime period. Goldie would net the game winner with a quick snapshot over the shoulder of Arthur Smith. Nikola Goich was the winner in the blue paint as he made 26 saves. Smith was saddled with the loss as he stopped 20 shots. The series now shifts to Shreveport knotted at one game apiece.