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Friday Finals: Topeka edges closer to playoff spot with win

February 18, 2012

Topeka 4 @ Fairbanks 3 - The Fairbanks Ice Dogs were determined, but the Topeka RoadRunners were opportunistic for a 4-3 victory in Friday night’s opener of the non-divisional North American Hockey League series at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.  Empty-net goals usually serve the purpose of insuring a victory and squelching an opponent’s momentum. Ben Bahe’s fling from the right point into an unoccupied net proved to be the game-winner with 52 seconds remaining in the contest that featured three ties.  Thirty-six seconds after Bahe’s deposit put Topeka ahead 4-2, Sean O’Rourke scorched a slap shot from the top of the right circle to show his Ice Dogs teammates and several of the 2,242 fans who remained that the game wasn’t quite over.  Logan Wendling scored twice for the West Division-leading Ice Dogs in their third home game in four days. The RoadRunners won a battle amid a scramble in front of the net at 16:28 into the third period to snap a 2-2 tie.  Dan Dupell worked with rebounds from Jake Lynes and James Ring to knock the puck past Ice Dogs goaltender Alex Fons.   The RoadRunners started the third period with a 2-1 lead with their second power-play tally, and the Ice Dogs answered with Wendling’s second goal of the night.  Fons dove in the crease to deflect a blast from the left point by Topeka’s Brian Christie.  The rebound fluttered long enough in front of the crease for Anders Schultz to bolt in and tap it upstairs 37 seconds into the period. Cory Ramsey also assisted for the RoadRunners. Wendling uncorked a slap shot from the high slot at 4:05 for the third deadlock of the night. Wendling also broke a scoreless deadlock at 9:22 into the second period, aided by Pavlo Padakin and Russell Finch. Wendling fumbled Padakin’s pass before settling the puck in the right circle and squeezing off a wrist shot inside the right post and over Topeka goalie Peter Traber’s glove-side shoulder.  Bahe scored for Topeka on a two-man power play at 16:05 of the second, swooping in from the left side of the crease to bang in a rebound of Ramsey’s slap shot from the top of the right circle. Fons finished with 32 saves and Traber notched 29. Boxscore

Wenatchee 3 @ Kenai River 1 – Wenatchee used another solid defensive effort to pick up a big road win in Kenai River on Friday.  After a scoreless 1st period, Ben Carey put Wenatchee up 1-0 with his 19th goal of the season.  Kenai River struck back as Raymond Stenehjem tied the game at 1-1.  Then Wenatchee’s Jacob Barber took over, scoring a goal late in the 2nd period followed by another midway through the 3rd period.  Robert Nichols picked up the win for the Wild making 17 saves. Boxscore

Dawson Creek 2 @ Fresno 4 – The Monsters moved back into the 4th and final playoff spot with a 4-2 win at home over the Rage.  The two teams traded goals in the 1st period as Ryan Matthews scored first for Dawson Creek, but that was answered less than two minutes later by Fresno’s Ryan Doner.  Scott Fellnermayr put the Rage up 2-1, but the Monsters responded with three unanswered goals from Riley Borer, Dominic Valencia and Petr Mainer.  Boxscore

New Mexico 3 @ Corpus Christi 2 (SO) – The Mustangs and goaltender Jake Stafford spoiled the IceRays bid for a sweep in front of over 5,000 fans in Corpus Christi with a 3-2 shootout win.  The IceRays took a 2-0 lead with goals from Zack Holstrom and Zach Lindsay.  However, New Mexico responded with two goals to tie the game from Marcus Nordlund and Jayson Angus.  In the shootout, Stafford, who made 30 saves on the night denied four of the five ‘Rays shooters for the win. Boxscore

Bismarck 1 @ Alexandria 5 – The Blizzard made a big statement by knocking off the Central-leading Bobcats by a score of 5-1 in Alexandria.  Goaltender Jacob Meyers made 23 saves as the Blizzard outshot Bismarck, 34-24.  Ryan Callahan gave the Bobcats the lead, but that would be the only highlight for the Bobcats.  Dylan Zink, Gage Torrel, Reid Sturos, Tucker Coborn and Grant Eichstadt were all part a barrage of goals, which gave the Blizzard the win. Boxscore

Aberdeen 4 @ Austin 3 (SO) – The Wings came from behind thanks to the heroics of newly acquired forward CJ Reuschlein, who scored the Wings final two goals and the game-winner in the shootout as Aberdeen edged the Bruins, 4-3.  Charlie Adams scored twice for Austin and John Simonson added the other.  Cory Ward scored his team-leading 27th goal for Aberdeen.  Goaltender Marcus Zelzer made 34 saves and stopped all four shooters in the shootout for the win. Boxscore

Springfield 3 @ Coulee Region 5 – Mac Jansen scored twice as the Chill topped the Jr. Blues at home 5-3 win a game that featured 83 combined shots.  Chris Hughes and Cory Lushanko gave the Chill an early lead that they would never lose the remainder of the game.  Radim Matus, Kyle Cook and Ethan Nauman scored for Springfield, but thanks to Ross Luedtke’s goal late in the 2nd period and Jansen’s heroics, the Chill manage to come out on top. Boxscore

Kalamazoo 0 @ Traverse City 4 – Kyle Laslo stopped all 36 Kalamazoo shots for his 3rd shutout of the season as Traverse City shutout the K-Wings, 4-0.  Traverse City scored twice in the 2nd period on goals from Mitchell Snider and Sean Murphy.  Murphy would add his second goal of the game early in the 3rd period along with another from Jared Van Wormer.  Michal Toman picked up a pair of assists in the win for the North Stars. Boxscore

St. Louis 6 @ Michigan 1 – It was the Joe Kalisz show in Flint on Friday as the Bandits forward chimed in on every St. Louis goal, scoring two goals and adding four assists in a 6-1 win over the Warriors.  Rance Hughes picked up his first hat-trick of the season and Joe Birmingham added four assists in the win, which kept St. Louis within a point of 1st place in the Midwest Division.  The Bandits outshot the Warriors 44-18. Boxscore

Janesville 2 @ Jamestown 1 (SO) – The Jets stayed in 1st place in the Midwest Division thanks to a 2-1 shootout win in Jamestown on Friday night.  Jordan Bancroft gave the Jets an early 1-0 lead in the 1st period, but that was answered late in the period by Jamestown’s Nick Bingaman, who tied the game at 1-1.  Both the Ironmen’s Joe Gladnick and the Jets Tony Kujava were solid the remainder of the game.  However, the first three shooters for the Jets all scored to give them the win. Boxscore

Chicago 0 @ Port Huron 7 – The 1st place Fighting Falcons scored early and often in a lop-sided 7-0 shutout win at home over the Hitmen.  Max Milosek stopped all 35 shots for his second shutout of the season and Alex Globke picked up two goals in the win.  Jake Goldberg added three assists and Bret Lewandowski, Ryan Nick, Easton Powers, Max Reavis and Alex Archibald all had multi-point games as the Fighting Falcons increased their division lead to 10 points.Boxscore

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