Friday Finals: Wilderness, Norsemen get big Game 1 road wins
Midwest Division Finals, Game 1: Minnesota 1 @ Wisconsin 0 (Minnesota leads series, 1-0) – A 2nd period goal from Wilderness defenseman Beau Janzig would stand as the only goal of the contest as the Wilderness went on the road to win Game 1 of the Midwest Division Finals, 1-0. Wilderness goalie Isak Posch made 26 saves in the shutout. Janzig’s goal came late in the 2nd period as Reid Daavettila won an offensive zone draw back to Janzig, who hammered a slap shot home. Windigo goalie Maxwell Beckford made 27 saves in the loss.
Central Division Finals, Game 1: St. Cloud 4 @ Austin 3 (OT) (St. Cloud leads series, 1-0) – The Norsemen erased a 1-0 and 3-2 Bruins lead to come from behind to take Game 1 of the Central Finals, 4-3 in overtime. Anthony Ruklic scored two goals including the overtime-winner for the Norsemen. Austin was first on the board as Sam Christiano scored in the 1st period. St. Cloud took a 2-1 lead early in the 2nd period as they went ahead on goals from Ruklic and Daniels Murnieks. The Bruins stormed back later in the period with goals from Walter Zacher and Matys Brassard to take a 3-2 lead. Before the period was out, the Norsemen tied the game on a goal from Andrew Clarke. The game-winner came early in OT as Ruklic converted on a 3-on-2 rush. Ethan Dahlmeir made 23 saves in the win and Trent Wiemken made 26 saves in the loss.
South Division Finals, Game 1: Shreveport 1 @ Oklahoma 4 (Oklahoma leads series, 1-0) – Hunter Jones scored twice and William Lawson-Body had a three-point night for the Warriors as they took a 1-0 series lead over the Mudbugs thanks to a 4-1 win in Game 1. Jones opened the scoring less than two minutes into the contest. Shreveport would answer later in the period with their lone goal from Logan Gotinsky. After a scoreless 2nd period, the Warriors broke the game open in the 3rd period as goals from Mikko Liukkonen, Jones, and Lawson-Body secured the 4-1 win. Daniel Duris made 12 saves in the win, while Simon Bucheler made 26 saves in the loss.
East Division Finals, Game 1: Maine 2 @ Maryland 4 (Maryland leads series, 1-0) – The Black Bears got goals from four different players in a 4-2 win in Game 1 of the East Finals on Friday. The Nordiques were first to score in the opening period as Nicholas Bernardo scored his first goal of the players. Maryland stormed back in the 2nd period with goals from Kareem El Bashir and Branden Piku to take a 2-1 lead. Before the period was over, Brendan Gibbons scored his fourth goal of the playoffs with a power play tally to make it a 2-2 game. In the 3rd period, the Black Bears pulled away with goals from Dimitry Kebreau and Gunnar VanDamme to win, 4-2. William Hakansson made 20 saves in the win, while Thomas Heaney made 24 saves in the loss.