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Friday Finals: South playoff race tightens

February 11, 2012

Joe Kalisz had the lone goal as the 2nd place St. Louis Bandits shutout the 1st place Janesville Jets, 1-0 on Friday.

Odessa 5 @ New Mexico 4 (OT) - Down two goals with less than three minutes to play in regulation, the Odessa Jackalopes scored twice within a 30-second span to force overtime, then less than a minute into the extra session, rode a Josh Obregon tally to a 5-4 win over the New Mexico Mustangs at Santa Ana Star Center on Friday night. With the win, the Jackalopes improved to 17-22-5 overall this season and with 39 points, maintained their fifth place position in the NAHL’s South Division standings and pulled to within four points of the Corpus Christi IceRays for the South Division’s fourth and final playoff spot.  After back-to-back New Mexico goals in the first period from Mustangs snipers Adam Chapie and Brandon Bistodeau, the Jacks clawed back into the game courtesy of Ryan Doucet’s fourth marker of the season and first as a Jackalope.  The only goal of the second period tied the game at two, as Odessa’s Ryan Atkinson stuffed home his seventh of the season.  Thanks to two more unanswered goals from the Mustangs’ Jimmy Peplinski and Patrick Anderson midway through the third period, the Jackalopes found themselves in a late 4-2 hole, but after pulling goaltender Connor Hellebuyck with 2:11 remaining in the game, Odessa scored not one, but two six-on-five goals, first from Lawrence Cornellier and then Taylor Portner, to tie the game at four and force overtime.  Odessa soldiered on into a four-on-four overtime period for the second consecutive game and just 59 seconds into the frame, Obregon buried an in-close pass from Cornellier to lift the Jackalopes to the season’s most improbable win. Boxscore

Jamestown 2 @ Port Huron 6 – The 1st place Fighting Falcons answered an early Jamestown goal to run away with a 6-2 win to increase their division lead to nine points and clinch the North Division's first playoff spot of the 2011-12 season.  Jeff McFarland opened the scoring for the Ironmen, but that was met with Falcons goals from Tyler Spezia, Logan Lemirande and Brett D’Andrea.  Kody Polin made it 4-1 after two periods, and another goal from D’Andrea and Ian Miller gave the Falcons the 6-2 win. Boxscore

Michigan 3 @ Traverse City 5 – Sean Murphy’s second goal of the game in the 3rd period was the difference as the North Stars defeated the Warriors at home, 5-3.  The two teams traded goals in the 1st period as Conor Durgan and Jared Van Wormer scored for Traverse City, while AJ White and Martin Gruse scored for Michigan.  Murphy lit the lamp in the 2nd period and again in the 3rd period and Van Wormer added his second goal on an empty-net. Boxscore

Topeka 2 @ Springfield 5 – The Jr. Blues won their seventh game in their last eight tries as they got a three goals in the 3rd period and a big night from Gavin Tufte to defeat the RoadRunners, 5-2.  After the score was tied at 2-2 after two periods, Radim Matus, who had three points on the night, gave the Jr. Blues the lead for good midway through the 3rd period.  Tufte scored twice and added two more assists for a four-point night. Both of Topeka’s goals came via the power play. Boxscore

Janesville 0 @ St. Louis 1 – In a defensive clash reminiscent of playoff series gone by it was Joe Kalisz’s lone goal in the 2nd period with assists from Ryan Stouffer and Greg Johnson that was the difference in a battle of the Midwest Division’s top two teams as 2nd place St. Louis edged 1st place Janesville, 1-0.  Tyler Green made all 19 saves for the Bandits for his second shutout of the year, while Tony Kujava made 27 saves in the loss. Boxscore

Wichita Falls 3 @ Corpus Christi 1 – The Wildcats continued their recently found momentum and creeped closer to a playoff spot in the South with a 3-1 win at Corpus Christi on Friday.  The Wildcats opened up a 2-0 lead in the 1st period with goals from Brennen Parker and Renato Engler.  Danny Fetzer made things interesting as he scored shorthanded for the ‘Rays, but an empty-net goal from Zach Pochiro sealed the win for the Wildcats, who got 30 saves from Matt Leon in the win. Boxscore

Austin 3 @ Aberdeen 2 – The Bruins completed a weekend sweep of the Wings to move solidly in 3rd place in the Central with a 3-2 win on Friday.  Austin took a 2-0 lead with goals from Trevor Waldoch and Jeremy Finger.  Aberdeen’s Justin Parizek cut the lead to 2-1, but a goal from the Bruins Charlie Adams midway through the 3rd period was the difference.  Tyler Bruggeman shined again in goal for Austin making 32 saves in the win. Boxscore

Amarillo 5 @ Texas 4 (OT) – In a back and forth game of the 1st and 2nd place teams in the South, it was Matt Johnson’s goal with :26 seconds remaining in OT that was the difference as the Bulls snapped a two-game skid.  Joe Kozlak scored twice and Greg Gibson and Brandon Lubin added the other goals for the Bulls, while Texas got goals from Jake Strzalkowski, Mitchell McPherson, Jack Prince and Nick Neville. Karl Beckman picked up two assists including a nifty pass to Johnson for the OT winner. Boxscore

Alexandria 4 @ Bismarck 2 – The Blizzard handed the Bobcats a rare home loss as they jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a 4-2 win on Friday.  Jacob Meyers shined in goal making 35 saves.  Alexandria took a 2-0 lead in the 1st period with goals from Hayden Trupp and Justin Moody.  Frank DeAugustine answered for Bismarck midway through the 2nd period, but the Blizzard answered right back with two more goals from Seth Ronsberg and Charlie Aus.  Moody finished with three points while Vadim Gyesbreghs and Aidan Cavallini both assisted twice. Boxscore

Coulee Region 1 @ Chicago 4 – Nick Kohn made 29 saves and Chicago used a balanced scoring attack to top Coulee Region at home Friday night, 4-1.  The Hitmen jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals from Mike Fazio and Alex Murphy.  Mac Jansen lit the lamp on the power play for the lone Coulee Region goal of the night.  However, a goal from Anthony Annunziato in the 2nd period and Steve Sherman in the 3rd period secured the win for the Hitmen. Boxscore

Fairbanks 6 @ Dawson Creek 0 – The IceDogs crept closer to 1st place with a convincing 6-0 shutout win in Dawson Creek on Friday night.  Alex Fons posted his 4th shutout of the season, stopping all 23 shots that came his way.  Six different players scored for Fairbanks including: Doug Rose (game-winner), Russell Finch, Justin Woods, Alec Hajdukovich, Pavlo Padakin and Jeff Earnest.  Max Birkinbine picked up two assists in the win. Boxscore

Wenatchee 2 @ Kenai River 1 – 23 saves from Robert Nichols helped the Wenatchee Wild to a 2-1 win in Kenai River and stay in the hunt for the West Division title.  Jacob Barber gave the Wild a 1-0 lead in the 1st period with an assist to Shawn Pauly.  Brad LeLievre, an affiliate player from Wenatchee’s 18U team in the PHL, gave the Wild a 2-0 lead on his first career NAHL goal.  Sean Muller scored in the 3rd period for Kenai River, but it would not be enough. Boxscore

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