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Friday Finals: Shutout helps Fresno take lead in playoff race

March 24, 2012

Wenatchee 0 @ Fresno 3 – Forward Karl Andersen scored a pair of goals and goaltender Tomas Sholl refused to give one up as the Fresno Monsters defeated the Wenatchee Wild 3-0 Friday at the Selland Arena in Fresno, Calif.  Andersen scored the Monsters’ first two goals. His first came 90 seconds into the opening frame when he picked off a pass in the Wild zone and scored an unassisted marker on a backhander from the slot. Wenatchee had a golden opportunity to tie up the contest with a 2-man advantage in the second period. The Wild had a couple terrific scoring chances during the situation, but couldn’t get a puck past Sholl.  Andersen scored his second marker of the game 5:47 into the third frame when he received a long breakout pass from Jeffrey Pauluk and lit the lamp on a breakaway. Dominic Valencia scored Fresno’s third and final goal of the game with 4:16 remaining in regulation. Nathan Ropelewski and Brett Blomgren assisted.  Sholl stopped all 35 shots he faced to record his second shutout of the season. Wild netminder Robert Nichols suffered just his sixth loss of the season. He made 15 saves on 18 shots. Wenatchee went 0-for-4 on the power play while Fresno was 0-for-1.  The Monsters win gave them a two point lead in the race for the final playoff spot in the West Division with Kenai River. Boxscore

Jamestown 3 @ Port Huron 2 – Despite being outshot 49-27, the Jamestown Ironmen kept their playoff hopes alive with a 3-2 win over the Fighting Falcons, scoring three goals in the final nine minutes of the game.  Max Reavis gave Port Huron a 2-0 lead with two goals, but Jamestown goals from Matt Moore, Blake Kelley and Luc Gerdes gave the Ironmen the win. Joe Gladnick made 47 saves in the win. Boxscore

Kalamazoo 0 @ Michigan 4 – Trevor Gorsuch posted his first career shutout, making 36 saves as Michigan edged closer to a playoff spot with a 4-0 win over Kalamazoo.  Travis Hill and Joe Ferriss scored 2nd period goals and AJ White added a pair of goals in the 3rd period to complete the win for the Warriors.  Alex Okicki made 32 saves in the loss for the K-Wings. Boxscore

New Mexico 1 @ Amarillo 10 – The Bulls had no problem with the Mustangs on Friday as they scored early and often in a 10-1 home win.  14 different Bulls players recorded at least a point in the game and were led by two goals apiece from Brooks Behling and Ryan Cole.  John Rey, Mike Erickson, Jude Warner, Joe Kozlak, John Gustafsson and Greg Gibson also scored in the Bulls win. Boxscore

St. Louis 3 @ Springfield 4 – The Jr. Blues stayed hot, jumping out to a 4-1 lead early in the 3rd period, then managed to hang on to defeat the Bandits, 4-3.  Josef Pontasch, Tyler Rehm and Kyle Cook gave Springfield a 3-1 lead in the 2nd period, answering a St. Louis goal from Frank Dichiara.  Ethan Nauman made it 4-1.  Joe Kalisz scored twice to draw the Bandits to within one.  Gabe Antoni made 46 saves in the win. Boxscore

Bismarck 3 @ Austin 5 – Austin scored the final three goals of the game to pull out a 5-3 win over division-leading Bismarck on Friday.  Dan Zawacki gave Bismarck an early lead with both opening goals, but Austin answered back with goals from Jeremy Finger and John Kirby.  Daniel Kovar made it 3-2 Bismarck, but goals from Finger, AJ Reid and John Simonson have Austin the win. Boxscore

Texas 4 @ Corpus Christi 5 (SO) – Despite getting outshot 42-22, the IceRays picked up a must win game over the Tornado, winning in a shootout, 5-4.  Eric Purcell, Joe Smereck, Brandon Smith and Danny Fetzer scored in regulation for the IceRays, while Texas got goals from Skyler Spiller, Marc Biggs, Alex Temby and Jackson Leef.  Beau Walker scored the shootout winner for Corpus Christi. Boxscore

Topeka 3 @ Wichita Falls 4 – George Pagonis broke a 3-3 tie in the 3rd period with the game-winning goal as Wichita Falls beat Topeka, 4-3.  Brennen Parker scored twice and Jakob Batcha added another goal as the Wildcats answered an early goal from Topeka’s Richard Young to take a 3-1 lead.  Topeka tied the game at 3-3 with goals from Brian Christie and Chris Bond. Boxscore

Coulee Region 3 @ Aberdeen 5 – In a game that featured over 100 combined shots, it was the Wings that held on for a 5-3 win.  Cory Ward opened the scoring for Aberdeen with the first two goals.  Chris Hughes answered for the Chill, but Paul Prescott made it 3-1.  Ross Luedtke and Max Jansen tried to bring the Chill back, but Aberdeen goals from Mack Ohnsted and Joe Mottiqua put the game out of reach. Boxscore

Alexandria 3 @ Minot 0 – Michael Bitzer continued his hot play and recorded his first career NAHL shutout, stopping all 30 Minot shots as the Blizzard picked up a 3-0 shutout win.  Hayden Trupp, Jordan Krebsbach and Seth Ronsberg all scored in the 1st period for Alexandia.  Jake Hebda took the loss for the Minotauros.  Bitzer has allowed just one goal in his first two NAHL starts. Boxscore

Traverse City 3 @ Chicago 4 – The Hitmen stayed hot with a 4-3 win over playoff-bound Traverse City.  The Hitmen scored four of the game’s final five goals, including goals from Matt Cessna, Joey Haydock, Zach Mudge and David Gandara.  Meanwhile, the North Stars got goals from Conor Durgan, Chris Waterstreet and Will Badner.  Chicago outshot the North Stars, 36-31 for the game. Boxscore

Alaska 3 @ Fairbanks 2 (SO) – The Avalanche scored twice in the shootout to edge the Ice Dogs and keep their hopes for home ice in the first round of the playoffs alive.  Despite the loss, Fairbanks clinched the West Division regular season title with the win.  Tannner Fahlstedt and Brandon Brossoit scored in regulation for the Avs, while Doug Rose and Jeff Earnest scored for Fairbanks.  Brossoit and Patrick Kinkopf added the shootout goals for Alaska. Boxscore

Dawson Creek 4 @ Kenai River 3 (SO) – The Rage scored four times in the five-man shootout and got two goals from Shawn Mueller and another from Troy Petrick to defeat the Brown Bears in a shootout on Friday night, 4-3.  Kenai River did their best throughout the game to tie things up with goals from Anthony Stempin, Ryan Walker and Marek Hemsky, but could never find a way to lead as they slipped two points behind Frenso for the final playoff spot. Boxscore

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